Most tourists coming to Ninh Binh wonder whether Trang An or Tam Coc is the best place for their trip. It is not easy to answer the question because each attraction has each own beauty and bring you different amazing experiences.
As over 7 year- experience as a tour guide in Ninh Binh, I write the post to break into information about Trang An and Tam Coc to help you have a right decision.
Firstly, we go into what is the similarity and difference between Trang An and Tam Coc. Let me clear it
Table of Contents
Traveling to Trang An or Tam Coc, you can experience boat trip through stunning caves while you spontaneously admire the majestic limestone mountains popping up above the water.
Not only do Ninh Binh make tourists say wow by no-word-describe natural beauty but also skillful people who row boats by their feet. The image of boat drivers taking their hands over their head and effortlessly use their feet to move and paddle boat is famous in both Vietnamese and international newspaper.
Ferryman is using his feet to row a boat smoothly in Trang An
Mr. Quang who has worked here for 20 years said that sailing sampan by feet is quicker and drain less energy. On average, he took 20 boat rounds per day, his hands were exhausted, changing to use feet was the only way for his hands taking a rest.
Last but not least, those people who rowing boat have to work so hard to earn little money. You should give a small tip about 50 000 VND to say thanks for ferryman who serve you very well.
1. The scenery
Regarding northern Vietnam, the first image appears in tourists’ minds is the magnificent mountain ranges where the slopes connect to each other in a long undulating stretch.
Unlike Sapa or Ha Giang, Trang An is well-known by harmoniously mixed between emerald water and limestone mountain, creating breathtaking views like ways to heaven.
The enchanting beauty of Trang An is compared like the way to heaven
2. Three Trang An routes, How to pick up one?
When entering the entrance gate, you will see a Trang An map beside with 3 route options. No matter which route you choose, the ticket price and duration are similar.
In order to pick a suitable route with your time and your liking, let’s read more details below:
The map shows three routes of Trang An
Route1: 9 caves and 3 temples
With the longest tour, you will take 3.5 hours to visit 9 caves and 3 temples. If you are a fan of geology, this tour is right for you because it is only route taking you through many caves.
In the rain season, several caves will be flooded and may not be accessible, when buying tickets, you should ask ticket staffs before.
Route 2: 4 caves and 3 temples.
The second route is popular among people traveling with family or the elderly. With only 3 hours on a boat, the route also makes you satisfied by scenery along both river and ancient pagoda kept in good condition.
Route 3: 3 caves and 3 temples
The third route just added to meet the requirement of tourists who have a short time for traveling. Combining intriguing attractions of route 1 and route 2, route 3 is created to take tourists to 3 temples( Trinh temple, Suoi Tien Temple & Vu Lam Palace), to three caves ( May cave, Dot cave & Dai cave), and King Kong land.
In conclusion, Trang An makes its name through the King Kong movie, many tourists visiting Ninh Binh with their aim is to explore and see the breathtaking views of King Kong land through their naked eyes. That’s a reason why route 2 and 3 are crowded all years around. If you do not mind being touristy, route 2 and 3 welcome your exploration.
3. What is the best time to visit Trang An
In Lunar New Year from January to March is the best time to travel to Trang An. At that time is hold spring festivals, so you can stop by Bai Dinh Pagoda to join activities and understand more Vietnamese religions.
From May to June is a period of riping field, the green color of mountains combined with the vivid yellow color of ripening rice. All things make tourists drop their jaw in front of the beautiful landscape.
4. Ticket price
Let’s read it carefully to understand the way of taking boats and tickets
For adults, the ticket price is 200 000 VND/ person and that for children under 1.4 m is 100 VND/ person.
Noticeably, each boat contains a maximum of 4 persons. It means 800,000 VND per boat. If you travel alone or have 2 persons, you will have to wait to full of seats. Do not worry, you do not have to wait so long maybe only 10 to 15 minutes because Trang An is a must-see attraction, the number of tourists coming here per day is high all round of years.
Another option, you can pay 800,000 VND per boat to save your time for waiting or want to have a private boat.
You might be interested in further information about Trang An boat tour and Tam Coc boat tour
1. The scenery
When searching for Ninh Binh on the internet, the image of Tam Coc with river surrounded riping paddies and limestone mountains often appear on the first page. The destination becomes pride and a beautiful symbol of Ninh Binh province.
Taking a boat in Tam Coc, you emerge yourself into fields and farming activities along Ngo Dong river.
Scenery of Tam Coc in riping fields is attractive both domestic and internaltional tourists
2. Tam Coc route
Hearing the name Tam Coc - three caves you can guess a part of your trip. You will go through three caves followed a made-ready itinerary, including Hang Ca, Hang Hai and Hang Ba.
Do not need to take time for opting which route is the best like Trang An, Tam Coc has only one route that is set up permanently. You only buy a ticket and find a boat to start your trip.
The first cave you go through is called Hang Ca, the second is Hang Hai and the last is Hang Ba. All caves of Tam Coc are attractive by its diverse shape of stalactites hanging down.
Residents often use their creativity to make up their own stories based on the shape of stalactites. For example, a stone in the peak of the mountain, they create a story of an elephant finding food. All shapes of stalactites will trigger your imagination and help children look out of the box
Why do not you play the game with your friends and your family during taking Tam Coc boat tour. It is extremely funny and unforgettable
3. What is the best time to visit Tam Coc?
Both Tam Coc and Trang An are located in Ninh Binh, the weather of two destinations are the same
Which is the best time to visit Tam Coc? I answer promptly it is in May or a period of between January and March
>>> See more weather in Ninh Binh >>>
4. Opening Hours
All services are available from 8:00 Am to 6:00 PM daily including Saturday and Sunday.
5. Tam Coc ticket price
The way of paying a ticket for Tam Coc boat tour is a little complicated, you should read it more carefully.
You have to pay for 2 kinds of tickets: the one is sight-seeing tickets, the other is a boat tour
- A sight-seeing ticket is 120.000VND/Person
- The boat is 150.000VND/Boat.
Notice: For safety, each boat can take a maximum of 2 foreign tourists or 4 Vietnamese person/ boat because foreigners often have higher weight than Vietnamese persons
Add up, you will pay 195, 000 VND/ person.
With only one day in Ninh Binh, I recommend you should pick either Trang An or Tam Coc. Just imagine that you spend a whole day to sit on a boat. Although the scenery is so beautiful, you will get bored of spending too much time sitting.
If you have only 1 day in Ninh Binh, you can mix Trang An or Tam Coc with Hoa Lu, Hang Mua. For that, you can explore Ninh Binh more and take hiking and boating during 1 day
2-day tour in Ninh Binh is enough for you to explore both Trang An and Tam Coc. On the first day, you come to Trang An - Bai Dinh, the second day you discover Hoa Lu ancient capital and Tam Coc.
Review of Hanna from UK
I and my husband visited Ninh Binh in July 2014. We could not decide whether to visit Trang An or Tam Coc, after reading information on forums we end up visited Tam Coc. I was impressive by women steered boat effortlessly. Why could she row the boat by feet like magic? To be honest, summer in Vietnam is too hot, be sure you bring a hat and put on sunscreen.
Tam Coc, a lovely and tranquil place where I got closer to rice fields. I got there early morning or late afternoon before Hanoi day-trippers. Many tourists visit Tam Coc, only a few knew the tip.
Review of Almere from Netherlands
Like other travelers, I am confused about Trang An or Tam Coc to experience boat tours and grotts. I had 2 days in Ninh Binh, I decided to do both and each has its merits.
Personally, I sum up each destination in several words below:
Trang An is designed for Vietnamese tourists. It is more artificial
Tam Coc is 90% for foreign tourists, it is closer to nature, more open scenery flanked by rice paddies, 1.5 hr tour.
Tam Coc is really picturesque. I saw some videos and read blogs before traveling, they told that hawkers. For me, it was not a matter, 1. say no and 2. pretend to be deaf and left them alone.
Have you decided Trang An or Tam Coc? If you have not, don't worry. Let's contact us to receive advices from our experienced staff and further information about Ninh Binh.
Based on choices of travellers earlier this year