Getting off the beaten track in Ninh Binh

1924034_1121810856950_5811353_n When I traveled through Vietnam, I was really excited about seeing the beautiful Halong Bay and rightly so. It is incredible there, but alas, with a place that famous it is bound to get a bit crowded. We loved our time there but the destination that surprised us the most was Ninh Binh.1924034_1121810896951_222926_n

Ninh Binh is known as Halong Bay on the rice paddies. It also sees far less crowds than its more famous counterpart. In fact, most people that we mentioned it to had never even heard of it!1924034_1121811216959_3269343_n

Ninh Binh is only a two hour drive south from Hanoi. When we arrived we booked in to our guesthouse and they recommended that the best way to see Ninh Binh and the surrounding area is by motorbike. I’m not very confident about my driving skills and neither was Louise so we hired two men from the guesthouse to drive us.1924034_1121808936902_3355100_n

The next day we began our adventure around Ninh Binh. Our first stop was to the Mua caves which were located up a steep climb of many steps on a mountain.1924034_1121810936952_4179082_n1924034_1121811816974_5844863_n

It was a misty morning but the views from the top were still incredible!1924034_1121811936977_6770180_n

1924034_1121811896976_1133286_nAfterwards we drove through small villages with people coming out and waving and shouting “hello” at us. (It’s so funny how that has now become my everyday life here in Korea). This area is predominantly rice paddies which makes the landscape look even more beautiful.ย 1924034_1121808856900_1121_n

1924034_1121809056905_6862044_nWe then arrived at Tam Coc. Tam Coc is the most famous attraction in Ninh Binh. It is a beautiful river surrounded by rice paddies and incredible karst towers.1924034_1121808536892_29097_n

We hired a woman to row a small boat down the river for us and we were both in awe at the sheer beauty of the area. We also got to go in to one of the many caves in the area.1924034_1121808736897_3666994_n

1924034_1121812136982_3201018_nI highly recommend a trip to Ninh Binh, it is just south of Hanoi and most of the bus tickets that bring you North/South, South/North will stop in Ninh Binh to drop you off and collect you. Beware though! When it came time to leave, we had prebooked our bus and for some reason it never turned up! We were left standing in a dark street by ourselves for about 3 hours when we finally realized that the man that kept on telling us the bus was on the way was lying. We ventured back to our guesthouse to find that they were fully booked. Luckily, they were amazing people so they let us sleep in their own bedroom. The next night,ย we were lucky to get the last two beds on the bus.1924034_1121809016904_6893938_n

So if you have the timeโ€ฆmake sure to stop in Ninh Binh for a couple of days.1924034_1121810816949_6275992_n1924034_1121811256960_3922959_n


6 thoughts on “Getting off the beaten track in Ninh Binh

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