Ninh Binh bicycle riding in the mountains past green rice paddies

Ninh Binh Itinerary

Ninh Binh was my favorite part of Vietnam.  We took the train there from Hanoi (it takes about two hours) around sunset, and as we sped by the little villages we could see little glimpses of everyone going about their evening.  The train tracks go right through the middle of everything.  We could see people eating dinner with their families like their houses were dioramas.  It looked like the train tracks had cut everyone’s houses in half.  We would speed through busy towns, passing intersections with dozens of motorcyclists waiting for the train to pass.

We got to Ninh Binh late and checked into our hotel, Chez Loan.  We picked Chez Loan because of its good reviews, and it didn’t disappoint.  Our room was pleasant and had a pretty view over a pond.  The French-influenced restaurant was very good also, and the staff was so sweet.  They provided bikes for us (after we tried to convince they we could ride motorcyles and they didn’t fall for it at all).

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Mua Caves- at sunrise to beat the heat, any crowds, and good photo lighting!  It took about an hour total to slowly walk up the stairs, enjoy the view, and head back down.

Trang An Grottos- mid-morning, take boat ride through steep mountains and grottoes.  This took a couple hours.

Bich Dong Pagoda- afternoon.  This doesn’t mean what it sounds like…actually means ‘Green Pearl Pagoda’.  Took about an hour or maybe less- it’s not a long walk.

Tam Coc boat ride- right before they end at 4pm to catch the golden hour.  Winding through more steep mountains and grottoes, but with rice fields added.  Took about an hour.

The next morning we left for Ha Long Bay.

 

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