The main city on the map is Ninh Binh, but there really isn’t anything in the town except for cement factories. Neighbouring towns Tam Coc and Trang An are what everyone wants to see.
Also known as the inland Ha Long Bay, Tam Coc and Trang An are beautiful places with towering limestone mountains every which way you look. Maybe it’s the quiet stillness or the river boats, but there’s something truly romantic about these towns.
I first arrived in Tam Coc, but quickly left because I found it too touristy. I was barely even able to see the mountains.
I moved to the neighbouring town of Trang An, which is about 10km away but a world of difference apart. It was quiet, peaceful and completely serene. There’s not much to do in Trang An but to enjoy the majestic mountains.
One of the main activities to do in this region is to take a boat tour on the rivers to further enjoy the mountains.
The main one is in Tam Coc, but they’ve now added other ones in Trang An and Thung Nang (about 1km away from Tam Coc).
Hearing that most local tourists from Hanoi do day trips to Tam Coc and fill the river boats, I decided to check out Thung Nang. It’s much less organized and essentially is a bunch of women running their own show. There is a clear route they take, but make sure to bargain for the price.
Aside from our rower pushing us at the end to buy souvenirs and hassling us for a big tip, the ride was very peaceful and lovely.