Tripadvisor traveler choice Traveler choice

Ninh Binh Boat Ride: Complete Guide 2024

January 15, 2024 - 6412 views

Ninh Binh is a wonderful destination for adventurers and an oasis for nature lovers. A leisurely rowboat ride by the countryside to its rice paddies, Karst Mountains, and cave formations – is a special spotlight to do. Some of the best scenery here can only be accessed by boat and read along with the article to find out more detailed information about taking a boat ride in Ninh Binh.

Boat ride in Ninh Binh is one of the best things to do in Ninh Binh we should not miss, in this article, you will learn detail about reason and places to do, let's follow it carefully.

Why do Ninh Binh Boat Ride?

Ninh Binh offers us pristine scenery of deserted limestone mountains along the rivers & impressive caves that you can view from a rowing boat. Quiet, relaxed, pleasant & beautiful are the words that we normally use to describe the tourist sites in this province. The most popular sites must be Tam Coc and Trang An Nature Complex, as it has the same settings as Halong bay – that is why it is well known as “ Halong bay on land”. However, with its unique charms, Ninh Binh has captured traveler’s hearts when they visit this region.

Ninh Binh Boat Ride

Take a boat trip in Ninh Binh is a must when traveling to Vietnam

Top places to do a boat ride in Ninh Binh

1. Tam Coc

Tam Coc (three caves in Vietnamese) is a system of three caves formed by erosion as the Ngo Dong River flows through the mountains. It has been a famous attraction in Ninh Binh for a long time and attracted many local & international tourists. Riding a local sampan boat is a wonderful way to contemplate those three natural caves, magnificent limestone mountains & authentic farming activities along the journey.

The Tam Coc boat ride all follows the same route and takes around 2 hours, going through 3 caves and passing by some incredible landscape. The trip costs 150,000 VND ($6.50 USD) for a boat of two people and an entrance ticket of 120,000 VND ($5.20 USD) per person.

Boat trip in Tam Coc - Ninh Binh Boat ride

Boat trip in Tam Coc along Ngo Dong River

Tam Coc offers you the view of rice fields & authentic farming activities along the river banks: fish catching, rice planting, plowing with buffaloes, or harvesting rice. The scenery in this region is very unique and could change by the season. The best time to take the Tam Coc boat ride is during summertime from May to June, when the rice fields all turn to golden yellow. You could also see people harvesting rice and transferring on the boat which is a unique sight to behold.

From June to July is the perfect time to view the lush green fields along the Ngo Dong River. Do remember to bring water with you, sunscreen, and a hat as the weather can be harsh.


2. Trang An

The stunning Trang An Complex was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014. It’s known as the “Halong Bay on land”, offers so much to see with 3 different boat trip routes to choose from. Regardless of the route, your trip will delve into the heart of the beautiful scenery, leading through caves and taking you up close to limestone cliffs, isolated temples, and pagodas.

Boat trip in Trang An Complex - Boat ride in Ninh Binh

Boats in Trang An complex

There are 3 routes for you to choose from,  each route takes around 2.5 hours to 3 hours. In general, each of these will take you through many caves, where you will see many temples and palaces. The best and most anticipated one might be route number one which takes you through nine caves and three temples. During the boat trip, route number two rows to 4 caves, 3 temples, and especially the movie set of "Kong: Skull Island ''. Route number three was recently opened and added to the complex. This boat route is only limited to three caves and Kong Village, however, you will have a chance to explore the longest & most beautiful cave in Trang An ( May cave of 1000 meters long & naturally beautiful stalagmites).

Kong:Skull Island Movie Set - Ninh Binh boat Ride

Kong: Skull Island Movie Set in Trang An Complex

Though the boat trip in Trang An does not have the rice field view,  it offers the jade- blue- water river with a nice view of aquatic plants growing and living in the bed of the water, also it can get more majestic with the view of surrounding mountains. It also offers you stops in certain temples ( Trinh Temple, Duc Ong temple…) or trekking up area for a panoramic view of the region. This certainly makes your trip more interesting with natural & cultural exploration. You will get to know more about the history of Vietnam when Ninh Binh was chosen as the capital in the 10th &11th centuries.

At the site, the ticket office is clearly marked. The tickets cost 200,000VND ($8.80) per person regardless of the route and then the staff will direct you to a boat. The boats hold a maximum of 4 people. If you are a solo traveler or a couple, you might have to wait until someone else is going on the same route with you to fill up a sampan of 4 people. 


3. Van Long Nature Reserve

Van Long Nature Reserve is 19km away from Ninh Binh city along the road to Cuc Phuong National Park. With 3500 hectares, Van Long is known as the largest wetland natural reserve in Northern Vietnam, which is popular with bird watchers and home to a wide variety of feathered friends, some of them rare. Among the bird species that have been spotted here are the rare black-faced spoonbill, cotton pygmy goose, and white-browed crake.

If you are very lucky you may also catch sight of some Delacour's langurs, a critically endangered primate species, endemic to northern Vietnam. Van Long offers similar scenery to the more well-known Tam Coc, however, it tends to be less touristy and more peaceful. Additionally, its impressive nature is definitely a big draw among wildlife lovers making trips to this destination.

Van Long Nature Reserve - Ninh Binh Boat Ride

Riding a sampan boat at Van Long Nature Reserve

The boat trip at Van Long wetland is also lower than the above places as you have to pay the entrance fee which costs 20.000VND ($0.90) per person along with a boat ride of the only 60.000VND ($2.90) for 2 people.

Set off from Van Long wharf for a one hour and a half sampan boat trip through picturesque scenery. With your local rower, wind your way along the river and admire the dramatic limestone mountains towering above you.


4. Galaxy Grotto

Although it is not as famous as Trang An or Tam Coc, the beauty and mystery of Galaxy Grotto attract a large number of travelers to visit. Galaxy Grotto is a small cave in Huong Son commune, Nho Quan district, Ninh Binh province. To visit Galaxy Grotto, travelers will take a boat trip from Muong Tho Ha mountain village (Son Ha commune), rows along Ben Dang River. Then you continue to walk on a 500 meters stone path at the foot of Tuong Mountain to reach the gate of Galaxy Grotto. The grotto is divided into a dry cave of 200 meters and a water cave of 500 meters.

Galaxy Grotto - Ninh Binh Boat Ride

Inside Galaxy Grotto

With the boat, visitors will continue riding a bamboo boat on the river which is named Galaxy. The stalagmite twinkling in the sunlight and reflecting the silver-like water that looks like the stars in the dark sky, giving you the feeling of drifting slightly in the galaxy. That also offers the river and the cave the name it has today. With beautiful, magical beauty, Galaxy Grotto is one of the highlight boat rides in Ninh Binh that you should not miss.

Looking for one of the best side trips from Hanoi and wanna see the magical landscape of limestone karsts, winding waterways, and hidden temples. Visit BestPrice and join our Ninh Binh tours as we offer many fascinating, unforgettable trips which include boat rides and historical cultural exploration. 

 Minah Trinh

Image Source: Internet

Questions & Answers (1)

Ask a Question

Hello, I want to do the kayak single person tour in Trang Ann. Tomorrow morning (14 June) 300k dong right? Is it possible? Thanks and regards, Joao

@Joao Silva:

We do not sell the kayak rent in Trang An, please book direct on spot.


1 Reply