Ninh Binh in Northern Vietnam has become more famous over the years. This is partly because of the enormous limestone cliffs, caves, and rivers in Trang An. Giving this area the nickname ‘Ha Long Bay on Land’. In Trang An, you will find these huge limestone karsts rising high above on both sides of the rivers throughout the area. This makes for a dramatic landscape, creating an unforgettable experience for your visit. One of the most popular things to do in Trang An is a boat ride. And who would not want to take a boat ride in a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site?
Ha Long Bay on Land
When you arrive in Trang An you will be amazed by the dozens of boats anchoring in lines, waiting for tourists to start their journey on the rivers. During your boat ride, you are able to visit several caves, as well as some stunning temples and pagodas.
Skull Island: King Kong Movie
Another thing that has made Trang An in Ninh Binh even more famous amongst tourists is Skull Island. This was once the location used to film the King Kong movie. Luckily for you, you are able to visit this cool island during your boat trip. Some of the props from the movie have been recreated, making it as if you were on the film set. You will be guided through the island by a stone path surrounded by about 40 huts. You might see some of the locals dressing up as the aborigines from the movie.
Boat rides in Trang An
When you are going for a trip on the rivers in Trang An you have to choose your preferred boat ride. There are 3 types of boat rides to choose from, each with a different combination of caves and temples. That way you are able to tailor your trip to your liking.
The 3 boat rides in Trang An are as follows:
Route 1: Trinh Temple – Tran Temple – Phu Khong
This boat ride takes about 3 hours, and you will be taken through 9 caves and three spiritual points. Thereby exploring nature and learning about the history of the Dinh dynasty through their legends and relics.
Route 2: Thanh Cao Son temple – Hanh Cung Vu Lam – Kong Skull Island Film location
This is also a 3-hour boat ride in Trang An. You will visit 4 caves, as well as 3 spiritual sites. Here you are able to learn about the Tran dynasty at the Hanh Cung Vu Lam Palace. And lastly, you will be visiting the cool Skull Island.
Route 3: Dot Cave – Suoi Tien temple – Kong Skull Island film location
This boat ride takes about 3 hours. During these hours you are taken through 3 caves, 3 caves, as well as the famous King Kong film set: Skull Island.
No matter which one of the routes you end up doing, you will be amazed by the breathtaking scenery of Trang An in Ninh Been. We would recommend you visit Skull Island, as it is a quite special experience walking through the film set.
Everything you need to know for a visit to Trang An
When visiting new places there are also a handful of things that are good to be aware of. Therefore, we have gathered everything you need to know for a visit to Trang An. We hope that you find it useful for your visit.
Getting to Trang An in Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh is located about 2 hours south of Hanoi. The easiest way of getting to Ninh Binh is either by bus or train. The train is absolutely more comfortable, but it might be a bit pricey – but worth it if you ask us. The bus on the other hand is cheaper. Keep in mind though, that the trip by bus is longer and you might get shaken around because of some poor roads on the way.
When you get to the stations in Ninh Binh you need to find your way to Trang An. The address to the boat rides is Số 6 Tràng An, Đông Thành, Hoa Lư, Ninh Bình, Vietnam. Trang An is about 7 kilometers from the bus station and 8 kilometers from the train station. You can either hire a taxi or rent a motorbike to get to Trang An. We would recommend you rent a motorbike. It should cost you around 150.000 VND per day. With a motorbike, you will have more freedom to do as you wish, than you will have in a hired car or taxi.
Trang An is open to the public every day from 7:00 to 16:00.
The entrance fee to Trang An in Ninh Binh is 200.000 VND for adults, whereas the price is 100.000 VND for children under 1 meter high. You must also pay 300.000 VND for your tour guide. This price is only per boat. The boat seats a maximum of 4 people, and they try to fill them up. Therefore, you might end up riding with strangers. If you do so, the price for the tour guide can be split between you guys.
Time spent at Trang An in Ninh Binh
When you are going on a boat trip in Trang An you should set aside at least half a day. We ended up during a day trip from Hanoi, which was a perfect way to visit this amazing place.
There is no definitive dress code in Trang An. However, you should keep in mind that your shoulders and knees must be covered for you to visit the sacred sites, such as the temples, along the routes. If these are not covered you are denied entrance, which would be a shame, as the sites are quite stunning.
Best time to Trang An in Ninh Binh
The best time to visit Trang An in Ninh Binh is as early as possible. That way you may be able to skip some of the bigger crowds. The area tends to be quite busy during the holidays, festivals, and vacations. Therefore, it is always a good idea to check up on these kinds of things. The most ideal time to visit this breathtaking area is on a weekday in the dry season of Vietnam.