Tam Coc (Ninh Binh) is when translated, means ‘three grottoes. That means that the place is named after the three renowned caves that exist in this epic place to visit in Vietnam. You can do the Tam Coc boat ride through the three Tam Coc caves that are on the Ngo Dong river, which is situated in the heart of North-Central Vietnam in the province of Ning Binh. The boat ride in Tam Coc is one of the coolest things to do in Ninh Binh. The locals actually row with there feet. This amazing thing to do in Tam Coc is not far from Bich Dong Poda which is really cool. You should check out the Tam Coc travel guide to get an understanding on what to do in Tam Coc
Being rich in culture and history, Tam Coc has a large portion of their economy supported by tourism. It annually attracts a large influx of domestic and international tourists from all over the world to witness the wonders held within the Tam Coc valley. This really is a sweet place to visit. The area has developed significantly to cater to a large number of tourists and make the visit worthy for them.
What’s in this blog post?
- The boat tour in Ninh Binh price
- Things to see on the Ninh Binh boat ride
- Where to stay in Tam Coc (Ninh Binh)
The Tam Coc Boat tour price:
An average boat ride tour of Tam Coc cost is $7 (150,000 VND) per boat that accommodates two people. Upon that, you also pay for the person, so the total amounts to $15 (390,000 VND). The tour includes all the stopovers and experiences of the place. For children, the ticket cost is around 2.5$ (60,000 VND).
Bargaining for cheaper costs with the guides is essential; however, it is also appreciated you tip the locals and contribute to their economy as well. A large portion of the locals earn through the travelers in the area, and a generous tip is valued by them. The tour of the valley is a gratifying experience and easy on the pocket if you spend smartly.
- The Tam Coc Boat ticket Fee: 150,000 VND per boat (It is 2 persons per boat)
- Adults: 150,000 VND per person
- Children: 60,000 VND per person
- Tam Coc boat tour time on the river: 2 hours
- Opening hours of the boat tour in Tam Coc: 8 am – 6 pm
The boat ride in Tam Coc experience
Tam Coc is busy with tourists, especially during the summer season. The large arrival of tourists in recent years means the local boatmen must row boats for longer, to serve all the travelers.
The local Tam Coc boat tour have developed the ability to row using their feet, over time. This is to avoid their arms from getting tired and is also an impressive sight to see. They have mastered the art of rowing with their feet, that allows them to not only be faster at rowing but also run longer shifts. These boatmen have their arms free to do other activities like eating or drinking. This technique has caught on with most of the locals and is a popular attraction to witness in the Ninh Binh province.
These boat rides are a calming experience. They provide the best way you can enjoy the exotic view. You and your partner can enjoy a two-person, eventful boat ride that brings you up close and personal to the locals and flora and fauna of the beautiful place. The boat tour is on the traditional Vietnamese Sampans, that includes a 1.5 to 2-hour ride that takes you across all three caves. When traveling with your family, it is also good to know that these boat tours are child-friendly!
Things you will see on the boat tour
#1 The three caves
Tam Coc has Three caves, Hang Ba, Hang Ca and Hang Hai. These old caves are captivating for every traveler. The limestone mountains surrounding the area are great to observe. Half-way through the boat tour, you will also experience the Mua cave from a certain angle. A good torch will come in handy when visiting these caves. There are carvings on the roofs of the cave that are interesting to explore. The limestone caves have these unique formations. You will get some epic Instagram photos here.
#2 The scenic beauty of Ninh Binh
The clear blue sky, reflecting upon the crystal-like Ngo Dong river is a scene out of a movie. The surreal scenic views of the three caves are a mesmerising sight. The river itself is surrounded by a lush green landscape, which is a relaxing and enchanting sight to see. You can keep your eyes open to see goats on the mountain tops and stunning blue Kingfishers in the skies. It is also said that if you are lucky enough, you might also witness pigs swimming in the water! They do say that nature is food for the soul and this metaphor seems fitting for the unrealistic beauty of Tam Coc.
#3 Tam Coc rice fields
The Tam Coc rice fields provides an epic view of the golden grains at the time of harvest. The rice fields in Tam Coc are one of the popular tourist attractions. On the boat ride tour in Tam Coc, you will get to see these stunning rice fields
#4 The floating markets and nearby temples
The locals will have different vendors rowing boats and sailing goods to you, all on their boats. It is surreal to see a floating market around you. Also, the Tam Coc valley is home to old temples that are nice to explore as well. This is another top thing to see in Ninh Binh on the the Tam Coc boat tour.
#5 Meet the locals
Apart from rowing boats with their feet, Tam Coc will make you come across the wonderful Vietnamese people. That includes many women trying to sell you their hand-crafted embroidered goods. That includes beautifully fashioned handbags and table cloths. The local guides are friendly and work hard to give the traveler the best experience they can get!
How to get to the Tam Coc boat tour and what to prepare for?
When the sun is out, and the average route to the river is quite long, hence remember to be well equipped with water and sun hats. The extensive boat tours can be time-consuming, and UV protection is essential for a traveler spending all that time under the scorching sun. Remember to bring along your sunblock as well and keep yourself hydrated during the journey.
The local vendors will try to sell overpriced water and food while you travel, if you want to avoid extra costs, you can prepare by taking your beverages for the travel. Haggling is a common thing for vendors to do with newer travelers, so don’t be too intimidated.
Transport to Ngo Dong River
If you already staying in Tam Coc, going to Ngo Dong River is a matter of a few minutes. However, if you travel from another city in Vietnam, there are many different mediums of transport to the Ngo Dong River. These two options are recommended.
Travelers have an option of taking the local train, from Ha Noi, take a train at Hanoi Station to Tam Coc. or The shuttle- bus service that gets a passenger to the boat ride at an average of 5 hours. However, buses will leave your in central Ninh Binh city, from where a taxi service will be needed to reach to the boating area. The bus service cost around 6$-8$ (150,000 VND)
Where to stay in Tam Coc (Ninh Binh)
- In Tam Coc we stayed at the amazing Cozy Son Hotel in Ninh Binh – The Vietnamese authentic, cute and amazing staffed homestay situated just an easy 10 minute walk from the central area of Tam Coc. Which in my eyes is perfect for anyone looking to visit Tam Coc. Let’s look at the reasons why.
- As I mentioned at the start of this post, one of the lovely accommodation staff picked us up at 4am. From that moment on the service just kept getting better.
- They had a room prepared for us at the crazy early time of 4am, where every other accommodation had made us wait till 2pm. The joy of getting into a bed after no sleep on that wild coach. Furthermore, the rooms decor and air conditioning was amazing and we couldn’t believe it was just $11 a night for 2 people including breakfast.
- This leads me on to the breakfast, which is by far the best we have had. We got pancakes, omelette, tasty French baguette, tea and a smoothie. All this included in the price. We also dined here for our evening meal as there was a good variety of food on the menu and also at a very low cost. We didn’t regret our decision, the food was great.
- In addition to the already sublime service we had got, the rooms was very quite so you couldn’t hear a peep at night and the bed was mega comfy. Compared to some of the previous ironing-board mattresses we have slept on. Furthermore, the location is perfect with just a 5/10 minute walk to the centre and a 15 minute walk to the must see Bich Dong Pagoda. The homestay also provides; Scooter rental: (150,000 a day) Bicycle rental: (50,000 a day) and laundry service.
Book a room: The Cozy Son Hotel in Ninh Binh
Other great places to stay in Ninh Binh
- Book Room: Trang An Valley Bungalow
- Book Room: Lam Garden
- Book Room: Trang An Central Homestay
- Book Room: Tam Coc Golden Rice
Other things to do in Ninh Binh
Over the past years, the surrounding area of Ngo Dong river has developed into various attractions for travelers to visit during their stopovers. Apart from the boat tour in Tam Coc, you can visit the local Vietnamese Cafes and food stalls that cater to the best the Vietnamese cuisine has to offer. There are shopping markets and malls around the river vicinity as well that a tourist can explore and take souvenirs from.
Tam Coc also offers bicycle rides that help you explore the valley even more. The bike rides lead you to the smaller temples and caves that you can discover. Ninh Binh is also known for the Mua peak, the Thai Vi temple or the Bich Dong Pagoda, which is a tour of the ancient monk temples.