What to do in Trang An?
About Trang An scenic landscape complex
With an area of over 2,000 hectares, Trang An area is made up of limestone ridges, mysterious caves, valleys, rivers, and dozens of historical sites.
Among Trang An scenic landscape complex, you can find Hoa Lu ancient capital in the north, Trang An eco-tourism site is in the center, and Tam Coc – Bich Dong in the south.
These three areas are linked together by forests on limestone mountains and systems of rivers, lakes, and swamps.
This article explores Trang An eco-tourism area (Trang An boat tour).
Best places to stay in Ninh Binh
Although you can experience Trang An boat trip in one day, I strongly recommend staying in Ninh Binh for at least one night to visit other attractions such as Mua Cave, Hoa Lu, Tam Coc – Bich Dong, and Bai Dinh Pagoda.
I stayed at Trang An Retreat and loved it. The resort is located in a quiet area, and it’s close to Trang An and Mua Cave. The staff is friendly and accommodating, and the room is spacious.
There’s an outdoor swimming pool at the resort, so you can dip in after a long day exploring the area.
Trang An tour from Hanoi
If you only have one day allocated for Ninh Binh, you should take Trang An day tour from Hanoi.
You’ll first visit Bai Dinh temple, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then get on Trang An boat tour around 1:30 pm.
The tour includes pickup and drop-off service at your hotel in Hanoi, so it’s convenient if you only have a day to spend in the area.
Best time to visit Trang An
Although you can visit Trang An any time of the year, you should avoid the rainy season in Vietnam (July-August), so it won’t interfere with your plan.
The best time to visit Trang An Ninh Binh is February to June.
From February to March, the paddy field is lush green, and then the tone gradually changes to a bright yellow towards the harvest time from the end of May to the beginning of June.
Note: The site can be crowded during Lunar New Year (Tet holiday).
How to get to Trang An Ninh Binh
Getting from Hanoi to Ninh Binh
Taking a bus is the easiest way to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh.
Frequent buses depart from Hanoi, and the journey takes approximately 3 hours, depending on your drop-off location.
You can book your bus ticket online easily here.
Vietnam Railways offers daily trains from Hanoi, and you can select a hard seat, soft seat, or berth depending on your budget.
SE7 (departing at 6 am) and SE5 (leaving at 9 am) are great choices if you’d like to start your day early and have more time exploring Ninh Binh.
Getting from Ninh Binh to Trang An
Trang An is about 7km from the center of Ninh Binh city (about 7km from the bus station and 8km from the train station), so you can rent a motorbike or book a taxi or Grab car to get to Trang An.
If you’re going by a private limousine/ van, you can ask the provider to drop you off at Trang An boat center.
Trang An boat trip ticket
Currently, the entrance ticket to visit Trang An tourist area (including a boat trip ticket) is:
- Adults: VND 200,000 per person (4 people per boat, excluding the boat lady)
- Children (under 1m high): 100,000 VND per child
- Tour guide: VND 300,000 per tour
All procedures for buying tickets will be guided in detail at the ticket counter and consulted at Trang An wharf.
What to do in Trang An in one day
Trang An boat ride routes
Currently, Trang An Landscape Complex offers three main boat routes that visitors can choose.
a) Route 1: Trinh Temple – Tran Temple – Phu Khong
Duration: 3 hours
This sightseeing tour takes visitors through 9 caves and three spiritual points to explore nature and learn about the history of the Dinh dynasty through the relics and legends.
b) Route 2: Thanh Cao Son temple – Hanh Cung Vu Lam – Kong Skull Island Film location
Duration: 3 hours
This tour takes visitors through 4 magnificent caves and three spiritual points to learn about the history of the Tran dynasty at the Hanh Cung Vu Lam Palace.
Then you’ll get to see the filming location of Kong: Skull Island.
c) Route 3: Dot Cave – Suoi Tien temple – Kong Skull Island film location
Duration: 3 hours
The tour takes visitors through 3 spiritual points and three caves. You’ll be amazed at the stalactite system of Dot cave and the scenery of Ninh Binh.
Trang An boat ride review
“This place looks unreal!”
It was what I thought on my first Trang An boat tour. I visited Trang An a few times already and am still blown away every time I visit.
From Trang An wharf, we entered the reserved area with impressive limestone and a unique eco-system.
The boat lady first took us to the temple in Trang An and let us wander around for about 15 minutes.
Before checking out the new one, I first wandered to the old temple area.
The old temple looked quite simple but retained its historical value, while the newer one had different rooms worshipping gods and kings.
Note: I brought a light coat with me on this trip so I could enter the temple. I suggest you do the same if you wear a skirt or sleeveless shirt.
Cave was one of the outstanding attractions of this tour ride. The boat lady took us to explore some caves, and it was amazing to see the structure.
Sometimes, the cave entrance was really low, so we had to avoid hitting our heads.
Getting out of the cave, the breathtaking view was revealed in front of us.
Skull Island village
Kong: Skull Island is an American blockbuster film filmed in 2016 in several locations in Vietnam, such as Trang An, Van Long Nature Reserve, Tam Coc – Bich Dong, Halong Bay, and Phong Nha Ke Bang.
The aboriginal village film studio was restored in an area of about 10 hectares, including spire huts with the participation of aboriginal people.
Tips: Selecting route two or route 3 of the boat tour, you’ll get a chance to visit this filming location.
I enjoy walking around the village and seeing the huts and animals. The surrounding area was peaceful and charming. We got about 20 minutes to explore the whole area.
What to pack for Trang An
Below is the list of items that you should bring and wear
- Clothing: You should wear comfortable clothes and prepare a thin jacket if you’d like to visit the temples.
- Shoes: Instead of wearing high heels, a pair of sports shoes or flat shoes will help you comfortable walking.
- Hat and umbrella to protect from the sun or rain.
- Water and snacks for a 3-hour boat ride
What to eat in Trang An Ninh Binh
Besides the beautiful scenery, Ninh Binh also has delicious dishes for visitors to enjoy and explore.
The most famous dish of Ninh Binh is scorched rice cooked from glutinous rice. The rice is left to dry for two or three suns before being fried.
Scorched rice is often served with goat meat or fried sauteed onions. This dish is popular, and you can find it in a package, so it’s convenient to buy as a gift.
Goat dishes are also popular in Ninh Binh. Households raise goats all year in the mountains by forest leaves, so goat meat is crunchy, low in fat, sweet, and nutritious.
Note: The Skull Island village has been unavailable to tourists since October 2019.