Should we travel to Tam Coc or Trang An? “What distinguishes the beauty of two locations?” “Which one is the most attractive and worthwhile to visit?”

These are common questions that many visitors bear in mind before visiting Ninh Binh Vietnam. Trang An and Tam Coc are both well-known locations with their own beauty that everyone should visit at least once.

Then you should definitely check this article since it will give you the answer of choosing Tam Coc boat tour or Trang An boat tour

Travelling by boat in Ninh Binh: Should we go for Tam Coc or Trang An?

Ninh Binh is a wondeful spot for admiring natural views of mountains , rivers and caves. It is regretful that you will not participate in Ninh Binh boat tours.

Going on a boat trip, there are some certain places you should not miss like: Tam Coc, Trang An, Nang valley (Thung Nang), But Cave, Van Long and Ga canal, which are considered as the most attractive spots with stunning views.

In this article, we are very pleased to share you our experiences about boat tour in Ninh Binh including both Tam Coc and Trang An boat tour.

Trang An Boat Tour Map

Highlight of Ninh Binh Boat Tour in Tam Coc and Trang An

Tam Coc and Trang An are the most beautiful spots in Ninh Binh because two places are famous for its wilderness of imposing limestone mountains along rivers and impressing caves that you can admire during the tour.

Quiet, relaxed, pleasant & beautiful are the words that we normally hear from our customers about both of these sites. It has the same view as Halong bay – that is why we call it “ Halong bay on land”.

Boat ride at trang an grottoes

To avoid crowded situation, you should visit two places in the morning (around 8:00 -10:30 am ) when most of tourists are on the way to come here or in the afternoon (3:30 – 5:00 pm), when tourists often finish their tour

You also should not visit these places on festivals ( like: Tet holiday or other holidays of Vietnamese) because there will be a very large amount of domestic tourists coming to Ninh Binh.

Hence, these two places become very crowded, busy and bustling

If you are planning to take a tour to Ninh Binh for the next 2 days, our suggestion is that you should visit both of them because of own beauty of each place

Tam coc tour from hanoi

However, if your time for the tour is limited, you should choose a tour for one day to Ninh Binh.

Your itinerary for the trip will be visiting other places in Ninh Binh like Mua Cave, Bai Dinh pagoda, Phat Diem church, Hoa Lu ancient capital and combining this with a boat tour to Tam Coc or Trang An, which option depends on you

The following is our experiences about Trang An and Tam Coc with its own outstandstanding features so that you can reach the rightest decision

A part of Tam Coc from Mua Cave Viewpoint

Going on a boat tour to Tam Coc and the reason?

Tam Coc Cave means three caves consiting of Ca, Hai, and Ba cave. That is an outstanding and well-known feature of Ninh Binh for a long time and has attracted many domestic and foreign tourists.

Read More:

Tam Coc in Harvest Rice Season

Rowing boat trip  for 1,5 hour is a good option for you to admire and do sightseeing of natural caves and imposing limestone mountains as well as cultivation actitivies along your trip.

That is the key characteristics of Tam Coc we love and would like to introduce to you for your trip to Ninh Binh

Tam Coc Boat Ride

Different from Trang An, the boat tour to Tam Coc gives you the gold opportunity to go sightseeing of golden rice fields and agricultural activities along the river like: catching fish, planting rice, buffalo ploughing and harvesting

In fact, many picturesque photos of rippen rice fields surrounded bylimetone mountains on the Internet have been taken from Tam Coc area.

To be able to admire this great view, we recommend that you should visit Tam Coc in the summer (from the end of April to June when rice is turned from green to yellow)

To have a panoramic view of the river and ripe rice fields, you can try climbing up to the top of Mua Cave nearby in the late afternoon or early morning. From the top, you can admire the whole natural and tranquil beauty of Tam Coc.

  • The entrance fees & boat fees in Tam Coc are more reasonable for private rowing boat tour. Many tourists travel in pair or alone, they would like to have their sampan privately rowed in Tam Coc with less payment than in Trang An. You only have to pay 400.000 vnd for a private boat with rower in Tam Coc, but 800.000 vnd/ private boat in Trang An
  • In term of the price & comfort, which destination would you like to select Trang An or Tam Coc ? Surely, it is Tam Coc….

However, you should also read bad comments on tripadvior website about Tam Coc about some forms of cheating to avoid during your tour

Boatmen in Tam Coc are mainly local residents living nearby. In off-peak season, theyonly have the chance to queue once or twice a month.

Crusing Boat Tour at Tam Coc

Some boatmen don’t know English  but they are friendly and hard-working, especially their ability to row is very skillful. During the boat tour, the often offer you to buy costly woven local clothes, fruits and drinks.

You should say “No” to them friendly and politely to avoid unexpected things

Rower is using his foot to control the boat ride

After the cruise to Tam Coc, we strongly advise you to give some tips to the boatman from 1 -2 USD as your gratitude to them because anyway, they work hard and partially help you have a safe and wonderful trip and more importantly, they would feel happy and pleasant about that

Golden Rice at Tam Coc

One more thing is about taking phtographs. During your cruise, there will be some local people who offer you to take photographs.

If you are intersted in this, you can ask them to choose a great view for excellent photos, but please remember to negotiate the price and photographs.

Otherwise if you are not interested, you just need to skip it or refuse them politely

>>> Check out more detailed for a memorable Deluxe & Small Group Hoa Lu Tam Coc Mua Cave Tour Including Tam Coc Boat Trip!


A-man-is-rowing-boat-ride-at-tam-coc - Hanoi Explore Travel
A man is rowing boat ride at tam coc – Hanoi Explore Travel

Trang An and why is it worth being visited?

Trang An Grottoes was recognized as natural and cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2014 and due to this, it has attracted more and more visitors.

In Trang An, there are no rice fields and cultivation activities; however, we love Trang An because of the following reasons:

Light cave at trang an grottoes

Trang An Boat tour takes you more time than Tam Coc one, which is around 2 – 2,5 hours in particular. This cruise takes you along limestone mountains without repetition of visiting same places during the tour like Tam Coc boat trip (on the way in an out of).

In fact, for Trang An boat tour, the boatmen take you to explore 9 – 10 caves like a circle, then take you back to the main port.

>>> Read more: Trang An Boat Tour – A Spectacular Boat Ride in Ninh Binh

Trang An Eco Tourist complex

Boat tour offers you the chance to do sightseeing of many mysterious caves with different sizes. You will see the mixture of many kinds of caves like: long and short caves, dark and light caves with a lot of impressing and suprising things

Rowing Tam Coc Boat Tours on Ngo Dong River

Besides, different from Tam Coc, rowing a boat in Trang An also gives you the opportunity to visit some pagodas like Trinh and Duc Ong pagoda, etc or to walk and admire the views nearby, which surely makes your trip more interesting.

The river of Trang An is always very clean and so clear that you can see acquatic animals living at the river bed

trang an boat trip

The service here is very particularly professional because Trang An is run by a private company in which all boatmen work for that company and are annually paid. They have to comply to rules and regulations of the company to serve customers well and work hard to meet customers’satisfaction; therefore, most tourists are very pleased and  give them some tips.

Visiting Trang An, you will always feel very happy because of the service and until now they have not received any complaints from travellers.

>>> Do you like to get A Deluxe & Small Group Hoa Lu Trang An Mua Cave Tour – Explore Highlights of Trang An Boat Ride


Trang An or Tam Coc: Which is suitable for you?

As each place in Ninh Binh has its own charm and unique features, Tam Coc or Trang An are also beautiful in their own ways. Visitors can select a suitable and fulfilling tour for themselves based on their personal conditions and requirements.

Places to visit

  • In Trang An, there appears to be quite a distance among attractions since Trang An is well-known as the combination of spiritual sites with stunning natural scenery and natural caverns that entice visitors to stay and learn more. The restored Vietnamese Ancient Village and other check-in locations that appeal to young people might be noted among many attractive attractions here. Additionally, you might choose Trang An as your travel destination if you want to go kayaking.
  • In Tam Coc, visitors mainly take a boat tour to explore the caves. (3 Caves)

Length of visit

  • Tam Coc is a good option if you don’t have much time because the boat tour in Tam Coc is shorter (only 1.5 to 2 hours) than in Trang An (from 2 to 3 hours). Then you can take advantage of the remaining time to visit some other locations nearby, including Bich Dong Pagoda – a well-known ancient temple dating back thousands of years or Thung Nham Bird Park – home to more than 500 species of birds, storks, cauldrons that are listed in the Red Book of Vietnam.

Time to visit

  • Early summer is the best time for tourists to go sightseeing. For those who love the green hue, want to take in the scenery and snap many beautiful pictures, let’s choose Trang An. Or if you love the yellow color of ripe rice fields, you can choose Tam Coc as a stopover.

Ticket price

  • Ticket price in Tam Coc is much cheaper than in Trang An.

Let’s visit our website for different types of cruises available for every budget, from Backpackers to Deluxe – SMALL GROUP TOUR . Check out for the best deals on Ninh Binh’s Full-Day Tour.


Suggestions for a combining tour of Trang An and Tam Coc

The Hanoi Explore Travel Team recommends a 2-Day Trip that combines the visit to Tam Coc and Trang An.
If you don’t have enough time to complete this 2-Day Itinerary Ninh Binh, pick one of the two locations and a suitable itinerary to explore Ninh Binh in one day.

>>> Contact us to get the Best Deal for Ninh Binh 2 Days 1 Night Tour <<<

Day 1: Hanoi – Hoa Lu Ancient Capital – Mua Cave – Tam Coc

  • 8:00: Car pick-up at your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter or the meeting point. Then depart for Ninh Binh.
  • 10:30: Arrive in Ninh Binh. You can visit Hoa Lu ancient capital – the first capital of Vietnam, the temple of King Dinh and King Le.
  • 11:30: Go to Mua Cave, climb more than 500 stone steps to reach the summit of Mua Cave and have a great chance to get a beautiful view of a part of Tam Coc and a surrounding countryside landscape
  • 12:30: Have lunch and take a rest at a local restaurant.
  • 14h00: Take on a boat tour in Tam Coc to visit 3 caves and Thai Vi temple. After a 2-hour boat ride, you return to Tam Coc wharf.
  • 17h00: Car drives you to the hotel for check-in and rest.
  • 18:30: Have dinner. Take your evening time freely. Stay overnight in Ninh Binh.

Day 2: Bai Dinh Pagoda – Trang An – Hanoi

  • In the morning: Have breakfast and rest.
  • 09.20: Check out the hotel. Then get in the car to visit Bai Dinh Pagoda, the pagoda with the most records in Vietnam.
  • 12:30: Return to the restaurant for lunch and a short break.
  • 13h30: Car takes you to Trang An wharf to take a boat tour to Trang An eco-tourism area.
  • 17h30: Get on the car back to Hanoi.
  • 19h30: Drop at your hotel around Hanoi Old Quarter area. Finish the trip.

>> Book Now Bai Dinh Trang An Full Day – Limousine Bus All Included with most Famous Historic & Sightseeing Placesbook-now

All in all, we hope our guidelines will help you pick the right boat that suits your needs!

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