Asia,  Destinations,  Trains, Planes & Rideshares,  Travel Diary,  Vietnam

From Hanoi to Tam Coc (Ninh Binh) by minivan

Previously: 4 Days on the Ha Giang Loop

Journal date: November 11, 2023

I booked transport from my hostel in Hanoi to my new hostel in Tam Coc, a town right next to Ninh Binh, a popular backpacker’s destination. My Hanoi hostel booked it for me for 350,000 dong / $14.25 USD.

Generally, I find it easier to just book transport through my hotel/hostel, as it doesn’t cost much more than booking a bus online myself. Bonus: they often include direct pickup— and sometimes drop off— so I don’t have to pay for a Grab to/from the bus station. Score!

The minivan to Tam Coc was a very comfortable ride, with cushy seats and air conditioning. Every passenger was a backpacker! That’s typical for these types of tickets; it’s not a local bus so you do end up paying a bit more for the direct route.

We had a bathroom break at a store halfway through the 2 hour trip and I saw some very nice silk scarves and outfits— very tempted to buy but I really didn’t think I could squeeze anything new into my 27l backpack.

My Tam Coc hostel was Tam Coc Central Bungalow, where I got a bed for $7 USD/night. It’s a nice hostel with a pool, a restaurant, tour desk, and large-ish outdoor common area. Plus free breakfast! And since it’s located down a side street, it’s not too noisy at night from traffic (not that Tam Coc seems all that busy anyway).

I was craving pizza (as always) so I walked into town and had an early dinner at Little Italy Pizza. Excellent pizza and I recommend stopping by if you want Western-style food.

Tam Coc is a pretty cute town, though very touristy. I never made it over into Ninh Binh proper so I can’t do a comparison— if you’ve been, let me know!

Next: Ninh Binh Day Tour

Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal.

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