People in boats rowing on the water in Dalat, Vietnam.
Asia,  Destinations,  Travel Diary,  Vietnam

Going on a Ninh Binh day tour

I booked a day tour through my hostel, one of those “see all the main sites” sorta things. These kind of tours can be hit-or-miss, but generally the SMALLER the tour group, the better the tour. This one only had about 10 people, including the tour guide, which was great as it meant we could (presumably) avoid the crowds.

Unfortunately, we ran into some weather problems, which put us behind schedule– which meant that we had to move quickly through some of the stops after all. Ugh!

Overall, I thought it was a good introduction to the area, but I do wish we could’ve spent more time in some places. Also that we got more info about some of the later stops, like Mua Cave. Our tour guide did great explaining the Pagoda’s history, but it kinda dropped off at the end of the day.

Ninh Binh day tour itinerary

Here’s what the tour covered:

Bai Dinh Pagoda

Click to enlarge photos!

We stopped at several places within the complex, and our tour guide did a fairly comprehensive explanation of the area and its history. It wasn’t crowded at all when we went, probably because the weather was overcast and rainy. We didn’t have time to climb the tower, unfortunately, but apparently it has great views.

Our tour ticket also included transport on the passenger shuttles; if you’re going on your own and want to cover more ground, I highly recommend getting a ticket for the shuttles because the complex is HUGE.

Lunch at Trang An Bungalow

We had a buffet style lunch with probably every other tour group running that day. Honestly, the food wasn’t very good, and checking the reviews online it seems like that’s a consistent complaint. This was luckily covered by the tour ticket because I would not have been happy paying for it separately.

Boat ride at Di sản Tràng An

This was quite fun, though the drizzly rain weather made it difficult to see the beauty of the place. Our rowboat went through a couple caves and around some interesting structures in the lake. It was a short ride, but we went around twice so I suppose it was worth the cost. Our entrance ticket was covered by the tour price as well.

Mua Cave

Ending a full day of touring by climbing nearly 500 steps up to a crowded viewpoint is not my idea of fun, BUT it was a beautiful view and probably worth it. Getting down was a bit harder because the steps are quite steep (and narrow), with few handrails, and it was raining/wet so slipping was a worry.

Highlight of the day was making friends with the other backpackers on the tour!


Asia 2023 Travel Diaries

Journal date: November 12, 2023

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Other day tours I went on in Vietnam:

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. Read more...

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