Transport options from Ha Long Bay City to Ninh Binh directly are not very common unlike the more natural connection through Hanoi but they exist. If the cruise from Cat Ba or anywhere in Ha Long bay ends up in Ha Long City around noon there is a chance for a seamless connection. Any generous offers on behalf of tour guides for transfer to the bus station should be declined with the utmost resolve. The station is some distance away but a taxi ride would be much cheaper and faster in comparison. While in the taxi another offer is going to be shoved at you, namely a taxi ride all the way to Ninh Binh. Depending on how many people there are in the taxi it might go down to 20USD per person which seems acceptable but the fact of the matter is that the speed is going to be practically the same due to the condition of the road and a potential eye opener vis-a-vis Viet Nam culture would be missed.
The bus ride is paid for at an official wicked but money change hands further between the officials and the bus driver aids. These industriously authoritarian people will make room for you and other passengers despite the fact that it might look impossible to stuff another body inside. They also handle the luggage, the money and even post parcels. Once on the bus the Vietnamese life opens up like a novel as thick as “War and Peace” if travelled time permits. One chapter that might particularly shock the visitor involves the concept of hygiene and cleanliness. At one of the many stops along the way a father with a small child boarded this peculiar theater on wheels. After a while, as often happens with children on buses, they throw up. Part of the vomit ended up on the father’s body and other parts in the laps of the neighboring fellow travelers. In this case the winner was a person of European origin who was so well prepared for emergencies that he immediately pulled out a roll of toilet paper and started to help clearing up the mess. His girlfriend was involved too as was a Vietnamese woman on the opposite side. Meanwhile the bus driver aid managed to pull out a plastic bag and some of the stinky gunk ended up in a safe place. The Vietnamese woman after fulfilling her mopping duty threw the saturated paper towel directly on the floor of the bus between her legs!? Maybe in Vietnamese the verb “throw away” does not exist; just throw wherever. The European woman did not lose her cool, collected the crap and gently put it away into the plastic bag. Then came the bus driver aid’s turn who grabbed the bag, opened the bus door and threw it out to the Gods!?! A lesson to be remembered for life! But life is short. Here came a refreshment stop. Everybody was off the bus using the facilities of a roadside store. Some of the people bought snacks that were not packed in plastic but in some sort of leaves. They enjoyed their food for a while until they were summoned “prematurely” to the bus. Everybody was rushing in to climb up the bus stairs when suddenly some of the slower eaters who had not quite finished their snacks started throwing the leaves over through the bus door in the feet of the people on their way to step up the stairs. Incredible! No written account of this can match the real experience though. A bus ride of a life time!
- Arts and Culture
- Budget Travel
- Adventure Travel
Ride or be ridden through the villages
For 6$ (or 9$ including guide), plus price of petrol (about 2 to 3$ per day), you can motorbike around the sights of Ninh Binh. Cycling is also good for the close ones but there are a few miles to travel if you want to see most of the sights.
A motorbike will get you through the narrow lanes and between the paddy fields unlike a car and you can soak in the atmosphere so much.
- Road Trip
I asked our guide how much for 1 person on boat ( They take only 2 tourists in one boat but if you are vietnamese they will take at least 5 persons in 1 boat---dont you think tourist is heavier than vietnamese? ) she said 30,000 dong --- I didnt see the ticket by myself.
By the way,sitting on boat enroute to Tam Coc, one is enclosed by the scenic beauty of huge rocks standing along the river and scattered green rice fields, all combining to form a poetic painting of the countryside. An early morning ride only adds to this scene a thick layer of fog, making one wonder if this is indeed earth or Heaven?
Private Day Tour
25 US dollar per person with guide and a driver --- we got Ford Everest
We left the hotel 7.30am stopped on the half way for 15 minutes --- arriving Hau Lu
Having lunch --- by the way, drink was not included.
When we back to HaNoi they dropped us at the one pillar pagoda as we request.
Be rowed through Ninh Binh cliffs
Some of the sights aournd the province such as Tam Coc can only be really appreciate on a boat trip. A little touristy I agree but well worth it, honest
- Sailing and Boating
- Budget Travel