Far too few travellers make it to Ninh Binh, a mesmerizing area known locally as ‘Ha Long Bay on Land’ thanks to its magical riverine landscape, with sheer limestone mountains rising up from the paddies. The best way to get a sense of this UNESCO-protected site is by taking a paddleboat tour along its shimmering rivers, and climbing to the top of its fabled peaks.
The temperatures in Ninh Binh are ideal from March to May and September to November. For the finest views, go during harvest season in October. If you visit in the hotter months from July to August, be prepared for random downpours and stormy moments.
Regular buses depart to Ninh Binh from Hanoi every day. You can book a luxury van which includes transfer to Tam Coc, where plenty of charming accommodation options await. Private cars make the journey even quicker. For those with more time, several trains leave for Ninh Binh from Hanoi daily. The best way to get around Ninh Binh is by motorcycle tour or taxi. Cycling is a great option for visitors staying in Tam Coc.