The Tam Coc boat tour is an incredible 1 and a half hour leisurely trip down the magical Tam Coc river. Here you’ll be able to view the scenery which many people refer to as “Halong Bay on land”. You’ll pass through towering limestone cliffs and under tiny caves. This is definitely a very unique way to explore the beautiful region of Tam Coc.
How to get to the Tam Coc Boat Tour
To get to Ninh Binh, we used 12Go to book a bus from Hanoi. 12Go is a super cheap and reliable way to get around Vietnam and other popular Southeast Asian countries.
↠ Book: Latest 12Go prices and timetables.
The start of the river and ticket booth are located right in the centre of Tam Coc. If you’re staying further away, you can easily access this spot by cycling or riding a scooter. You can rent a bicycle for 50,000 VND ($3 AUD) and a scooter for 100,000 VND ($6 AUD).
Where to stay
The are two main areas you can stay in when visiting Ninh Binh. You can either stay in Ninh Binh Town or Tam Coc which aren’t too far from each other. We personally preferred to stay in Tam Coc. There are plenty of accommodation options as well as restaurants. We stayed at the King Kong Hostel in Tam Coc and definitely recommend it. The owner was super lovely and made us breakfast everyday! If you’re after a nicer hotel in Tam Coc, the Tam Coc Boutique Garden has gorgeous rooms surrounded by a beautiful garden.
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The boats start running from 8am – 5pm so you can enjoy this magical experience any hour of the day. It’s best to go when the sun isn’t at its peak as it gets incredibly hot sitting in the direct sun for over an hour.
Tam Coc boat tour Entrance fee
For 2 people it costs 390,000VND ($23AUD). They price everything separately so the boat costs 150,000VND to rent then an additional 120,000VND per person.
What to expect
The Tam Coc boat tour is one of the most beautiful and relaxing things you can do in Tam Coc. Although it’s slightly expensive, it’s definitely worth the 1 hour 30 minute leisurely cruise while a local paddles you along. From the river, you’ll be able to view the towering limestone cliffs and beautiful scenery. You’ll also be able to spot the Mua Caves hike with the stone dragon on top of the mountain.
Along the way you’ll squeeze under low caves that are just high enough for you to fit so watch your head! You’ll be exposed to the sun for majority of the tour so it’s best to do this in the mornings and evenings. Many people also bring umbrellas or wear the traditional Vietnamese hats to block out the sun. It’s definitely more enjoyable in the cool weather as you can sit back and relax.
To our surprise, the locals paddle the boat using their feet as they sit back comfortably. We’ve never seen anything like this and though that it was pretty cool.
Towards the end of the river you’ll be stopped by other local boats passing by trying to sell you overpriced snacks and drinks. They can be quite forceful, insisting that you purchase something for your boat driver. At the very end of the tour, the driver will also force you to tip them. Just be prepared to be hassled and it’s completely up to you wether you want to or not.