Duden Waterfall, Antalya, Turkiye.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Antalya, Turkiye.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Paris, France on May 1st.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

There's a reason it's busy here

There's not much to see in the actual town of Ninh Binh itself. But that's what people use as the transportation hub. Most of the hotels and restaurants are in the popular area at the town of Tam Coc, about 6 kms (3.7 miles) away.

And the reason Tam Coc is popular is because of the scenic geography with small rives flowing through three cave systems. The big attraction is a boat trip through the caves, although we are saving that for Monday when it will be less busy.

And it really is scenic. Unfortunately we didn't have blue sky weather to show off the best of it in photos, but we still had a good day. There's a lot of walking and exploring to be done, and they rent bicycles and scooters for those less inclined to walk.

We walked 4 kms before lunch, and another 8 kms after lunch. My phone says we put on 22,000 steps.

There are rice fields on the flat areas.

Lots of people out taking boat trips.

And lots of people trying to sell you things as your boat passes by.

Unfortunately the boats at the Tam Coc departure point don't have a good reputation. The vendors and even the boat operator can get quite aggressive with demanding that you buy something or give them a tip. There is another departure point 5 kms away at Tang An where reviews say it's a better experience. 

The boat tours are definitely a popular activity.

But there's also lots of exploring to be done on foot. We like to walk, and we needed some exercise, and walking is free. In the morning, we did a loop with a scenic viewpoint along the way. 

Ruth, exploring a little cave.

The viewpoint was a little difficult to get to!

Looking back the way we came.

Ruth at the viewpoint.

We sat and watched the boats go by for a while.

Of course there are temples built into some of the caves.

With the ever present dragons.

Boat drivers waiting for their turn to go next.

The host at our hotel says that his mother is a tour boat operator and she has been taking people through the caves since 1972.

The departure point for the Tam Coc boat tours.

We went into town to have some lunch. Just a bowl of pho... it was nothing special. Ruth ordered the weirdest "lemonade" we have ever seen. It was advertised as lemonade, and looked like lemonade, but it arrived warm! And there was no sweetener in it at all. She couldn't drink it and had to ask for some sugar for it. Very strange.

After lunch we decided to walk to Mua Cave. The main attraction there is the lookoff where there are 500 steps to get to the top. 

We passed this party bus with a bar on the roof.
Yes, we are in a tourist area.

Scenery along the way.

As we approached the area with the 500 steps we started seeing these fancy dresses for rent.

Apparently it's a popular thing with the locals to get dressed up in costume, then climb the 500 steps and take your photo at the top. I'm sure most of them end up on Instagram! You can rent the full costume, and they even do your makeup so you look your absolute best. No, we didn't ask the cost.

But it does cost to get into the Mua Cave complex. It's very touristy and very busy, especially on a weekend, and we were there on Saturday. 100,000 dong ($4.10 USD, $5.50 CAD) per person.

Lots of people around.

Waterfall in the distance.

It's a pretty spot.

Scenery along the way.

Ruth with some odd figures.

We set off climbing the steps.

We feel like we're a bit out of shape and haven't done that much in the way of strenuous activity lately, but when we compared ourselves to many others climbing the 500 steps, I guess we are okay. I was surprised by the number of younger people who seemed to be struggling. Of course there were also some younger people who had no problem at all!

There are two viewpoints and this is taken from the first one.

There were quite a few locals dressed in the fancy rental costumes.
This girl was quite happy to pose for me.

The view from the first lookoff.

Looking over towards the second lookoff.

They made a fancy walkway through the rice fields.

There is a concrete dragon on top of the second lookoff.

View from the second lookoff.

Looking back at the first lookoff.

Can you imagine how beautiful this would be with a clear blue sky?

It was too busy at the top of the second lookoff, and the dragon part was difficult and narrow. I'm sure they must have accidents up there, especially with people who don't have proper footwear. We even saw women in dresses trying to climb it. Craziness. Ruth gave up and turned back, but I continued up.

View from the dragon.

This gives you a better idea of how narrow it was where the dragon is.

Back at the bottom, the actual Mua Cave was quite unspectacular.

Little waterfall.

Looking back at where we had been.

Big goldfish!

Our train doesn't leave until late Monday afternoon, so we're going to wait and do the boat trip Monday morning when there should be less people around. We have to rent bicycles to get up there, so we'll save that until then as well. Today we will be out walking again.

Record low deal on this Insignia 58" 4K Television.

And in Canada...


  1. Beautiful !!! And jackets with long pants!

    1. The scenery here is gorgeous! Yes, there was a cold spell that went through this area for a couple of days but we found the temperature to be just about perfect for hiking..

  2. Wow! That is really a climb with some great views. Too many people, though!

    1. The views from up top were fantastic and well worth the climb. My only issue with the climb up is that a lot of the steps were rather high, I wouldn't have wanted to be someone with short legs.

      Yes, too many people but it was a Saturday, I am sure if we had done this on a week day there wouldn't have been so many people.


There are more comments on our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TravelwithKevinAndRuth

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.