Located on the Red River Delta, Ninh Binh isolates the North and the Central Vietnam by Tam Diep Mountain Range. It is encompassed by Hoa Binh, Ha Nam areas on the north, Nam Dinh Province on the east and Thanh Hoa on the west and the south. The enchanted Ninh Binh is also known as “Ha Long Bay on Land".
The dazzling scenes are appropriate out of a motion picture set (no big surprise the latest King Kong movie was taped here), with the steady setting of enchanting waterways, encompassed by karst limestone precipices and verdant rice fields, stunning limestone outcrops. It is likewise the hopping off point for sights and attractions including Tam Coc and Bich Dong, Hoa Lu, Phat Diem Cathedral, Trang An, Van Long and Cuc Phuong National Park. It is a site not to be missed.
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The closest attraction to Ninh Binh is Tam Coc, a network of three beautiful caves carved by the local river as it winds through the karsts. Surrounded by paddy fields and dwarfed by the karsts towering above, a row down this river is a serene, peaceful experience that allows you to take in the natural beauty of the area at a gentle pace.
There are almost 2,000 low income families in the area who take turns to row boats up the river, spending the rest of their time working in the paddy fields. Obviously this means their chance to row may only come up once every week or two, and since the cost of a river trip is just a couple of dollars most try to top up their row-boat income by selling handicrafts, embroidery and T-shirts on the boats.
If you would prefer to relax and take in the scenery rather than spend your boat ride haggling consider offering a generous tip or making a token purchase - the boat ride is already fantastic value and people living in the area depend on the additional income from tourists.