"This town exists by virtue of Tam Coc (karst mountains) and is within cycling distance. Well off we went! On somewhat rickety brig choose who just were not too small easy peasy, the highway. It is different biking, between the heavy traffic and no visible traffic, with a surface which has had its day.
However, we are already a little used to it and the bike went well, we even arrived without delay at Tam Coc. With a small boat whose rower with her feet paddled we entered the water. In the books we were already warned of far-reaching 'tourist traps' but it was still quiet so early. A little later arrived the day trips from Hanoi, then it is very busy.
The cruises was totally worth it, through the karst scenery, caves, very very nice (yes, you have to go north, don't forget it!)."
Ninh Binh - is famous for the nearby karst scenery around the village of Tam Coc. There is nothing to do in Ninh Binh itself apart from drinking beer with the locals; the city is more useful as a base for the surrounding countryside. Ninh Binh is on the way to the south, when you depart from Hanoi (97 km). It is worthwhile to spend a few days here. Regular buses from Hanoi, departing from Giap Bat bus terminal in the south of the city. The drive to Ninh Binh takes about 3 hours. Buy your ticket or in the departure hall and not on the bus. You'll probably have to pay more if you get off the bus because there are too many tickets were sold and the bus is full.
If you're travelling by train (Reunification Express), Ninh Binh is one of the stops. The train usually stops only briefly, because there are few
travellers step on or off. Also, the Reunification Express arrives late at night in Ninh Binh. Do not miss the stop and get off very fast!
Bich Dong Pagode
From a Travel Blog:
"We did not necessarily buy the souvenirs pushy saleswomen but they've still got hold of us, when we returned the bikes both front tires were empty. Fortunately there was a bicycle which in turn pumped the whole thing for a few pennies!
Right through the countryside we cycled on, it was not very sunny but very hot and super soggy, rainy season, you know.
Hoa Lu was also very nice, a few temples of kings from a far and distant past.
Then we went back, it got darker and darker, I've already put my stuff in the waterproof bag in time and yes, there began to fall pouring from the sky. We have to wet rained on our skin. However, it was not cold and the polder residents let themselves not by a 'rain shower' from hitting the field."