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Boat Holidays in Vietnam

Find the right boat holiday for you in Vietnam. There are 52 boating trips to choose from, that range from one day in length, up to 23 days. The month with the most departures is October, making it the most popular time to visit Vietnam.

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52 boat holiday packages in vietnam with 2,202 positive reviews.

Vietnam Intro 9 Day Tour

  • In-depth Cultural

Vietnam Intro 9 Day

Amazing trip, great guides Anna and Sander. Definitely want to go on another Intro trip ????

Best of Vietnam from Saigon to Hanoi 7 Days - Super Save Tour

  • Christmas & New Year

Best of Vietnam from Saigon to Hanoi 7 Days - Super Save

March 16 - March 21, 2024. Danny was great at coordinating my tour. I had flight delays and Danny was able to work through them. One of them was to ensure I could enter and register at the intended hotel as my flight was delayed and arrived close to midnight. Pickup at airports were easy to identify, using a placard with my name. Tour of My Tho, (Me Toe), was great. Guide, Tinh, was great, spoke english very well. This was on the Ho Vhi Min City part of the tour. Airport drop off for flight to Hanoi was easy. Ma Long Bay cruise was also great. Boat accomodations were great, food was excellent and tours, esp the caves, guided by Bing, was fun. Staff aboard ship were eager to please and enjoyed chatting with me. Tuan, a waiter, seemed to be watching over me to make sure I had all I needed. Ba Khan resort was next and the room was excellent, great views and fun cultural show that evening was awesome. the following day, I was invited to have lunch with a Vietnamese family and was thoroughly impressed. Vietnamese people are very firendly. Legend Travel and Vietnam were great. I may go back to see some of the other sights and will will use Legend Travel Group if I do.
  • 10% deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.
  • Book With Flexibility This operator allows you to rebook your dates or tours with them for free, waiving change fees.

Vietnam Intro 12 Day Tour

Vietnam Intro 12 Day

The Vietnam intro 12 day tour was an amazing way to see Vietnam! The itinerary had the perfect balance of activists, free time and authentic experiences. My favourite parts were the homestay in the Mekong delta and Hoi An. Will was a great tour guide, thank you 😊

Vietnam Experience (12 Days) Tour

Vietnam Experience (12 Days)

Fantastic, Elle brought the trip to life with great knowledge of the local areas we travelled through. I can’t wait to go on another tour with Elle
  • €100 deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

Journey Through Vietnam 14-Day Tour

Journey Through Vietnam 14-Day

We were very pleased with everything about our 14-day tour of Vietnam with Legend Travel. All of the guides were excellent, the accommodations very good, the visits interesting, and almost everything was included in the price. Danny was a terrific host and made sure all went according to plan. We will certainly recommend Legend Travel to anyone wishing to visit this amazing country.

Vietnam Discovery (7 destinations) Tour

Vietnam Discovery (7 destinations)

Short Trip Hanoi - Halong Bay - Ninh Binh Tour

Short Trip Hanoi - Halong Bay - Ninh Binh

This was a budget tour and for the price I would say it was exceptional value. I actually would go on it again. Keep up the good work!

5-day Adventure Sapa - Halong Bay from Hanoi Tour

  • Mountain Hikes
  • Hiking & Trekking
  • Sightseeing

5-day Adventure Sapa - Halong Bay from Hanoi

Hotel, Ha Long Trip all brilliant. Sapa trip very good except for transport. The driver going from Hanoi to Sapa was very rude, angry, and was very unhelpful. He upset another couple travelling. The driver coming back was very dangerous, even by Vietnamese standards. He should not be allowed to drive tourists.

Vietnam Eco Tour

Vietnam Eco

Discovering Cham island from Danang & Hoian Tour

Discovering Cham island from Danang & Hoian

Best of Cambodia & Vietnam Tour

Best of Cambodia & Vietnam

Discover Vietnam - Cambodia in 15 days Tour

Discover Vietnam - Cambodia in 15 days

Treasures & Temples of Vietnam & Cambodia - 7 or 9 night cruise (Start Hanoi, End Ho Chi Minh City) Tour

Treasures & Temples of Vietnam & Cambodia - 7 or 9 night cruise (Start Hanoi, End Ho Chi Minh City)

Treasures & Temples of Vietnam & Cambodia - 7 or 9 night cruise - Hanoi – Halong Bay (Start Hanoi, End Ho Chi Minh City) Tour

Treasures & Temples of Vietnam & Cambodia - 7 or 9 night cruise - Hanoi – Halong Bay (Start Hanoi, End Ho Chi Minh City)

Culture, Cruise and Beach Escape: Vietnam 11-Day Tour Tour

Culture, Cruise and Beach Escape: Vietnam 11-Day Tour

I thought the tour was good, The only disappointments that I had was the Mekong river delta, thought we were going to see life along the River along with floating markets, and I would’ve liked to seen more of the countryside. The tour guys were excellent speakers and very knowledgeable, everything was on time. I would have liked to have been with a group of people the entire time as I did not like going out to dinner alone, Danny was excellent also, always made sure I was OK, And he gave me a great ride on his motorbike which was the highlight of my trip thank you Danny

Vietnam Boat Trip Reviews

Hatte eine gute Zeit. Die Unterkünfte gingen von gemütlich bis zu absolut atemberaubend. Der tourguide Bobby Nguyen hatte immer gute Tips und war nicht zu bevormundend. Dickes plus für seine reiseapotheke. Die Aktivitäten waren sehr ausgewogen.
Vietnam is a beautiful wonderful country, people are nice and gentle. The trip was well organized and all worked out well
Vietnam intro 12 day was so much fun! It was my first time in this part of the world and it was a perfect way to do it! The itinerary had a range of activities and meeting the locals! Will did a great job at leading the tour and made the whole experience even more fun! Will was really good with my allergies and made it smooth so I didn’t have to think about it! Would go again!! Thanks Will!! ?

Regions in Vietnam

  • Halong Bay (19)
  • Northern Vietnam (15)
  • Southern Vietnam (14)
  • Northeast Vietnam (9)
  • Red River Delta (8)
  • Mekong Delta (6)

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Boat Tours in Vietnam

Quick facts, highlights of boat tours, what it's like, cruises in vietnam.

Some of Vietnam's most popular destinations like Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, and the Mekong Delta are best experienced by spending time taking it easy on the relaxing backwaters of the country because these boat tours allow visitors to gain valuable insight into what life is like for locals living by the river.

Along with soaking up the stunning views on display, visitors also get to visit local villages and engage in a range of fun activities like swimming, kayaking, and taking part in cooking classes.

  • One of the best ways to experience the unique beauty of Vietnam is to take cruises and boat trips
  • These trips allow you to experience Vietnamese life and culture in a laid-back, relaxing manner
  • Cruises in Halong Bay, and boat trips in Hue, Hoi An, and the Mekong Delta make for truly unforgettable memories

Discover real reviews of Highlights Travel Family 's best-rated service across trusted platforms.

Whether you're trying to take in the emerald waters of Halong Bay, the rich cultural history found at Hue, the tranquility of Hoi An, or the charm of the 'rice bowl of Vietnam' that is the Mekong Delta, one of the best ways to experience the unique beauty of these places is by taking cruises and boat trips.

A trip to northern Vietnam is incomplete if you haven't visited Halong Bay, and the best way to experience the 3,000-odd sublime limestone islands of Halong Bay is by taking a day trip or an overnight cruise.

The stunning karst landscape at Halong Bay remains all around you while you and your important ones engage in a range of fun activities including kayaking, swimming, fishing, and learning to cook Vietnamese cuisine.

Boat tours in Hue and Hoi An provide travelers with intimate yet fulfilling ways to spend the day. Tours to the countryside and local villages are perfect ways for gaining valuable insight into everyday Vietnamese life.

The charm of the Cai Rang Floating Market in the Mekong Delta is something every visitor ought to experience, as there's truly nothing quite like it. Cruising past rice paddies and stilted houses with the floating market bustling behind, makes for an unforgettable memory.

Explore similar itineraries: 13-Day Vietnam Classic Tour with Sapa 15-Day Best of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam Tour

The main idea behind these cruises and boat tours is to allow guests to be close to nature so they can enjoy the unparalleled natural beauty of Vietnam. They provide guests with a unique insight into Vietnamese life and make for inspiring moments that aren't easily forgotten. Trust us, there's nothing quite like them.

Almost all tours include hotel pick-ups and transfers for guests. Knowledgeable guides who are keen to show you the best possible, lead all tours.

Halong Bay Cruises

Three companies manage the best cruises in Halong Bay: Orchid Cruise, Glory Legend Cruise, and Bhaya Cruise.

While there are many options to choose from when it comes to cruises, Orchid provides service that is unmatched by most.

If the spectacular views of Halong Bay aren't enough to keep you occupied, you can entertain yourself by partaking in a range of activities including swimming, fishing, kayaking, or signing up for cooking or Tai Chi classes. Musical entertainment is also provided on board.

Glory Legend Cruises also pride themselves in the excellent customer satisfaction ratings they garner. The cruise provides similar activities on board to Orchid, with the addition of massages, boat rides, cave explorations, and beach visits.

The largest cruise tour operator in Halong Bay is Bhaya, and just like Orchid and Glory Legend, Bhaya is well known for the excellent service and amenities it provides. It is one of the most reputable cruise companies operating in Halong Bay.

Orchid, Glory Legend, and Bhaya, all provide hotel pick-ups, quality service, welcome drinks, lunch, and dinner for customers. When it comes to experiencing the natural wonder of the World Heritage site, that is Halong Bay, few companies compare to these three.

Boat Trips in Hue and Hoi An

Is there a better way to enjoy the culture and beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Citadel of Hue than by taking a scenic cruise on the Perfume River? We doubt there is.

During this boat trip down the Perfume River, you will experience the history of this must-see city and will get to visit the Forbidden Purple City and the Thien Mu Pagoda.

Fishing is an integral part of the community in Hoi An and luckily enough for tourists, boat trips in Hoi An provide guests with the unique opportunity to appreciate and understand the local farming and fishing communities in and around Hoi An.

A guide accompanies you on this 6-hour tour while you cycle along dirt roads and experience Vietnamese life firsthand. The tour includes visits to several fishing villages.

Hotel pick-ups are provided at both Hue and Hoi An, and tours include snacks, lunch, and beverages.

Boat Trips on the Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is the 'rice bowl of Vietnam'. Cruising past the riverside villages, orchards, rice paddies, and stilted houses make for an unforgettable experience, and a tour every visitor should sign-up for.

The tour is not very long— only 4 hours in total — and starts at Can Tho, making it ideal if you're short on time. The boat trip includes a tour of the Cai Rang Floating Market, a visit to a traditional rice noodle factory, fruit tasting at a local orchard, and visits to local villages.

Visit Vietnam with Asia Highlights

Asia Highlights welcomes the chance to help you design your perfect trip to Vietnam. Our knowledgeable staff will assist you in selecting destinations, accommodations and activities that best suit your requirements.

Check out the following links to learn more about our tours and get a head start on planning your hassle-free vacation today!

  • 10-Day Best of Vietnam with Mekong Delta
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vietnam boat tour

9 Vietnam Boat Tours: Various Vietnam Boat Enjoyment You’ll Love

Vietnam, a country with a diverse coastline and picturesque waterways, offers many opportunities to explore its natural beauty through boat tours.

With many boat types and enchanting destinations, Vietnam provides an unforgettable experience for those seeking adventure and tranquility among Southeast Asia Tours .

This essay explores the types of boats in Vietnam, the reasons to choose a Vietnam boat trip, popular boat tours across the country, engaging activities associated with Vietnam boats, and essential tips for an enjoyable experience.

vietnam boat tour

What Boats Were Used in Vietnam

Basket boats (Thuyền Thúng): These small, round boats are made from bamboo and are traditionally used by fishermen in central Vietnam. They have a unique shape that resembles a basket and are lightweight, allowing them to navigate shallow waters and narrow channels.

Sampan boats : Sampan boats are flat-bottomed wooden boats commonly found in Vietnam's rivers, canals, and deltas. They are used for various purposes, including transportation of people, goods, and produce. Sampan boats can be paddled or propelled by a small outboard motor.

Fishing boats: Vietnam has a vibrant fishing industry, and different fishing boats are used nationwide. Some common fishing boat types include trawlers, longliners, gillnetters, and purse seiners. These boats vary in size and equipment depending on the fishing method and the targeted species.


Wooden junks: Traditional wooden junks are iconic boats used for centuries in Halong Bay and other coastal areas of Vietnam. These boats feature distinctive curved sails and are often used for tourism, offering overnight cruises and day trips for visitors to explore the stunning limestone karsts and islands.

River ferries: In Vietnam's riverine regions, ferries are crucial in transporting people, vehicles, and goods across waterways. These ferries range from small, manually operated boats to larger motorized vessels capable of carrying trucks and buses.


Dragon boats: Dragon boat racing is a popular traditional sport in Vietnam, especially during festivals and celebrations. Dragon boats are long and narrow with ornately carved dragon heads and tails. They are powered by a team of paddlers who row in unison to propel the boat forward.

Tourist boats: With its scenic waterways and natural landscapes, Vietnam attracts many tourists, and various tourist boats cater to different destinations. These can include luxury cruise ships, speedboats, and smaller vessels for exploring rivers, lakes, and coastal areas.

Military boats: Given Vietnam's strategic location and historical conflicts, the Vietnamese Navy and other security forces use various military boats. These include patrol boats, gunboats, landing craft, and support vessels.

Why choose a Vietnam boat to have a trip to Vietnam?

Opting for a boat tour in Vietnam offers many benefits and memorable experiences.

Firstly, it allows travelers to witness the country's stunning natural landscapes from a unique perspective, gliding through serene waters surrounded by lush greenery and awe-inspiring karst formations. Boat trips also provide opportunities for adventure and exploration, allowing visitors to reach secluded islands, hidden caves, and remote fishing villages often inaccessible by land. Moreover, Vietnam's boat tours offer a blend of cultural immersion and relaxation, with the chance to witness traditional fishing practices, interact with local communities, and enjoy breathtaking sunsets on the water.


Boat Tour in Vietnam

Halong bay boat tour.

Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is renowned for its emerald waters and towering limestone islands. A Halong Bay Cruise here offers a mesmerizing experience, cruising through the bay's enchanting maze of karsts and visiting iconic attractions such as Sung Sot Cave and Titop Island. Overnight cruises provide an opportunity to savor delicious seafood, engage in activities like kayaking and squid fishing, and witness the ethereal beauty of sunrise and sunset over the bay.


Recommended Vietnam Boat Tour with Halong Bay: 4 Days Hanoi Tour with Halong Bay Cruise Travel Route: Hanoi - Halong Bay Cruise – Hanoi

Lan Ha Bay Boat Tour

Adjacent to Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay offers a less crowded alternative with equally breathtaking scenery. A boat tour here allows visitors to explore pristine beaches, indulge in water activities like snorkeling and swimming, and discover hidden lagoons and caves. The tranquil ambiance of Lan Ha Bay makes it an ideal choice for relaxation and rejuvenation.


Tam Coc Boat Tour

Located in Ninh Binh province, Tam Coc is often referred to as "Halong Bay on land" due to its stunning karst landscape. A boat tour along the Ngo Dong River takes visitors through rice paddies, limestone caves, and towering cliffs. The journey passes through three caves, providing a unique experience as local oarsmen navigate the boats using their feet. It’s a suitable place to find the best Vietnam for families .


Recommended Vietnam Boat Tour with Tam Coc: 5 Days A Glimpse of North Vietnam Tour Travel Route: Hanoi - Ninh Binh - Halong Bay Cruise

Perfume River Boat Tour

In Hue, the Perfume River offers scenic Vietnam river boats that take travelers past historical landmarks and cultural sites. The tour showcases attractions like the Thien Mu Pagoda, the Imperial Citadel, and the Royal Tombs. Immersed in history and surrounded by picturesque landscapes, the Perfume River boat tour offers a glimpse into Vietnam's imperial past.


Recommended Vietnam Boat Tour with Perfume River: 12 Days Vietnam Nature and Culture Tour Travel Route: Hanoi - Halong Bay Cruise - Danang - Hoi An - Hue – Saigon

Nha Trang Boat Tour

Nha Trang is a coastal city famous for its pristine beaches and vibrant marine life. A boat tour here allows visitors to explore the colorful underwater world with travel highlights in Nha Trang through activities like snorkeling and scuba diving. Additionally, island-hopping tours allow relaxing on secluded beaches and enjoying water sports such as jet skiing and parasailing.


Recommended Vietnam Boat Tour with Nha Trang: 20 Days Vietnam Beach Relaxing Tour Travel Route: Hanoi - Halong Bay Cruise - Hue - Hoi An - Nha Trang - Saigon - Can Tho - Saigon

Mekong Delta Boat Tour

The Mekong Delta, known as Vietnam's "rice bowl," is a vast network of rivers, canals, and floating markets. A Mekong River Cruise here allows visitors to witness the bustling floating markets, interact with local traders, and experience the unique way of life along the river. Exploring fruit orchards, visiting traditional craft villages, and sampling regional delicacies are among the highlights of a Mekong Delta boat tour.


Recommended Vietnam Boat Tour with the Mekong Delta: 12 Days Essential Vietnam Tour Travel Route: Hanoi - Sapa - Hanoi - Halong Bay Cruise - Hanoi - Hoi An – Saigon

Can Tho Floating Market Boat Tour

Can Tho, the largest city in the Mekong Delta, is renowned for its vibrant floating markets. A boat tour immerses visitors in the lively atmosphere of Cai Rang and Phong Dien floating markets, where vendors sell fresh produce and local goods. It's an opportunity to witness the rich trading traditions of the region and savor the flavors of Mekong Delta cuisine. Have a relaxing tour in Can Tho !


Recommended Vietnam Boat Tour with Can Tho: 10 Days Vietnam Highlights Tour with Can Tho Travel Route: Saigon - Can Tho - Hoi An - Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hanoi

Phu Quoc Boat Tour

A boat tour in Phu Quoc, a picturesque island off Vietnam's southwestern coast, offers many of the best things to do in Phu Quoc . You can enjoy island-hopping, snorkeling, and scuba diving to explore the island's stunning marine life and coral reefs. Fishing excursions allow you to experience traditional fishing techniques, while sunset cruises provide breathtaking views of the island's beautiful sunsets. Visiting pearl farms and relaxing on Bai Sao Beach are popular Phu Quoc boat tour highlights. Whether you seek adventure or relaxation, a boat tour in Phu Quoc promises an unforgettable experience in this tropical paradise.


Recommended Vietnam Tour with Phu Quoc: 7 Days Southern Vietnam Luxury Honeymoon Tour with Phu Quoc Island Travel Route: Saigon - My tho - Can tho - Phu Quoc Island – Saigon

PBR Boat Tour

The PBR (Patrol Boat, River) boat tour is an immersive experience that allows visitors to explore Vietnam's wartime history. Riding on authentic or replica PBR boats used during the Vietnam War , participants can navigate rivers, visit historical sites, and learn about the challenges soldiers face during combat operations. It's a unique opportunity to gain insights into the war and appreciate the significance of Vietnam's waterways during that time.


Various Vietnam Boat Fascinating Activities

The activities enhance the overall experience and provide a deeper immersion into Vietnam's culture, nature, and traditions. Here are some captivating activities to consider during a Vietnam boat tour:

Fishing Excursions: Fishing plays a significant role in Vietnamese culture, and joining a fishing excursion allows visitors to experience the traditional fishing practices firsthand. Accompanied by local fishermen, you can learn techniques such as net casting, fish trapping, or even squid fishing at night. Engaging in these activities provides insights into the daily livesof fishermen and their reliance on the sea for sustenance.

Kayaking and Swimming: Many boat tours in Vietnam offer opportunities for kayaking and swimming in the pristine waters surrounding the country's coastal regions. In places like Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay, or Nha Trang, kayaking allows you to navigate through hidden caves, lagoons, and picturesque islets. Swimming in crystal-clear waters offers a refreshing break, connecting you with the natural beauty of Vietnam.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: Vietnam is home to vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine ecosystems, making it an ideal destination for snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts. Locations such as Nha Trang, Phu Quoc Island, and Cham Islands offer excellent opportunities to explore the underwater world, encountering colorful coral reefs, exotic fish species, and other fascinating marine life.


Visiting Floating Markets: Vietnam's floating markets are an integral part of the country's culture and provide a unique and lively experience. Joining a boat tour to visit floating markets, such as Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho or Phong Dien Floating Market in the Mekong Delta, allows you to witness the vibrant trade activities, interact with local vendors, and savor traditional Vietnamese dishes and fresh produce.

Exploring Cave Systems: Vietnam is renowned for its captivating cave systems, and many boat tours include a Vietnam Cave Tour to these natural wonders. In Halong Bay, tours often stop at Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave) or Thien Cung Cave (Heavenly Palace Cave), where you can marvel at impressive rock formations, stalactites, and stalagmites. Similarly, the Trang An complex in Ninh Binh province offers boat tours that take you through caves, revealing stunning landscapes and ancient relics.


Cultural Immersion: Boat tours in Vietnam often provide opportunities for cultural immersion, allowing you to interact with local communities and witness traditional activities. This may include visits to fishing villages, where you can learn about the daily lives of fishermen, observe traditional crafts like net weaving or boat making, or even participate in cooking classes to learn the art of Vietnamese cuisine.

Sunset and Sunrise Viewing: Vietnam's picturesque waterways offer breathtaking moments during sunrise and sunset. On a boat tour, you can witness the sky ablaze with vibrant colors as the sun rises or sets over the tranquil waters. Whether it's the iconic sunrise in Halong Bay, the ethereal glow on the Perfume River in Hue, or the golden hues reflecting on the Mekong Delta, these quiet moments create unforgettable memories.

Tips For Vietnam Boat

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience during a Vietnam boat tour, it's essential to consider a few tips. It's advisable to book boat tours with reputable operators or travel agencies to ensure safety and quality service. Packing essentials such as sunscreen, hats, and comfortable clothing suitable for weather conditions is also essential. Bringing a waterproof bag to protect electronic devices and valuables is recommended. Respecting local customs, following safety instructions, and practicing responsible tourism contribute to a positive and sustainable boat tour experience in Vietnam.

Vietnam's diverse coastline and waterways offer an array of boat tours that captivate travelers with their natural beauty, cultural experiences, and adventure. From the iconic Halong Bay to the enchanting Mekong Delta, each boat tour in Vietnam provides unique insights into the country's rich heritage and stunning landscapes. Whether it's the tranquility of Tam Coc, the bustling floating markets of Can Tho, or the vibrant marine life of Nha Trang, a boat tour in Vietnam is a captivating journey that leaves visitors with unforgettable memories and a deep appreciation for the country's maritime wonders.

You can contact us to tailor your brilliant Vietnam boat tour to the scenery, sites, and things you want.

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Discover The Top 8 Most Interesting Vietnam Boat Tours

Discover The Top 8 Most Interesting Vietnam Boat Tours

  • 28 March, 2024 7:51 am

Table of Contents

1. Overview

Vietnam is a country with a long coastline and many beautiful islands and bays, so boat travel is a fun experience for you to discover the best of Vietnam . Previously, this type of Vietnamese boat tour was often assumed to be only for the luxury upper class, with huge costs. Currently, these tours have developed into a more popular type of tourism, with thousands of visitors each year.

With an extremely reasonable cost, you will enjoy a wonderful journey through the most beautiful bays in Vietnam. Enjoying and exploring famous destinations from a different perspective is impressive, luxurious, and especially proactive and private in the itinerary. This creates a very unique appeal that makes Vietnam boat tours more and more popular. become a tourism trend favored by many tourists.

Vietnam Boat tours are often offered by local tour companies. Prices of boat tours vary depending on the type of tour, length of the tour, type of yacht, travel time, and included services. Visitors can participate in cheap boat tours ranging from a few hundred thousand VND to high-end boat tours costing tens of millions of VND.

vietnam boat tour

2. Discover the top 8 most interesting Vietnam boat tours

2.1. ha long bay boat tour.

This tour takes tourists to visit Ha Long Bay , one of the seven new natural wonders of the world. Visitors will admire the magnificent limestone caves and famous limestone islands.

Ha Long Bay is the first destination on the list of the most attractive boat tours in Vietnam because it is considered the most famous destination in Vietnam . Ha Long Bay has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage to honor its wild and unique beauty when nature here has sculpted caves with magical shapes. Normally, the best time of the year to take a boat tour in Ha Long Bay is from April to October. You should spend 2 days, 1 night, or 3 days, 2 nights, to enjoy the cruise. This interesting.

Activities you will experience on the Vietnam boat tour in Ha Long Bay include exploring caves such as Sung Sot Cave with its magical beauty, the poetic Trong and Trinh Nu Caves , or Thien Canh Son Cave wild with thousands of years of stalactites and stalactites with all kinds of interesting shapes, etc. In addition, you can also enjoy the service of watching the sunset on the Ha Long cruise, listening to concerts, or watching the stars at night on the sea. The tour can also take you to visit the fishing village giving you more experiences and discoveries. You can see the detailed schedule and book the tour right at the link below:

  • Halong Bay Deeper Exploring on Paradise Elegance Cruises
  • Halong Bay Discovery on Paradise Elegance Cruises

vietnam boat tour

2.2. Nha Trang Bay boat tour

Thanks to natural blessings, Nha Trang brings together all the elements of mountains, forests, lagoons, islands, and fields. With a diverse ecosystem, Nha Trang Bay becomes an ideal habitat for rare animals with high economic value, such as swiftlets, hawksbill turtles, red corals, yellow-lipped pearl oysters, golden snails, oval abalone, etc. Nha Trang Bay is considered the “pearl of the Far East” and was voted one of the most beautiful bays in the world . Nha Trang Bay is one of the most charming bays in Vietnam with a long coastline , beautiful beaches , clear blue water, white sand and golden sunshine.

When traveling by boat in Nha Trang , visitors will have popular options such as going on a day tour of 2 to 3 islands, watching the sunset, attending a dinner party, or a 2-day, 2-night tour to fully explore the beauty of the islands, located offshore and enchantingly beautiful , as well as participating in exciting experiential activities such as kayaking, diving to see coral, sunbathing on the deck, and visiting the fishing village, and enjoying the bay’s number one seafood. This boat tour will definitely awaken the senses and increase visitors’ emotions when experiencing the professional and quality service here. You can refer to and immediately book our Nha Trang boat tour here .

vietnam boat tour

See more in this video:

YouTube video

2.3. Phu Quoc boat tour

Phu Quoc is a large archipelago located inside the Gulf of Thailand, in Kien Giang province. Phu Quoc is known as the pearl island and is always considered one of the most attractive tourist paradises in the country. And that trip will become even more perfect if you experience the extremely luxurious and classy Phu Quoc cruise tours. This will be a great choice for those who want to explore the Pearl Island paradise in a luxurious and new way. Going on a Phu Quoc cruise tour, you will be able to fully admire the enchanting beauty of Phu Quoc island and sea without being blocked by any high-rise buildings in front of you. Each cabin on the yacht has transparent glass windows, so you can rest and admire the scenery even while lying in bed.

Exciting experiences not to be missed when going on a Phu Quoc cruise tour include: an ideal opportunity for you to immerse yourself in a peaceful, fresh natural space with cool, clear blue sea water; diving to see coral with the support of specialized diving equipment and instructors; enjoying fresh seafood dishes; etc . This will definitely be the perfect trip to explore the wonderful nature on a Phu Quoc cruise. 

vietnam boat tour

2.4. Saigon river boat tour

The Saigon River is one of the famous tourist destinations in Ho Chi Minh City . Every year, a large number of tourists visit this place. There are many interesting activities to experience when visiting the Saigon River, but most tourists choose to take a cruise on the river. If you are a nature lover and want to immerse yourself in nature right in the heart of the bustling city, a boat tour on the Saigon River is the perfect choice , seeing the beauty of the city from a different perspective other. Currently, there are many travel companies offering boat tours on the Saigon River with many different types and prices. Boat tours usually last from 2 to 3 hours, departing from docks in the city center.

Not only does it bring tourists unforgettable experiences of enjoying the scenery , but the boat tour on the Saigon River also has many other attractions that attract tourists. The first thing that attracts many tourists is to enjoy the feeling of the cold breeze carrying the steam of the river, creating comfort and coolness.

One of the important things that impresses every tourist about the tour is sitting on the train while experiencing a dinner with bold Vietnamese cuisine. Enjoying dinner while listening to melodious music truly makes people’s hearts flutter. During the trip, your tour guide will introduce you and provide information related to famous places on both sides of the river. This helps you better understand the sights and culture of Ho Chi Minh City .

vietnam boat tour

2.5. Mekong River boat tour (Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho)

The Mekong River is certainly no longer a strange name to every Vietnamese and international person. The Mekong is known as one of the largest rivers in the world and has exceptional beauty . Choosing to take a Mekong River cruise tour, visitors will admire unique landscapes. The majestic Sam Mountains, the fruit-laden gardens, or the poetic scene of the river will appear before your eyes.

The Mekong River boat tour is one of the most famous tours in Southeast Asia , allowing visitors to explore the Mekong River, the largest and most important river in Southeast Asia. 3 days, 2 nights, boat tour from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho: This boat tour will take visitors through the southwestern provinces of Vietnam, including Saigon, Cai Be, Can Tho, Long Xuyen, Vam Nao, and Tan Chau (An Giang). During the trip, visitors will visit traditional craft villages, experience life on the river, enjoy local specialties, and visit historical and cultural relics, fruit gardens, temples, caves, local markets, etc. The Mekong River boat tour provides visitors with a unique opportunity to learn about the culture and history of the Southwest region. You can view detailed schedules and book tours: Mekong Cruise – Ho Chi Minh City To Tan Chau By Cruise .

vietnam boat tour

2.6. Cat Ba Lan Ha Bay boat tour

Located about 50 km from Hai Phong city, with its wild beauty, majestic landscapes, and interesting island exploration activities, Lan Ha Bay promises to bring visitors memorable memories. Cat Ba National Forest is a primeval national forest with the extremely important task of protecting the marine ecosystem. It is currently still preserving and nurturing many rare animals, even those on the red list. As one of the famous tourist attractions of the North, Vietnamese and international tourists always choose to visit Cat Ba-Vinh Lan Ha as the most memorable journey of their trips.

Start the Cat Ba and Lan Ha Bay tour on a modern and luxurious yacht, traveling through the breathtaking landscapes of Cat Ba and Lan Ha Bay waters. Depending on the Cat Ba and Lan Ha Bay boat tours you choose, the tour schedule will be different. You can choose a 1-day tour, a 2-day, 1-night tour, or a 3-day, 2-night tour. 

This tour will take visitors to explore the wonderful beauty of Lan Ha Bay, with majestic limestone islands, mysterious caves, pristine beaches, and peaceful fishing villages such as Luon Cave, Dark and Bright Cave, Lan Ha Bay Floating Market, Viet Hai Ancient Village, Cai Beo Fishing Village, Cua Van Fishing Village, and Cat Ba Monkey Island. Cat Ba Island, also known as Cat Dua Island, attracts tourists not only because of its beautiful natural beauty but also because of its rich flora and fauna.

In addition, on this tour, you will also experience extremely fun activities on the Lan Ha Bay Cat Ba tour: enjoying the Lan Ha Bay cruise, kayaking, scuba diving to see coral in Lan Ha Bay, fishing night squid, enjoy unique cuisine. Combining spacious space with classy bedrooms and modern amenities, the Cat Ba Island and Lan Ha Bay cruise will bring visitors a memorable journey to explore the sea and islands of Hai Phong Port. You can see the detailed schedule and book our tour now: Lan Ha Bay Cruise Itinerary .

vietnam boat tour

2.7. Private boat tour of Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho

Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho was recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2016. The British travel magazine Rough Guide also voted Cai Rang Floating Market as one of the 10 most impressive markets in the world gender. Cai Rang Can Tho floating market is located on a branch of the Hau River flowing through Cai Rang district. This location is convenient for trade and commerce with neighboring Mekong Delta provinces and the region.

Cai Rang Can Tho floating market was formed in the 20th century, focusing on trading agricultural products, fruits, and specialties of the Southwest region. Today, although the road transport network has developed, Cai Rang Floating Market still exists and maintains the characteristics of the river delta. The cultural space at Cai Rang floating market and the precious heritage of amateur music are still preserved and passed down through many generations. The attraction of this place for tourists is not only the exciting experiences of shopping and enjoying cuisine on boats, the freshness of the goods, but also the sincere simplicity of the Western people. Dollar.

A private boat tour at Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho departs from Ninh Kieu wharf and will take you to visit Cai Rang Floating Market, a unique cultural feature in the West, to see the buying and selling of special fruits and agricultural products on the river. Besides, you can also experience breakfast on the floating market, enjoy fresh pineapple, visit the traditional noodle oven, enjoy ” hu tieu pizza”, and you will also have the opportunity to make your own rice paper, pho, a traditional Vietnamese cuisine; visit the fruit garden; ride a bicycle on the country road; swim in a dinghy; and enjoy eating fruit in the garden.

vietnam boat tour

2.8. Hue Hue River boat tour 1 day

Hue is one of the most famous tourist lands in Vietnam , attracting the most tourists because of its long-standing ancient culture, rich historical value, and many beautiful cultural and artistic features, such as Hue royal court music, many unique architectural works, and excellent cuisine. Hue not only has ancient relics but is also favored by nature, with countless beautiful scenes of the sea, rivers, mountains, passes, etc. It’s even more interesting if you explore Hue by boat.

The 1-day Perfume River cruise is considered one of the cheap Hue package tours that attracts domestic and foreign tourists to this ancient capital. The special thing here is that you will travel to visit famous places in Hue by dragon boat on the Perfume River. An extremely new experience: going down the Perfume River to visit Thien Mu Pagoda or Hue Perfume Village, Vong Canh Hill, Citadel, Hue Citadel, Minh Mang Tomb, Khai Dinh King Tomb, Garden House An Hien. Huong River Cruise is the place for you to admire the poetic scenery on the river, relax with the gentle rowing rhythm, and listen to the boatmen tell about the folk stories of beloved Hue people or history of the bridges across the river and enjoy Hue songs on this journey. In addition, enjoy famous Hue cuisine such as Bun Bo Hue, Banh Khoai, Banh Beo, Banh Nam, Banh Uot, etc. 

vietnam boat tour

You can experience our other unique tours:

  • Amazing Mu Cang Chai 3 Days 2 Nights
  • Topas Riverside Lodge In 3 Days 2 Nights
  • Mekong At A Glimpse On Cai Be Princess
  • Hanoi – Halong Bay Classical
  • Hoa Lu Ancient Capital and Van Long Ecotourism Site
  • Danang – Hoi An – Bana Hill Classical Tour
  • Authentice Vietnam from Mountain to the Sea

3. Conclusion

Above are the top 8 most attractive Vietnam boat tours that Metta Voyage shares with you. On a Vietnam boat tour, you will not only experience the scenery of Vietnam’s natural wonders that have been voted internationally. Moreover, you can also enjoy classy services on the cruise with a rich and diverse schedule. Don’t forget to visit our blog   to see more travel experiences.

4. Contact us

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vietnam boat tour

Exit45 Travels

Tam Coc Boat Tour in Vietnam: Your Ultimate Guide for 2024

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Everything you need to know on how to experience an unforgettable Tam Coc boat tour in Vietnam.

Get ready for an unforgettable adventure on the water as you embark on a Tam Coc boat tour. Located in Vietnam , South East Asia , Tam Coc is often referred to as “ Halong Bay on land ” due to its breath-taking limestone karsts and picturesque landscapes.

Immerse yourself in the tranquillity of this stunning destination as you cruise along the Ngo Dong River, surrounded by towering cliffs and lush greenery. Marvel at the natural wonders that unfold before your eyes, with each turn revealing a new and awe-inspiring vista.

tam coc boat tour amongst limestone karsts

BEST TAM COC BOAT TOUR : OUR PICK! 4.5 ⭐ – 75 Reviews Don’t have time to go through the whole list? Our top pick is the Full Day by Bike of Hoa Lu Temples & Tam Coc Boat Tour because it is exceptional value for what you get!!!

Experience a unique contrast between serenity and excitement as you navigate through caves and explore hidden grottoes. The rhythmic paddling of your boat adds to the charm, creating a sense of connection with nature that is truly unparalleled.

Read on to see our personal recommendations and discover why a Tam Coc boat tour in this enchanting destination has captivated travellers from around the world.

Please Note : All prices are quoted in the local currency – VND (Vietnamese Dong). To easily convert prices to your currency, we use xe Currency Converter. Convert VND to your currency with xe Currency Convertor here

What to Expect on a Tam Coc Boat Tour

Get ready for an unforgettable experience filled with natural wonders and cultural immersion. From marvelling at limestone karsts and caves to gliding through rice paddies, this tour offers a unique perspective on the beauty of Vietnam.

Marvel at the Stunning Limestone Karsts

Prepare to be awestruck by the stunning limestone karsts that dot the landscape along the Ngo Dong Rive r. As you cruise along in your traditional rowboat, these towering formations will surround you, creating a picturesque scene straight out of a postcard. The sheer size and grandeur of these karsts are truly captivating, leaving you in awe of nature’s beauty.

Glide Through Grottos / Caves

Beneath these magnificent karsts lie hidden caves waiting to be explored. Tam Coc actually means ‘three caves’ and your boat will glide through these narrow cave passages, revealing mesmerizing rock formations and intricate stalactites hanging from above. The play of light and shadows adds an ethereal touch to this underground world.

Our visit was at the end of September and we had three days of very heavy rain prior to our Tam Coc boat tour. As a result, we could only visit Cave 1 (Hang Ca) which is 127 metres long, and Cave 2 (Hang Hai) measuring 60 metres in length. Even in Cave 2, we had to lie as flat as would could in the boat so we didn’t bump our heads! Unfortunately, there was not enough height for the boats to go into Cave 3.

lady using foot rowing technique on a tam coc boat tour in vietnam

Meander Through Rice Paddies and Witness Local Rural Life Up Close

As you navigate through the waterways of Tam Coc, prepare yourself for a journey into rural Vietnam. The boat tour takes you through vast stretches of lush green rice paddies that extend as far as the eye can see. This is not just a visual treat but also an opportunity to witness local people and farmers tending to their crops.

You’ll catch glimpses of farmers working diligently in their conical hats, knee-deep in muddy water as they plant or harvest rice. It’s a chance to appreciate their hard work and understand their way of life intimately. You might even have a chance to interact with them, exchanging smiles and greetings as you pass by. This close encounter with local rural life is an enriching experience that will leave a lasting impression.

They Row the Boat With Their Feet

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Tam Coc boat tour is encountering the skilled locals who row their boats using their feet, a traditional technique . This unique technique, known as “ foot rowing ,” has been passed down through generations and is still practiced today.

Tam Coc Boat Tour Options: Organised vs Independent

When planning your Tam Coc boat tour, there a range of options and itineraries to suit your preferences. Whether you’re looking for an organised full-day adventure, or would rather travel to Tam Coc independently and book yourself, there’s something for everyone.

Tam Coc Boat Tour: Organised Tours

One of the most common ways to do a Tam Coc Bat Tour is by booking an organised day tour either from Hanoi or while staying in Tam Coc. Here are our tip picks and you can click on any of the links for the latest Tam Coc Boat Tours reviews!

4.5⭐- 75 Reviews

Full day by bike of hoa lu temples & tam coc boat tour.

✔️ Hanoi Round-trip transfer ✔️ Buffet lunch ✔️ English speaking guide ✔️ All entrance tickets

tour boats gliding along the water in tam coc

4.5⭐ – 54 Reviews

Hoa lu-tam coc: boat trip & bicycle ride.

✔️ Hanoi A/C transfer ✔️ Traditional goat meat lunch ✔️ English-Speaking guide

fisherman in a boat amongst the water lillies

4⭐ – 44 Reviews

Hoa lu tam coc daytour.

✔️ Hanoi pick up & drop off ✔️ Includes lunch

Tam Coc Boat Tour: Independent Tours

During this latest trip to Vietnam, we decided we wanted to spend one week in Tam Coc so we had the time to explore the area more fully. Our hotel was a short walk to the boat terminal, so we organised our own Tam Coc boat tour. We have outlined below how we did it, and any other essential information to ensure a memorable experience.

How to Get to Tam Coc + Tam Coc Boat Tour Location

Located in Ninh Binh province, just 100 kilometres south of Hanoi , the stunning destination of Tam Coc is easily accessible by various transportation options.

Top Tip:  Our go-to site for booking transportation on-line in Asia is 12Go.Asia . They have all transport services covered including vans, buses taxis, trains and ferries.

By booking with  12.Go Asia  you can read the reviews and see what other travellers have said about their journey with different companies. Once you have booked your ticket through their website, they will email you a copy of your booking. It’s super easy!

Bus or Train: Convenient and Frequent Departures

One of the most common ways to reach Tam Coc is by bus or train from Hanoi. Both options offer convenience and frequent departures throughout the day.

  • Bus : Hop on a bus from Hanoi’s Giap Bat or My Dinh bus station, and you’ll be on your way to Ninh Binh in no time. The journey takes around two to three hours , depending on traffic conditions. Numerous bus companies operate this route, providing travellers with flexibility in terms of departure times.
  • Train : If you prefer a more relaxed mode of transportation, taking the train is a great option. Trains departing from Hanoi’s main railway station will take you directly to Ninh Binh within two hours. From there, you can get a normal taxi or book a GRAB taxi for the short 10 minute ride to Tam Loc. With multiple departures daily, you can easily find a suitable train schedule that fits your itinerary.

image of a sleeper bus in vietnam

Private Transfer: Convenience at Your Fingertips

For those seeking a more convenient travel option , a greater level of comfort or wanting greater flexibility during their trip, a private transfer is an excellent choice. Paying a driver allows you to have control over your schedule and, in addition, the door-to-door service eliminates the need to transfer between different modes of transportation.

We investigated pricing of transportation costs from Hanoi old quarter to Tam Coc, and decided on booking a driver through our Tam Coc hotel. We only paid an extra AUD15 for both of us (not each) as opposed to a Limousine Bus. This is one our top tips for travelling to Vietnam – always ask your hotel for pricing on private transfers as they are often very well priced!

Tam Coc Boat Tour Opening Hours

Tam Coc boat tours run from 8:00am – 6:00 pm daily , no matter if it is raining or not. We highly recommend taking the tour either early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the heat of the midday sun.

The boat tour takes approximately 2 hour .

Tam Coc Boat Tour Price

When you arrive at the Tam Coc boat station which is right in the centre of town, you will need to go to the ticket office. Here the prices of the boat tour are clearly advertised.

Sightseeing Entrance Fee

  • Adults: 120,000VND / person
  • Children (Under 1.4 metres): 60,000VND / person

Boat Ride Fee: 150,000VND TOTAL

  • N.B. For foreigners, this is for 2 guests per boat, and for Vietnamese, this is for 4 guests per boat


tam coc boat tour ticket office

Tipping and Other Costs

It’s important to note that while it is not mandatory, it is greatly appreciated for excellent service. The tour guides and boat rowers work hard to ensure you have a memorable experience i.e. take photos of you and point out things along the way such as goats on the mountain edge, birds etc. So if you feel they have gone above and beyond, a small tip can go a long way in showing your appreciation. We were told 50,000VND was fair per person .

The only other cost for you would be any snacks or drinks you might like for the trip which you can pick up at the various mini marts near the entrance. We highly recommend taking water as it can get very hot!

What to Bring on a Tam Coc Boat Tour

There are a few essential items we highly recommend to make your trip as comfortable as possible.

  • Opt for comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely and won’t restrict your movements during the tour. Choose lightweight and breathable fabrics that will keep you cool in the Vietnamese heat.
  • You will not be doing any walking, however, choose practical shoes for getting on and off the boat which will be wobbly with an uneven surface.
  • The weather in Tam Coc can be quite hot, especially during peak tourist seasons. To protect yourself from the scorching sun, make sure to pack essential items such as sunscreen , a wide-brimmed hat , sunglasses and insect repellent as there are mosquitoes.
  • A camera , smartphone or GoPro for capturing the amazing views of limestone karsts, lush greenery, and serene waterways.
  • It gets really hot so we recommend taking along some water and snacks if you think you like.
  • If, like us, you travel in the wet season, you will DEFINITELY need wet-weather gear such as a raincoat and umbrella, plus plastic bags or waterproof housing for your cameras etc.
  • Top Tip : We suggest you take an umbrella, no matter the weather, as even if it sunny, it will provide some much needed shade to keep you just a little but cooler!

man and woman sitting on a boat with karst mountains in background on a tam coc boat tour

Best Time of Year to Visit Tam Coc for Boat Tours

If you’re planning a boat tour in Tam Coc, it’s essential to choose the right time of year to ensure an enjoyable experience. The weather and crowd levels can greatly impact your enjoyment, so let’s explore the best time to visit.

Plan Your Visit During the Dry Season

The dry season, which spans from November to April , is considered the best time to visit Tam Coc for boat tours. During this period, you can expect pleasant temperatures and minimal rainfall, creating ideal conditions for exploring the stunning limestone karsts and winding rivers.

  • The dry season offers clear skies and sunny days, allowing you to fully appreciate the natural beauty of Tam Coc.
  • With less chance of rain, boat tours are less likely to be cancelled or disrupted due to weather conditions.
  • The comfortable temperatures make it easier to spend extended periods on the water without feeling uncomfortable or overheated.
  • As this is peak tourist season in Tam Coc, you can expect larger crowds at popular attractions. It’s advisable to book your boat tour in advance or arrive early in the day to avoid long queues.
  • Accommodation prices may be higher during this period due to increased demand. Consider booking your stay well in advance or exploring alternative options such as homestays or guesthouses.

Avoid Visiting During the Rainy Season

While visiting Tam Coc during the rainy season ( May to October ) may seem tempting due to lower prices and fewer tourists, it’s important to note that heavy rainfall can significantly impact your boat tour experience.

  • This is low season in Tam Coc so there will be fewer tourists and crowds.
  • The price of accommodation will also be lower due to it being the low season.
  • May to June is the perfect time to see the rice plants in full bloom.
  • The rainy season typically lasts from May until October, with June through August being particularly wet months. During this time, frequent downpours and thunderstorms are common occurrences.
  • Heavy rainfall can lead to high water levels in the rivers and caves of Tam Coc, making it unsafe or impossible to navigate certain areas by boat.
  • The unpredictable weather during the rainy season can result in last-minute tour cancellations and limited visibility due to fog or mist.

person rowing a boat with his feet in the rain

Consider Visiting in Spring (March to May) or Autumn (September to November)

If you’re looking for a balance between favourable weather conditions and manageable crowd levels, consider planning your boat tour in Tam Coc during the spring or autumn months.

  • Spring, from March to May, offers mild temperatures and blooming landscapes.

Best Time to See the Rice During Harvest Season

The best time to see the Tam Coc rice fields is either during the months of January and February when the rice paddies are green and lush, and May to June (harvest season). The harvest season is when the rice fields are a vibrant yellow colour with the rice plants in full bloom.

Practical Tips for a Memorable Tam Coc Boat Tour

Here are our top tips / recommendations to make your Tam Coc boat ride truly memorable.

➡️ Arrive Early or Late in the Afternoon : By getting there when they open or late in the afternoon, you can avoid long queues and enjoy the beautiful scenery without lots of other tourists. Also, this is a great time to avoid the midday heat.

➡️ Take Water : The hot sun can quickly dehydrate you, so keep sipping on water to keep yourself refreshed.

➡️ Immerse Yourself in Nature : As you glide along the serene waters on your boat ride, take a moment to soak in the natural beauty around you. The limestone karsts rising majestically from the emerald-green rice fields create a breathtaking backdrop that will leave you in awe. Enjoy this tranquil environment by taking deep breaths of fresh air and appreciating nature’s wonders.

➡️ Capture Memories : Don’t forget to bring your camera, smartphone or GoPro to capture those picture-perfect moments during your boat trip.

➡️ Keep An Eye Out for Wildlife : Tam Coc is not only known for its scenic beauty but also for its diverse wildlife. Keep an eye out for birds, butterflies, and other creatures that call this place home. Our favourites were the goats on the edge of mountain ridges and watching them traverse the rocks.

➡️ Take an Umbrella : No matter if there is sunshine or rain, an umbrella will be very useful!

gliding through calm water on a boat through a green valley

Where to Stay in Tam Coc

If you’re planning a visit to Tam Coc, you’ll be pleased to know that there are various accommodation options available in the area from hotels and guesthouses to homestays.

Range of Accommodations

Tam Coc village offers a range of accommodations for visitors. Whether you’re looking for luxury or budget-friendly options , there’s something for everyone. Hotels in Tam Coc provide comfortable rooms with amenities such as air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and on-site restaurants. Guesthouses offer a more intimate experience with cosy rooms and personalized service.

For those seeking an authentic local experience, homestays are a popular choice. These accommodations allow you to stay with a local family and experience their way of life first-hand. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy traditional meals, learn about the culture, and even participate in activities like farming or cooking classes.

Best Tam Coc Hotels and Accommodation Options

🏨 Luxury (100 USD and Up) : Tam Coc Garden Resort with amazing viws of the rice fields and Ninh Binh Hidden Charm Hotel and Resort which is a high-end luxury results with modern facilities.

🏨 Mid-Range (30 USD to 100 USD) : Liberty Hall Tam Coc Hotel and Villa with mountain views and Tam Coc DiBi Villas .

🏨 Budget (Up to 30 USD) : LysHomestay (where we stayed and loved!) and Tam Coc Victoria Hotel are very centrally located in Tam Coc.

If you prefer more accommodation options, consider checking out Ninh Binh city or Trang An.

Check availability on accommodation options in Tam Coc below: Agoda | Booking.com | Hostelworld

Overnight Stay Benefits: We Recommend a 3 Night Stay

While many tourists choose to take a day trip to Tam Coc from nearby cities like Hanoi, staying overnight has its advantages. By spending at least one night in Tam Coc, you will have an opportunity to witness the stunning sunrise over the limestone karsts without rushing through your boat tour. The tranquil atmosphere during early morning hours adds an extra touch of magic to your experience.

Staying at least one night also gives you more time to explore all that Tam Coc has to offer . You can take leisurely walks along the countryside paths, rent bicycles or motorbikes for further exploration or simply relax by the riverbank while enjoying the picturesque scenery. Whatever you do, don’t miss the hike up Hang Mua Peak for panoramic views of Tam Coc’s picturesque landscape.

Explore Nearby Areas

Tam Coc is a convenient base for exploring other attractions in the area including the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, Ah Tien Cave, Mua Cave, doing a Trang An boat trip, seeing the Bich Dong Pagoda, and witnessing the beauty of the Bai Dinh Pagoda.

bai dinh pagoda-tall narrow pagoda in ninh binh province

Alternative to a Tam Coc Boat Tour

If you’re looking to explore more than just Tam Coc, another popular boat tour destination near the area is Trang An . This scenic location offers a unique experience with limestone karsts and caves, but with different landscapes compared to Tam Coc.

Tam Coc or Trang An Boat Tour?

Tam Coc and Trang An are two popular destinations in Vietnam that offer boat tours to explore their stunning landscapes. While both places provide unique experiences, there are some notable differences between them.

One of the main distinctions between a Trang An or Tam Coc boat tour lies in the type of scenery they offer . Tam Coc is famous for its picturesque rice paddies with views of lush green fields and towering limestone karsts. On the other hand, in addition to rice fields, the limestone karsts in Trang An are taller and more imposing. The sheer size of these karsts adds to the grandeur of the scenery as you cruise along the labyrinthine network of waterways.

While Tam Coc is famous for its rice paddies and three caves, Trang An boasts a larger complex of caves that you can explore during your boat tour. These caves are not only breath-taking but also hold historical significance as they were used as filming locations for movies like “ Kong: Skull Island .”

Another factor to consider when choosing between Tam Coc and Trang An is the number of tourists visiting each place. Trang An tends to attract larger crowds due to its popularity among travellers. It can get very busy during peak seasons, especially on weekends or holidays.

If you are someone who likes a mix of nature and history , Trang An will be the better option as it has quite a few stops at various pagodas / spiritual places (depending on which route you pick). You can explore the beautiful temples and learn about the history of the various Dynasty’s.

Also, the Tam Coc boat tour is approximately 2 hours long and you do not have the opportunity to get off the boat at any time. Trang La on the other hand, has designated stops along the way where you can stretch your legs and explore.

In contrast, Tam Coc offers a more tranquil experience with fewer tourists (be warned: there will still be a lot!). If you prefer a quieter atmosphere where you can immerse yourself in nature without feeling crowded, Tam Coc might be the better choice for you.

Personally, we preferred out Tam Coc boat tour more as it felt less ‘touristy’ and we had the whole boat to ourselves. However, we did not get the ‘true’ Trang An experience either due to not being able to go into any of the caves due to the amount of rain they had experienced in the days leading up to our tour.

a temple on the trang an boat tour

FAQs: Tam Coc Boat Tours

How long is the boat ride in tam coc.

The boat ride in Tam Coc typically lasts around 2 hours, allowing visitors to explore the stunning limestone karsts and scenic landscapes.

Can I bring my own food and drinks on a Tam Coc boat tour?

Yes, you are allowed to bring your own food and drinks on a Tam Coc boat tour. However, please be mindful of keeping the area clean and disposing of any waste properly.

Are life jackets provided during the boat tour?

Yes, life jackets are provided for all passengers during the boat tour. Your safety is a top priority, so make sure to wear them throughout the duration of the tour.

Is it necessary to book a boat tour in advance?

While it is not mandatory to book a boat tour in advance, it is highly recommended especially during peak tourist seasons. Booking in advance ensures availability and allows you to secure preferred time slots.

Can I bring my camera or phone on the boat tour?

Yes! Bringing your camera or phone is highly encouraged as there will be plenty of picturesque moments to capture during the boat tour. Just make sure to keep them secure and protected from water.

Are there any age restrictions for the Tam Coc boat tour?

There are no strict age restrictions for the Tam Coc boat tour. However, please note that young children should be supervised at all times to ensure their safety on the boats.

Is it better to stay in Tam Coc or Trang An?

It depends on personal preferences. Tam Coc has a wider range of accommodations, restaurants and activities, while Trang An offers a more relaxed and rural atmosphere.

What river is in Tam Coc?

The Ngo Dong River flows through Tam Coc, a popular tourist destination in Vietnam known for its stunning limestone karst formations.

What is Tam Coc in english?

Tam Coc, also known as “Three Caves,” is a scenic area in Vietnam where you can take a boat ride through limestone caves and amazing landscapes.

In Summary: Tam Coc Boat Tours

A Tam Coc boat tour is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Vietnam. This tour offers a unique and breath-taking experience as you cruise along the Ngo Dong River, surrounded by stunning limestone karsts and lush greenery.

Whether you choose to do an organised tour, or stay in Tam Loc and do it independently, this memorable and postcard-worthy scene will leave you in awe.


Want more info to help you plan your Vietnam holiday? Check out all the articles we’ve written on travel in Vietnam below and continue planning your trip.

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Essential Travel Planning Resources for Vietnam

These are our favourite companies to use when we travel to Vietnam. They consistently turn up the best deals and offer great customer service, and overall, are better than their competitors. These companies are always our starting point when we need to book a flight, hotel, tour, transportation etc.

Book Your Flight : The best and easiest way to find cheap flights is to use Skyscanner or Kiwi . They compare all of the available prices across every airline to help you compare flights in one place.

Book Accommodation: In Vietnam, whether you are looking to book a hostel, guest house, hotel or resort, you’ll always find the best deals on Agoda . We always search using the map feature to find accommodation in the best location. If we are staying for a month or longer in a destination, we also search for monthly deals on Airbnb and Booking.com . For hostel bookings, we compare reviews on Hostelworld , then check other booking sites to compare prices.

Book a Tour: We mostly travel independently, however, some places are better to visit with a guided tour. We use both GetYourGuide and Viator to find great deals on tours in Vietnam.

Book Transportation: Rome2Rio is a great planning tool which allows us to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. From there, we book our transportation through 12Go.asia to save both money and time. We believe the best way to explore Vietnam is by motorbike or bicycle, and BikesBooking.com offer the most competitive prices. If you are planning a road trip, we always use Discover Cars to find the best deals.

Book Travel Insurance: Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations. We never travel without it as we have had to use it several times in the past. We have been using 1Cover for the past 4 years, however, we also recommend SafetyWing as many of our fulltime travel friends swear by them.

Always Carry With You: When travelling in Vietnam , we always carry a daypack for excursions and the Lonely Planet Guide !

Ready to Book Your Trip? Check out our Travel Resource s page for the companies we use and recommend to plan and book our travels. Through lots of trial and error over the years, these are the best!

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Trang An Boat Tour: Incredible caves and temples (Ultimate Guide)

  • Last updated: February 10, 2024

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Landscape at Trang An boat ride Ninh Binh, Vietnam

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About the Trang An boat ride in Ninh Binh

Every traveler we met recommended the Trang An boat tour instead of the most famous Tam Coc one because it’s much more peaceful, with boat operators not harassing you to buy things left and right.

Note: We didn’t do the Tam Coc ride, so we don’t have first-hand experience, but a couple of our friends went and said it is true (it’s a common theme on other blogs as well). So we’d also recommend the Trang An boat ride instead of Tam Coc.

Although our favorite boat ride in Ninh Binh was in Van Long Nature Reserve , we liked our ride in Trang An quite a lot.

Read More

Read more about things to do in Ninh Binh in our ultimate guide.

Arijana Tkalčec enjoying the Trang An boat ride in Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Boat ride experience in Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex

The boat ride in Trang An comprises three different routes you can choose depending on the length and the things you want to see.

We suggest taking route number 3, which includes the 1000 meters long Dot Cave, the longest cave in the complex. Route number 3 is the only route that includes the longest cave, so if you take any other route, you will miss it. 

The Dot Cave was definitely the highlight of our boat trip. It takes quite a bit of time to pass it, so it’s long enough to “feel” the cave. But it’s quite a relaxing ride, so you should be fine, even if you’re a bit claustrophobic. Remember that it’s a well-trodden route, and everyone gets out! 🙂

Note: We checked the timings of the photos and videos we took while entering and exiting the cave, and it seems like it took us about 20 minutes to pass it!

Arijana Tkalčec at the 1km Dot Cave entrance, Trang An boat ride, Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Price and duration of the Trang An boat tour

A ticket for the boat ride in Trang An is around 250.000 VND (approximately $11) per person for adults or double if you want only two people in the boat (usually four people fit inside). Kids under 1 meter have free entrance, and for the ones under 1,3 meters, the ticket is 120.000 VND (approximately $5).

Note: Only bring your younger children on this boat ride if you know they can sit still for an extended period of time.

The boat ride in Trang An lasts between 2 and 3 hours, depending on the route. Our ride took 2 hours as we did minimal stops in the temples, and nobody else was in the complex.

Honestly, the 2 hours boat ride was more than enough for us. We feel that anything more would be a bit too much for us personally. 🙂

Arijana and Matej on the Trang An boat ride in Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Different routes of the Trang An boat tour

Route number 1: trinh temple, tran temple, khong palace.

Route number 1 takes you through 9 caves (Toi Cave, Sang Cave, Nau Ruou Cave, Ba Giot Cave, Seo Cave, Son Duong Cave, Khong Cave, Tran Cave and Quy Hau Cave) and 3 temples of the Dinh Dynasty (Trinh Temple, Tran Temple and Khong Temple – Bao Hieu Pagoda). All these caves are relatively short.

Route number 2: Thanh Cao Son Temple, Dia Linh Mountain, Vu Lam Royal Steps

Route number 2 takes you through 4 limestone caves (Lam Cave, Vang Cave, Thanh Truot Cave, and Dai Cave) and 3 temples (Thanh Cao Son Temple, Suoi Tien Temple and Vu Lam Royal Steps). This route includes Dia Linh Mountain, which is in the shape of a giant pen tower.

Traditional houses along the route at the Trang An boat tour, Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Route number 3: Trinh Temple, Dot Cave, Suoi Tien Temple

Route number 3 is the only one that takes you through the 1000-meter-long Dot Cave, the longest cave in the Trang An complex. The stalactite system in this cave is quite impressive. 

On this route, you visit 3 caves (Dot Cave, Van Cave and Dai Cave) and 3 temples (Trinh Temple, Suoi Tien Temple and Vu Lam Royal Steps). This route also takes you through Dia Linh Mountain, the same as the previous one.

Inside the 1km long Dot Cave at the Trang An boat ride in Ninh Binh, Vietnam

What is the difference between the routes?

As you can see from the route descriptions, some spots repeat in every route. The biggest similarities are between route number 2 and route number 3.

Did you know?

We explored Vietnam for more than 1 year and a half and wrote 34 and counting detailed articles.

Did you know? We explored Vietnam for more than 1 year and a half and wrote 34 and counting detailed articles.

Which route to take for the Trang An boat ride?

Considering that everyone usually cares the most about the last temple (the one on the water), many choose route number 3 as it’s the only one that includes the longest cave in the complex. It takes about 20 minutes to go through the cave, and it was definitely the highlight of our experience.

Most of the photos from the temples mostly look incredible from the aerial perspective and a bit less from the ground.

Temple decorations at the Trang An boat ride in Ninh Binh, Vietnam

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Best time to do the Trang An boat ride

The best time to do the boat ride in Trang An is early morning or late afternoon because of the extended time in the sun. Take a Non la – Vietnamese conical hat, and sunscreen for the best protection.

Some people like to take umbrellas on the ride, but remember that there are other people in the boat too, and you might be blocking their view if you have an umbrella.

Trang An boat ride in Ninh Binh, Vietnam

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Do you need to book the Trang An boat ride in advance?

You do not need to book the Trang An Boat ride in advance, as you just show up at the ticket counter, buy a ticket, and wait in line for a boat.

If you’re taking the boat ride as part of a tour, the ticket will be included in the price, and you shouldn’t need to queue up for tickets.

How to get to the Trang An boat ride starting point?

The starting point of the Trang An boat ride is easily reachable from any point in Ninh Binh, as it’s right next to the main road connecting Tam Coc and Hoa Lu/Bai Dinh.

If you’re staying in one of the towns nearby, we suggest going by bicycle, or if you’re in Tam Coc, it’s best to go by motorbike or a taxi.

Find on Map

Click here for the location of the Trang An boat ride .

Karst hills along the Trang An boat route, Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Where to stay in Trang An, Ninh Binh

There are many options for accommodations, from hotels to homestays in the Trang An area.

We stayed at the Ha Lan Homestay in Ninh Xuan, which is also very close to Hang Mua , and we highly recommend it. And we also stayed at Hang Mua Ecolodge , part of the Hang Mua complex, right at the foot of the hill and next to the lotus lake.

Mua Caves Ecolodge, Ninh Binh, Vietnam

These are also some of the well-reviewed and liked hotels in the area:

  • Trang An Retreat
  • Trang An Moon Garden Homestay
  • Trang An Lotus Lake Homestay
  • Ninh Binh Mountain Side Homestay & Cafe

The difference between Trang An, Tam Coc, and Van Long boat rides

The Van Long Nature Reserve boat ride is definitely much more peaceful , as it’s still not in every guidebook and tour itinerary, unlike the Trang An and Tam Coc ones.

The Trang An and Tam Coc boat rides are longer, and there’s more sightseeing included. Therefore, the price is also higher. But, Van Long, on the other hand, is a better choice for seeing some wildlife.

Read more about taking a boat ride in Van Long Nature Reserve.

Because of the significant demand for boat rides in Trang An and Tam Coc, you might need to wait in line and share a boat with other tourists. There are four or five people per boat. And if you want to do a private boat ride, you’ll need to pay the same price as for the entire boat. 

In Van Long, there’s usually no waiting in a line , and there are usually only two people in a boat, so it’s a more private experience. Families of 3 to 4 can also go in one boat in Van Long, but it’s a bit more cramped then.

Matej Špan on a boat ride Van Long Nature Reserve in Ninh Binh

The scenery and landscape are beautiful in all areas of Ninh Binh, where the boat rides occur, and they are pretty similar. However, we have to admit that the Trang An landscape was a bit more majestic as limestone mountains are much higher there. And you do get the chance to pass through a 1-km long cave.

vietnam boat tour

Note: “Kong: Skull Island” movie was filmed in both Van Long and Trang An areas. There was also a movie set in Trang An until the end of 2020, but it’s since been removed and you can’t see it anymore, unfortunately. 

Towering karst hills at the Trang An boat ride in Ninh Binh, Vietnam

No hassling

The boat rides at Trang An, and Van Long are both free from hassle and begging for tips and selling all kinds of stuff, unlike the Tam Coc boat ride. We’ve heard from friends that went on a boat ride in Tam Coc that it was pretty overwhelming.

Arijana and Matej on the Trang An boat ride in Ninh Binh, Vietnam

What else to do in Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex?

Since 2020, you can also rent a kayak and go around the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex all by yourself on two different routes (8km or 5km).

The kayak rental cost in Trang An is 250.000 VND ($11) for the single and 400.000 VND ($17) for the double kayak.

There are some rules you have to follow while kayaking in Trang An:

  • Wear a life jacket
  • Stick to the route
  • Do not bathe in the water

Waterway at Trang An boat ride Ninh Binh, Vietnam

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Where to eat in Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex?

There is an on-site restaurant at the Trang An boat wharf, and there are a lot of restaurants on the road leading there, so you can easily find a place to eat if you’re feeling hungry after the ride.

Is the Trang An boat ride in Ninh Binh safe?

Taking a boat ride in Trang An, Ninh Binh, is a very safe activity, as you’re exploring the area on a boat operated by a very-skilled rower. All the caves you pass through are equipped with lights, and you are also provided with a life jacket.

Trang An boat ride in Ninh Binh, Vietnam

What are the available facilities at the Trang An boat wharf?

The Trang An complex provides an ATM, parking, toilets, and an on-site restaurant.

Is Trang An in Ninh Binh worth visiting?

Ninh Binh’s Trang An boat ride is worth visiting because of the beautiful landscape, fascinating caves you go through and the temples you visit along the way. It’s an equally good option to the more famous Tam Coc boat ride (or even better).

Let us know in the comments if you have done any of the boat rides in Ninh Binh and how it was. We’re eager to know others’ experiences and thoughts.

Looking for more travel guides and Vietnam travel inspiration?


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2 Responses

Good morning, I came across your website while searching how to do the boat tours in Ninh Binh and Tam Coc. Your website is incredibly detailed and has been so useful for first timers in this part of Viet Nam. Can you let me know what is the the latest time the boat tour runs? We are planning to do a day trip from Hanoi to Ninh Binh and would like to go on this boat tour but we are not sure if they close by 5pm.

The tickets are sold until 5 pm, so it would be best if you could organize your trip to be there at least by 4:30 pm, just in case.

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Local Vietnam

Trang An boat tour guide & 4 highlights you should not miss

Trang An is known as Halong Bay on land. The spectacular landscape is dominated by towering limestone mountains covered with tropical plants, rivers and hidden temples and pagodas. Trang An is the only place in Vietnam which is both a natural and cultural UNESCO heritage site. The best way to see it’s full glory it to take a Trang An boat tour. With only 100 km from Hanoi you have the choice to visit this place as a day trip or stay among the beautiful rice fields.

What to see in Trang An

Trang an boat tour, other sights around trang an, how to get there, best travel time, accommodation in trang an, recommended tours to trang an.

Trang An has one of the most beautiful and impressive karst mountains in the world. The entire landscape is composed of pointed limestone mountains covered with flowering jungles and rice fields in the valleys between them. The rivers are all interconnected and some extend over a kilometer, making boat trips the perfect way to explore the landscape. Besides from the amazing scenery, there are countless of beautiful natural caves.

The various historical temples and pagodas in Trang makes it also a religious and spiritual place. You can find these ancient religious buildings hidden in the mountains and jungle, often only reaches by boat or climbing, making this place even more mystical.

“Halong Bay on land”

Trang An is also called the “Halong on land”, but there are major differences. Trang An offers a lot more cultural and historical background. You don’t find any luxury cruise ships sailing through the landscape, but only the small rowing sampan boats fit in the narrow rivers. But taking a rowing boat and going gently over the small rivers between towering karst mountains and jungle fits perfect in the magical scenery.

Kong Skull Island movie location

In 2017, Trang An was one of the most important film locations of the blockbuster “Kong: Skull Island”. A couple of months later after the movie, the local tourist board opened a small part of the movie set of “ Kong: Skull Island ” to visit. In particular, a reconstructed jungle tribe village in the film one, with locals dressing up as the aborigines in the film.

Trang An boat trip

To see the impressive landscape of Trang An you have to take a boat trip. With a rowing boat you go over the river, past the towering limestone mountains, through caves and you can visit a number of temples. There are currently three boat routes in Trang An, one of which you must choose (all the same price). In all three boat routes you will see the beautiful landscape, but there are a few small differences:

Route 1 was the first boat trip and during this tour you visit most caves, 9 in total. You also go to 3 temples and pagodas.

Route 2 is new and now also the most popular, because it has a good mix of caves and other sights. During this Trang An boat trip you will visit three caves, two temples and King Kong village; a part from the Kong Skull Island film set.

In route 3 you also visit 3 caves, 1 of which with 1 km is also the longest in Trang An. You also visit 2 temples and the film set in King Kong Village.

Which should I choose?

In route 2 and 3 you go to King Kong Village from the latest Kong movie. Route 1 is nowadays the most peaceful route, but has many caves. Route 2 is the best mix of sights, but it is also the busiest.

Trang An bout tour prices and opening hours

Location : Ecotourism Trang An Boat Tour ( Google Maps ) Price : Tickets can be purchased at the counter in the Trang An Ecological Park parking lot. As soon as you arrive, you will see the tourist center.

  • Adults : 200,000 vnd
  • Children under 1 meter : 100,000 vnd

Opening hours : 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM Duration : 2.5 – 3 hours

  • If you plan to do a Trang An Tour in the middle of the day, don’t forget to bring an umbrella, sunscreen and hat to protect yourself from the sun or rain.
  • Bring water and snacks as this boat trip takes approximately 3 hours.
  • Every boat has an extra paddle. If you want, you can use them for rowing.

Trang An highlights

1. trang an boat tour.

Trang An boat trip

As mentioned, the Trang An boat tour is the highlight of a trip to this area. Enjoy a traditional rowing boat ride over the stunning stream, between impressive karts mountains.

2. Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Hoa Lu in Ninh Binh

Just 4 km from where the boats leave for the Trang An boat tour, you find Hoa Lu , the ancient capital of Vietnam. The original citadel may no longer exist, but the remaining tenth-century buildings and the beautiful surroundings of Hoa Lu are well worth a visit.

3. Cycling through Trang An’s countryside

Cycling in Ninh Binh

The countryside of Trang An is impressive, with extensive rice fields, where you can see buffalos and their owners at work. Steep mountains covered with jungle and some hidden goats jumping from rock to rock. The roads between these mountains and rice fields are flat with little traffic, which makes it ideal for cycling. Cycling in Ninh Binh is extremely popular and most hotels and homestays offer free bicycles to borrow. You can also choose to rent a scooter.

4. Staying overnight

Trang An accommodation

The countryside of Ninh Binh is one of the main highlights for travelers to visit this area. What better place is there to stay then right in this area. The Trang An area has some stunning accommodation, often hidden behind the cliffs and mountains. Expect scenic views from your stay over the countryside or a wetland area. In addition, staying in this area also means staying close to the main things to do in Ninh Binh , so it is easy to reach the main attractions by bicycle or scooter.

Apart from all the temples and the boat trip, there are no other sights in Trang An itself. About 7 km from Trang An is Tam Coc , here you will find another popular boat trip and Mua Cave , the best viewpoint in Ninh Binh.

Southeast Asia’s largest Buddhist temple complex is 12 km from Trang An and is called Bai Dinh Pagoda . It consists of various temples and more than 500 images of Buddha. The complex is huge but not very old; built in 2003.

There are many tour operators who offer a 1-day or 2-day tour from Ninh Binh or Hanoi. If you choose a day tour to Trang An, transport is included. This usually means that you will be picked up by a tour operator and brought in a shuttle bus or private car.

You can also travel to Ninh Binh from Hanoi, Hue and Phong Nha, among others. Ninh Binh has a train station that connects it to the north and south. Many buses also stop here. Because it is only a 1.5 hour drive from Hanoi you can also hire a minibus or private car at a reasonable price.

From Ninh Binh city or Tam Coc

If you are in Ninh Binh or Tam Coc, Trang An is best reached by bike, motorcycle or taxi. You can rent a motorbike or scooter for 150,000 VND per day. A taxi costs around 15,000 VND / km. The best thing is by bike, because the roads between Tam Coc, Ninh Binh and Trang An are quiet and you can cycle between beautiful rice fields.

You can visit Trang An all year round. In contrast to Tam Coc, you have fewer rice fields in Trang An, which means that it is not much nicer in Trang An during the correct rice season. You do have to deal with the rainy season and the drying season. The best weather is in the months from November to April. It can be cold in December and January in particular.

Trang An offers many accommodation options, with hotels, resorts, homestays, hostels and bungalows. The advantage of staying at Tam Coc or Trang An is that you are right in the vicinity of the popular sights, boat tours and located in a beautiful area. You can visit most sights from here by bike. Some recommended accommodations in Trang An are:

  • Lotus Field Homestay
  • Trang An Farm Stay
  • Hoalu Eco Homestay Ninh Binh
  • Trang An Retreat
  • Trang An Nature House

Are you excited to do the Trang An boat tour, Hoa Lu or just to visit this stunning region? Check our tours to Ninh Binh and Trang An. You can also combine a visit to Ninh Binh with Pu Luong Nature Reserve and Cuc Phuong National Park .

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Trang An boat trip

Ninh Binh trip: Bai Dinh pagoda, Trang An boat trip & biking day tour from Hanoi

  • Explore the largest pagoda temple complex in Vietnam
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Trang An boat tour

Ninh Binh 2 day discovery: Trang An, Mua Cave, Hoa Lu & pagoda’s

  • Enjoy a breathtaking boat trip through Trang An
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Ninh Binh 2 day exploration: Trang An, Mua Cave, Cuc Phuong national park & pagoda’s

  • Make a trekking through in Cuc Phuong National park
  • Visit the best viewpoint of Ninh Binh
  • Make a boat trip through the impressive mountains of Trang An
  • Stay in a nice bungalow with cooking class and dinner
  • Destination: Ninh Binh
  • By: Marnick Schoonderwoerd
  • September 23, 2019
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Trang An or Tam Coc: Which Boat Tour in Ninh Binh Vietnam is Best

By Author Emily Junda

Posted on Last updated: October 4, 2023

Categories Vietnam

Ninh Binh, Vietnam is known for its stunning river boat tours and often referred to as the Ha Long Bay on Land . The waterways in the area take you along limestone cliffs, colorful rice paddies, and through narrow caves. There are two different boat tours, Trang An and Tam Coc , each offering a similar yet unique passage through the river. 

In this guide, we will dive into the similarities and differences between the Trang An and Tam Coc Boat Tours.

vietnam boat tour

This post may contain affiliate links. Disclosure policy .

Difference Between The Trang An & Tom Coc River Boat Tours

Boat Rower going under a cave using their hands to paddle on the Trang An Boat Tour

Trang An Boat Tour

  • Boats must have 3-4 passengers
  • Guide rows with his/her hands
  • Travel under up to 9 caves & 3 ancient temples
  • Paddle past the famous scene from Kong Skull Island
  • 3 different routes to choose from
  • Tours are a loop rather than out & back (always new scenery)
  • Can get off and walk in/around ancient pagodas
  • Smaller & longer caves
  • Cleaner water
  • Snacks for purchase at some of the temples
  • No “professional” photographer
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

Tam Coc Boat Tour

  • Boat can go with just a group of 2 (but can also hold 4 passengers)
  • Guide rows with his/her feet
  • Travel under 3 caves
  • Paddle below the famous Mua Cave Viewpoint
  • Tour goes through beautiful rice fields
  • The boat tours offer only 1 route (out & back)
  • Larger but shorter caves
  • Dirtier water
  • Snacks are sold after the last cave via local people on boats
  • “Professional” photographers on the water (can purchase your photo at the end of the tour)

Tam Coc Boat Rower using his feet to paddle

Overall, we liked the Trang An boat tour best. But it was our first boat tour, so this might have a little something to do with why we enjoyed it better. 

Going through a cave on the Trang An Boat Tour

How To Get To The Trang An Boat Tour

There are a few different options for getting to the Trang An Boat Tour, such as car, taxi, pedal bike, or motorbike. 

There is a parking lot across the street from the Trang An Boat Tours. Cost for parking is 15k ($0.63 USD) for a scooter (motorbike) and 10k ($0.42 USD) per bicycle. Make sure you take your ticket and keep it with you, because you will need to show it again when you leave the parking area with your scooter or bike. 

If you are traveling from Hanoi or nearby city, use the website 12goasia to find a bus, train, or taxi ride into Ninh Binh.

Different Routes For The Trang An Boat Tour

Tourists going under Lam Cave on Route 2 of the Trang An Boat Tour

There are three different routes to choose from when taking the Trang An Boat Tour. Each offers a loop route so you are always experiencing new scenery and only going through each cave once.

Here are the details for the 3 different Trang An Boat Tour routes:

  • Trinh Temple
  • Nau Ruou Cave
  • Tran Temple
  • Ba Giot Cave
  • Son Duong Cave
  • Khong Palace (aka: Bao Hieu Temple)
  • Quy Hau Cave
  • Summary: Tour with the most caves, not for claustrophobic tourists
  • Thanh Cao Son Temple
  • Thanh Truot Cave
  • Suoi Tien Temple
  • Dia Linh Mountain
  • Kim Quy Mountain
  • Vu Lam Royal Steps Temple
  • Kong Skull Island Movie Set
  • Summary: Good happy medium of everything: scenic, caves, temples. Most popular route.
  • Summary: Goes through the longest cave (Dot Cave) with an amazing stalactite system, technically the shortest but most scenic route.

Thanh Cao Son Temple on Route 2 of the Trang An Boat Tour

Route 1 is technically the longest route and will take the longest amount of time. Route 2 is slightly shorter, and Route 3 is technically the shortest route. All claim to be 3 hrs long, but it all depends on how much time you spend off the boat at each pagoda. 

Jake and I typically just got off to check out each spiritual place, took some photos, walked around, then got back on the boat. Ultimately making the tour shorter and only taking about 2 hours rather than the suggested 3 hours.

Famous Rock from Kong Skull Island on the Trang An Boat Tour

Price For The Trang An Boat Tour:

The ticket price is the same no matter which Trang An route you choose. The cost is 250k VND ($10.50 USD) for adults, and 120k VND ($5 USD) for children. But any children under 1 m (3’ 3”) ride free.

Before heading to the boat launching area, you must first purchase your ticket from the ticket booth across the street first. Once you purchase your ticket, you can head to the underground tunnel toward the boat wharf. Here there will be a ticket checkpoint. 

Once your ticket is scanned, head toward the river to find a tour guide (aka boat rower).  There will be someone directing you to the right boat depending on the route you choose. You might have to wait for other passengers if you are traveling in a group of fewer than 4.

What To Expect On The Trang An Boat Tour

vietnam boat tour

The boat fits up to 4 passengers, therefore, you are likely to be sharing the boat with strangers. Each boat won’t leave with just one or two passengers, so you might have to wait for another traveler or two before the boat takes off. Or you can purchase four tickets (1m VND ($42 USD)) to have a private boat tour.

We found the tour guides to not speak much English, so we didn’t really learn much along our tour.

At each temple you will be dropped off to explore the area. It is important to remember your boat number, because you won’t be getting back on the boat in the same place. Once you are finished exploring the temple, you will walk to the pick up location and find your boat # with the same boat rower. 

When going through the caves, there are lights in place so it won’t be completely dark. You will likely need to duck in certain areas so you won’t hit your head. So people with mobility issues may have trouble.

There are additional paddles in the small boats. You don’t need to row, but it can be helpful and take some of the workload off the boat rower. 

At the end of the tour, you can choose to tip your boat rower or not. It is not customary in Vietnam, but it can be a nice gesture. 

View of a boat tour in the Ngo Dong River from the Mua Cave Viewpoint

How To Get To The Tam Coc Boat Tour

The Tam Coc boat tour is situated right in the city center. Therefore, if you are staying in Tam Coc, you can likely walk to the boat tour. But if you are staying in Trang An or a nearby city, you can get here via car, taxi, or motorbike. 

There are a handful of places you can park your bike or scooter in the city. We parked our scooter here , right next to this public restroom and near the Tam Coc Boat Tours. We paid 10k VND ($.42 USD). 

It was covered parking and there was an attendant standing right outside the area. It didn’t seem super official, but it was cheap and we just took the gamble. Everything ended up being fine and our bike was there when we got back! (Refer to the map above for direct links to parking, ticket booth, and boat launch point).

If you are traveling from Hanoi or other nearby city, use the site 12goasia to find direct routes via bus, taxi, or train.

Going through the last cave on the Tam Coc Boat Tour

Route For The Tam Coc Boat Tour

There is only one route for the Tam Coc Boat Tours, which is out and back. The tour starts from the city, down the Ngo Dong River. It passes through 3 caves, which you will pass through again on your way back.

Price For The Tam Coc Boat Tour

There is an extra cost of 120k VND ($5 USD) per person for sightseeing tickets in the Tam Coc area. Children under 1.4m (4’6″) are 60k VND ($2.5 USD), children under 3 are free.

There is an additional cost if you want to go on the Tam Coc boat trip. It’s an additional 150k VND ($6.30 USD) per boat. So for a couple, the total cost would be 120k VND x 2 (sightseeing entrance fee) + 150k VND (for the boat) = 390k VND ($16.50 USD). 

We are not really clear on why there is a separate sightseeing fee, but you need to pay both to go on the boat tour.

Tickets can be bought at the ticket booth right in front of the Ngo Dong River (you will see TONS of boats lined up ready to take tourists). Do note, they only take cash, but there are many ATMs within walking distance from the ticket booth.

First limstone wall you come upon on the Tam Coc boat tour

What To Expect On The Tam Coc Boat Tour

Foreign tourists can have their own private tour with just 2 passengers. Vietnamese People will need 3-4 passengers for each boat.

The Tam Coc boat ride is out and back and travels through 3 caves. There is only one route to choose.

There are lights in the cave, but you might need to duck in certain areas so you won’t hit your head. 

At the last cave, there will likely be local people offering snacks for purchase. After passing under the last cave, you will turn around and head back. 

Again, our tour guide did not speak fluent English, so it was hard to communicate, and we didn’t learn much along the tour.

The Tam Coc Boat Tour is more about the scenery and rowing through the stunning rice fields. So you won’t experience the same spiritual places like you do on the Trang An Boat Tour. 

When Is The Best Season For Ninh Binh Boat Tours: Trang An or Tam Coc

Lush green rice fields on the Tam Coc Boat Tour

The best time to visit Ninh Binh for the Trang An or Tam Coc boat tour is from late May to early July to experience the colorful rice paddies. This is considered harvest season, so you can witness the yellow fields. You can also witness the colorful rice fields in October as well (but will likely be a beautiful green). 

Winter (November-May) is Ninh Binh’s dry season. So this can also be a good time to visit Ninh Binh. But the rice fields won’t be in full swing, and you will often see the farmers out there replanting in the paddy fields.

Brown rice fields not in harvest season on the Tam Coc Boat Tour (mid-January)

We visited mid-January and the temperatures were in the 40’s-50’s which we found pretty chilly out on the water. The rice fields were also pretty brown and not vibrant yellow or green.

The months of August and September should be avoided because of heavy rainfall and storm season. 

Best Time Of Day To Do Ninh Binh Boat Tours

Aerial view of row boats coming down the Trang An with the Kong Skull Island Movie Set

Also, if you want to avoid the crowds, you should do the boat tour in the early morning . This avoids many of the large tours leaving from Hanoi and you will likely have more of the river/temples to yourself. 

We did our Trang An boat tour in the afternoon and poorly timed our tour with a large group who were very loud and took away from the serene nature you are surrounded by. So ideally, we would have done the tour in the morning if we were to do it again.

What To Bring On The Trang An or Tam Coc Boat Tours:

  • Snacks (boat tours are 2-3 hrs/ snacks are available for purchase near the last cave on the Tam Coc tour or at the temples for the Trang An Tours)
  • Layers (we visited in January and it was cold!)
  • Good Shoes (you climb in and out of the boat, so I’d suggest tennis shoes/no flip flops)
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Umbrella (can be both good for rain or shade from the sun)

Ninh Binh Boat Tours From Hanoi (Epic Day Trips & Multi-Day Tours)

If you want to take the hard part out of coordinating your own trip to Ninh Binh, then consider going with a tour operator instead.

Day Trip to Ninh Binh from Hanoi: (Best Value)

This tour leaves from Hanoi and provides a full day of adventures in Ninh Binh. There are 6 different attractions you can choose from: Hoa Lu ancient capital, Mua Cave, Tam Coc, Bich Dong Pagoda, Bai Dinh Pagoda, and Trang An. There are different itineraries to choose from, so prices may fluctuate. The tour returns back to Hanoi at the end of the day. (Transportation, lunch, & entrance fees included) .

Luxury Ninh Binh Day Trip from Hanoi : (Best Day Trip Option)

This tour starts from Hanoi, and brings you to Ninh Binh. Groups are no larger than 9 people maximum. First, you meet with a local family to explore Vietnamese culture. Then, head to the ancient Bich Dong Pagoda where you will learn about the history of Buddhism. Then you head out on the Tam Coc River Tour, followed by a bike ride through the rice paddies and villages. Followed by a hike up to Mua Cave. The trip returns back to Hanoi at the end of the day. (Transportation, entrance fees & lunch included)

Unique Multi-Day Trip Including Hanoi, Ninh Binh & Ha Long Bay:

If you are short on time and want to see the best sights in Northern Vietnam, these multi-day tours could be a great option.

Hanoi: 3-Day Luxury Ninh Binh & HaLong Bay 5-Star Cruise :

This cruise picks guests up in Hanoi and heads to Ninh Binh to visit the ancient city of Hoa Lu (aka Ninh Binh), climb to the Hang Mua viewpoint, and take the scenic Trang An Boat Tour. Then the next day you head to Ha Long Bay for an overnight cruise. Finally, head back to Hanoi. (Transportation, accommodation, entrance fees, & all meals (except dinner in Ninh Binh) included)

5-Day Hanoi – Lan Ha Bay 5 Star Cruise – Ninh Binh Tour :

This unique 5-day tour starts off with a pick-up from the Hanoi airport and provides transportation to the city center. Day 2 is a Hanoi City Tour exploring the unique attractions in the city. Day 3 you head to Ninh Binh where you explore Bai Dinh Temple Complex, a ride on the Trang An boat tour, followed by a hike up the Mua Caves Lookout. On Day 4, you head to Ha Long Bay for an overnight cruise. Then, the following day, head back to Hanoi. (Transportation, accommodation, entrance fees, & all meals included)

Check Out Our Video on Both Trang An & Tam Coc Boat Tours

vietnam boat tour

Related Posts To Trang An or Tam Coc You Might Find Helpful

  • 33 Things To Know Before Traveling To Vietnam
  • Consider checking out the amazing mountain town of Sapa, Vietnam for more stunning scenery

Is Trang An or Tam Coc Boat Tour Better?

Floating Pagoda on the Trang An Boat Tour

We were lucky enough to go on both the Trang An and Tam Coc boat tours to compare the two. Personally, we really enjoyed both tours with the stunning scenery, so you really can’t go wrong with either. But there are a few differences that make each tour stand out in different ways. 

Both tours took around 2 hours, but they can be extended depending on the temples you explore. Or anywhere you stop to walk around. So some tourists can expect their tours to be anywhere from 2-3 hrs long.

Pros & Cons of the Trang An Boat Tour

vietnam boat tour

The Trang An Boat Tour is technically more expensive by 110k VND ($5 USD). Which in USD is really not much of a game changer in price. But it can be a little harder to get to since there are no hotels or hostels located near the boat wharf. And you will likely be paying for a taxi or for bike/scooter parking, which can add to the overall price. 

The Trang An Boat Tour is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Which means it is in a protected area and you are less exposed to scammers.

A bonus to the Trang An Boat Tour is the 3 different routes to choose from. If you love caves, then route 1 is best for you. If you want a happy medium between scenery, temples, and caves, then route 2 is perfect for you. And lastly, if you want to experience the longest cave in Trang An, then route 3 is a unique experience for you. 

Don’t think too harshly about the route decision, as they are all a loop and meander along beautiful landscapes of limestone mountains, unique caves, and visit spiritual places. 

One drawback is the boat having to be full with 3-4 passengers. While pairing with another couple wasn’t a huge deal, we always had to switch between front and middle seats. So if you are big into photography, having people sit in front of you could be annoying. And when you get off at the temples, you might be waiting for the other pair to get back to the boat or vice versa (which can be added stress).

Pros & Cons of the Tam Coc Boat Tour

Farmers in the rice field on the tam coc boat tour

The Tam Coc tour, like mentioned above, is cheaper by 110k VND ($5 USD). Another bonus is the location in the city. If you ride a train or bus into Ninh Binh, you are likely to be dropped off in the city here and won’t need to pay for parking. 

The Tam Coc boat trip meanders through the rice paddies and offers beautiful natural landscapes. You can also see the Mua Caves Viewpoint along the ride, which is just a cool sight to see. 

Another bonus for the Tam Coc boat ride is that foreign travelers can have their own private boat. So we were able to have the boat driver stop wherever we wanted for photos or for literally anything.

But the Tam Coc Boat Tours is not located in a World Heritage Site, so it does have more exposure to pushy vendors and scammers. There was an instance when the local people had us stop for snacks before the last cave.

We politely declined, but once we made it back through, we decided to just support the locals by getting a little snack of fresh pineapple. The ladies tried to get us to buy our boat rower a soda and chips, but we just asked if he would rather that or tip him cash at the end (he wanted the cash). 

Coming from the United States, tipping doesn’t really make us feel uncomfortable. But if you are from a country that doesn’t tip, the Tam Coc tour definitely made us feel a little more pressured to tip our tour guide. (Some Google Reviews have stated some people felt very uncomfortable, and at times they were asked for more money halfway along the trip).

Overall, if I had to choose just one, I would choose the Trang An Boat Tour. I personally like loop adventures and enjoyed the scenery on this tour more. But if you are only in Ninh Binh for a short time and staying in the Tam Coc area, I’d probably just do the Tam Coc for convenience.

Save This ‘Trang An vs Tam Coc Boat Tour Comparison’ For Your Planning

Ninh Binh Boat Tours Trang An or Tam Coc (Which Boat Tour is Better)

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Stunning Tam Coc Boat Tour In Vietnam

  • by Jonny Duncan
  • July 14, 2023 July 21, 2023

The Tam Coc Boat Tour is a popular tourist activity in Ninh Binh province, Vietnam. Tam Coc, which means “Three Caves,” is known for its stunning limestone karst landscape, resembling the famous Halong Bay but on land.

The boat tour takes you along the Ngo Dong River, passing through rice paddies, limestone cliffs, and three natural caves and is one of the best river tours you can do in the country.

The area has outstanding natural beauty and one of the best (and most peaceful) ways is to go by a wooden rowboat.

Tam Coc can be described as “Halong Bay on the Land” and one of the ancient lands of Vietnam.

Advice For The Tam Coc Boat Tour

Ninh Binh is a city around 2 hours south of Hanoi and easy to reach, with the best way of getting there being by train or minibus.

You can stay in Ninh Binh, although if you’re using Hanoi as a base you can do the Tam Coc boat tour as a day trip from Hanoi.

If you’re travelling on a budget it’s cheaper to arrange the Tam Coc boat tour by yourself when there rather than relying on an agency to book in advance.

Having said that, some of the day trip tours from Hanoi offer good value for money as they involve seeing a lot more of the area apart from the Tam Coc boat tour, such as the Mua Caves and other places, and save you the hassle of doing things by yourself if you’re short on time.

A highly recommended tour if you do one is this:

There are fixed prices for the boats if you do go by yourself so don’t expect to be able to bargain for lower prices, and each boat can take only 2 passengers, with the cost per boat for the tour being 200,000 VND, or around $20.

There are men who will try and take your photo when going for the Tam Coc boat tour and they will expect payment for it, so make sure to avoid them to save any hassle.

Be prepared for vendors selling snacks, drinks, and souvenirs along the river, as it’s a common practice in the area. It’s best to bring your own snacks and drinks for the boat ride as the local vendors near the boats tend to overcharge.

Also, make sure to bring some snacks and water for your boat rower and the rower will also expect a tip at the end of the tour.

The Tam Coc Boat Tour

During the tour, you’ll be seated in small rowboats, typically paddled by local women using their feet as well as their arms. It’s a unique and traditional way of navigating the area.

The best time to start the Tam Coc boat tour is early in the morning as it can get busy later in the day with tour groups. Visiting during the weekdays is also better for less crowds.

The busiest time of the year to visit is during harvest season which starts at the end of May up until July when the rice fields are in full bloom of bright yellow.

The area where the boats leave opens at 7 am. Also, being early you will avoid the midday heat. If you do go later in the day then make sure to bring a sun hat, water and sunscreen, if the sun is out.

The boat ride lasts around two hours, and the rowers will skillfully steer you through the picturesque scenery. If you want to stop to take photos ask your rower to do so. Don’t stand up in the boat as it can get wobbly and you could fall in.

vietnam boat tour

As you glide along the river, you’ll enter the Tam Coc caves, which are natural formations created by erosion over thousands of years. There are 3 caves that you will visit on a Tam Coc boat tour.

The caves are adorned with stalactites and stalagmites, and you’ll get a chance to marvel at their beauty as you pass through them.

The landscape surrounding Tam Coc is breathtaking, with lush green fields, limestone cliffs, and peaceful waterways. It’s often referred to as the “Halong Bay on Land” due to its similar geological features.

The boat tour offers a tranquil and immersive experience, allowing you to appreciate the natural wonders of the area.

vietnam boat tour

It’s worth noting that Tam Coc can get quite crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting during weekdays or opting for an early morning tour.

Overall, the Tam Coc Boat Tour is a must-do experience for nature lovers and those seeking to explore the beautiful landscapes of Vietnam.

It’s a chance to soak in the tranquillity and natural splendour of Ninh Binh province while being guided by local rowers through a unique cave system.

Tam Coc boat tour, boats on a river in Vietnam.

Travel Ninh Binh

The Toam Coc boat tour and Ninh Binh are one of the best places in Vietnam to visit on a trip in the north of the country.

Another great place to visit when in the area, aside from doing a Tam Coc boat tour, is the Mua Caves . You can climb around 500 steps up to the caves where you will get epic views over Tam Coc and many limestone karst mountains.

If you decide to spend a few days in Ninh Binh you can find places to stay in Ninh Binh here. Also if you are able, one of the best ways to explore the surrounding area is to rent a motorbike or bicycle and explore on your own.

As mentioned earlier, if you do a day trip tour from Hanoi to Tam Coc then this is the most recommended one to do:

For more on travel in Vietnam take a look at my article on Hue and Hoi An .

I recommend using  SafetyWing Travel Insurance  for your trip, just in case, it’s best to be prepared.

I’ve left this part until the end as I know some people don’t like to see in advance what a place is like, but to be surprised when there. But, if you want to see what the Tam Coc boat tour is like then this is a great video on YouTube showing it (spoilers ahead!)

Share the Tam Coc boat tour:

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Ultimate Guide to Tam Coc Boat Tour in Ninh Binh (2023)

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Looking for the most updated information for Tam Coc? 

You’ve come to the right place! Here is a comprehensive guide to the Tam Coc Boat Tour that covers everything you need to know. Find out the ticket prices in 2023, opening hours, how to get to Tam Coc, the best time to visit, where to stay near Tam Coc, and much more! 

Also, don’t miss out on our detailed Tam Coc Boat experience, where we outline what to expect on the tour. Read our top tips on how to avoid the crowds, how much to tip your rowers, and whether the Tam Coc boat tour is a scam!

vietnam boat tour

Plan your Trip to Tam Coc

If you’re planning to visit Tam Coc last minute, here are the links to hotels, tours, and other services that you can book right away! 

Transportation: Van Transfer , Private Car

Where to Stay: Tam Coc Dibi Villa  

Best Tour from Hanoi: Ninh Binh Full-Day Tour 

Protect yourself from unexpected emergencies . Buy your travel insurance with COVID cover at Heymondo and get 5% off for being our reader !

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Overview of Tam Coc

Tam Coc-Bich Dong in Ninh Binh is a popular tourist destination that takes you on a relaxing boat ride along the Ngo Dong River. One of the highlights of this boat tour is the amazing views of lush rice fields surrounded by stunning limestone cliffs. Tam Cốc also translates to three caves, which you will pass on the boat tour. 

Another symbol of Tam Coc are boat rowers, who use their legs to row. As you glide through the calm waters, you can see the skill and agility of the boatmen as they maneuver the boats effortlessly with their feet. 

A rower rows his boat with his feet, Tam Coc, Vietnam

How to Get to Tam Coc From Hanoi

The famous scenic area of Tam Cốc is located at the center of Ninh Bình Province and is around 2 hours drive from Hanoi. To start your boat tour, buy your tickets at Van Lam Pier by the main gate, and head to the boat dock to board one of the boats.

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Here are the best ways to reach Tam Coc from Hanoi: 

Bus: There is a tourist bus that leaves from Hanoi old quarter and stops at Ninh Binh bus station, directly across from the boat dock in Tam Coc. A ticket costs around 6 USD. Book your bus here !

Van: A comfortable option to get to Tam Coc is taking the van that seats from 9 to 11 people. It also stops directly in front of Tam Coc boat station. A ticket costs around 11 USD. Book your van here !

Private Car: Taking a private car from Hanoi is a great choice for families or a group of friends. You can leave whenever you want, and it is convenient. Expect to pay at least 50 USD to book a private car. Book your car here !

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Tam Coc Boat Tours from Hanoi

You may want to consider taking a day trip from Hanoi if you want a hassle-free way to visit Tam Coc. There are plenty of tours that  include a sampan boat to Tam Coc complex and also includes other highlights in Ninh Binh. 

However, we only recommend it if you’re pressed for time or just want the convenience of having everything taken care of. If not, it's very simple to take the Tam Coc boat ride on your own.

Here are the most popular Tam Coc Tours you can book:

Tam Coc Opening Hours

The Tam Coc boat tour opens daily and sells tickets from 7:30am to 5pm . We recommend getting there not later than 4:30pm just in case. You should set aside at least 2 hours to take the Tam Coc Boat ride. 

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Tam Coc Ticket Price

There’s an entrance fee of approximately 5 USD per adult and 3 USD for children. Additionally, you’ll have to pay for your boat ticket and rower. The boat can only carry two foreign guests for about 7 USD, whereas it can accommodate four Vietnamese nationals. 

Tam Coc Boat Tour Price: For two adults to ride on one sampan boat, budget at least 17 USD total.

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Best Time to Visit

The boat tour is available all year, but the best time to visit Tam Coc is from April to June . 

The rice fields will be carpeted in lush green in April, while the harvest season begins in late May to early June. During this time the rice fields turn golden yellow, creating a spectacular landscape alongside the towering karst mountains. 

Read: Best Time to Visit Vietnam

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Tam Coc Boat Route

The Tam Coc boat tour lasts around 1.5 to 2 hours.

There are no stops or temples to visit along the way, but there is a long stretch of rowing along the Ngo Dong River, passing through rice fields and overlooking towering karst mountains. You’ll also be going through three caves.

It is not a loop, but rather you go up and down the same route with a turning point where vendors are selling drinks and snacks. 

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Our Boat Experience

We visited at the end of May in the afternoon and got on the boat at around 4:30pm. There was no line up, buying entrance tickets was very straightforward, and everything went smoothly. It took us at least 2 hours to complete the boat tour. 

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Once you get to the wharf, staff will direct you to a boat and you will be automatically assigned to a rower waiting. 

Meet our Tam Coc rower. A 63 year old veteran who has been a boat rower in Tam Coc for over 20 years! Despite the language barrier, he was kind and friendly, with a great sense of humor. We enjoyed his company, which made our boat experience better.  

A man rows with his feet in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Weather in May

If you want to see the yellow rice fields in Tam Coc, May is one of the best months to visit. However, keep in mind that the weather can be hot and humid. 

During the week we were there, there was a heat wave, with temperatures reaching 41 ° C and the midday heat was unbearable. It remained hot throughout the day, even in the early morning and late afternoon.

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Tam Coc is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Ninh Binh, so expect some crowds. Since we visited later in the afternoon, we saw only a few other boats, most of which were returning to shore. The boat ride in Tam Coc was peaceful to say the least, and the views as the sun set were spectacular.

Tip: Avoid crowds by visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon. 

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

One of the most common online reviews, particularly on Google Maps, is that the Tam Coc boat trip is a scam. In our experience, this was not the case at all!   

We've read about the boat vendors who hassle you to buy drinks and snacks at the turning point. However, we only encountered one boat near the middle, and the woman on board was polite. We turned it down, but she suggested we buy snacks and drinks for our rower instead, which we agreed to. 

Sure, the prices were higher, but we were more than happy to get our rower a refreshing drink as he rowed us in that heat! He also insisted on sharing the fruit that we'd bought for him. 

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Also, we encountered one woman at the beginning of the tour rushing on her boat to take photos of us to print as a souvenir. We quickly showed our own camera and politely declined and she didn’t push. 

We believe it was because we did the tour late in the afternoon, when most of the boat sellers left for the day. Honestly, knowing a little bit of the language and how to say no politely goes a long way.

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

The majority of people online also discussed being harassed and being forced by their rowers to give more tips. While everyone's experience varies, our rower couldn't have been more opposite. 

We also asked our rower to stop at various viewpoints along the way, and we agreed on the tip to give him at the end. Even if he hadn't asked, we would have given him tips just for rowing us for that long in that heat!

So, how much should you tip? This all depends on you and what your experience is. We gave our rower 200,000 VND, which is about 9 USD. While your rower may suggest you give them tips, know that you can always politely decline. 

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Tam Coc Viewpoints

One of the highlights of the Tam Coc boat tour is the golden yellow rice fields, which are best seen from above. If you don't have a drone, stopping at the viewpoints is the best way to capture Tam Coc's yellow rice fields. 

We mentioned that the Tam Coc boat ride does not have any official stops, but you can plan your own with your rower. Just keep in mind that they may request additional tips if you do.

Here are four viewpoints to see the rice fields in Tam Coc.

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Viewpoint 1: Easy Hike

The most accessible viewpoint is right after the first cave on your left. There is a small path with a few dozen steps that are not very high. We didn't stop at this viewpoint because there were people taking photos and it was getting dark on our way back.

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Viewpoint 2: Medium Hike

The medium-difficulty viewpoint is located on the left side, just before entering the second cave. You will notice a small entrance to the stairs cut directly into the mountain. The stairs are quite steep and narrow, so keep an eye on your head. When you reach the top, you'll see a small platform with railings.  

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Viewpoint 3: Hard Hike

The third viewpoint, which is also located before the second cave but on the right, is the most difficult to reach but also the most beautiful. There is a small karst mountain to climb, and at the bottom is a small building. 

A woman climbs a karst mountain in Tam Coc, Vietnam

When you get to the building, turn right, and you'll see some makeshift bamboo ladders. Climb slowly because the ladder is shaky and some steps are missing. You will also have to climb sharp rocks to get to the top, but the views will be well worth it. 

Tip: Only hike to this viewpoint if you're in good shape and wearing appropriate shoes. 

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Viewpoint 4: Hang Mua 

Though this one is not particularly part of the boat tour, you can also view the Tam Coc rice fields from Hang Mua viewpoint. Hike up to the dragon statue and you can view the rice fields from above. 

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Is Tam Coc Worth Visiting?

The Tam Coc boat tour is a popular activity in Ninh Binh Province, but it can get very touristy. While we enjoyed our experience, we think that Tam Coc is only worth visiting if you hike to the viewpoints.

While you can easily enjoy and take photos while on the boat, we believe that seeing the rice fields from above is one of the best things to do in Tam Coc. 

Read: Plan your Trip to Ninh Binh: 2 Day Itinerary

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Trang An or Tam Coc Boat Tour?

Tam Coc and Trang An boat tours both provide spectacular views of Ninh Binh. Choosing which boat tour to go on depends on what you want to see and experience. 

Take the Trang An boat tour if you want to see more caves and temples and the Tam Coc boat tour if you want to see beautiful limestone cliffs and golden rice paddies from May to June. 

If you have the time, we recommend visiting both, but we think the Trang An Boat Tour is more worthwhile for its price and value. 

A boat filled with grass on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Where to Stay Near Tam Coc

Tam Coc is located in the center and there are many accommodations you can choose from. However, we recommend staying a bit further from the main area to enjoy a more peaceful stay.

Here are the most highly rated accommodations close to Tam Coc. 

hotel image

Where to Eat Near Tam Coc

If you're looking for places to eat near Tam Coc, there are several options to choose from. One popular option is the Family Restaurant, which offers extensive Vietnamese cuisine. 

The restaurant is always busy and for good reason as it has delicious meals for an affordable price. Note that some restaurants nearby have the same or similar name, so check the correct address here .

Tip: We recommend trying out their grilled goat on skewers, which is a specialty in Ninh Binh. The meat was very tender and flavorful. Also try out their roasted duck. 

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

For those who prefer international cuisine, there is the Aroma Indian Restaurant , which serves delicious Indian cuisine for reasonable prices. The restaurant is always busy so we recommend booking a table in advance. 

Other highly rated restaurants in the area include the Father Cooking Restaurant which serves Vietnamese food and the NGON Restaurant for vegan food options. 

A man rows his boat with a stick in Tam Coc, Vietnam

Tam Coc Boat Tour Tips

Here are our top travel tips for visiting the Tam Coc in Ninh Binh to make the most out of your boat tour. 

Read: 17 Top Tips for First Time Visitors in Vietnam

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

1. Plan your visit for the early morning or late afternoon. To avoid crowds and make the most of your experience, arrive at Tam Coc Boat Tour early in the morning or towards sunset when the tour groups are smaller. 

If you go in the afternoon, aim to start before 4pm so you can still enjoy the light for the duration of your boat tour. We started around 4:30 and it was already getting dark on our way back. 

2. Learn a few basic Vietnamese phrases. To enhance your interactions with the locals and boat rowers.

Boats on a river in Tam Coc, Vietnam

3. Keep some cash handy for tipping. Especially if you intend to hike to the viewpoints. 

4. Stay hydrated. Ninh Binh can get hot and humid, especially during the high tourist season. You can buy your water at the entrance or from locals selling it on their boat for a higher price. 

5. Wear comfortable shoes . If you want to hike to the viewpoints, avoid wearing sandals. Additionally, don’t forget to wear a hat to protect your face and head from direct sunlight.

A small boat surounded by islands of limestone, Halong Bay

And that’s the ultimate guide to the Tam Coc boat tour in Ninh Binh! 

Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed anything. Plan your perfect Vietnam trip using our comprehensive itineraries. We have a 14-day , 3-week , and one-month Vietnam itinerary designed for first time visitors!

Some links in this Tam Coc guide may be affiliate links.

This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of our links, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please know that by doing so, you are supporting Colorful Journeys in continuing to provide free high quality content to help you in your travels!

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