Head out to Tam Coc village as early as possible to get it all for yourself. The boat tour at Tam Coc is really different from Halong Bay. You will get your own private boat with a local lady that paddles with her feet, yes her feet! She takes you down the river along the rice paddies and through the caves. Before turning around, the lady will ask you to buy drinks or food for you or her.
From Hanoi, it’s a two-hour drive to Tam Coc. You can also do a perfect cheap tour in Halong Bay and take the bus from the beautiful island Cat Ba to Tam Coc or Ninh Binh. Ninh Binh is next to Tam Coc and is a 3-hour drive from Cat Ba Island.
There isn’t much going on in Ninh Binh town but there is one amazing restaurant, Trung Tuyet. It is a small and simple place run by a sweet family. The chicken of beef pineapple dishes are the ones you’ve never tasted before! When you ask for the bill the waitress will ask you if it is your last night in Ninh Binh. When it is, you’ll get a bag with some snacks. Pretty random but so nice. ?