Trang An Caves in Ninh Binh – Grottoes Tour
The video above shows an iPhone time-lapse video of one of the larger caves on the Trang An Grottoes boat tour. While the Trang An Caves are on of the highlights in Ninh Binh, there are some other outdoor activities to do as well. You can read more about my time in Ninh Binh here.
The Trang An Grottoes tour takes you through seven caves and to three temples among the limestone mountains in Ninh Binh. The boats fit four passengers and a guide. Our guide, and it looked like most of the guides, were middle aged women. These are some tough women. They paddle the weight of five people in the blazing heat for quite a distance what seems like miles. There are some oars in the boat if you want to help out, which our group did for the entire trip back once we reached the end.
What to Expect on the Tour
First, the boats only leave when they have at least 3 of the 4 passenger slots filled. If you show up with 2 people, you will need to wait until another group of 1-2 people shows up. There are no covers or shade on these boats, so make sure you bring a big hat or any umbrella. You will get fried in the summer if you don’t have anything. Going through the low hanging caves is the pinnacle of this activity. The temples are interesting because they are tucked away in the cliffs, but really they are nothing special if you have seen other Vietnamese pagodas.
Our boat captain/guide was masterful at steering us through the caves and preventing our heads from smashing into the low hanging rocks. That’s for sure. But she did not speak a word the entire tour and probably didn’t speak any English. If you are interested in getting more information on the background and history of the area, I would do some independent research and reading before you take the boat tour. You might be able to ask at the ticket counter if there are any English speaking guides, though you would probably need to pay extra.
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