Trang An or Tam Coc or Van Long?

Ninh Binh has been an increasingly popular destination for any Vietnam trips with massive limestone karst formations, winding rivers, mystery caves and endless rice paddies.

Trang An or Tam Coc or Van Long?

When it comes to the tours, most tourists get puzzled about the difference among boat rides in Trang An, Tam Coc, and Van Long. Which route is more scenic or enjoyable than the other?

The below information will break into the details of all the above trips and give you our view on the matter         


Tam Coc

Trang An

Van Long


(From Hanoi The Old Quarter)

About 108 km


Close to Mua Cave, Bich Dong, Thai Vi, Thung Nham

About 100 km


Close to Hoa Lu, Mua Cave, Thung Nang, Thien Ha Cave

About 92 km


Close to  Bai Dinh, Mermaid cave, Cuc Phuong national park


About 2 hours

Consist of 3 caves: Hang Ca, Hang Hai, Hang Ba

Large rice fields along the river, hardly to see wild animals.

Caves are wider but shorter than that in Trang An

Ticket: 315,000 VND/person

About 2.5 -3 hours

There are 3 options:

Route 1: 9 caves, 3 temples

Route 2: 4 caves, 3 temples, film set from King Kong Skull Island

Route 3: 3 caves, 3 temples

No rice fields, hardly to see wild animals.

Caves are narrower and longer than Tam Coc

Ticket: 250,000 VND/person

About 1.5 -2  hours

Only 1 cave, a natural forest where it is full of cranes and other aquatic birds.

Small rice fields along rivers. Easy to see wild animal  (Endangered delacour langur, wild birds).

The cave is the smallest and can’t be visited during the rainy season.

Ticket : 70,000 VND /person


The scenery is the most stunning by seeing nice rice fields and farmers working on that during the rice season

Greater scenic variety than the other two places.

The scenery is stable al year round.

Neither venders nor people ask for buying stuff or for your tip

The least touristy, the most peaceful and relaxing.

The cheapest ticket

Neither venders nor people ask for buying stuff or for your tip


The scenery is less beautiful during fall or winter when the rice season is ended

Many people asking to buy stuff and ask for your tips before ending the boat trip.

The most expensive ticket


Artificial and crowded of Asian tourists with brand new concrete pagodas

The trip is shortest, there is only one cave


Travelling during the rice planting, growing or harvest season (except from late October to late March), Tam Coc is the most scenic site.

Should take the trip before 8-9 am or 4-5 pm to avoid the crowds

A good option for travel date from late October to late March.

Should take the trip before 8-9 am or 4-5 pm to avoid the crowds

Should do in the early morning or late afternoon to  see wildlife and good reflection of mountains on water.

Should take the trip from late September to early May to be able to access the cave.

This site is ideal for nature and wild life lovers, and prefer off the beaten path.

It is really hard to say which site is the best, only which destination is the most suitable for your travel date and what you are looking for.

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