Had I more than one day to explore Northern Vietnam after my work engagements in Hanoi, I would’ve joined the masses in Halong Bay. No matter how beautiful the World Heritage Site was, however, taking an eight-hour round trip to spend four hours on a ship didn’t seem like a good use of my time. Tam Coc came up often in discussions about alternatives to Halong Bay; being less than two hours from Hanoi, it seemed like a sensible pick.
I decided on one of the many organised day trips that also included a visit to the ancient citadel of Hoa Lu and a bicycle ride around the rice paddies. The Ninh Binh region is full of the same limestone formations as those out at sea, but I’ll focus on the river ride in Tam Coc for this post.