After visiting Bai Dihn Pagoda temple, we stopped for lunch in one of the small village in Trang An. It was a buffet restaurant and cater for all the tourists visiting Trang An. There are a variety of food but drink is not included. I won’t say the food is that delicious but eatable.
After the buffet, our bus driver went for a nap and we went for a bicycle ride at the countryside of Trang An. First, we choose the bike that is working well. The bicycles are located at the buffet restaurant. The tour guide will cycle with us through the villages and the paddy field of Trang An.
A portion of the cycle route is challenging for me, as we need to cycle on the main road. Well, I was little nervous as I was not use to cycle on main road for cars but more comfortable cycle on bicycle pathway back home.
Trang An is another places worth visiting beside Halong Bay. If you asked me which one is better, I really can’t tell you. Trang An Boat ride is slightly different from the Halong Bay cruise & sampan ride. Trang An boat ride will bring you through many grottoes, dark & narrow caves It is going to be thrilled when you passed the first dark cave but then after passing several caves, you will get use to it and immediately lower down your head when the sampan hit the cave. The 2 hours sampan ride will make your neck sore as you will go in countless narrow grottoes.
A local Vietnamese lady will paddle the 2 hours sampan ride. There 4 to 5 pax in a sampan ride. You are given a paddle to help paddle so that the sampan move faster.
There are thousands of sampans but all the sampan ride paddle in orderly manner. We were doing our sampan ride in the afternoon around 2 pm so it was quite crowded. Bring along a hat, umbrella or poncho. It was raining at the last hour of our sampan ride.
This is also the filmed location for the movie Kong : Skull Island!
Below is the first grotto we went in, remember to lower your head because the grotto is very narrow and the low ceiling.
You would be amazed at how well the Vietnamese boat woman maneuver the boat graciously under the narrow ceiling, without hitting the side of the grottoes. Some even use their feet to row the boat as they get too tired rowing whole day.
The grottoes are dark but there are few lights to show the way.
After the 2 hour ride, we returned to the crazy busy dock. If you are happy with the boat women hard work, you can tips them after the ride.
Final thoughts :
If you have few days in Hanoi, coming to Trang An is a good choice. The boat ride is different from the one in Halong Bay. In Trang An boat ride, you get to go through countless of dark and narrow grottoes. It was thrilled when you passed the first one and you may scream a little. After the 2 hours ride, your may get a little neck sore. 🙂
The bicycle ride through the village in Trang An was not a bad idea. If you can cycle, you should try out the one hour ride going through paddy field and limestone mountains. Trang An also known as “Inland Halong Bay”. Go as soon as possible before it get destroyed.
My Trang An Day Tour was booked via Go Asia in the local travel agency which cost USD 46.00 per person, which include pick up from hotel, Bai Dinh Temple, buffet lunch, 1 hour cycling in the village & 2 hours sampan boat ride in Trang An Grottoes Unesco site. If you book via Klook online, everything is the same except no cycling. Price is SGD 42.70 (cheaper)
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