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Family with young children - Ninh Binh?

Auckland Central...
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Family with young children - Ninh Binh?

Hi, firstly thanks for all the amazing information on these forums. Has been so helpful with the short time I have to plan our trip to Vietnam for early November.

Our family of three active/fit young boys (6,8,10yearz) only have 11/12 days (in Vietnam - Hanoi as arrival and departure) and so far have planned

- Hanoi - 4 nights (3 full days)

- 2 nights on boat in Halong Bay area with Cat Ba Ventures

- transferring directly to Ninh Binh for 2 nights or 1 night

- overnight train to Hoi An for final 3 nights of trip.

My questions are:

Is it worth going to Ninh Binh as well as Cat ba/Halong?

Could we just do 1 night and 1 full day in Ninh Binh (before catching the late night train?)

Are the drive times from Ninh Binh to see the sights long? I don't want the kids in cars for too long - we don't need to "tick off" sites. Would rather walk/tramp, see locals, go to a local school etc.

Has anyone come across bikes for kids available with any day tours?

Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Lastly while not really this topic, does anyone have experience with internal flights? Would I be crazy to try to catch a flight from Da Nang to Hanoi to then connect with our international flight? Our international departure from Hanoi is 6pm - are internal flights often delayed?

Thanks for your advice - greatly appreciated.

14 replies to this topic
Brisbane, Australia
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1. Re: Family with young children - Ninh Binh?

Stacey we recently spent a couple of nights in Ninh Binh. Our day out around the countryside included Trang An, Mua Cave, a small temple at the back of Tam Coc and the general countryside. We cut our day short and returned at 4pm, which meant we missed Bai Dinh pagoda, as my 11yo was unwell (my other son is 7). We had arranged this through Toan, who brought three of his friends to take us around the area on their motorbikes. They provided helmets and we always felt quite safe. The region is generally compact (some suggest doing it on bicycles!) It depends how much you want to cram in, whether you should take the train that night, but it depends on your stamina and the train schedule. Just my 2c worth - hope it helps.

Edited: 02 October 2016, 05:27
Auckland Central...
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2. Re: Family with young children - Ninh Binh?

Thanks - that's really helpful. Would you recommend any of the things you saw or did in particular?

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Family with young children - Ninh Binh?

Definitely Trang An and Hang Mua.

Neither are far out of Ninh Binh.

It is never recommended here to have domestic flights meet up with international ones.

Can make for a very nervous final day, and a potentially very expensive one.

Cheers,

Scott

Brisbane, Australia
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4. Re: Family with young children - Ninh Binh?

The Trang An caves/grotto experience was fun, but even in the early morning it was quite hot in the direct sun over the water - make sure you take an umbrella for shade.

We traveled at the end of July, and I would most definitely recommend waiting until after lunch to climb Hang Mua as the heat in the morning is ridiculous. By the time we climbed, and had a look around and then started our decent, the sun had moved and most of the stairs were more shaded making it a lot more enjoyable. I really wish our guide had considered this in his timing when he took us there. I was drenched head to toe in sweat - not a great look!

leicester
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5. Re: Family with young children - Ninh Binh?

We have been to NB a few times and the first trip we had just one full day out exploring by motorbike with riders. If doing it by car, the area is pretty compact so you shouldn't need to be in a car for too long. With kids, definitely Trang An on the boats. Hang Mua is a long steep step climb so good for keeping the kids moving with a fantastic view from the top. Hoa Lu probably isn't that interesting for kids but the Bai Dinh pagoda has hundreds of statues with funny faces (I'm hoping that's not offensive as there will be a religious significance!)

You will see more local life around Ninh Binh and if you ask your guide to take you to local villages they often will. We used Toans services and previously our hotel arranged a local guide for us which was also very good and may be less touristy than Halong and Catba.

I personally wouldn't risk flying domestic to catch a same day international flight. Too much stress, too much travel and delays do happen.

Edited: 02 October 2016, 15:00
Auckland Central...
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6. Re: Family with young children - Ninh Binh?

Thanks. I will make sure we visit those. Sounds perfect.

Chiang Mai, Thailand
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7. Re: Family with young children - Ninh Binh?

Hi...can I ask how you got to Ninh Binh? We are going from Halong...did you do the same?

Any other tips from your Ninh Binh stay?

Thanks

Ros

Chiang Mai, Thailand
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8. Re: Family with young children - Ninh Binh?

Hi...can I ask how you got to Ninh Binh? We are going from Halong...did you do the same?

Any other tips from your Ninh Binh stay?

Thanks

Ros

Los Cabos, Mexico
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9. Re: Family with young children - Ninh Binh?

Ninh Binh is beautiful and worth staying a couple of days for relax. I will only do Halong Bay but skip Cat Ba in my opinion

Perth, Australia
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10. Re: Family with young children - Ninh Binh?

I am in Ninh Binh at the moment with my 3 kids 9,8 & 6 and they are loving it! We are staying at Nguyen Shacks which are amazing. Sleeping in a bamboo shack under mosquito nets. We were greeted at the front gate by two girls on scooters who made us jump on for a ride to reception. I am pretty sure this will be a highlight of the trip for the kids. This afternoon we did the boat ride from Tam Coc. The scenery was beautiful but I have to admit the touristy, scam side ruined it a bit for me. We are off to Mua Caves in the morning and will go for a bike ride and explore before heading back to Hanoi late afternoon. Definitely glad we made the effort to get here.

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