Vietnam :: Trang An boat ride & Bai Dinh pagoda

“If you want to gather a lot of knowledge, act as if you are ignorant.”
– Vietnamese Proverb

After I had done the Tam Coc boat trip I didn’t really have anymore plans… I let Lys talk me into having her husband drive me around on his scooter all day.

I was unsure if I should do the Trang An boat trip, having just done the Tam Coc one, but the Trang An one is often more talked about and more lauded and I have a severe fear of missing out #FOMO

Lys, who owned the house I was staying at in Tam Coc talked me into seeing the Bai Dinh Pagoda as well and so I ended up making a day of it. Her husband put me on the back of his scooter and drove me about an hour away from Tam Coc to see the pagoda. Before driving me back to Trang An where he got me a ticket and showed me where to queue for the boat saying (and miming) that he would wait for me by the trees when I got back “no hury no hury!” – Talk about being service minded… I mean, I know I paid them a good price for a whole day of scootering and waiting, but still…


The thing about the Trang An boat ride is that you can’t freakin’ miss it, because at any given moment there’s 65 billion people queueing to get on the bloody thing.

I ended up in the queue ahead of a french couple and naturally I slided up next to them and we ended in the boat together. This place is happy to welcome three foreigners in the same boat apparently. So I had a really good trip on the lakeriverthingy and I made two new friends. Our rower was a woman, I didn’t catch her name, but she was a smiley workhorse of a person. She got a tip.

Before you get in the boat you pick which route you want to take, you can pick between three and they all take around 1,5 – 2 hrs. The map/plan has bullet points showing what you will see, but it can be confusing because the route we chose had several caves and some temples, but the thing is, you don’t actually go TO the temples, you just row past them (while others are stopping and going into them smh…) – I’m not quite sure why the temples are even on the list (other than to make the trip seem more tempting), we never got a real answer for this.

The trip itself was quite nice though, great weather, fabulous landscape (a bit different to Tam Coc, less rice fields) and good company. Thanks for helping with the rowing, Jerome and Anne-Gelle 😉


“Bái Đính Temple is a complex of Buddhist temples on Bai Dinh Mountain in Gia Viễn District, Ninh Bình Province, Vietnam. The compound consists of the original old temple and a newly created larger temple. It is considered the largest complex of Buddhist temples in Vietnam and has become a popular site for Buddhist pilgrimages from across Vietnam.”

It’s basically a huge area with temples, pagodas and a really tall stupa. You have to pay extra to go up the stupa, but you should, the view was definitely worth it.

There’s a lovely mix of tourists and actual worshippers here so be prepared to sidestep people who are engaged in prayer alongside people with selfie sticks and peace signs galore. In addition, about 6000 people will want to take a selfie with you.

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