The paddy field is indeed full of life: groups of butterfly dancing around, fishes popping up occasionally, white crane-like bird gliding in the air and nature music player by insect cricking and bird chirping. I am sure many more of nature's like are hidden from human senses.
The one set dinner (299,000VND) is of generous portion and probably enough for two. Nice ambience, great service and good food.
This is more of a temple than a pagoda, attached to a mountain and within it's cave. If you are adventurous enough, you can take the forbidden route up to the top of the mountain to have a great view of the surrounding area.
Entrance is free, parking is probably 10,000VND per bicycle. The attendance might try to charge more for other access fee, thus you might need to stand your ground.
Our luxury accommodation for the night, a perfect place for relaxation and do nothing. We only wish we have more time or more money for another night.
The infamous Tam Coc boat ride due to price discrimination against foreigners and also selling of items by the boat lady. If you want a piece of mind, take the boat ride at Trang An instead.
A beautiful hike up the hill to see long stone dragon and a good view of the surrounding area. There are two peaks, the one without the dragon offer a great view without the crowd. Entrance ticket is 100,000VND per person.
There are 3-4 illegal parking collectors en route to the ticket entrance, so you need quite some determination to avoid then all (and park for free after ticket entrance) as they try very hard to stop you. I assume these operations are run by nearby villagers, collecting 10,000VND per bicycle.
The roast goat (200,000VND) with peanut and sauce is pretty good, with a complementary soy egg I think. The steam vegetable (20,000) is cheap and nice. Business here is pretty good.
Then again, Ninh Binh mutton are generally too tough for our liking.
There are 3 routes available, we choose route 1 which go through 9 caves. I won't say the journey is spectacular, but it is nice and comfortable.
200,000VND for 2+ hours boat ride is very reasonable service. No scam, no tips, no discrimination, no selling.
The best thing about Quoc Khanh Bamboo Homestay is the view. It probably one of the best hotel view in Trang An, fronting a small flowing pond, green field and the hills. Most of the time you could see the reflection of the hills in the water. I could imagine sitting here for the entire day watching this scenery.
The staff are friendly and helpful, offering many transportation arrangements at affordable prices. Good quality mountain bikes are available for rent at 60,000VND per day. Motorbikes are available as well.
Food is not great though, but the Bahn Mi with egg breakfast is nice and crispy.
The only drawback is the inconsistent hot water and cold air sipping through the bamboo wall.