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Ninh Binh accommodation

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Jan 16th, 2016, 07:49 AM
  #1
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Ninh Binh accommodation

Got most of our other stops settled but can't seem to find anything we really like around Ninh Binh.

Three of us counting 8 year old daughter, looking for midrange (under $100) for 2 nights in April (hot). Prefer something not dreary and cookie cutter. Interior character, views, local contact all of interest. Open to unique ideas - but would like a way to go get something to eat if not supplied an to be able to get a ride to the train station on time.

One with historic sort of buildings caught our eye called Lang Viet Co caught our eye. But some reviews said it could be a bit deserted with no one speaking english. Said it's close to the Tam Coc boat ride starting point. Not clear on if that area has restaurants and taxis/tuk tuks to get us places if we need and if we can't ask the hotel to helo. So if you know about that one in particular.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 12:33 AM
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We stayed in a couple of places in and outside of Ninh Binh. I can't recall their names ( but would recommend them anyway!) . The hotels in town tend toward the large, tour group, variety and are not particularly attractive , although comfortable enough. They do have the advantage of being very close to many decent restaurants.

If it hadn't have been full, we would have stayed here:

http://www.nguyenshack.com/ninhbinh/

How are you planning to get to Ninh Binh? The reason I ask is that it may well be more cost effective to get there on a short tour which would include transport there and on to the train station and the boat rides. Ethnic Travel were very good and quite reasonable. We used them for our trek around PunLong and the Black River which ended in Ninh Binh
http://accidentalnomads.com/2015/02/...d-kingfishers/
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Jan 18th, 2016, 02:42 AM
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Thanks flyingboxx. We'd been going up and down the TA list but weren't really arriving at a decision. Ninh Binh accommodations don't seem to have been used (day trips?) or memorable by posters here.

I think we finally picked a homestay there, a bit outside of town. People were describing some good experiences with the owners in reviews.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 02:55 AM
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Oops. That's what happen when you open a page hours earlier and never finish typing your response. Didn't see your post, crellston.

Haven't really sorted how we're getting there yet. Assumed by train but not sure. We were thinking we'd head down right after returning from Luang Prabang and stay around Ninh Binh for a couple of nights/days before catching an overnight train on to Hue.

We'd been looking at Ethnic Travel for the Ha Giang portion we just recently scratched. So I know their reputation is good. Have to check and see when we get in to know if that would be feasible still that day.

I love the blog entry! I'm very curious as to the name of the pagoda in the rock face if you recall.

I'm at least encouraged that the owner of the homestay seems very in tune to being helpful and bypassing the crowds. Reports of being taken to alternative sites or even being taken fishing and that sort of thing. We really like the idea of settling in a bit and seeing how things work.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 03:02 AM
  #5
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Oh and we did like the looks of Nguyen Shack too! But they didn't have anything for the three of us on our dates, unfortunately.

We're going to give An Phu a try. Not in a stunning setting or anything, but it sounds on TA like everyone's had a very enjoyable stay. (and the reviews don't sound fake)
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Jan 18th, 2016, 04:48 AM
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CC - I think the pagoda was called Bich Dong
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Jan 18th, 2016, 04:56 AM
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Ok, thanks. I love the setting and look of it and thought maybe if we got time, we could check it out. By the way the description of the kingfishers on that trip - I think my daughter will like it if they're around somewhere. She spotted a kingfisher on a limb near Sigiriya when she was 6 (I had no idea). A young fan of them.
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Mar 3rd, 2016, 08:31 PM
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We stayed a couple of nites at Tam COc garden near Tam Coc boat wharf. This area is very quiet and peaceful. Everyday we took a bike around the village nearby to see how the locals live and took a boat cruise on the river. Although the staffs in here does not speak good English, it is enough to communicate with us basically.

Ryan
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Mar 4th, 2016, 12:37 AM
  #9
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Thanks for the additional info. We ended up deciding the area would be a good chance to do a home stay and have reserved a few nights with An Phu. They seem very nice.
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Mar 13th, 2016, 08:54 AM
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If you go to Vietnam, you must stop by Ninh Binh! The region is called the terrestrial “Halong Bay” for its splendid landscapes. Only 2 hours away from Hanoi by train, you could stay there 3-4 days easily without getting bored. We loved Ninh Binh province.

We moved everywhere by bicycle as we found it a very convenient and pleasant way to discover both the tourist attractions as well as going through the villages and roads with beautifull landscapes , to get a really authentic feel of it. The distances are small, roads in good condition and flat, the traffic is very low which makes it fairly safe and easy.

We stayed at Nguyen Shack mentionned in other comments above. The homestay is composed of 5 or 6 bungalows in the middle of a wonderful vegetation and with views on the river. The bungalows are simple but practical and there is a fan to cool down a bit in the hot days. The whole bungalow is open on the nature and you feel completely part of it. This one is built out of bamboos and seemed to be pretty eco-friendly. We truly enjoyed our stay at Nguyen Shack because of its location (5 min away from the Mua Caves and 15 minutes away from Trang An grottoes by bike) and its charming bungalows.

If you are interested to read a bit more you can go to our blog post on Ninh Binh with some pictures and tips. Enjoy your travel!

http://www.thegreenpick.com/blog/201...green-holiday/

Best regards,
TheGreenPick
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Mar 16th, 2016, 12:58 AM
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Not necessarily for the OP (your chosen place looks lovely) but possibly for future travelers, I stayed at Nguyen Shack in late September--hot, humid weather-- and wish I hadn't!! Lots and lots of little things just didn't add up to a memorable (in a GOOD way) experience for me. I'm pretty easy going, and easy to please, but too much here just didn't do it for me. You can read my more detailed review on tripadvisor. Sure I'd taken the few other negative reviews to heart before booking there. But after staying there, those mediocre reviews made lots more sense, and reflected my sentiments. much more accurately than the glowing reviews.

If i were returning, I'd check Limestone View Homestay if desiring an "out of town" village experience.
Closer to town, more convenient for local transport, and right across the road from the boarding point for one of the boat trips, is the Nam Hoa hotel, with its wonderful views of the surroundings, local cafe downstairs (great VN coffee) and delicious food at their upper floor restaurant. After enjoying lunch, the views, the cafe, and the conversations with staff, I asked to see a room--it had great views, was clean, air conditioned, and had an enclosed shower. If only I'd stayed there...with some of the friendliest , most helpful staff I met anywhere in northern Vietnam!!
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Mar 16th, 2016, 01:09 AM
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that should say "sure wish i'd taken the few other negative reviews to heart."

The good thing, CC, is you wisely decided not to stay right IN the unattractive, charmless, Ninh Binh City. it is getting bigger and busier and noisier by the minute. (Something about some rich family owning lots of the town, wanting to turn it into a powerhouse financial location.) But the surrounding area is interesting and enjoyable. Your daughter will love the boat rides with the ladies using their feet to move the oars!
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Mar 16th, 2016, 05:02 PM
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CC,
Please post a TR when you return.
You mentioned that you had "reserved a few nights with An Phu". Do you have a link, or some details?

The only An Phu I found is the An Phu Boutique Hotel & Spa in Tam Coc, but I don't think that's the one...yours is a homestay...
Thanks
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Mar 16th, 2016, 09:17 PM
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xyz--it is listed here as a homestay:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Re..._Province.html
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Mar 17th, 2016, 03:47 AM
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Yes, that's it.

This is another view of it.
http://www.booking.com/hotel/vn/an-p...=total;ucfs=1&

We were thinking we'd like to have a chance to spend a little time in a homestay somewhere on the trip and after reading that the city itself wasn't all that interesting, Ninh Binh seemed like a good place to do it. There were a number of positive comments about the family. As others had recounted doing, I'm kind of hoping to get the chance to go along for some fishing (and to try not get in the way of the nets). Along with the usual things to do.
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Mar 17th, 2016, 03:54 AM
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Oh, yeah - on the TR. I will try to post a few thoughts. I'm not the best about TRs. Usually slammed with jumping back into the business as soon as I get home.

Plus, I wrote one for Romania one time. An epic of horrendous proportions. I could a team of editors. Got halfway through another and about the time we were in Battambang, I sort of wound down. Always happy to answer questions though.
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Mar 17th, 2016, 06:17 AM
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Thanks for the links - both of you!

CC, I remember your Romania TR. That's how TRs should be written - with lots of details. I'm guilty of not writing much, so I won't be too harsh on you. Just write a few thoughts when you come back, and we'll ask questions

Now....forgive my ignorance, but I'm confused about what a homestay is. I see some include breakfast, so is it something like a B&B in Europe? Or something more like a homestay in Titicaca, Peru where you share someone's home for the night - same living spaces, same bathroom, etc. Or can be anything in between, and the only way to know is to ask each place about it? Thanks.
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Mar 17th, 2016, 09:13 AM
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The term Homestay is becoming a little overused these days. A bit like "boutique" or "Eco" we're a few years ago. Home stays in Vietnam can mean something very like the home stays in Titicaca. When we visted last year most of the places we stayed at on our trekking around the villages in the north at simply curtained off a section of the communal sleeping area for us and we ate with the family for dinner and breakfast and often helped with the cooking. A few photos of homestay so in our blog entry http://accidentalnomads.com/2014/12/...-and-mai-chau/

We stayed for a couple of weeks in Ms Yangs Homestay in Saigon which, although we had our own room and bathroom was very much like being part of the family (definitely our fav. place to stay in Vietnam!).That was more like a small B&B in Europe ( but without the final B!)

Other home stays, like many in the delta are purpose built for tourism
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Mar 17th, 2016, 02:00 PM
  #19
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I agree, the word homestay seems to come with a rather fluid definition.

The descriptions of An Phu described a lot of interaction and outings with the owners, so I'm not sure with 6 guestrooms how much like staying in someone's home it is yet... but the experience sounded nice.

Then on the other side, we stayed in a friend's guesthouse in Sri Lanka's tea growing areas on our last holiday. And it is exactly like a homestay - dinners together (their plantation is remote), shared spaces. It's their home as well. I don't think a lot of these terms are particularly definitive. Seemed everything in Peru short of a full blown large hotel and above a private residence was a "hostal"
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Mar 17th, 2016, 03:51 PM
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Thanks for the homestay explanations and details. Crellston, loved the blog, sounds like you had a wonderful trip.

It seems there is no standard definition, we'll just have to see what looks appealing in the area we want to be. I guess you did not have any language problem? Do they all speak English? Or enough English to be able to have some dinner conversation?
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