One of the best things about travelling is always discovering unexpected things. As an avid planner I don’t often come across this feeling, but in Ninh Binh, on top of the Lying Dragon Mountain it hit me full force.
We had planned to only visit Trang An and Tam Coc while in Ninh Binh, but since we had some time left – and thanks to the explanation of our lovely hosts – we decided to visit Mua Caves as well. It wasn’t that far from our hostel and a view over the famous limestone cliffs seemed like a pretty good idea.
Since the Mua Caves were about eight kilometers away from our hotel, we decided to take a taxi to take us to the entrance. The brothers of the hostel arranged our taxi and all was perfectly arranged. We didn’t let the guy wait after dropping us off as we had no idea how long it would take us to make it to the top and mostly because we didn’t want to feel pressured into leaving earlier than we actually wanted.
But maybe we should have. When we got back down, there were no taxis waiting and it didn’t seem like any was going to pull up soon. Most people seemed to arrive by motorbike or bike. The woman at the ticket desk didn’t want to call us a official Mai Linh or Vinasun taxi, which suddenly left us with only one option; walking back to the center. Luckily we ended up being picked up along the way by a taxi passing by, but when you’re visiting Mua Caves, make sure you have your transport back arranged to avoid problems like ours.
The Mua Caves itself and the grounds surrounding it are beautiful but not really worth the detour in my opinion. The real treat is offered when you climb the almost 450 steps up the Lying Dragon Mountain. You can already see those steps winding their way up to the top from the entrance of the site. Gorgeous!
For the actual climb; make sure you have good footwear because the steps are high and not so well maintained. Flip flops and heels are definitely not a good choice here if you plan to make it to the top alive. Although we did see a bride going up there to take her wedding pictures so if you’re up for a challenge…
Whatever way you decide to take the stairs, the view from the top is simply a-ma-zing. You can see the river winding its way through the beautiful limestone cliffs and the boats of tourists admiring the views. We easily spent an hour up there just taking it all in. I just couldn’t get enough of it.
And for the real daredevils; a bit higher up, up on the rocks, you can find the dragon statue to which the mountain owes its name. I couldn’t help myself from climbing all the way up to the statue, just to get this crazy selfie.
Entrance to the Mua Caves is 100.000 dong. It may be quite expensive for Vietnam, but the view is honestly priceless. A must see when visiting Ninh Binh.