From all the places I have seen around Ninh Binh Province, Hang Mua Peak, also called Mua Cave, is by far my favorite. I must admit that at first I was hesitant about whether or not to climb all those 500 stairs. They looked quite steep and I wasn’t sure if the climb was going to be worth it. However, I took a leap of faith and decided to give Hang Mua Peak a chance and it was the best decision.
Since you will be in the Ninh Binh Province, you can easily link your visit to Hua Cave with other attractions in the area such as Thai Vi Temple or Bich Dong Pagoda. The area is full of beautiful sights and things to visit.
Why you should visit Hang Mua Peak
There are actually two peaks on top of Hang Mua. To reach the higher one, you will have to climb for about 20-30 minutes and if the weather is hot and humid, it can be challenging but don’t give up. Close to the peak there is a small kiosk which sells drinks, sweets and ice cream. When you think you can’t climb anymore, think about that cold, delicious chocolate ice cream and keep going.
The view from above is definitely one of the best views I have seen so far in S-E Asia. Once you reach the top, the panoramic view over the Tam Coc Valley and all the limestone mountains and rice fields is absolutely breathtaking. I loved staring and the mountains and their strange, round shape.
If your legs are still working, you can also visit the second peak (we didn’t). I bet it also has amazing views and it is less crowded.
Hang Mua Dragon
On the top of Hang Mua highest peak you will see a stone carved dragon watching over the valley. The dragon plays a very important role in the Vietnamese culture because the Vietnamese people are believed to be the descendants of a dragon and a fairy. To the local people, the dragon is essential for rain and agriculture and I believe that this is the reason why it watches over the entire Tam Coc area. The Mua Cave dragon is a symbol of prosperity here. Also, it is a good spot to rest and admire the views.
Hang Mua Peak sunset
Although Mua Cave closes at 5 pm and the sunset is at around 6.30 pm, you can still enjoy the sky starting to turn orange as the sun prepares to set.
About Hang Mua Peak
The Mua Cave Ecolodge is situated at the base of the mountain. To get to the stairs, you will have to firstly go through this oasis of lush plants and tranquility. The eco lodge also has a small lake which offers a spectacular view over the Hang Mua Peak. If you want to spend a few nights surrounded by peace and nature, you can book your stay here.
Entrance fee: the entrance fee to get to the peak is 100,000 VND
Opening hours: 7 am – 5 pm
Things to keep in mind:
Avoid being scammed! – The most important thing to know is that if you are visiting Mua Cave by scooter or bicycle, the parking is free inside the Mua Cave Ecolodge. Right after the ticket counter there is a free and safe parking spot. The local people will whistle at you and make signs to park at their spot – just ignore them. When we visited, there was even a villager dressed as a cop trying to tell us that there isn’t any free parking. Whatever they say to you, just keep going until you enter the gates of Mua Cave Ecolodge and park for free there. Other things to consider are:
- Brink water with you. Trust me, you’ll need it. You can buy water at the base of Hang Mua or from the kiosk close to the top.
- Visit it either in the morning or in the evening when the sun is not very strong.
- Bring comfortable shoes with you. Climbing those stairs with flip-flops will be hard if not impossible.
Where to stay in Ninh Binh
I’ve been searching for the best accommodation in Ninh Binh. Below are the best hotels, for every budget:
- Budget – Tam Coc Craft Homestay – great location, big & comfortable rooms, very clean
- Mid-budget – Hidden Charm Hotel & Resort – amazing pool with a view, good location, spacious rooms, breakfast included
- Luxury – Aravinda Resort – amazing location near the limestone mountains, luxurious rooms, super-friendly staff, excellent breakfast
How to get to Hang Mua Peak
Mua Cave is situated at about 3 kilometers away from Tam Coc and 7 kilometers away from Ninh Binh. Depending on where your accommodation is, you can choose one of the options below.
1. By motorbike – recommended
Whether you stay in Tam Coc or Ninh Binh, you can easily get to Hang Mua by motorbike. Renting a motorbike should cost around 150,000 VND per day, depending on you negotiation skills. You can rent one from your accommodation or from nearby hotels. Just remember to avoid the scam I have told you above. After visiting Hang Mua Peak, you can use the motorbike to also visit the nearby attractions: Thai Vi Temple or Bich Dong Pagoda.
2. By bicycle
Getting to Mua Cave from Tam Coc by bicycle is definitely an easy ride. However, due to the traffic and longer distance, I would not recommend biking 7 kilometers from Ninh Binh. Renting a bicycle should cost between 50,000 – 100,000 VND per day.
3. By taxi
You can take taxis from both Tam Coc or Ninh Binh. Although it might be more convenient, remember that this is more expensive than the motorbike or bicycle if you are combining more attractions in one day. The taxi should cost around 15,000 VND per kilometer.
4. By organized tour
Since Hang Mua Peak is one of the main attractions of Ninh Binh Province, there are many tour companies that offer excursions here. However, most of the times they are also combined with other destinations in the area. Below are a few suggestions:
The Hang Mua Peak is definitely worth climbing all those stairs. The view from the top will stick in your memory for a long time.
May the travel bug bite you!
More about Ninh Binh:
- Ninh Binh must see attractions – click here
- Thai Vi Temple – a peaceful place in Ninh Binh – click here
- Tam Coc boat tour – a relaxing ride in Ninh Binh – click here
- Bich Dong Pagoda – a Ninh Binh must see – click here
- Trang An boat tour – Ninh Binh – click here
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