Mua Caves Viewpoints (Hang Mua), Ninh Binh: Complete Guide

Hiking the Mua Caves Viewpoints is one of the top things to do in Ninh Binh, Vietnam! Here’s our complete guide for your visit.
Hiking the Mua Caves Viewpoints is one of the top things to do in Ninh Binh, Vietnam! Here’s our complete guide for your visit.
Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh
Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh
Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh

Mua Caves Viewpoints (Hang Mua), Ninh Binh: Complete Guide

Hiking the Mua Caves Viewpoints is one of the top things to do in Ninh Binh, Vietnam! Here’s our complete guide for your visit.
Hiking the Mua Caves Viewpoints is one of the top things to do in Ninh Binh, Vietnam! Here’s our complete guide for your visit.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
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Arijana and Matej - Shipped Away
Hi! We're Arijana & Matej

Welcome & thank you for reading our blog. :) We love what we do and put a lot of work in our free articles. So if you find them helpful, please consider supporting us.

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We spent a few nights in the Hang Mua Ecolodge in Ninh Binh, so we wrote an extensive guide with everything you need to know about Mua Caves viewpoints, including how to get there, the best time to visit, entrance fee, what to expect when you get there, best photo spots, and more!

About Mua Caves

Mua Caves or Hang Mua is the name for the two famous viewpoints in Ninh Binh, the dragon, and the pagoda.

Climbing the 88 meters high Mua Caves viewpoint is one of the best things to do in Ninh Binh as this is one of the highest accessible points in the area, offering a fantastic 360 panoramic view of Ninh Binh.

Pagoda and dragon at Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh

Hang Mua, meaning dance or dancing cave, is an actual cave, but it’s the viewpoints above the cave that are the main attraction.

And no, it’s definitely not a hidden gem, as some may call it (daily tours go here from Hanoi), but it’s absolutely worth visiting. 😁

Scenery around Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh

Traveling to Vietnam soon?
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Ninh Binh is known as “Ha Long Bay on land” because of many beautiful limestone karsts all around the area, similar to those in Ha Long Bay.

Read all about Ninh Binh in our Ninh Binh Travel Guide.

Read all about Ha Long Bay Cruises.

How to reach Mua Caves Viewpoints?

It’s important to know that Mua Caves Viewpoints are located inside the same named resort complex called Mua Caves Ecolodge or Hang Mua Ecolodge in Ninh Binh.

Lotus pond at Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh
The ecolodge area, their lotus ponds, and the viewpoints.

So, once you pass the entrance, you need to walk through a super-decorated resort area to get to the path that leads to the viewpoints. It’s something that many travel guides forget to mention. 

Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint ecolodge area, Ninh Binh
This bridge is one of the famous photo spots in the Mua Caves Ecolodge complex.

There are many photo spots there if you enjoy this kind of thing. If not, you can just skip that part and walk straight to the viewpoint.

Travel tip: If you stay in Mua Caves Ecolodge, you don’t have to pay for an entrance fee to the Mua Caves viewpoints, and you can climb it whenever and as many times as you want. 

We stayed inside the ecolodge for a few nights and visited the viewpoints for both sunrise and sunset.

To reach the top of Mua Caves Viewpoints in Ninh Binh, you must climb around 500 stairs. It’s a bit of a challenge as the stairs are uneven. They’re made of stone, so they can also get slippery, especially after rain, so watch out for that! 

Stairs at Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh

The climb to the top of Mua Caves viewpoints should take you around 20 minutes, depending on your fitness level.

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What are the different viewpoints at Hang Mua

The path splits halfway and leads to two different viewpoints. The two viewpoints of Hang Mua are the dragon viewpoint and the so-called pagoda viewpoint.

1. Pagoda Viewpoint

If you turn right on the first split in the path, you’ll reach the lower viewpoint, the pagoda.

Pagoda viewpoint of Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh
The view of “pagoda” viewpoint from the Dragon viewpoint.

The Pagoda viewpoint area at Hang Mua is pretty small, and there’s not much to do here besides taking photos of the so-called pagoda (it’s not a pagoda). However, you get a nice view of the dragon’s viewpoint.

Arijana Tkalčec at pagoda of Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh

If you visit the pagoda viewpoint during a busy time, you’ll have to wait on the stairs leading up as there’s not enough space for people to be at the viewpoint and take photos simultaneously.

Yes, it’s that small. So if you want to take photos, be prepared to wait in line.

2. Dragon Viewpoint

When you turn left, where the path splits, you’ll reach the Dragon Viewpoint, the highest viewpoint in Ninh Binh, offering a mesmerizing view.

Dragon and Tam Coc boat ride at Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh
Dragon Viewpoint

The Dragon Viewpoint is the most popular spot in Mua Caves, and you can enjoy both a sunrise and sunset there.

If you’re brave enough, you can climb all around the dragon statue. However, we didn’t expect that the dragon statue is actually built on top of sharp rocks and that there’s no railing around for safety. So be careful!

And if you don’t want to climb the dragon, there’s a small area below it from where you can safely enjoy the view.

Observation point at Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh
The area you can observe the Dragon Viewpoint from.

But if you’re not scared of heights and you trust yourself enough, give it a go. 😊

Health Insurance

No matter the general safety situation, we always advise against traveling outside your country without valid travel insurance.

We recommend the following for Vietnam:

Did you know?

We explored Vietnam for more than 1 year and a half
and wrote 29 and counting detailed articles.

Did you know?
We explored Vietnam for more than 1 year and a half and wrote 29 and counting detailed articles.

Where are the caves at Mua Caves?

You might notice that the attraction’s name is Mua Caves, and even though it’s not at all popular for its caves, they are there.

However, we don’t think the caves at Hang Mua are actually worth visiting, especially considering Vietnam has so many fascinating caves.

Apparently, there are 2 caves under the Mua Caves viewpoints, but we only found and visited Tiger Cave.

However, if you decide to visit, it may take only 10 minutes of your time, so this one is on you!

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Should you visit Mua Caves viewpoints for sunrise or sunset?

Mua Caves viewpoints are a great spot for sunrise and sunset.

We highly recommend visiting Mua Caves viewpoints for sunrise, as at that time of the day, the light will be the nicest, and it won’t be too hot yet.

Sunrise can be seen behind the so-called pagoda viewpoint and sunset behind the dragon.

Sunrise at Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh
Sunrise at Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh

And visiting Mua Caves viewpoints for sunrise also means fewer crowds, as the daily tours from Hanoi don’t arrive that early.

Either way, don’t expect to be alone there, especially as the area isn’t as big, and it’s one of the most popular spots in Ninh Binh and part of most, if not all, tour packages.

Best photo spots at Mua Caves viewpoints

Mua Caves complex offers endless photo opportunities, but there are 6 main spots for taking the best photos.

  1. Dragon Viewpoint
  2. Just before the Dragon, overlooking the Tam Coc boat ride
  3. The halfway point where the path splits
  4. Pagoda viewpoint
  5. Drone perspective
  6. Lotus pond

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1. Dragon Viewpoint

You can walk all around the dragon, but be careful as the rocks below it are sharp, and there’s no railing anywhere around. We wouldn’t recommend this to someone scared of heights.

Dragon photospot at Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh

From the Dragon viewpoint, you can also get this famous angle of Ninh Binh with the “pagoda” viewpoint and scenery behind it.

Scenery at Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh

2. Just before the Dragon, overlooking the Tam Coc boat ride

The photo where everyone sits on the fence while overlooking the Tam Coc valley is taken right here.

However, someone was taking photos at that exact spot during our visit, so we just went a few meters above it and got the same view.

Tam Coc boat ride and valley at Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh

3. The halfway point where the path splits

We actually forgot to take a photo here, but if you want a low-angle of Pagoda viewpoint, you can take it from the halfway point.

4. Pagoda viewpoint

Pagoda at Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh

5. Drone perspective

If you have a drone, this is a perfect opportunity to use it!

Just please be mindful of the people around you.

Drone of the dragon at Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh

6. Lotus pond

The Lotus pond at Hang Mua is especially amazing from April to late July when it’s lotus blooming season.

But keep in mind that this spot will also be crowded, even at sunrise. And that lotus flowers are closed early morning and in the harsh sun.

While the lotus pond is technically not a part of the viewpoints, it is part of the complex, and it’s especially beautiful with blooming lotus flowers. 

2023 UPDATE: The boardwalk on the lotus pond at Mua Caves complex is no longer shaped like a heart!

What are the opening hours of Mua Caves?

Mua Caves viewpoints are open every day, Monday to Sunday, from 6 am to 7 pm.

What is the entrance fee for visiting Mua Caves viewpoints?

The entrance fee for Mua Caves (Hang Mua viewpoints) is 100.000 VND or around $4,2, bought at the ticket office right next to the parking lot at the entrance to Hang Mua Ecolodge.

Overview of the hike and stairs at Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh
Hang Mua Viewpoints hike. These are the stairs you need to take to reach the top.

Do you need to book a ticket for Mua Caves in advance?

You don’t need to book a ticket to Mua Caves viewpoints in advance, but if you’d like to stay at Mua Cave Ecolodge, it’s advisable to book your stay in advance. It’s a popular place and gets sold out quickly.

What is the best time to visit Mua Caves viewpoints?

Mua Caves (Hang Mua) is an all-year-round destination, and the best time to visit is during the lotus blooming season at the beginning of April.

It’s when Ninh Binh is especially beautiful because of the many lotus ponds full of flowers all around Ninh Binh and in the one big pond next to Hang Mua Ecolodge.

That’s why it’s such a trendy spot for Vietnamese as well, as it’s the perfect photo setting.

The best time to visit Mua Caves viewpoints to see the green rice fields is in March, April, and August, and to see yellow rice fields, in May or October, just before the harvest.

Watch our YouTube video to see what the harvesting and burning season looks like in Ninh Binh.

What to pack and wear for hiking the Mua Caves viewpoints?

If you’re visiting Mua Caves in the summer months, make sure to apply plenty of sun cream as there’s not much shade at the viewpoints.

Wear something lightweight and breathable for your Mua Caves viewpoint hike, as the humidity and heat can be quite unbearable.

A perfect photo prop and sun protection for hiking Mua Caves viewpoints is the famous Vietnamese conical hat – “non la”, the perfect thing to take with you! And it’s a great souvenir as well.

Arijana Tkalčec with conical hat, non la at lotus pond, Hang Mua Caves, Ninh Binh, Vietnam

We hiked the Mua Caves viewpoints in July at sunrise, and even before the sun was up, it was already 30+ degrees Celsius. That’s why we also recommend a small microfiber towel, as you may sweat a lot. It was a lifesaver for us!

If you’re visiting Mua Caves in the winter months, make sure to take something with long sleeves and definitely long pants, as mornings and evenings may be a bit chilly.

And, of course, don’t forget to take a camera to capture the beautiful scenery!

View of Tam Coc boat ride at Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh

Tips for visiting Mua Caves viewpoints

How to visit

You can easily visit Mua Caves by yourself or as a part of an organized tour. 

Here are some tours we recommend:

Parking at Hang Mua Ecolodge

If you plan to drive to Mua Caves by yourself, keep in mind that locals might try to stop you from driving to the end of the road and try to get you to park at their place for a higher fee.

They might even lie that you can’t drive further. Don’t fall for that, and keep driving straight until the entrance to Hang Mua (Mua Caves) Ecolodge. There you can park your motorbike or bicycle at the official parking for a small fee of about 10000 VND (it used to be free).

Mid-2021, they built a new road leading towards Mua Caves Ecolodge & Viewpoint. Before that, it was a very bumpy ride for a few minutes.

Staying in the Ecolodge

The viewpoints are situated inside an ecolodge with the same name. There are plenty of other photogenic spots in the complex, a lotus pond with a boardwalk (it used to be heart-shaped, but now it’s something different), and there’s also a restaurant and a cafe if you want to refresh yourself.

If you stay at Hang Mua Ecolodge, you can enter the viewpoints whenever you want without purchasing a ticket, and you get access to their swimming pool.

Renting photo props

If you love taking photos, you can even borrow photogenic dresses and costumes and some other photo props from one of many shops in that area.

Buying water and refreshments

There is a small stand halfway on the hike that sells water. However, be prepared to pay a bit more than usual there (makes sense).

And, of course, there are stalls with water and other refreshments in the complex.

Are Mua Caves viewpoints worth visiting?

Mua Caves or Hang Mua viewpoints are absolutely worth visiting as they offer mesmerizing 360 views of the Ninh Binh area, the Tam Coc boat ride route, and surrounding rice fields and lotus ponds.

Drone view of dragon and scenery at Hang Mua Caves Viewpoint, Ninh Binh

Even though Hang Mua can get super crowded, the views are worth it. And it’s a “nice” exercise, especially on a hot summer day.

How to get to Mua Caves from Ninh Binh?

The easiest way to get to Mua Caves from Tam Coc, Trang An, or any other area in the tourist part of Ninh Binh is by motorbike or bicycle, and if you’re staying in the city, by taxi or Grab car.

Where to stay near Mua Caves?

Ninh Binh is a top-rated tourist destination, so there are plenty of accommodations for you to choose from. From simple homestays to above-water homestays or those surrounded by rice fields, as well as hotels and even resorts.

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We can highly recommend Ha Lan Homestay, very close to Hang Mua. We were there two times in the span of a year, staying there for one month and a half in total! There are only a few rooms, so it shouldn’t be too packed even in high season. However, the rooms have everything you need, and they even built a big pool in 2021!

Also, we stayed for a few nights at Hang Mua Ecolodge, which is the perfect place to stay, because Mua Caves viewpoints are located inside the ecolodge area. You can hike in the morning for sunrise and don’t need to pay for the ticket as you’re staying there. Also, they have a nice pool where you can cool off after the hike.

Where to eat near Mau Caves viewpoints?

1990 Restaurant Food & Drinks was our favorite place to eat near the Mua Caves viewpoints. It’s a small family-owned restaurant where we ate the best tofu with tomato sauce!

They closed shortly during the pandemic, but now they are open again. So make your way over there and order some delicious Dau Hu Sot Ca Chua (tofu tomato) with rice and some morning glory (with garlic, of course).

And there are a few restaurants right on the road leading towards Hang Mua Ecolodge, one of them being the high-reviewed Monalisa Bar & Restaurant, with supposedly really good wood-fired pizzas and burgers.

Vegan or vegetarian?

You HAVE to read this! You will be surprised.
Vegan and Vegetarian Guide to Vietnam.

How to get to Ninh Binh?

Ninh Binh is located in the north of Vietnam, and getting there is quite easy, as it’s just a 100km or 1-hour drive south of Hanoi. Daily buses, trains, and private cars go between Hanoi and Ninh Binh.

Tour

Since Ninh Binh is easy to reach from Hanoi, many daily tours are going from Hanoi, with most departing from Hanoi’s Old Quarter.

Different tours visit different spots in Ninh Binh, but most of them visit at least: Tam Coc/Trang An, Hang Mua, and Hoa Lu.

Bus

Taking a bus or a limousine/van is the best way to get to Ninh Binh, as they are the most common mode of transport and the most reliable and fastest. In addition, the prices are great, and you can get one for as low as 130.000 VND ($5.5). Many limousine companies also drop you off at your hotel/homestay but check beforehand. Taxis in the city are affordable, and there’s also Grab.

Another option is the local bus, which is much cheaper, but honestly, the van is your best bet.

Train

Ninh Binh’s train station is not the biggest and most equipped one, but it still is a significant source of arriving tourists, and trains pass by regularly. The first time we came to Ninh Binh, it was from Hue by train.

We always suggest trains for longer drives where possible, so if you’re coming from the south, opting for the train is a great option.

It takes 2 hours from Hanoi to Ninh Binh by train and costs around 150.000 VND ($6.5) for the soft seat and 200.000 VND ($8.5) for a bed in the cabin.

You can book tickets online or book directly at the train station or Vietnam Railway’s official website

Ninh Binh train ride
Powered by 12Go system

Private transport/taxi

Private transport is also possible between Hanoi and Ninh Binh, and a private car or taxi will cost you around 1.200.000 VND ($52).

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Motorbike

Going by motorbike to Ninh Binh is very easy, and if you’re coming from Hanoi, you just drive south for 2 hours (100km).

Daily motorbike rental in Hanoi costs upwards of 100.000 VND ($4.5) for semi-automatic bikes, around 150.000 VND ($6.5) for automatic, and 400.000 ($20) for dirt bikes like the Honda XR 150.

Driving motorbike in Ninh Binh, Vietnam
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Arijana & Matej
Arijana & Matej

We thrive while slow-traveling and focus on experiences, meeting locals, and immersing ourselves in the cultures we stumble upon. And we want to share this all with you.

So if you like our work, and would like to support us, you can tip us a coffee.

Arijana & Matej
Arijana & Matej

We thrive while slow-traveling and focus on experiences, meeting locals, and immersing ourselves in the cultures we stumble upon. And we want to share this all with you.

So if you like our work, and would like to support us, you can tip us a coffee.

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