Set amid glorious limestone pinnacles, this tranquil reserve comprises a reedy wetland that’s popular with bird-watchers. Among the bird species that have been spotted here are the rare black-faced spoonbill, cotton pygmy goose and white-browed crake. Van Long is also one of the last wild refuges of the endangered Delacour’s langur, partly because the wetlands keep predators and poachers at bay. Langurs are not easy to spot; try your luck early in the morning or in the evening.
Row-boat rides (90 minutes, maximum two people per boat) around the reserve are a more relaxed alternative to occasional hawker hassles at Tam Coc. Ninh Binh hotels can arrange tours. Van Long is 2km east of Tran Me, 23km from Ninh Binh along the road to Cuc Phuong.