Dry Halong Bay in Vietnam is a great place to visit and not as touristic as many other places.
Though it is changing and I am sure it will become more and more a focus of travellers to visit the area.
If you like walking or cycling then the area is fantastic to explore.
Best is not to stay in Ninh Binh itself because the place is rather noisy and industrial.
Best is to continue and try to find accomodation near by, like Tam Coc. Here you can find some good accomodation right in the centre of what is also called Dry Halong Bay. The rocks in the green rice fields surround you and from this places there are many pathes for long walks or bicycle rides through the green (in April) rice fields.
In the heat it is of course more inviting to have a boat ride with one of the many boats that are rowed by experienced women rowing their boats with their feet.
But be aware that at the end of the very scenic ride it will end in a tourist trap, where the rowing boat will turn round and tour back. Here there will be waiting boats to sell what there is on offer and they will persistently try hard to make you buy.
Also at the end of the tour you will be put under pressure by the oarswoman to pay a over dimensional tip. It is not so easy to resist and pay what is right in relation to what people earn.
During the day Tam Coc can get quite busy because of the day tourists that come from Hanoi or Ninh Binh with coaches for the boat rides but as soon as these people have left you can stil experience normal country life with the local people of this village or the near by villages.
But do not think that it gets quiet. Then the locals start their market at the market square at the Ngo Dong River. This happens between 4 pm until sunset (and sometimes until late at night) and starts again at 5:30 am at dawn.
So if you stay at a hotel near by the river then be certain that the nights are short. But you are close to the life of the locals.