Famous for its beautiful scenery and incredible landscapes, from ancient temples to hidden caves and green rice fields, Ninh Binh is one of the top destinations in Vietnam. It is also called the Halong Bay on land.

5 reasons to visit Ninh Binh

  1. Take a rowing boat trip on the river at Tam Coc and Trang An.
  2. Enjoy a panoramic view at Mua Cave.
  3. Learn about the century-old dynasties at the ruins of the ancient capital Hoa Lu.
  4. Explore the beautiful landscape of Ninh Binh in one of the National Parks.
  5. Go wildlife and bird watching

Practical information

In short

Region

North Vietnam, Ninh Binh Province

Number of residents

160,000

Recommended travel days

2 days

Vietnamese name

Ninh Bình

Best travel time

  • Best travel time: From November to April you can enjoy cool and dry weather, but bring something warm with you.
  • May to October: The weather is warmer and the chance of rain is very high.

Money

There are a number of ATM machines in Ninh Binh, but take cash with you when you explore the countryside and enter local villages.

Local events and holidays

  • Phong Sinh: a big celebration in Buddhist temples with lively street processions and lanterns used to decorate pagodas. Complexes such as Chua Bai Dinh near Ninh Binh organize exuberant events. Fifteenth day of the fourth lunar month.

What to see and do in Ninh Binh

Best things to do

Everywhere you look, you see gigantic limestone rock formations that are sometimes as high as 200 meters. In between you will find green rice fields, rivers, lakes and some caves. Here you can completely relax and experience the real country life of Vietnam. Jump on a bicycle or moped and explore the narrow roads that run through the rice fields.

1.Tam Coc
With a boat trip on the Tam Coc river you will be rewarded with a fantastic natural landscape, amazing rice fields between limestone rock formations and rural religious sites that are out of sight.

2. Trang An
This is a beautiful complex of valleys and overhanging caves. The best thing to do is a nice boat ride through the river network where you will be greeted with amazing sights of the extraordinary natural landforms, hidden caves and beautiful hidden temples

3. Mua cave
The highlight of the Mua Cave is the amazing panoramic view from the top, over the Tam Coc river, mountains and rice fields.

4. Cuc Phuong National Park
As the largest nature reserve in the country, the preserved rainforest houses more than 300 species of rare birds and 2000 species of plants that are well protected to preserve the unspoilt nature of Ninh Binh.

5. Biking
The best way to see Ninh Binh is from the saddle of a bicycle. Many hotels rent bicycles for free or rent bicycles for a dollar or two.

6. Long Nature Reserve
This reserve is the largest swamp area in North Vietnam, with peaks of limestone mountains and rice fields reaching the horizon, it is certainly a memorable place to visit.

7.Hoa Lu
Nestled between two towering limestone mountains you will find Hoa Lu. The city was the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries. Today it is a cultural center full of ancient pagodas and citadels.

8. Bai Dinh Pagoda
This is the largest complex of temples in Vietnam. It is an important destination for religious pilgrimages and an even more popular attraction in Ninh Binh for tourists interested in spirituality and Buddhist art.

9. Bich Dong Pagoda
A cluster of majestic mountain cave temples that stand elegantly in the area. These ancient shrines and historic pagodas are scattered along the hillside, some dating back to the 15th century.

10. Kenh Go Floating Village
Visit the wetlands of Kenh Go for a direct view of the local life of the village people!

Accommodation in Ninh Binh

Where to stay

Ninh Binh is not lacking in reasonably priced accommodation options. You can also choose to stay outside the city, such as in Tam Coc, Trang An or somewhere in the countryside which is highly recommended.

Best hotels & hostels in Ninh Binh

Budget hostes & hotels

  • Nguyen Shack – Ninh Binh
  • Tam Coc Lake View Homestay
  • Thanh Dat Homestay
  • Ham Rong Homestay
  • Tam Coc Nature
  • Tam Coc Bungalow

Mid range hotels

  • Tam Coc Boutique Garden
  • The Reed Hotel
  • Mua Caves Ecolodge (Hang Mua)
  • Tam Coc Mountain Lake Homestay
  • Tam Coc Horizon Bungalow

High end hotel & resort

  • Ninh Binh Hidden Charm Hotel And Resort
  • The Vancouver Hotel Ninh Binh

Food & drinking

Restaurants

There are few restaurant options in Ninh Binh city, but you can still enjoy a range of good dishes from northern Vietnam. Eat early because many restaurants close at around 8 p.m.

If you are out during the day, you will see many local restaurants that serve Ninh Binh’s signature dish “The Nui” – mountain goat. This is definitely recommended.

1. Trung Tuyet Restaurant
2. Family Restaurant
3. Minh Toan Restaurant Father Cooking

4. Orchid Restaurant
5. Chookie’s
6. Viet Bamboo Restaurant

Transportation

How to get there?

Bus

There are enough buses to and from Ninh Binh: Hanoi (2 hours), Halong City (4 hours), Hue (10 hours), Phong Nha (8 hours). Ninh Binh is also a stop for open tour buses between Hanoi and Hue.

Train

There is also a train station in Ninh Binh. You can reach from both Hanoi in the north and Hue in the south. There are at least 4 trains a day for both directions. To Hanoi takes around 3 hours.

How to get around?

Biking is the best way to see Ninh Binh. Bicycles and motorbikes/scooters can be rented at most hotels and hostels. The roads in the area are flat, so it’s not tiring.

Alternatively you can take a taxi to Tam Coc and walk from there to Bich Dong and even to Mua Cave. Or rent a bike in Tam Coc.

To visit Trang An, Hoa Lu and Bai Dinh Pagoda, you must either go by bike or motorbike or take a taxi between the locations, as it is a long walk. Otherwise you book a tour or arrange a private car.

Itinerary 2 days Ninh Binh

Day 1

  • Boatride in Trang An
  • Visit Hoa Lu
  • Visit Bai Dinh Pagoda
  • Boatride in Van Long

Day 2

  • Boatride in Tam Coc
  • Viewpoint in Mua Cave
  • Visit Bich Dong Pagoda
  • Visit Thung Nham Bird Garden