Ninh Binh, a picturesque province in Northern Vietnam, known for breathtaking natural landscapes, historical sites, and a rich cultural heritage. With its captivating blend of majestic limestone mountains, lush rice paddies, and ancient architecture, Ninh Binh offers unforgettable experiences for every traveler.
Let’s plan most of your trip with our guide on the 12 Best Things To Do in Ninh Binh.
Things To Do in Ninh Binh – Best places to visit in Ninh Binh
Show table of content
- 1. Top 12 best things to do in Ninh Binh – Vietnam
- 1.1 Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex
- 1.2 Tam Coc – Bich Dong
- 1.3 Hoa Lu Ancient Capital
- 1.4 Bai Dinh Pagoda
- 1.5 Mua Cave
- 1.6 Van Long Nature Reserve
- 1.7 Cuc Phuong National Park: Biodiversity Haven
- 1.8 Bich Dong Pagoda
- 1.9 Local Caves
- 1.10 Enjoy Local Cuisine
- 1.11 Ninh Binh Cycling Tours
- 1.12 Traditional Craft Villages
- 2. How far is Ninh Binh from Hanoi?
- 3. How to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh?
- 3.1 By Train
- 3.2 By Bus
- 3.3 Hanoi to Ninh Binh by Private Car
- 3.4 By motorbike
- 4. Is Ninh Binh worth visiting?
1. Top 12 best things to do in Ninh Binh – Vietnam
1.1 Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex
Trang An, the only ‘dual heritage’ site in Vietnam recognized by UNESCO, stands out as a remarkable tourist destination not only in Vietnam but also in Southeast Asia and the world. Located approximately 100 km south of the capital city of Hanoi and about 7 km from the center of Ninh Binh, the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex covers an expansive 2,000 hectares, includes three adjacent areas: the Trang An-Tam Coc-Bich Dong, the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, and the Special-Use Forest. Trang An has a serene and contemplative natural beauty with a series of valleys, lakes, lagoons, caves, flooded forests on a beautiful limestone mountain. Only when witnessing Trang An, can visitors understand why Trang An is compared as a “HaLong Bay on land”
1.2 Tam Coc – Bich Dong
Located in the south of Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, Tam Coc is renowned for its stunning karst formations and meandering waterways. Taking a leisurely boat trip along the Ngo Dong River will help visitors have a closer look at the breathtaking views of the surrounding cliffs, rice fields, and rural villages. The best time to visit Trang An is during spring and summer. In spring, visitors can enjoy vibrant festivals that annually occur in March of the lunar calendar, such as the Trang An Festival, Co Lau Festival, and Bai Dinh Pagoda festival. In summer, Trang An captivates travelers with its picturesque golden rice fields and fragrant lotus ponds.
Adult: 120.000 VND/person
Children above 1m2: 60.000 VND/person
Children below 1m2: free
1.3 Hoa Lu Ancient Capital
Situated in the North of Trang An World Heritage Complex, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital delves visitors into Vietnam’s rich history, where ancient temples and ruins tell tales of a bygone era. Hoa Lu became the capital of Vietnam’s first centralized feudal state when Dinh Bo Linh ascended to the throne in 968. Despite going through many ups and downs of time, Hoa Lu still retains its historical traces including Imperial walls, an Imperial Citadel, caves, temples, tombs, and valuable architectural works, representing its rich history and culture.
Adult: 20.000 VND/person
Children below 1m2: free
1.4 Bai Dinh Pagoda
Bai Dinh Pagoda is calmly positioned on Bai Dinh Mountain, to the north of Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex. This is a temple with a history of over 1000 years, dating back to the feudal dynasties of Dinh, Tien Le, and early Ly, which prioritized Buddhism as a state religion. Coming to Bai Dinh Pagoda, visitors will be mesmerized by the majestic natural beauty of the mountains and rivers, as well as intricate architecture set amidst a serene natural backdrop like the largest bronze Buddha statue in Asia and the largest bronze Maitreya Buddha in Vietnam.
Advice for visitors when visiting this spiritually significant site is that to dress politely and comfortably, and wear sports shoes for ease of movement.
Entrance fee: 50.000 VND/person
Electricity vehicle ticket: 30.000 VND/person
1.5 Mua Cave
Mua Cave is considered a miniature Great Wall in Vietnam thanks to its majestic and untouched natural scenery, along with its unique architecture. Nestled amidst the lush greenery and towering limestone karsts of the region, Mua Cave boasts an untouched and majestic beauty. Its entrance is adorned with intricate carvings that resemble a dragon and phoenix, adding an element of grandeur to the cave’s allure. As visitors ascend the 468 steps leading to the top, they embark on a journey through history and nature. Upon reaching the peak, visitors are greeted with a breathtaking panoramic view of the picturesque village and towering limestone formations, unfolding before their eyes.
Ticket price: 100.000 VND/person
1.6 Van Long Nature Reserve
Located 17 km to the northeast of Ninh Binh city center, Van Long is home to diverse ecosystems and rare species recorded in the Red Book of Vietnam. Nature enthusiasts will find solace in Van Long Nature Reserve, home to diverse ecosystems and rare bird species.Take a peaceful boat ride through the reserve’s tranquil Van Long wetlands to admire the natural landscape of Van Long with the same mountains, the clear water surface is like a colossal mirror that unveils the hidden depths and listen to the symphony of sounds from a multitude of species. In the midst of a peaceful space, visitors will feel a sense of idyllic and full of peace like never before.
Entrance fee: 20.000 VND/person
Boat ticket: 60.000 VND/turn/2 people
1.7 Cuc Phuong National Park: Biodiversity Haven
Cuc Phuong National Park is a remarkable nature reserve spanning across three provinces: Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh, and Thanh Hoa. Known for its tropical rainforest, Cuc Phuong offers a lush, green landscape all year round, teeming with an abundance of diverse flora and fauna. There are many endangered species of flora and fauna that have been discovered and preserved here, including the iconic white-rumped langur, which has become the symbol of Cuc Phuong forest.
When visiting Cuc Phuong National Forest, visitors have the opportunity to participate in thrilling outdoor activities that allow them to connect with nature, including trekking and cycling through the pristine primary forests, engaging in wildlife exploration and birdwatching, as well as visiting conservation centers to gain insights into the ongoing preservation efforts.
Adults: 60,000 VND
Children above 5 years old: 10,000 VND.
1.8 Bich Dong Pagoda
Nestled into a mountainside, Bich Dong Pagoda is a hidden gem that rewards intrepid travelers with stunning vistas and a serene atmosphere. Bich Dong Pagoda consists of three pagodas designed in the shape of the Chinese character “三” (meaning “three”). These three pagodas are positioned at different levels along the mountainside: Ha Pagoda at the bottom, Trung Pagoda in the middle, and Thuong Pagoda at the top. Surrounded by mountains, caves, and ancient trees, this arrangement creates a stunning scene that leaves tourists mesmerized with its pure beauty.
Adults: 120,000 VND
Children: 60,000 VND.
1.9 Local Caves
Ninh Binh is replete with captivating caves waiting to be explored. Each cavern not only offers unique geological wonders but has its own thrilling legend. Some outstanding caves such as:
- Dia Linh Cave: Known as one of the most perfect stalactite caves in Vietnam. It is often referred to as Chau Bau Cave due to the captivating beauty of its numerous stalactites, which resemble treasures made of gold and pearls.
- Nau Ruou Cave: In the cave, there is an underground water source over 10 meters deep. According to legend, the ancestors used to fetch water from this cave to make wine for the king. Exploring Nau Ruou Cave you have the opportunity to witness the ancient winemaking tools as well as learn the practical process of making wine from local people in the past.
- Boi Cave: It was discovered in 2002, and its interior contained numerous mollusk shells, animal bones, and a few remnants of mollusks. These findings serve as evidence of human presence dating back approximately ten thousand years to the early Hoa Binh Culture, an ancient civilization of Vietnam.
1.10 Enjoy Local Cuisine
Ninh Binh’s culinary offerings provide a tantalizing fusion of flavors that will leave your taste buds delighted. Visitors miss out the opportunity to try the exquisite goat meat dishes that Ninh Binh is renowned for. The tender and flavorful goat meat is prepared using traditional recipes passed down through generations, providing a delightful experience for your palate. Moreover, crispy rice is a culinary masterpiece that showcases the region’s culinary expertise. The satisfying crunch of perfectly cooked rice coupled with an array of flavors will transport you to a world of gastronomic delight. In addition, Ninh Binh is famous for mountain rocky snails, which are extremely rare and hard to find because they only live in rock caves. Mountain snails can be processed into many flavorful dishes such as grilled, fried with tamarind, steamed with ginger, mixed with onion salad… all very attractive.
1.11 Ninh Binh Cycling Tours
Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and embark on an unforgettable cycling expedition through the serene landscapes of Ninh Binh. This cycling adventure promises not only a physical journey but also an immersive experience into the heart of the region’s idyllic countryside. As you pedal through the winding paths, you will find yourself surrounded by breathtaking vistas, picturesque villages, and the evergreen beauty of lush paddy fields. The cycling tours in Ninh Binh offer an intimate glimpse into the local way of life, allowing you to connect with the rhythm of rural existence as well as communicate with friendly local people.
Get ready to immerse yourself in breathtaking landscapes and cultural experiences with our Day Tour to Ninh Binh!
1.12 Traditional Craft Villages
Immerse yourself in the world of artistry and cultural heritage by exploring Ninh Binh’s traditional craft villages. These villages offer a glimpse into the skillful work of local artisans who transform raw materials into intricate masterpieces. You’ll have the opportunity to witness their artistic prowess firsthand and even try your hand at crafting.Visiting these traditional craft villages in Ninh Binh provides an authentic and enriching experience, allowing you to appreciate the age-old techniques and cultural heritage preserved by the local artisans. Here are some renowned traditional craft villages in Ninh Binh that are worth visiting: Kim Son Sedge Weaving Craft Village, Van Lam Embroidery Village and Bo Bat Pottery Village.
2. How far is Ninh Binh from Hanoi?
Ninh Binh is not too far from Hanoi. It is located approximately 90 kilometers (56 miles) to the south of Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city. The most common and convenient way to travel from Hanoi to Ninh Binh is by road. The journey takes approximately 2 to 3 hours, depending on traffic conditions and the mode of transportation chosen. Travelers have several options when it comes to transportation, including buses, private cars, or even hiring a motorbike.
3. How to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh?
To travel from Hanoi to Ninh Binh, visitors have several transportation options:
3.1 By Train
Traveling by train takes around 2,5 to 3 hours, depending on the train type. Trains depart from Hanoi’s main train station, Hanoi Railway Station, and arrive at Ninh Binh Railway Station. The train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh is mostly clean and comfortable, with bathrooms and snack carts on board.
3.2 By Bus
Buses are a common and affordable way to travel between Hanoi and Ninh Binh. There are multiple bus operators offering services between the two cities. The travel time by bus is approximately 2 to 3 hours, depending on traffic conditions
3.3 Hanoi to Ninh Binh by Private Car
If you prefer a more personalized and flexible travel experience, you can hire a private car or take a taxi from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. This option allows you to have more control over your schedule and make stops along the way if desired. The travel time will be 1,5 – 2 hours, depending on traffic conditions and the route taken
3.4 By motorbike
Motorcycles are a major means of transportation in Vietnam, and loved by backpackers. Traveling by motorcycle from Hanoi to Ninh Binh will provide you with a unique experience as you explore beautiful areas via poetic routes. However, if you travel by this form of transportation, you should carefully prepare your identification and avoid running hastily, which can lead to an accident.
4. Is Ninh Binh worth visiting?
Definitely yes. Ninh Binh offers stunning natural landscapes, limestone karsts, picturesque scenery and historical sites. If you enjoy nature, cultural heritage, and a more laid-back atmosphere, Ninh Binh can be a worthwhile addition to your itinerary. It’s also a great option for those planning a trip from Hanoi to Ninh Binh to take a break from the bustling city life and perfect to heal the soul.
With stunning nature landscapes, rich culture, along with hospitably local, Ninh Binh is one of the best places to visit in Vietnam.