Ninh Binh is a coastal city located on the Red River Delta which just takes about 2 hours by car from the center of Hanoi capital to Ninh Binh. It can be seen that Ninh Binh’s terrain is really a wonderful complex among majestic mountains, winding rivers, flourishing forests. Ninh Binh’s nature truly gets on well with historic values of Vietnam. The list below will introduce the top 8 most outstanding destinations in this sacred city.

I. The best time to visit Ninh Binh

In general, there isn't a major reason not to visit Ninh Binh at any time of the year on the family tours in Vietnam. Similar to other parts of northern Vietnam, the weather between the months of November and April is mostly dry and cool, while May to October leads to humid, hot and plenty of rainfall. Additionally, the month of September is especially at risk of typhoons. However, the wet season is a great time to visit for nature lovers that are interested in seeing the vivid green color of the rice fields.

The Ninh Binh weather is comparable to Hanoi and other northern cities.

April and May – it's a great time to appreciate the ripen rice fields and the early harvest time.

June – it's time for flowers, especially Lotus. While there are plenty of other places to see the water-lily and lotus flowers, a great thing about Ninh Binh is the natural and picturesque background that is more striking than other places like Hanoi.

September and October – it's a chance to admire the wet rice harvest time along the Bich Dong River, Trang An Landscape Complex, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital and Tam Coc surrounded by the wonderful scenery of yellow rice fields.

November – it's low on tourist traffic without crowds. However, the only issue is likely to relate to the paddy fields. At this time of year, the rice has already been harvested and want is left is brown or yellowish fields. Apart from this, the local scenery is still great and the weather is pleasant and may reach around the 20° C mark during the day, although the evenings can get a little chilly.

Is there time to avoid?

Apart from the best times to visit Ninh Binh, there are also times when it isn't the most appropriate for boat rides, such as between the months of December and February when the weather has a higher chance of a lot of drizzles. Also, it may not be a good idea to travel just before or after the Tet holiday (Vietnamese New Year) due to heavy crowds.

 

II. How to get to Ninh Binh?

1. Train

Ninh Binh's train station is just behind the bus station across the Van River from the post office. At least five trains a day stop en route to Hanoi and at least four stop heading south, taking around 3 hours. Seats to Hanoi range from 44,000 to 85,000VND. Fares vary depending on the class of train and seating.

2. Bus

Buses take around 1.5 to 2 hours to/from Hanoi, depending on the type of bus and the route it takes. 

From Hanoi, buses leave from Giap Bat (southern) bus station. As soon as you arrive you are likely to be accosted by someone asking if you want to go to Ninh Binh, they are trying to get you on their bus and there's no harm in this, just make sure they take you to buy a ticket at the window in the ticket office (70,000 VND) before getting on the bus.

Most buses to Hanoi terminate at Giap Bat bus station, although some go to My Dinh. Either is a bit of a trek from Hoan Kiem.

3. Limousine

Another more luxurious transport is Limousine. They will pick you up from your place and let you arrive in Ninh Binh's homestays or hotels. Of course, the fare will be much higher than a traditional bus.

Fare: 120,000 VND - 150,000 VND.

4. Motorbike

It will be ideal for backpackers and teams wishing an adventurous weekend to escape from the bustle and hustle of Hanoi.

Just 70km from Hanoi, it takes you about 2 riding hours, but it's worth trying, believe me.
 

III. Top 8 worth-visiting in Ninh Binh

1. Mua Cave filming on Kong Skull island

Mua Cave ( Hang Múa - Ninh Bình) is one of the most famous attractions in Ninh Binh that tourists almost will decide to visit it when they have had a bunch of information about the historical and King Kong’s land - Ninh Binh ( Appeared in the film “King Kong”).

 

Only Mua Cave brings you a chance for viewing the picturesque landscape of Tam Coc from the peak above. 

It’s about 6km far from the city center and is a frequent stop of Ninh Binh. The attraction is very peaceful, natural since there are huge karst mountains along with impressive landscape around. 

Mua Cave is lying at the foot of Mua mountain which shapes a bell with a width of around 800 square meters. On the left and right of the staircase is decorated on the stone with the dragon or phoenix carved properly very sharp and beautiful

The way leading to the cave formed by a long stone staircase zigzags through the karst, there are nearly 500 steps to a simple altar to Quan Am (the Goddess of Mercy). It is assumed that the cave entrance seems to be similar as“ Great wall of China”.

Legend of Mua Caves Ninh Binh: According to Vietnamese legend when the king Tran arrived at Hoa Lu to establish Thai Vi temple, the King was like visiting this cave for enjoying the dancing performance by ladies ( who serve imperial ). In Vietnamese “mua” means dancing so that the cave was named “Hang Mua”

Tourists setting their foot on this place normally try to conquer the peak of the mountain to look down a stunning beauty of Ninh Binh especially Tam Coc where having floating boats.

NOTES

- Ticket price: 100.000 VND/person ($5)

To save your trip you should start conquering Mua cave before 4 pm in winter because it gets dark soon. In summer the best time is in the morning or afternoon when the sunshine is weak.

- The best time to Visit Mua Cave: A special time to visit Mua cave is in May or June when rice paddies become yellow, it is viewed from the viewpoint on Mua Caves.

- Remember to bring your bottle of water & a hat

- Wear simple and comfortable clothes that are suited to climb.

- Follow the rule- no littering.

 

2. Tam Diep Pineapple Hill – A New “Check-In” Destination In Ninh Binh

Not only Mua Cave, Trang An or Tam Coc Bich Dong, Ninh Binh land also has a new location for the selfie, attracting many young people to take pictures as the pineapple hill in Tam Diep city. Dong Giao farm is also known as pineapple farm – quite famous land of Tam Diep.

It appeared with a picture like a romantic feng shui picture, green pineapple trees covered the basalt red soil roads. If you want to find a “green” place between the majestic mountains or a peaceful paradise for a beautiful “pictures” the pineapple farm is the perfect choice for you.

The pineapple is grown all year round on a huge area of ​​about 3,500ha, attractive and so eye-catching in the bright sunlight at any corner. The color of pineapple here depends on growth time, so if you come at different times, you will have photos with different colors.

The early summer days with bright sunshine are considered the ideal time to visit and earn full fantastic “check-in” photos because the cool endless green field becomes the beautiful background and extremely great for taking “check-in” photos.

NOTE

The best time: mid-April to mid-July

 

3. Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex – A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Situated seven kilometers to the west of Ninh Binh city, this very place will have you lost in a wonderland, by just rowing a boat down the river. Karst mountains, evergreen jungles, lush rice fields, and vivid emerald rivers make up this whole area, together with endless points of interest to be discovered. What could be more ideal for an explorer? In fact, Trang An was among one of the major filming sites of the blockbuster Kong: Skull Island last year.

Trang An has one of the most beautiful and charming karst sceneries of the world. The whole picture is composed of hat-shaped limestone mountains, covered by blooming jungles and golden rice fields that carpets the valleys in between. Not to mention the crystal-clear rivers and streams that run along these valleys, reflecting the blue sky above. These rivers are all interconnected and some of them stretch up to one kilometer in length, making boat trips a perfect way to fully savor your precious moments. Apart from the grand scenery, there are dozens of stunning natural caves that you should consider exploring on foot.

 

Technically speaking, Trang An is a Scenic Landscape Complex, inscribed as a mixed world heritage site in UNESCO’s list in 2014 for its unique combination of cultural and natural value. The complex includes many national preserved sites, such as Trang An ecological park, Bai Dinh temple, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, and the Tam Coc – Bich Dong grottoes. 

A lot of people call Trang An a “Ha Long on land”, but I must deny this comparison. They are just too different! Trang An boasts deeper cultural and historical values. There are not any luxury cruise ships ruining the landscape, the waterways are much narrower, and the only vehicle that can traverse the land is a small sampan wooden boat. But this is the fun of it, slowly rowing through serpentine streams, between the blooming mountains and valleys. There are also spectacular transitions along the way, as you enter a dark cave and a whole new picture appears right in front of your eyes at the exit.

NOTE

Adult ticket: 250,000 VND/pax/route (including a boat trip)

Children below 1.4m ticket: 100,000/pax/route (including a boat trip)

Tour guide: 300,000 VND/tour

 

4. Tam Coc and Bich Dong

In history, Tam Coc – Bich Dong had the title of “the second most beautiful grotto of the southern skies”. 

2 routes:

The first one Tam Coc – Den Thai Vi – Dong Thien Huong takes you through Tam Coc caves, Thai Vi temple, and Thien Huong cave. 

The second route Xuyen Thuy Dong brings you to Bich Dong grotto through Xuyen Thuy cave underneath a mountain. Each of these trips is around two hours only, and they do not overlap each other so I recommend doing both for the most comprehensive experience.

Adult entrance ticket: 120,000 VND/pax

Children below 1.4m entrance ticket: 60,000/pax (under three years old – free)

Boat trip ticket: 150,000 VND for a boat of two people. Extra person costs 75,000 VND for adult and 35,000 VND for children.

In order to visit Tam Coc caves, the only available way is to take the first boat trip. On the other hand, it is possible to visit Bich Dong on the ground, but the grotto is three kilometers away from the entrance.

 

5. Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong national park is the first national park in Vietnam, established in July 1962. Cuc Phuong National Park has a population of abundant flora and fauna.

Cuc Phuong has the area of 22.000 hectares, of which three quarters are limestone with the height from 300 meters to 600 meters above sea level. Here, there has May Bac mount with 648.2 meters. The climate in Cuc Phuong is kind of tropical monsoon climate, average annual temperature about 24.70C. Especially, there have many caves, beautiful landscape and historical natural remnants such as Trang Khuyet Cave, Chua Cave, Thuy Tien Cave, Nguoi Xua, Cave, Con Moong grotto, San Ho Cave…

The flora is various with 1.944 species. Diverse fauna includes 71 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 33 reptiles and 16 amphibians. Besides, there have many animals such as bears, horses, boars, tigers, leopards, ferrets, squirrels, monkeys… The half natural breeding area has deer, yellow monkey, Delacour's langur, and flying squirrel… which serves the research of scientists and tourists can have the opportunity to see animals as in nature. Cuc Phuong is also the home of hundreds of birds, beautiful and strange butterflies.

The best time to explore Cuc Phuong National Park is in the dry season, from December to April.

Entrance fee: 30.000vnd/adult - 10.000vnd/child

Tourists can use the camera and take photos.

 

6. Hoa Lu ancient capital of Vietnam

Hoa Lu is the ancient capital of the Dinh and Le dynasties which dates back to the 11th century.

Serene and tranquil, it is set in beautiful surroundings beside to Truong Yen village and is easily visited on a day trip from Ninh Binh. However, as beautiful as the surroundings may be, the remains themselves are really non-existent, with the only buildings of interest being some temples which have been built on the old sites.

Entry is 10,000 VND / person with parking at 15,000 VND for a motorbike.

 

7. Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda is Southeast Asia’s largest Buddhist complex. It consists of several temples and over 500 intricately carved statues of Buddha, including one that’s made of bronze and is 10 meters in height. Set within the Gia Sinh Commune, it attracts a huge crowd of local devotees and travelers looking to pay their respects and have their fortunes told by the resident monks.

Bai Dinh Pagoda includes both of majestic sceneries and spiritual values. This is the largest spiritual pagoda in Vietnam and one of the must-see places in Ninh Binh.

Opening time: 6am - 9pm

Fee: no entrance fee, 80,000 VND/ a electric car/ 2 ways.

 

8. Phat Diem Church

Located about 29km Southeast of Ninh Binh in Kim Son district and only a few km away from the Gulf of Tonkin, Phat Diem is of historical importance and a real hit with Vietnamese tourists.

It is in this area that the French and Portuguese missionaries first introduced Catholicism to Vietnam. While most Christians fled south, settling between Dalat and Saigon after the communists seized power in 1954, today they’re returning and many newly erected churches can be seen on the way to Phat Diem.

The Phat Diem Cathedral (Nha Tho Phat Diem) was built between 1875 and 1899 and in considered to be a fine example of Sino-Vietnamese architecture. The main building is 74m long, 21m wide and 11m high. The six rows of huge ironwood pillars and the carved stone entrance and altar are very impressive, and the whole complex has a peaceful, solemn feel to it. 

The mass hour: 10:00 am 

The opening hour: 6 am and 4 pm.

IV. Where to stay in Ninh Binh?

A lot of choices for you in Ninh Binh, especially homstays and bungalows are available. Check it out here 

These above are some useful information about Ninh Binh - the ideal time, the transportation and top 8 must-see places for a two-day trip in Ninh Binh. hope it can be helpful. For more tips and local food in Ninh Binh, visit us at