Ninh Binh travel guide (Last updated on January 3, 2020)
Located about 90 km from Hanoi, Ninh Binh is home to many world heritage sites, biosphere reserves recognized world-wide by UNESCO. Like Ninh Thuan, Ninh Binh is famous for its numerous caves, lagoons, and waterfalls, which are worthy of tourism development such as Trang An, Tam Coc – Bich Dong tourist sites, Van Long Nature Reserve. Not only that, Ninh Binh is a film studio of many famous Hollywood movies such as “Pan and Neverland,” “Quiet American,” “Kong: Skull Island” …
Best time to travel to Ninh Binh
You can travel to Ninh Binh in all seasons of the year, but the best time to go is from February to April. At this time, this place is not too cold or too hot, especially you have can combine traveling and go visiting temples, pagodas as the period are also the festive time. In addition, in late May and early June is the time of rice season in Tam Coc, which is very suitable for tourists who like to take pictures. And also at this time when you come to Ninh Binh Cuc Phuong National Park, you will be watching butterflies fly over the roads in the forest.
How to get to Ninh Binh?
Come to Ninh Binh
Since its location is only about 90km south of Hanoi, there is plenty of transportation for you to travel to Ninh Binh, such as trains, buses, private cars or motorbikes.
Ninh Binh has a railway station located on the North-South railway line so visitors can easily use the train to Ninh Binh whether you travel from the North or the South of Vietnam via Thong Nhat train. From Hanoi, there are SE3 trains (19h25) to Ninh Binh at 21h35, SE19 trains (20h10) to Ninh Binh at 22h20, SE5 trains (9:00 am) to Ninh Binh at 11:21 am, SE7 trains (6:00 am) to Ninh Binh at 8:22 am.
If departing from Ho Chi Minh City, the only suitable train that you should take is SE8 departing from Saigon Station at 6 am and arriving in Ninh Binh at 1:34 pm the next day.
Most of the passenger cars from Hanoi to Ninh Binh come from Giap Bat Bus Station, so if you want to use public transport, you need to go to Giap Bat bus station with address 897, Giai Phong, Giap Bat Ward, Hoang Mai District, City. Hanoi to buy tickets.
If using motorbike, from Hanoi, you follow the old National Highway 1A to Ha Nam and then follow Ninh Binh Thanh Hoa.
Currently, due to the increasing demands of tourists, there are many travel and service companies that have provided limousine bus services along the Hanoi – Ninh Binh route. You can refer to this article to know the limousine brands with the best quality.
This is a common and easy way to book a car. Some taxi companies have good service quality in Ninh Binh:
- Taxi Ninh Bình 0229 3633788
- Taxi Mai Linh 0229 6252525 – 0229 6251888
- Taxi Minh Long 0229 3881122
- Taxi Xuân Thành 0229 3686868
- Taxi Thùy Dương 0229 3727272
- Taxi Hoa Lư 0229 2211444
Motobike or Bicycle
Ninh Binh currently has a number of motorbike/bicycle rental locations that you can choose, with this type of vehicle you will easier to schedule and travel to tourist destinations in the provincial. You can easily find motorbike/bicycle rental shops at tourist spots.
Where to stay? Nice and good Homestay & Hotels in Ninh Binh
In Ninh Binh from the homestay to the high-end hotel, there are many options for you. If you go on holiday, you are recommended to book accommodation 2-3 weeks before to avoid room unavailability or high prices. Right in the center of Ninh Binh, there are many homestay and hotels with very reasonable prices and you can book directly or through the travel company so you get better prices a lot more than you book directly with that hotel. This is an experience when traveling to Ninh Binh you should pay attention.
In addition, Booking.com is a very reasonable choice we would like to advise you with information and photos, very detailed service, as well as reviews of the people who have booked here.
Places to visit in Ninh Binh
Trang An is one of the most popular tourist spots of Ninh Binh today. With unspoiled and gorgeous natural scenery, Trang An has been recognized as a UNESCO natural heritage and world cultural heritage. The scenery here is made up of rivers flowing through the limestone mountains, forming numerous natural fanciful mysterious caves.
Van Long Natural Reserve
Around 80 kilometers from Hanoi, Van Long Nature Reserve in Gia Van Commune, Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province is as beautiful as a painting.
The site is where tourists can come to find peace in a tranquil atmosphere. Although it was opened for tourism in 1998, Van Long is still as primitive as ever. It remains an attractive destination for local and foreign visitors.
Along with Trang An Complex and Tam Coc-Bich Dong k in the province, Van Long Nature Reserve is considered an overland equivalent of Halong Bay with imposing cliffs and mountains and vast lakes which form a stunning scene.
Thung Nham Bird Sanctuary
For those who love nature and adventurous bird watching trips, Thung Nham in Ninh Binh is the ideal place to experience.
Along with watching birds, you can also explore the caves in the mountains and visit orchard of tropical fruits, including star fruit, mangoes, guavas, and lychees.
Thung Nham (Nham Valley) eco-tourism zone is located in Hoa Lu District, 12km south of Ninh Binh City (100km from Hanoi), deep in the mountains and far from residential area. The 350ha park has been developed for tourism but still retains its natural beauty.
This area is surrounded by tropical forest strips on Limestone Mountains, with valleys and caves.
Bai Dinh Pagoda
Bai Dinh Pagoda is a Buddhist religious complex and is a large temple complex known for many Asian and Vietnamese records, located at the western gateway of Hoa Lu ancient monument, on the National Highway 38B, in Gia Sinh commune, Gia Vien. , Ninh Bình, 15 km from Ninh Bình city, 95 km from Hà Nội. Bai Dinh Pagoda is located in the north of the world heritage site Trang An.
The population of Bai Dinh pagoda currently covers an area of 1700 ha including 27 ha of the old Bai Dinh pagoda, 80 ha of the new Bai Dinh pagoda, areas such as cultural parks and Buddhist institutes, reception areas, and parks. The landscape, roads and parking lots, Dam Thi lake area… are still being built and expanded.
Tam Coc – Bich Dong
Tam Coc is a famous tourist site in the northern province of Ninh Binh and simple wooden boats on the Ngo Dong River are one of its attractions.
Ranked as a special national relic site, the best time to visit Tam Coc is from late May to late June when the immense rice fields along the Ngo Dong River start to change color from green to yellow.
Hoa Lu Ancient Capital
Hoa Lu ancient capital is a national relic complex that is particularly important. The Hoa Lu ancient capital has an area of 13.87 km² in Ninh Binh province. With a time of more than 1000 years, ancient capital Hoa Lu is a place to store historical relics through the ages.
Cuc Phuong National Park
Established in 1962, Cuc Phuong is the oldest national park in Vietnam. Nestled between the provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh, and Thanh Hoa, Cuc Phuong boasts engaging cultural and wildlife heritage and enchanting scenery.
Covering over 22,000 hectares at a height of 300-600 meters above sea level, the forest has magnificent limestone mountains rising majestically from the green rice-terraces and traditional stilt houses of the Muong hill-tribe and a rich habitat for some of Asia’s rarest species. That is why it is no wonder that researchers, naturalists, enthusiasts and conservationists alike are drawn to this corner of the world.
Mua Cave (Dancing Cave)
It was built according to the Great Wall of China with 500 stone steps to go up. It is a very popular place for tourists because the top of the mountain offers panoramic views of mountains, rivers and rice fields.
Phat Diem Stone Church
Phat Diem stone church is 28km from Ninh Binh city to the southeast, in Phat Diem town, Kim Son district. Phat Diem Stone Church is one of the most beautiful churches in Vietnam, with unique architecture, built of wood and stone for 24 years (1875-1899) on an area of 22ha. Although it is a Catholic church, it is modeled on Vietnamese traditional temple and temple architecture.
Thien Ha Cave
Thien Ha cave is located in the heart of the Tuong Mountain (General Mountain) in the territory of Son Ha commune, Nho Quan district, 25 km from Ninh Binh city.
With an area of 1,200m2, Thien Ha cave has a length of 700m including a 200m long dry cave and 500m long water cave. Visitors can walk in the dry cave and take a boat in the water cave to explore the shimmering beauty of this cave. Thien Ha Cave is also a place to store many important archaeological sites, which demonstrate the tradition of residence of prehistoric people in the caves of Trang An Scenic Area.
Kenh Ga hot spring
Kenh Ga hot spring is located in Kenh Ga village, Gia Thinh commune, Gia Vien district, 25 km from Ninh Binh city to the Northwest. This is a source of mineral water containing many salts of Natriclorua, Calcium, Magnesium Chloride and Bicarbonate…stable temperature of 53 Celcius degrees; water has the effect of healing, restoring health, stimulating digestion by soaking bath in combination with physical therapy. Kenh Ga hot spring is an ideal weekend resort for tourists.
“Kong: Skull Island” studio
Kong: Skull Island film studio was dismantled on September 20, 2019, with the aim of preserving the sustainable development of the Trang An tourist resort and population complex. Therefore, the tourist route to Trang An tourist area is no longer an attraction: Kong: Skull Island film studio.
As you know, Kong: Skull Island is an American blockbuster film that was shot in 2016 with many scenes in Vietnam’s landscapes such as Trang An World Heritage Site, Nature Reserve. Van Long, Tam Coc – Bich Dong (Ninh Binh); Halong Bay (Quang Ninh) and Phong Nha (Quang Binh). After finishing the scenes in Vietnam, the Trang An scenic management board restored the studio in several locations that were filmed for tourism purposes.
Van Trinh Cave
Van Trinh Cave is one of the largest and most beautiful caves in Ninh Binh. The cave is located in Mo mountain in Thuong Hoa commune, Nho Quan district. The cave is located in a mountain higher than a hundred meters. The cave entrance is halfway up the mountain, about 40 m above the ground.
Non-Nuoc Pagoda is an ancient pagoda built during the reign of King Ly Nhan Tong, bringing a lot of history and culture. This temple is located at the foot of Non-Nuoc Mountain, when you visit this temple you can also pass 72 stone steps to the top of Non-Nuoc Mountain to admire the scenery.