Ninh Binh

How to travel to Ninh Binh for your best experience. Everything You Need to Know About Ninh Binh 

Ninh Binh Travel Guide – What to do, when to visit, and more…
Located in northern Vietnam, 100km south of Hanoi, Ninh Binh is considered one of the best destinations on tourist checklist. From ancient temples to hidden caves and verdant rice paddies, Ninh Binh offers impressive natural landscapes as the most majestic scenery in Southeast Asia. Also with striking limestone outcrops, Ninh Binh has earned its nickname “Ha Long Bay on land” that featured in the latest Kong movie. This is truly the site can not be missed. But before getting here, let read our guide on how to travel to Ninh Binh for your best experience.

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Frequently asked questions


1. Take a boat tour to Trang An Grottoes
The UNESCO-listed Trang An Grottoes Complex is Ninh Binh’s crowning jewel and by far considered the best thing to do in Ninh Binh. Surrounded by canals and lakes, Trang An Grottoes consist of a variety of caves, rocks, temples and incredible limestone formations. Along the 3-hour tour, your paddle boat will pass through river caves and stop by several ancient Buddhist temples. You may also have a chance to visit the set of King Kong: Skull Island movie, which was filmed in 2017 at here.

2. Climb up the Mua Cave

Mua Cave is a series of grottoes of various sizes set in the bottom of a limestone mountain. The Mua Cave itself is not much different from the others in Ninh Binh, but the viewpoint up above counts. After 20minutes climbing and ascending 500 steps to a mountain peak, from where you can see all of the breathtaking scenery below and take an epic selfie. The panoramic 360-degree views of the countryside, as well as the Tam Coc valley and of course the abundance of limestone mountains, are absolutely magnificent. Atop the mountain is a fantastic dragon sculpture, which is one of the four sacred creatures (Four Holy Beasts) in Vietnam – along with the Phoenix, Turtle & Qilin, the noblest and powerful symbols opposed to evil.

3. Visit Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda is a gigantic cultural complex of Buddha statues and temples that covers 530 hectares of land. The compound consists of the original old temple and a newly created larger temple, which look mighty and impressive. With its recent temple addition, it is now considered the largest pagoda in South East Asia. You will find it amazing to see from a contemporary cultural perspective. Interestingly, there are hundreds of statues line all the corridors, and their hands and knees are all perfectly polished from all the people touching them to pray.

4. Enjoy Thung Nham Bird Garden

Only about 5 kilometers outside of Tam Coc, Thung Nham Bird Garden is a wonderful place to trek to and learn about various bird species. Come here early in the morning, after crossing the bamboo bridges entering the quiet private garden, you can see an epic nesting area where thousands of pretty exotic birds are twittering. The best thing about this park is that not many people visit it, so you have a good chance of getting it all to yourself.

5. Explore Van Long Nature Reserve

Set amid glorious limestone pinnacles, this tranquil is the perfect stop for nature lovers. Van Long Nature Reserve is also rich in fauna and flora – the biggest wetland in the Northern Vietnam where many local birds, storks, herons live as well as the migratory birds choose for their winter hideaway. Visit Van Long, you can have a complete view of a natural picture of birds flying around, langurs running on mountain slopes – a nature reserve of majestic limestone mountains, caves and wild vegetation.

6. Hike Cuc Phuong National Park

About 90 minutes from Tam Coc, Cuc Phuong National Park is well worth a visit if you want to get in some good hiking. Consisting of more than 200 square kilometres of tropical forest and many grottoes, the reserve is rich in wildlife and natural beauty and also possesses historical significance, as prehistoric tools and ancient tombs have been discovered in some of the caves. Take your time to explore the botanical garden, find ancient trees on hidden trails and learn about local primates in the rescue center, you will be fulfilled entirely.

7. Experience goat meat – the local specialty

While staying in Ninh Binh, you will find a few unusual dishes to try. The most famous one is ‘De Nui’, a meal made with mountain goat. Many of the restaurants have at least one goat dish on the menu — and several specialize in just serving a variety of goat dishes. It’s a great chance to try a local speciality.


It is not overstating that Ninh Binh can be visited at any time of year. Indeed, from November to April, though the evenings and nights may get colder, but you will enjoy the cool, dry weather during the day, which is perfect for trekking and long-distance traveling. From May to October, the weather is hotter, more humid and the chance of getting caught in the rain is rather high. But in return, the rainy season is when the area’s rice fields are a lush, vibrant green that would compensate all the troubles. However, be noted that Ninh Binh may be a bit vulnerable to typhoons in September, particularly.


By train: There are six trains daily connecting Ninh Binh and Hanoi. The journey between stations takes between 2.5 – 3 hours. Price starts at $5. You can book a ticket online, or purchase on the spot at Hang Co Train Station.

By bus: There are several trips to Ninh Binh by bus that can be caught at Giap Bat Bus Station. It normally takes less than 3 hours (depending on the traffic), with price starts at $4.

Ninh-Binh-Tours-8For your best experience traveling Ninh Binh, we recommend a 2-day itinerary for you to experience a pressing-free but enjoyable trip as following.

Day 1: Trang An – Mua Cave

AM: Sign up for a boat tour around Trang An Landscape Complex. Enjoy picturesque scenery along the river and visit top attractions of Vu Lam Royal Place, Tam Coc – Bich Dong.
PM: Climb the Mua Cave. Relax and enjoy the panorama view of Ninh Binh atop.

Day 2: Bai Dinh Pagoda – Cuc Phuong National Park

AM: Visit Bai Dinh Pagoda to admire the mighty architect. Learn some Vietnamese cultural and spiritual practices.
PM: Head to Cuc Phuong National Park. Spend an afternoon to discover the rich natural life. Return to town in late evening,

If you are a veteran backpacker, please feel free to manage the trip your own and alter it when needed, else, we recommend you join a tour organized by a professional company, that can free you from hassles and keep you safe throughout the journey.

Throughout this article, we wish you to have an idea of how to travel to Ninh Binh for your best experience. In case you are looking for your own travel agent, who can offer a wonderful and hassle-free trip to Ninh Binh, please feel free to let us know. We always commit our best to make it your once-in-a-lifetime journey.

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