Ninh Binh Vietnam Travel Guide – How To Make The Most Of Vietnam’s Hidden Gem
Ninh Binh is widely regarded as being the hidden gem of Vietnam. This is because it offers some of the most impressive and majestic natural landscapes in the whole of Southeast Asia. Even so, most travelers just overlook it. Scenery in Ninh Binh Vietnam is simply stunning, with really easy access to the country’s authentic side through various rural regions.
If you want to plan a vacation to Ninh Binh, there are obviously many things you want to consider. We have you covered and here are those important things to remember so that your trip to Ninh Binh will be just perfect.
Getting To Ninh Binh
Most travelers will come by train from Hanoi. However, an option that should be considered is taking the bus. There are many that come from Giap Bat. Just do not make the really cheap choices as traveling conditions are pretty abysmal. Do a little research before you choose a bus. You will reach Ninh Binh city in around 2 hours via train or bus.
If you come from another region:
- Coming from the south – bus and train options exist towards Hanoi.
- Coming from Cat Ba and Halong Bay – direct buses.
When To Visit Ninh Binh
You can visit almost any time you want. Similarly to North Vietnam, from May to October the weather is humid and hot. Rainfall is high. In September the area is vulnerable to typhoons. Between November and April the weather is dry and cool. Most tourists will want to visit during the rainy season. This is because rice fields are vivid green and they look totally different than the gold you see during dry seasons.
In Ninh Binh you always have to arrange your own transportation. If not, you will miss out on quite a lot. A huge highlight is moving through the rice fields. There are not many places where this would be a huge thing to be on your to-visit list. If you ride a motorbike, it is usually seen as the best option available for exploration. It is really easy to rent one from travel agents and hotels on a per day basis.
You can also rent a bike if you want to. Most of this region is flat so it is really easy to travel by bike. Roads are in good-enough condition. If you want to visit Tam Coc, biking is actually the most recommended option.
When you want to visit the most popular tourist attractions, you have to cover 30 kilometers daily during most trips. Locations like Trang An and Dai Dinh Pagoda are very far away. No matter the case, it is always a good idea to leave main roads so you can get a feel of the authentic country areas.
Top Ninh Binh Attractions
Ninh Binh city is not that great and you cannot see much there. You will want to find accommodation somewhere else since the major attractions are somewhere else. The main regions you can consider are:
- Trang An – Visit Hoa Lu Temple, Thung Nham Bird Garden and Trang An Grottoes.
- Tam Coc – Visit the rice fields and the Hang Mua Temple.
- Cuc Phuong – Do not miss Phat Diem Cathedral and Cuc Phuong National Park.
- Van Long – Visit the Dich Long Cave and the Van Long Nature Reserve.
Top Ninh Binh Things To Do
Many can be mentioned. Feel free to comment below if you have other suggestions. What we have to recommend when visiting Ninh Binh, Vietnam, is:
- Trang An Boat Rides
This can very well be your favorite experience. You are on a rowing boat and there is a rower that will take you through a majestic 2 hours journey. You get to go through temples, lakes and caves. Trips normally start when 4 people assemble. Most tourists will just go to Tam Coc but you should not do this if you want to experience fewer crowds. Just make sure you get there early to avoid the bus excursions.
Trang An is only seven km from Ninh Binh so it should be no surprise to see why it is so often recommended.
- Riding A Bike
There are not many regions in the world where it is actually highly recommended to ride a bike as a tourist but Ninh Binh is one of them. If you are the type of tourist that loves sightseeing, this is simply perfect. People will wave at you as you go buy and it is so easy to get a real glimpse of authentic Vietnamese life when you ride a bike and just explore.
Ninh Binh is home to many temples that can be explored. Hang Mua is considered to be the most dramatic since it sits right on top of a hill that is 500 steps above ground. Getting to the temple is actually challenging. Now, the temple itself is not that impressive but the views you are going to see are incredible. When you just want to do something less challenging, go for Bai Dinh Pagoda, a huge Buddhist temple.
- Thung Nham Bird Garden
Few people get to visit since this is a location that is not widely advertised or included in tours. This is a clear shame since natural beauty is at home in the garden. Thung Nham Bird Garden is a national park, the place where the region’s birds stop to make nests. Trees are simply packed with so many birds you will not know which one to look at first. If you are into hiking, you can also enjoy various trails and caves.
Where To Stay
There are practically two rules you have to follow:
- Stay at least 2 days in Ninh Banh – Many travelers just visit the region on a one day trip but this does not offer enough time to enjoy all that the region has to offer.
- Do not stay in Ninh Binh city – We already mentioned this and it is a bad idea to stay in the city as it is just uninspiring. A better base would be Tam Coc.
Extra General Travel Tips To Remember
The last things we should mention are the following:
- Do Take Time To Relax
You cannot enjoy everything that Ninh Banh has to offer in one day. At least 2 nights are needed. Also, do not rush activities and fully enjoy nature.
- Have Enough Money
In Tam Coc you will not find ATMs. When you need cash, the only option is to travel to Ninh Binh city, which is not convenient given the distance.
- Drive Calmly
Locals are sometimes crazy on the road. You will hear many honks even if you do not do anything that is wrong.