For history lovers, Ninh Binh is one of the Northern Vietnam destinations that takes you on a journey through rich and dynamic Vietnamese history. Immerse yourself in the remnants of ancient dynasties and get a glimpse of the regal splendor that once graced these lands. Or, you also can discover breathtaking landscapes, from limestone karsts to tranquil waterways, each with its own story to tell. Whether you’re fascinated by historical sites, enchanted by natural wonders, or seeking cultural experiences, Ninh Binh has something to offer every curious traveler on the journey to explore Vietnam. Read this blog to get more information about must-visit places in Ninh Binh and some travel tips that VLS suggests!
Table of Contents
How to go to Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh is around 100 kilometers from Hanoi capital; most visitors select Hanoi as their starting point since it is quite convenient; they may visit Ninh Binh during the day and return to Hanoi at night. Depending on your demands, you can select between motorbikes, automobiles, and tourist vehicles. If you drive a car, it will take you around 2 hours to get to Ninh Binh through the Phap Van-Cau Gie highway. If you want to relax and take in the surroundings, you can take a tourist vehicle, a passenger automobile, which costs between 100,000 VND and 150,000 VND one way.
From Ho Chi Minh City, there are several ways to get to Ninh Binh including air, vehicle, and rail. To save time and energy, the most convenient way to travel is by the airline, flying to Hanoi and then using road vehicles to Ninh Binh. Some domestic airlines to consider include Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Bamboo Airways.
A walk back in Vietnamese history with 5 tourist attractions in Ninh Binh
Trang An, often referred to as “Halong Bay on land”, is a mesmerizing destination renowned for its natural beauty and cultural significance. The Trang An Landscape Complex spans an area of over 2,000 hectares and is characterized by its stunning karst topography. Towering limestone formations emerge from the emerald-green waters, creating a breathtaking backdrop for exploration.
Visitors to Trang An can embark on boat tours that take them on a scenic journey through the interconnected waterways. Skilled local boatmen guide the small rowing boats, skillfully maneuvering through narrow passages and caves. As you glide through the waterways, you’ll have the opportunity to explore numerous caves that are scattered throughout the area like. These caves are not only geologically fascinating but also hold cultural and historical significance. Some caves house ancient temples and shrines, where visitors can stop by, pay their respects and learn about the local religious traditions.
- Dia Linh Cave with a length of 1500m and a system of fossil stalactites
- Nau Ruou Cave with hundreds of jars of wine distilled from 10m deep underground water
- Boi Cave – the place where traces of prehistoric people were discovered about ten thousand years ago.
- Bright Cave, Dark Cave, and Ba Giot Cave are also caves worth visiting.
The biodiversity of Trang An is also worth noting. The area is home to a variety of plant and animal species, making it an important ecological site. The lush vegetation that blankets the karsts provides a habitat for numerous bird species, adding to the enchanting ambiance of the landscape.
Ticket price: 250,000 VND/adult ticket, 6 people per boat; 120,000 VND/kid ticket. If you hire a travel guide, it will cost 300,000 VND/per tour.
Hoa Lu Ancient Capital
Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is a historical site that takes visitors on a journey back to the glory days of the Dinh and Le dynasties. It served as the capital of Vietnam during the 10th and 11th centuries and played a significant role in shaping Vietnamese history.
The two main temples in Hoa Lu are dedicated to the rulers of the Dinh and Le dynasties, namely King Dinh Tien Hoang and King Le Dai Hanh. These temples, known as Dinh Temple and Le Temple, respectively, are intricately designed and adorned with ornate carvings and sculptures. They serve as a testament to the power and influence of these historical figures.
The annual traditional celebration of Hoa Lu’s old capital to celebrate the monarchs and national heroes who created and developed Hoa Lu capital takes place from March 8th to March 10th. The Hoa Lu Ancient Capital celebration is divided into two parts: the ceremony and the celebration. Aside from the ceremony, the festival portion included daring traditional activities like boat racing, wrestling, and cheo singing in a tremendously joyous and noisy setting.
Ticket price: 20,000 VND/person
Mua Cave, which belongs to Tam Coc Bich Dong, is a hidden gem that offers a unique and rewarding experience for adventurous travelers. To reach the top of Mua Cave, you must conquer a series of steep stairs, totaling 500 steps. While the climb may be challenging, the effort is rewarded with breathtaking vistas that stretch across the Tam Coc area, with winding rivers, vibrant rice fields, and majestic limestone formations painting a picture-perfect scene.
For those seeking a memorable adventure, Mua Cave offers a blend of physical activity, natural wonder, and breathtaking vistas. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photography lover, or simply looking for a unique experience in Ninh Binh, Mua Cave is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Ticket price: 100,000 VND/person
Bai Dinh Temple
Bai Dinh is a spiritual complex with the largest and most distinctive architecture in Vietnam. The majestic main temple’s roof is constructed with three stories and twelve curving roofs in the style of a knife head. The pagoda is also created with stone dragons from the Ly Dynasty, as well as a vast stone yard overlooking the Ngoc Well.
When you visit Bai Dinh Pagoda, you will be able to appreciate numerous remarkable treasures and spiritual locations, as well as many intriguing tales. You will visit Bright Cave, where Gods and Buddhas are worshiped, and Dark Cave, where sculptures of mothers and fairies are placed deep within the cave, coated in magnificent stalactites.
Ticket price: 30,000 VND/person for a tramcar ticket
Cuc Phuong National Park
Cuc Phuong National Park, located in the Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh, and Thanh Hoa provinces of Vietnam, is a verdant oasis teeming with biodiversity and natural wonders. Established in 1962, it was the first national park in Vietnam and remains one of the country’s most treasured conservation areas.
Exploring Cuc Phuong offers a variety of activities and attractions. The park features well-maintained trails that lead visitors through the dense forest, allowing for immersive nature walks and hikes. As you venture deeper into the park, you may encounter ancient trees, cascading waterfalls, and tranquil streams that add to the park’s serene atmosphere.
One of the park’s highlights is the Endangered Primate Rescue Center, where efforts are made to rehabilitate and conserve rare primate species. Visitors can learn about the center’s conservation work and observe these remarkable creatures up close, contributing to their protection and well-being.
Another interesting activity is exploring Prehistoric Man Cave which is a residence and burial monument. Archeology has obtained stone axes, bone spearheads, stone knives, snail shells and many animal bones, and animal teeth. In particular, 3 ancient tombs have been discovered with fossilized human skeletons that are still quite intact.
Ticket price: 60,000 VND/adult ticket, 20,000 VND/student ticket
Travel tips for foreign tourists
- Choose the right time: The best time to visit Ninh Binh is during the dry season, which is from November to April. The weather is pleasant, and you can explore the attractions without much rainfall.
- Dress Code: Ninh Binh has several religious sites, such as temples and pagodas, where modest attire is appreciated. It is advisable to dress conservatively, covering your shoulders and knees, when visiting these places out of respect for the local customs.
- Insect Protection: Ninh Binh is a rural area with lush vegetation, so it’s a good idea to bring insect sprays or mosquito repellent to protect yourself from mosquito/insect bites, especially during the evenings or when visiting natural areas.
- Learn the local language: Taking a Vietnamese course before your trip to Vietnam will help you communicate with the locals, easily understand Vietnamese history, ask for a menu at the restaurant, or bargain the price when you buy souvenirs.
Before you enjoy Vietnamese history in these captivating Northern Vietnam destinations above, consider taking the opportunity to enhance your experience further by learning Vietnamese with VLS (Vietnamese Language Studies). VLS offers language courses that can enrich your interactions with locals and deepen your understanding of the country’s vibrant culture. So, come to Ninh Binh, embrace Vietnamese history, marvel at the landscapes, and let VLS guide you in unlocking the beauty of the Vietnamese language.