Ninh Binh Tourism: Vietnam's Hidden Gem

This Ninh Binh travel guide has all you need to know to plan your trip to one of the most fascinating places in vietnam. Don't miss it!

Ninh Binh is a fasscinating place where apart from an inspiring scenery you have easy access to the most rural and authentic side Vietnam.

This travel guide of Ninh Binh is packed with the most uo-to-date and reliable information to plan your trip and start making you itinerary.

Let's start!

Ninh Binh Tourism:  Vietnam's Hidden Gem
Photo by phongnguyenhuy
Ninh Binh province is located in northern Vietnam, about 100km south of Hanoi. With its hundreds of limestone cliffs emerging from the ground scattered across the rice fields, this region is appropriately nickname the "Halong bay in land".

Apart from this stunning scenery, Ninh Binh is a great opportunity to peek into the rural way of living. It's all very laid-back and serece, just how the Vietnam experience should be.

Almost any time of the year is good to visit Ninh Binh.

Like in all the north Vietnam, May to October in Ninh Binh is hot, humid and with high rainfall. The region can be cpecially vulnerable to typhoons during September. November to April months tend to be cooler and dry.

However, the rainy season os also when the rice fields are at their best vivid green, so there's really a reason to visit all year round!

Ninh Binh is one of those places you absolutely need to get your own transport. Otherwise you'll mis out tremendously.

In fact, one of the highlights of the place was to make my way through the rice fields on a motorbike with the wind in my face. It's hands down the best way to explore the surroundings. You can rent it from 100k dong/day from hotel or travel agents.

The other option is to rent a bike. Almost all the region is pretty much flat and the roads - both the main and secondary - are in decent conditions (don't expect luxury though). Biking is a great option to get around Tam Coc - we actually đi this on the last day.

However, if you want to cover all main sites prepare to cover around 30km pẻ day. Places like Bai Dinh pagoda or even Trang An can be just too far away.

In any case, make sure you leave the main roads and travel between places along the more authenic country lanes.

The city of Ninh Binh itself is not pretty and there's basically nothing to see there. Two strong reasons to find accommodation elsewhere. All major attractions are outside, concentrated in four different areas.

Ninh Binh Tourism:  Vietnam's Hidden Gem 1
Photo by Richard Mortel
Go on a boat ride in Trang An

This was the first thing I did in Ninh Binh and turned out to be one of my favorite things of the whole trip. You basically hop on a small rowing boat and a lady rower takes you on a 2-hours journey through caves, temples and lakes. They usually wait for a group of four to assemble.

The technique needed to maneuver the boat inside the underwater caves is impressive, watch your head! During the whole trip, the scenery is mesmerizing.

Trang An is usually the second choice of travelers in Ninh Binh in terms of boat rides. Most people do Tam Coc only so you can expect fewer crowds.

Still, it's advisable that you make your way there early in the morning or late in the afternoon where most day trippers coming in gigantic bus excursions are not there.

Ninh Binh Tourism:  Vietnam's Hidden Gem 2
Photo by Staffan Scherz
Ride a bike

Just renting a motorbike and explore the surroundings is already a reason to visit Ninh Binh. What we did was to look un the map where the next sight was and choose a longer and more unconventional way to get there. By skipping the main roads, you're on to enrich your travel experience much more!

Wander through the tiny paths in the rice fields or the dirt roads leading to local communities and villages. Ninh Binh is one of those olaces where the children wave and say "Hello" to you when you pass in front of their houses.

It's fascinating to see where people live, how do theu work on the fields and how do they spend their day. As a bonus, there are loads of cute animals too!

Ninh Binh Tourism:  Vietnam's Hidden Gem 3
Photo by Nestor Lacle
Go temple-hopping

Scattered across the rice fields, enclosed in mountains on sitting on top of them, there is no shortage of temples in Ninh Binh.

Perhaps the most dramatic is Hang Mua. Sitting on top of hill 500 steps above ground, this temple is both a challenge and a delight. While the temple is somewhat unimpressive, the vieas over Tam Coc are stunning.

If you're looking for something less challenging, but equally impressive, the recently built Bai Dinh pagoda is a good option. This Buddhist temple is HUGE and is mostly visited by Vietnamese people.

But there are more. Bich Dong pagoda is a set of 3 temples carved into a limestone mountain next to Tam Coc.

Despite the fact it has been heavily destroyed, the ancient city of Hoa Lu, the forrmer capital of Vietnam during the Dinh And the  Le dynasties (1st century), is also worth a visit.

Ninh Binh Tourism:  Vietnam's Hidden Gem 4
Photo by nguyenvanson01122
Visit the Thung Nham Bird Garden

We only heard this place when ourr lovely friend who worked as a receptionist on our hotel mentioned it. She actually took us there and offered to be our guide.

Almost no one visits Thung Nham Bird Garden but it's a shame because it's a true beauty. Tucked away in the mountain, this natural park is basically where most of the birds of the region make their nest. If you visit during early morning or late afternoon, you'll see the trees absolutely PACKED with all types of birds. It's a tue sight and a wonder of natura.

The park also has several caves and hiking trails and is perfect for take a bit of fresh ải and go on a relaxing walk. It's just 5km from Tam Coc center.

Ninh Binh Tourism:  Vietnam's Hidden Gem 5
Photo by U.S. Government Accountability Office
Go wild in Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong is a rare well-preserved rainforest. The place is know for its Botanical garden and the Endangered Primates Rescue Centre, which has around 150 primates from all over Vietnam.

It's a great place for biking, hiking and obsever a wild range of animals, from birds to an amazing variety of colorful butterflies.

The National Park sits 45km from Ninh Binh and there is a mandatory 20,000 dong fee to hire a guide.

What's your favorite place in Vietnam? What are you looking for the most in Vietnam country?