Ninh Binh Travel Guide - Things you have to know
By Custom Vietnam Travel | Updated 1/5/2019
Ninh Binh is a rural & peaceful province in the south of Hanoi. It is naturally bestowed with beautiful landscapes of Limestone Mountains, mysteriously-hidden caves & tropical rain forests. Trips to Ninh Binh are great to explore those natural landscapes, historical sites and religious worshipping places with scenic boat rides, beautiful trekking routes & healthy biking adventures.
Let’s read our Ninh Binh Travel Guide article to get the full unique information before visiting, preparing for a life time trip in Ninh Binh.
1.The best time to visit Ninh Binh
Although it’s great to travel to Ninh Binh at any time of the year, there are some special occasions that you can enjoy the best of Ninh Binh.
February, March, and April: Spring season
It is a lovely time to visit to Ninh Binh. At this time, the weather is not too hot or too cold, perfect for getting lost in nature. Also, the local celebrate Tet holidays along with other traditional holidays during this time, so you can combine both sightseeing and joining the festivals. Apart from the scenic spots like Trang An and Tam Coc – Bich Dong, Ninh Binh is also famous for its historical sites and spiritual tourist spots.
Some famous temples that you should visit in spring such as Bich Dong Pagoda, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Duyen Ninh Pagoda.
Late May to early June in Ninh Binh: Summer season
Late May to the beginning of June is the best time to travel to Ninh Binh and explore the beautiful golden paddy fields. Moreover, when traveling to Ninh Binh at this time, you can avoid the hot and humid heat of the city.
In Tam Coc, the rice fields put on a bright yellow color with a highlight of green color from the mountains, creating a beautifully natural picture. An ideal place to enjoy the golden rice season of Tam Coc is at the Dance Cave (Hang Mua).
2. How to get to Ninh Binh from Ha Noi
From Hanoi to Ninh Binh travellers can get and travel by train, bus, car, or motorbike.
Travel by train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh takes approximately 2.5 hours, there are about 6 trains everyday of Vietnam Railway, you can book ticket online on Vietnam Railways or you can go there and buy the tickets at train station. One-way train ticket costs about $3-$6 – hard/ soft seat
On the other hand, you want to travel by bus or minivan from Hanoi to Ninh Binh, there are many transportation companies or also travel agency provide this service. It also takes about 2.5 hours but the bus ticket from Hanoi to Ninh Binh is more expensive than train ticket at round $10 per passenger, it depends on the genre of bus or van, you book. Read carefully all the information before you book and buy your train or bus tickets.
In additions, you can hire an automatic motorbike from Hanoi and run to Ninh Binh, (1 day costs abut $10 - $15/pp depends on your kind of motorbike you rent) it takes about 2 hours by motorbike. Remember to run at the speed allowed and equipped with the necessary personal belongings to ensure your health and safety!
3. The best attractions in Ninh Binh
Bái Đính Temple is a complex of Buddhist temples on Bai Dinh Mountain in Ninh Bình Province. This pagoda is considering that it is Southeast Asia’s largest Buddhist complex. It consists of several temples and over 500 intricately carved statues of Buddha, including one that’s made of bronze and is 10 metres in height.
Van Long Nature Reserve
Van Long Nature Reserve is the legendary land, the beautiful tourist area, and the largest wetland natural reservation area in North Delta. It is also considered the reserve of historical-cultural values, and an ideal eco-tourism as well. Read more
The Phat Diem Cathedral is situated in Kim Son District of Ninh Binh Province, in the Phat Diem town, a Catholic area also known as Kim Son. The architecture of Phat Diem church, made by stone in 1892 is a blend of Vietnamese and European architectural designs known as the "eclectic architectural style". The Cathedral was bombed on 1972 when its west wall, the convents and 2 schools were damaged; after restoration, there are not any tell-tale marks of this bombing. Read more
Hoa Lu, the capital of Dai Co Viet (an old name of Vietnam) under the Dinh and Le dynasties bears with it a legend (in the 10th and 11th centuries). Being the capital of the first fundamental Government of Vietnam, Hoa Lu witnessed many important historical events: the union of Vietnam after “12 Lords Rebellion”, the war with the Song dynasty, the defence against the ancient Cambodian, and the formation of Hanoi nowadays. Read more
Cuc Phuong is Vietnam’s first national park or the oldest national park in Vietnam, is nestled between the provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa, just 120km southwest of Hanoi. This park boasts an engaging cultural and wildlife heritage and enchanting scenery. Magnificent Limestone Mountains rise up majestically from the green rice-terraces and traditional stilt houses of the Muong hill-tribe. Covered in a dense forest, this landscape forms the habitat for some of Asia’s rarest animal and plant species. Read more
Thung Nham Ecotourism Zone is one of the tourist destinations in the core zone of Trang An World Heritage Complex. Tourists will be impressed with the harmonious blend of landscapes and the friendly, helpful people. Surrounded by tropical forest strips on limestone mountains with many valleys and wonderful caves, along with natural plants and untouched flora, Thung Nham ecotourism zone is the convergence of the unique natural landscapes and stunning scenery. Read more
Thai Vi temple is situated in a small valley of Van Lam Hamlet, Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh province. As a long time ago, it is home to worship first Kings of the Tran Dynasty, namely King Tran Thai Tong, Kinh Tran Thanh Tong, Kinh Tran Nhan Tong and generals such as Tran Hung Dao, Tran Quang Khai. Read more
4. The best Ninh Binh cuisines
Rice crust ( Com chay)
The top famous food in Ninh Binh is rice crust. t is a natural and simple dish but very yummy and attractive. To make this food, it requires a good cooking skills. To make good dish, we also need experience in choosing ingredients, especially rice. Delicious rice crust is light yellow, evenly grainy, crunchy and still soft, fleshy and fatty without being bored.
De tai chanh (Raw goat meat with lemon )
Slicing goat meat, put into hot water about 1 minutes. Mix raw goat meat with lemon water, ginger, garlic, chilli, shredded lemon leave. Eating this dish with unripe banana, fig and ‘tuong ban” (a Vietnamese sause is made from soybean, rice and salt).
Kim Son raw Nhech fish salad
Nhech fish salad (or cá nhệch) is a special dish in Ninh Binh but you have to try this salad in Kim Son where considered as best place to enjoy it. Nhech fish has curved shapes of eels but larger and longer. Nhech has much meat, less bone, lots of protein.
Ruou Can Nho Quan (wine drunk out of a jar through pipes)
Ruou Can Nho Quan (Nho Quan wine drunk out of a jar through pipes) is one of the special cuisines in Ninh Binh. You can come there to try or also buy for your friends, family and gather together to enjoy it, you will have unforgettable moments.
Ruou Can is inside a jar, the size of the jar will depend on your hobby. To get a good bottle of wine, it must undergo several stages: from selecting ingredient to the processing and especially to calculate the appropriate time so that just in time.
Every year in the rainy season, the weather is wet, from April to August every year, in limestone mountain of Tam Hiep commune, Nho Quam district, this famous mountain snail often appears. The snails often eat wild mountain grass, including valuable medicinal plants. Mountain snail meat tough, crunchy, sweet and very nutritious. Guests can enjoy steamed ginger snail dishes, stir-fry lemongrass, or mix with salad.
5. Ninh Binh travel tips, travellers should know before visiting
Take your time to unwind
A day trip is not enough to truly feel the essence of Ninh Binh. Try to stay a coupe of nights and don’t rush your daily activities
Make sure you bring enough money
There are a few ATM in Ninh Binh city and no ATM in Tam Coc. Make sure you bring enough cash during the time you stay in Ninh Binh
Keep your calm when driving
Vietnamese can be a bit crazy on the road and if you hear a lot of honks, you’re not doing anything wrong. They just like to announce their presence to everyone