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Exploring Ninh Binh City: A Hidden Gem for Ninh Binh Tourism

Posted By: Paul O'Neill / Vietnam Travel Guides
Not enough travelers venture to Ninh Binh, a captivating region dubbed 'Ha Long Bay on Land' by locals due to its enchanting river landscape, ...

Must-see attractions and things to do in Ninh Binh province, Vietnam

Explore Trang An Grottoes

Trang An Grottoes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Ninh Binh, Vietnam. Visitors can take a boat tour through the picturesque karst landscape, passing through caves and lush greenery. The area is known for its stunning natural beauty and rich biodiversity, making it a must-see attraction for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Visit Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is a historical site that was once the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries. Visitors can explore the ancient temples, pagodas, and royal palaces that dot the landscape. The site offers a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam's rich history and cultural heritage.

Hike to Hang Mua Peak

Hang Mua Peak offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and limestone mountains. The hike to the top involves climbing steep steps, but the breathtaking views make it well worth the effort. It's a popular spot for sunrise or sunset photography, so be sure to bring your camera!

Discover Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda is one of the largest Buddhist pagodas in Vietnam and is home to impressive statues, shrines, and temples. Visitors can wander the expansive complex, admiring the intricate architecture and peaceful atmosphere. The pagoda is a popular pilgrimage site for locals and tourists alike.

TOP Best Ninh Binh Things To Do

ninh binh city: Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital - (Source: Collected)

Take a boat ride on Tam Coc

Tam Coc is often referred to as the "Halong Bay on land" due to its similar karst landscape. A boat ride along the Ngo Dong River offers stunning views of limestone cliffs, rice paddies, and caves. It's a peaceful and scenic way to experience the beauty of Ninh Binh.

Visit Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong National Park is Vietnam's first national park and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Visitors can explore the park on hiking trails, visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Center, and learn about conservation efforts in the area. It's a great place for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Explore Van Long Nature Reserve

Van Long Nature Reserve is a tranquil wetland area known for its natural beauty and biodiversity. Visitors can take a boat ride through the reserve, spotting wildlife such as langurs, kingfishers, and herons. It's a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Ninh Binh What To See

Visit the ancient temples of Phat Diem Cathedral

Phat Diem Cathedral is a unique blend of Vietnamese and European architectural styles, with intricate carvings, stone pillars, and ornate detailing. The complex includes several churches, chapels, and pagodas set amidst beautiful gardens and ponds. It's a must-see for those interested in religious and cultural landmarks.

Explore the Bich Dong Pagoda

Bich Dong Pagoda is a series of three ancient temples built into a limestone cliff, offering stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Visitors can climb the steps to each temple, marveling at the architecture and peaceful atmosphere. It's a hidden gem in Ninh Binh that's worth discovering.

Best Things To Do & Activities in Ninh Binh

Go cycling in the countryside

Ninh Binh's flat terrain and scenic countryside make it an ideal destination for cycling enthusiasts. Rent a bike and explore the rural villages, rice fields, and limestone mountains at your own pace. It's a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the beauty of the region.

Sample local cuisine at Ninh Binh market

Ninh Binh is known for its delicious food, so be sure to visit the local market to sample traditional dishes and snacks. Try specialties such as goat meat, eel noodles, and com chay (burned rice). It's a culinary adventure that shouldn't be missed!

What to eat

Try bun cha

Bun cha is a popular Vietnamese dish that consists of grilled pork served with noodles, fresh herbs, and dipping sauce. It's a flavorful and satisfying meal that's a staple of Vietnamese cuisine. Be sure to try it at a local restaurant or street food stall in Ninh Binh.

Indulge in crispy fried rice cakes (banh ran)

Banh ran are crispy fried rice cakes filled with savory ingredients such as pork, mushrooms, and vegetables. They're a tasty snack or appetizer that's perfect for munching on while exploring Ninh Binh. Look for them at local markets or eateries for a delicious treat.

Drinking – What to Drink in Ninh Binh

ninh binh city: Discover the stunning landscapes and rich culture of Ninh Binh

Discover the stunning landscapes and rich culture of Ninh Binh - (Source: Collected)

Local Beverages

When visiting Ninh Binh, be sure to try some of the local beverages that are unique to the region. One popular drink is the refreshing sugar cane juice, which is often sold by street vendors in the area. Another local favorite is Trang An wine, which is made from sticky rice and has a slightly sweet taste.

Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnam is famous for its coffee, and Ninh Binh is no exception. Enjoy a cup of traditional Vietnamese coffee at one of the local cafes or restaurants. You can choose from different variations such as cà phê sữa đá (iced milk coffee) or cà phê trứng (egg coffee).

Where to eat & Drink in Ninh Binh

Local Restaurants

For an authentic dining experience, consider visiting one of the local restaurants in Ninh Binh. These establishments often serve traditional Vietnamese dishes such as pho (noodle soup), bánh xèo (savory pancake), and bún chả (grilled pork with vermicelli).

Street Food Stalls

If you're feeling adventurous, try some of the street food stalls scattered throughout Ninh Binh. Sample dishes like bánh mì (Vietnamese sandwich), chè (sweet dessert soup), and nem (fried spring rolls) while taking in the bustling atmosphere of the local markets.

Where to stay in Ninh Binh

Accommodation Options

There are a variety of accommodation options available in Ninh Binh to suit every budget and preference. From luxury resorts and boutique hotels to budget-friendly hostels and homestays, travelers can find a place to stay that meets their needs.

Riverfront Hotels

For a picturesque stay, consider booking a room at one of the riverfront hotels in Ninh Binh. These accommodations offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside and easy access to boat tours along the local rivers.

Best hotels & hostels in Ninh Binh

ninh binh city: Bich Dong Pagoda, Ninh Binh

Bich Dong Pagoda, Ninh Binh - (Source: Collected)

Luxury Resorts

Travelers looking for a luxurious stay in Ninh Binh can choose from upscale resorts offering top-notch amenities and services. Some popular options include Emeralda Resort Ninh Binh, Tam Coc Garden Resort, and Ninh Binh Hidden Charm Hotel & Resort.

Budget-Friendly Hostels

For backpackers and budget-conscious travelers, there are several hostels in Ninh Binh that offer affordable accommodations without sacrificing comfort. Some recommended hostels include Ninh Binh Backpackers Hostel, Tam Coc Central Backpackers Hostel, and Nguyen Shack – Ninh Binh.

Food & drinking

Ninh Binh Cuisine

Ninh Binh is known for its delicious cuisine that features fresh ingredients and bold flavors. Don't miss trying traditional dishes such as goat meat, eel vermicelli, and crispy rice cakes while exploring the culinary scene in the area.

Nightlife Scene

While Ninh Binh may not be known for its vibrant nightlife, there are still opportunities to enjoy a few drinks and socialize with locals and fellow travelers. Head to one of the local bars or cafes in the city center to unwind after a day of sightseeing and outdoor activities.

How to get there

By air

If you are traveling to Ninh Binh from abroad or from a far distance within Vietnam, the nearest airport is in Hanoi, which is about a 2-hour drive to Ninh Binh. You can easily book a connecting flight to Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and then take a taxi or shuttle bus to Ninh Binh.

By train

Ninh Binh is well-connected by train, with regular services from major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The journey from Hanoi to Ninh Binh by train takes around 2-3 hours, making it a convenient option for travelers.

By bus

There are also several bus companies that operate routes to Ninh Binh from various cities in Vietnam. The bus journey may take longer than the train or a private car, but it is a budget-friendly option for those who are looking to save money on transportation.

How to get around

Motorbike rental

One of the most popular ways to get around Ninh Binh is by renting a motorbike. There are several rental shops in the town where you can easily rent a motorbike for a day or more. This gives you the flexibility to explore the scenic landscapes and attractions at your own pace.


If you prefer not to drive yourself, taxis are also readily available in Ninh Binh. You can easily hail a taxi on the street or ask your accommodation to arrange one for you. Taxis are a convenient mode of transportation for exploring the city and its surroundings.

Itinerary 2 days in Ninh Binh

ninh binh city: Discover top attractions, hidden gems, and travel tips

Discover top attractions, hidden gems, and travel tips - (Source: Collected)

Day 1

Start your day by visiting the famous Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its stunning karst landscapes and pristine waterways. Take a boat tour through the caves and lush greenery, and marvel at the natural beauty around you. In the afternoon, visit Bich Dong Pagoda and climb up to the three-tiered temple for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Day 2

On your second day, head to Tam Coc, also known as the "Halong Bay on land," for a boat trip along the Ngo Dong River surrounded by towering limestone cliffs. Explore the nearby temples and caves, such as Thai Vi Temple and Thung Nham Bird Park, to immerse yourself in the rich history and natural wonders of Ninh Binh.


Ninh Binh is a province in northern Vietnam with a rich history dating back to ancient times. It was the capital of Vietnam during the Dinh and Le dynasties in the 10th and 11th centuries, known then as Hoa Lu. The province is home to many historical sites and relics that offer a glimpse into its imperial past.

Ninh Binh – The lost and found imperial domain

Ninh Binh, also known as the "Ha Long Bay on land," is a hidden gem in northern Vietnam that offers breathtaking landscapes and historical sites. The area is characterized by its karst limestone formations, lush rice paddies, and winding rivers, making it a must-visit for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike.

Top Places To Visit In Ninh Binh

Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex

Explore the stunning karst landscapes and waterways of Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site that will leave you in awe of its natural beauty.

Tam Coc

Embark on a boat trip along the Ngo Dong River in Tam Coc to witness the majestic limestone cliffs towering over the serene waters, creating a picturesque scenery that is truly unforgettable.

Bai Dinh Pagoda

Visit the Bai Dinh Pagoda, one of the largest Buddhist pagodas in Vietnam, known for its grand architecture, intricate details, and serene atmosphere that will transport you to a place of peace and tranquility.


Overall, Ninh Binh city is a hidden gem in Vietnam that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage. With its stunning limestone karsts, serene rivers, and ancient temples, Ninh Binh is a must-visit destination for any traveler. When planning your trip to Ninh Binh, be sure to keep in mind some useful Ninh Binh travel tips to make the most of your experience. Whether you're exploring the Trang An Grottoes, hiking to Mua Cave, or biking through the picturesque countryside, Ninh Binh will surely leave you in awe of its beauty and charm. Don't miss out on this unforgettable destination during your visit to Vietnam!

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