Top 10 Things Must-do in Ninh Binh Vietnam That You Simply Can’t Afford to Miss

Ninh Binh is a hidden gem located in the northern region of Vietnam. It is a destination that offers a perfect combination of natural beauty and cultural heritage, making it an ideal place to explore for anyone visiting Vietnam. Let’s take a look through our blog to answer the question “What to do in Ninh Binh?” and note some travel tips to plan your trip full of happiness.

Top 10 Best Things to Do in Ninh Binh

If you are looking for Ninh Binh travel things to see, you don’t need to worry because this area is home to a variety of attractions, from ancient temples and pagodas to sprawling rice fields and limestone karsts. Here are the top 10 must things to do:

1. Take a boat tour at Tam Coc-Bich Dong

Tam Coc is one of the top tourist destinations that never fails to mesmerize visitors. The main attraction is a leisurely boat ride down the Ngo Dong River, where you’ll be greeted with awe-inspiring natural vistas. Don’t hesitate to wander off the beaten path and explore the surrounding countryside, as you’ll discover numerous surprises amidst the fields, mountains, and waterways.

Tam Coc’s golden season is from April to June. At this time, Tam Coc is in rice season, which is very enjoyable to spend time on an excellent boat tour.

ninh binh rice fields by May
Tam Coc Ninh Binh

2. Visit Trang An Landscape Complex

The Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to a network of limestone caves, rivers, and valleys. You can take a boat ride through the complex and admire the stunning natural scenery.

Trang An boat tour
Take a Trang An boat tour

Recommendation: If you’re planning a trip to Trang An, consider visiting during off-peak hours. The early morning or late evening can be a great time to explore without the crowds. Just make sure not to arrive too late if you want to take a boat ride or not you will finish your trip in the dark.

3. Ride a bike from Tam Coc to visit Bich Dong Pagoda

For those who enjoy exercise, biking is a great way to explore and stay physically active in Ninh Binh. Visit the breathtaking Bich Dong Pagoda nestled amidst the mountains, accessible by climbing steps. For a tranquil experience, explore the charming valley and small body of water near the lake.

Don’t miss the awe-inspiring Bai Dinh Pagoda, one of Southeast Asia’s largest Buddhist temples, featuring a magnificent 100-ton bronze Buddha statue. Experience the serene atmosphere and positive vibes that make it a must-visit destination in Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Bai Dinh Pagoda
Bai Dinh Pagoda

Recommendation: To make the most out of your visit, you should reach the temple complex by 4 p.m. At that time, you can witness the beauty of it both in daylight and at night as well. The temples are truly stunning when lit up at night, but the natural beauty that surrounds them is best admired during the daytime.

4. Discover embroidery crafts in Van Lam Village

Van Lam is a charming rural village near Tam Coc, frequented by tourists. It’s renowned for its picturesque Vietnamese countryside and the exquisite handmade embroidery crafted by local women. Visitors can witness the embroidery process, try their hand at creating artwork, and explore the village on foot or by bike to immerse themselves in the peaceful rural life and observe daily activities. Van Lam Village offers an authentic experience, connecting visitors with traditional Vietnamese culture and craftsmanship.

5. Immerse in the nature and local life at The Van Long Nature Reserve

Van Long in Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province, is a renowned wetland area often referred to as the “Bay Without Waves” due to its tranquil waters. It boasts stunning natural beauty, diverse flora and fauna, and is home to the critically endangered Delacour’s langur.

Visitors can enjoy boat tours through the serene wetlands, surrounded by limestone karsts and lush vegetation, with excellent bird-watching opportunities. Cycling along the embankment offers a chance to observe rural life and immerse in the peaceful biodiverse setting of Van Long Nature Reserve.

Birds at Van Long Nature Reserve
Bird watching at Van Long Nature Reserve

6. Enjoy one day in Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong National Park in northern Vietnam is a stunning natural area known for its vast size and rich ecological diversity. It’s a popular destination for nature lovers worldwide. Bike rides or treks offer opportunities to breathe in the fresh air and marvel at the wide range of plant and animal species, including rare and endangered ones.

Take a leisurely hike along picturesque paths to witness breathtaking sights and encounter animals like langurs in their natural habitat. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Center, where dedicated staff work to protect and rehabilitate monkeys, providing insights into conservation efforts.

Cuc Phuong National Park
Hiking along Cuc Phuong National Park’s trails

7. Conquer the Dancing Cave

Dancing Cave (Hang Mua) is a popular destination in Ninh Binh, offering a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape from the top of a hill.

There are two viewpoints to take in, one showcasing the pagoda and the other featuring a dragon overlooking the river. Although the ascent to the top is quite steep and uneven, it is manageable with good footwear and water and should not take too long for those. The vistas are truly stunning, with breathtaking views of the mountains and a clear look at the passing boats on the river.

Mua Cave viewpoint
Mua Cave Viewpoint Pagoda

Tip: Arrive early to beat the crowds and catch the sunrise. This will provide a more relaxed and enjoyable experience. So, if you’re up for a rewarding climb, don’t miss out on the Dancing Cave!

8. Learn the history of Hoa Lu temples of the Dinh & Le Dynasties

The Hoa Lu temples in Ninh Binh, Vietnam, are a well-preserved historical site honoring the Dinh and Le dynasties. As the ancient capital of Vietnam, it offers a picturesque setting nestled among limestone mountains. Guided tours provide insights into the history of the royal palace and the stories of the dynasties that ruled there. It’s a captivating and significant historical site that showcases both beauty and cultural significance.

9. Enjoy the tranquility of Tuyet Tinh Coc

Inside the Trang An Landscape Complex lies Tuyet Tinh Coc, the most ancient and awe-inspiring destination. Located about a 15-minute drive from Trang An, this secluded place offers tranquility and isolation from road noise.

Unlike other crowded attractions in Ninh Binh, Tuyet Tinh Coc provides a clean and serene environment. Follow a tunnel to witness a breathtaking scene of a lake surrounded by limestone hills. Climb around 250 stone stairs to reach an old pagoda with stunning views. Further inside, you’ll discover the ancient palace gate—a worthwhile stop while exploring the area.

Tuyet Tinh Coc Ninh Binh
Tuyet Tinh Coc

10. Explore Phat Diem Stone Cathedral

Phat Diem Stone Cathedral is a unique Catholic church in Ninh Binh, Vietnam. Built with stone, it combines Vietnamese and European architectural styles. The cathedral complex includes the main church, bell towers, lakes, and smaller chapels.

This is not only a place of worship but also a popular tourist attraction in Ninh Binh. Visitors come to admire the unique architectural beauty, explore the intricate details of the stone craftsmanship, and experience the serene atmosphere of the cathedral.

Handy Tips

How to get to Ninh Binh from Hanoi

To fully explore the wonders of Ninh Binh, it is recommended to first travel to Hanoi, which is located nearby. From Hanoi, reaching Ninh Binh is a breeze, with various transportation options available. Whether you prefer to take a bus, or a train, or opt for a private car, you have a range of choices to suit your preferences.

  • Bus: Affordable and convenient option with regular routes from Hanoi to Ninh Binh.
  • Train: Scenic and comfortable journey from Hanoi’s main railway station to Ninh Binh.
  • Private car: Flexible and convenient option for a personalized journey.

The journey typically takes approximately 2-3 hours, but travel time may vary depending on traffic conditions. With the convenient proximity and accessible transportation options, embarking on a memorable adventure to Ninh Binh from Hanoi is a straightforward and enjoyable experience.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Ninh Binh is from October to April, with mild temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C. This period allows for enjoyable outdoor activities and exploration of the beautiful landscape, including rice fields, rivers, and limestone karst.

The rainy season occurs from May to September, with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 35°C and higher humidity. Despite the rain, Ninh Binh retains its charm, offering a romantic atmosphere for sightseeing. Embracing the occasional showers adds a unique touch to your exploration of this captivating destination.

Perfect weather for Boat trip in Ninh Binh

Where to stay?

As known as “Halong Bay on land” and truly stands out as a captivating destination within Vietnam for travelers around the World, Ninh Binh offers various accommodations for you to choose from, such as:

  • Emerald Ninh Bình Resort & Spa: Luxurious retreat with elegant accommodations, world-class dining, and rejuvenating spa treatments in a serene natural landscape.
  • Ninh Binh Hidden Charm Hotel & Resort: Cozy and charming accommodation with comfortable rooms and easy access to top attractions.
  • Tam Coc Garden: Boutique resort surrounded by lush greenery and karst mountains, offering tranquility, luxury accommodations, and exceptional dining options.
  • Aravinda Resort: Serene retreat combines Ninh Binh’s outstanding features and Vietnamese grace, providing unforgettable memories.
  • Ninh Binh Legend: Luxury hotel with exceptional accommodations, dining, and stunning views of karst mountains and rice paddies. Features spa, pool, and conference facilities.

Halong Bay or Ninh Binh, Which is better to visit?

Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is renowned for its iconic limestone karsts jutting out of emerald waters. Cruising through the bay’s ethereal scenery on a traditional junk boat is an unforgettable experience.

On the other hand, Ninh Binh offers a tranquil escape into nature, often referred to as the “Halong Bay on Land.” A boat trip to Ninh Binh gives you a chance to admire its lush countryside is adorned with karst landscapes, rice fields, and winding rivers.

Here’s a table comparing Halong Bay and Ninh Binh for your reference:

CriteriaHalong BayNinh Binh
AccessibilityApprox. 2.5 hours from HanoiApprox. 2 hours from Hanoi
ExperiencesCruising, kayaking, cave explorationBoat rides, cycling, countryside exploration
Tourism DevelopmentWell-developed tourism infrastructureDeveloping tourism infrastructure
AccommodationRange of options from budget to luxuryA wide variety of accommodations is available
Climate and Best time to visitYear-round, but peak season is from October to AprilYear-round, but avoid heavy rains (May to September)
Budget ConsiderationsGenerally higher prices for tours and accommodationsRelatively more affordable options are available

If you’re looking to combine both destinations in one route, you can start from Hanoi and travel to Ninh Binh, which is relatively closer. After exploring Ninh Binh, you can continue your journey to Halong Bay, which can be reached from Hanoi within a few hours. This route allows you to experience the contrasting beauty of both destinations while maximizing your time in northern Vietnam.

Indochina Voyages also have available this route for you: Ninh Binh – Halong 3 Days

Beside, we also have suggested tours for your reference:

>>> Pu Luong To Ninh Binh 4 Days

>>> Ninh Binh – Trang An Private Day Tour


  • Is Ninh Binh crowded on weekends?

Ninh Binh can get crowded on weekends, especially during the peak months (February and March). We suggest visiting on weekdays if possible.

  • What is there to do in Ninh Binh with kids?

There are plenty of family-friendly activities in Ninh Binh, including boat rides, hiking, and bike tours.

  • Can Ninh Binh be done as a day trip from Hanoi?

Yes, Ninh Binh can be done as a day trip from Hanoi, but we suggest staying overnight to fully experience the area.

  • How far is Ninh Binh from Hanoi?

Ninh Binh is located 90 kilometers south of Hanoi, and the journey takes around 2-3 hours by car.

Ninh Binh offers a diverse range of activities for visitors to enjoy, making it an ideal destination for anyone looking to explore the natural beauty and cultural richness of Vietnam. Don’t miss out on discovering what to do in Ninh Binh on your next trip.

Ready to explore Ninh Binh and Vietnam on a private trip with the highest level of flexibility? Let Indochina Voyages take you there!

From Indochina Voyages Travel Specialist

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