Situated in the southernmost plains of North Vietnam, Ninh Binh consists of many tourist spots that definitely bring to the visitors a breathtaking landscape. 95 kilometers to the south from Hanoi, Ninh Binh has more things to do than your expectation of a day trip from Hanoi to Ninh Binh.
If you want to get away from a bustling city to a majestic and impressive natural space, let plan your trip and start making your itinerary.
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A glimpse of Ninh Binh
1. Just one day trip to Ninh Binh rolling from Hanoi to “Vietnam’s Hidden Gem”
The scenery in itself is absolutely worth the trip. You will figure out why Vietnamese people call Ninh Binh as “Vietnam’s Hidden Gem”. Not so far from Hanoi, it is possible to get to Ninh Binh by any vehicle you can think out. When you come to Ninh Binh, the most interesting thing appears in your eyes is the karst – rock formations in the mountain rising from the mist.
Genuinely, Ninh Binh keeps their gorgeous mysteries deeply inside the spots proximity nearby Tam Coc, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Hoa Lu, like a pretty girl hide in a simple flower. Ninh Binh is one of those places you definitely need to get your own transport if you don’t want to miss out tremendously.
Relaxing Ninh Binh boat trip
In fact, one highlight of this place is to take a seat on the rowboat in the Ngo Dong River, spread out your arms and feel the familiar breeze of the land warms your skin. The air and the smell of the rice paddies will make you close your eyes not wanting to wake up anymore. Just think about it and begin planning your own itinerary.
More day trips:
2. Take a trip around the spots on the paper
On 23 June 2014, at the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee in Doha, the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex is a mixed cultural and natural resources contained mostly within three protected areas included: the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, the Trang An-Tam Coc-Bich Dong Scenic Landscape, and the Hoa Lu Special-Use Forest.
As the most popular attractions to visit in Ninh Binh, it consists of a handful of caves and rocks jutting out of a huge complex of canals and lakes.
Trang An amazing overview with green paddy fields and mountains
>> Bai Dinh Trang An Tour <<
The entrance fee is 150.000 VND included 2.5 hours boat ride which is rowed by an experienced boatwoman, who is very known all the way around the area. If you go by yourself, there is no way to book the ticket online, you have to buy the ticket directly at the place.
Only the travel agencies are capable of booking the tickets (of course, they have a discount), you can find out the service of one agency, they could set all up for you. Click here for more information about the ticket. The article through the link is written by Vietnamese so you should use the Google Translate for help, they haven’t had an English version yet.
Tam Coc (Three Caves)
Nicknamed “Ha Long Bay on Land” (let find out Ha Long Bay if you haven’t visited before) cause of the attractive structure of the limestone mountain. While Ha Long Bay features huge rock jutting out of the sea, Tam Coc has them jutting out of its rice paddies.
Tam Coc has three caves included: Hang Ca, the first cave with 127 meters length; Hang Giua, the second cave, is 70 meters long and the third and smallest cave, Hang Cuoi, is only 40 meters.
Travel on a rowboat trip to discover some Tam Coc cavesThere is no way to see all the caves better than a rowboat trip. It takes 2 hours for the boat trip to all the caves. The boats will drift downstream on the Ngo Dong River and this is indeed peaceful experience that you ever try and leave you in awe with the beauty of the mother nature.
It will bring to you a healthy dose for the next long journey. There’s no shade in the boats so don’t forget to bring sunscreen and a hat or umbrella unless you want to own a sunburnt skin when coming back.
Hoa Lu Ancient Capital
Come to Hoa Lu, you will stay into the capital of Vietnam during the Dinh (968 – 80) and early Le (980 – 1009) dynasties. The historical value of Hoa Lu covered an area about 3 square kilometers with the temples, shrines and the king’s palace.
The royal family lived in the inner citadel. It is very peaceful inside the complex and you can wander around by yourself or ask for help from the guides at the temple who work for free.
Inside Hoa Lu Ancient Capital
For a country’s capital city, Hoa Lu was the best choice based on natural geographic because of the limestone mountains keeping the city well – protected from potential invaders. Even today, most of the mountains surrounding Hoa Lu are accessible only to the mountain goats!
Northwest of the city is bordered by the Hoang Long River, which also runs through the citadel. It cooled the city in the sticky summer months and provided a convenient waterway for trade and other businesses.
Hang Mua or Mua Cave is probably the most dramatic. On top of hill 500 steps above ground, this cave is absolutely challenging for someone who impermanent do the exercises. The temple apparently is unimpressive but the view all-over Tam Coc is really remarkable and it is worth 500 steps.
The entrance fee is 100.000 VND (nearly 4.5 US$) and it takes approximately 2 hours to discover. It absolutely deserves all of it.
Paranomic view at Mua Cave
Bai Dinh Pagoda
Less challenging than Hang Mua but fairly beautiful, Bai Dinh Pagoda is a good option. Southeast Asia’s largest pagoda will make you immerse yourself in the Buddhism culture and gain an understanding of how this religion influences Vietnamese.
Built-in 2003 and finally complete in 2010, the new Bai Dinh Pagoda covers a total of 7 million square meters and adheres to traditional Vietnam design aesthetics with special materials from local handicraft villages was selected for the interior. The old Bai Dinh Pagoda is located some 800 meters from the new one, smaller and stayed into a series of small caves on the mountainside.
Take a look inside Bai Dinh Pagoda
>> Bai Dinh Trang An Tour <<
Cuc Phuong National Park day trip
Established in 1962, Cuc Phuong is the oldest national park with rare well-preserved rainforest. Placed 45 kilometers from Ninh Binh, this Botanical Garden is the greatest place for biking, hiking and observe wild animals and plants.
There is another thing will surprise you, that is an amazing scenery made by a variety of colorful butterflies. Welcome to one of Mother Nature’s Habitat.
Leopard cat in Cuc Phuong national park preservation (video: vietnamwildlife)
>> Cuc Phuong Tour<<
3. Time to go through the skyline and exploring the way to Ninh Binh from Hanoi for a day
How to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh
You can begin your journey by any vehicles you can find out because the province is not so far from Hanoi. Honestly, reaching the city by train is better than other choices, but this doesn’t mean the other ways isn’t reasonable.
- By train
There is at least 3 southbound train available at least (SE5, SE7, SE19). It costs you around 15 US$ to 18 US$ per person for one seat based on the type of ticket you choose.
To check the information for train, visit Vietnam Railway’s Website. The station opens all day 24/7 with almost 10 trains per day from 6 a.m to 8 p.m, that means you can essentially approach Ninh Binh city at any time you’ve scheduled before.
The Hanoi train station is at 120 Le Duan Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi and Ninh Binh railway station is at 1 Hoang Hoa Tham Street, Ninh Binh city. It takes about 2 – 2,5 hours without delay.
Through the window of the train, you will see the constantly alternating view. The seat types include the hard seat, the soft seat, hard berth (6 berths in a cabin) and the sort berth (4 berths in a cabin) – From Soft Seat type to Soft Berth type, all carriages and cabins are air-conditioned with the comfortable seats/berths.
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- By bus
Not a quite good choice but doesn’t mean forget about it. It is easy and favorable to book a bus ticket online or offline. You can book it online at VeXeRe.com or buy the ticket at the bus station.
About the bus, some bus agencies provide the service picking you up at an arranged point and drop you at the determined one. You should ask your concierge for more information, they also can help you to book a ticket and set up for picking you up at defined spot proximity to your hotel. It is possible to catch the bus at the bus station. There are 4 stations for you depending on your situation included:
My Dinh bus station at 20 Pham Hung.
The look of My Dinh bus station
Giap Bat bus station at 6 Giai Phong street, Hoang Mai district.
Yen Nghia bus station at Highway 6, Ha Dong district.
Nuoc Ngam bus station at 1 Ngoc Hoi road, Hoang Mai district.
You should consider all these choices, you have more than one way. The other option is the luxury limousine car and (more money of course more satisfying). It costs you approximately 200.000 VND/person or 10 US$
If you are an audacious tourist and absolutely desire to explore Vietnamese daily living, this should be your first choice. Locals usually choose the bus to move among the provinces.
It is cheaper but more cramped. You have to share your seat with other people or take cognizant of the feeling of taking a seat on a plastic chair right in the middle of the bus. It is a different and specific experience. It costs you around 50.000 VND (2.5 US$) to 100.000 VND (5 US$)/person.
Make sure you ask the price before getting on the bus, some bus-drivers will try to charge the foreigner more than the normal rate.
- By private transport
If you travel from Hanoi to Ninh Binh in a group, the best option for you should be rent a private car. It is a bit pricey if your group is small (under 10 people). But if you go in a large group (more than 15 people), it can be cheaper than traveling by bus.
The advantage of this way is the flexible schedule, faster and more comfortable. Actually, it has some problems that you should pay attention to. When you rent a private car shared by groups in order to save the money, you should offer them to choose a place among the hotels of each person and everyone concentrates on this spot and begin the journey if you don’t want your schedule broken by late because of picking each individual person from their hotel.
You should check for the car and the contract carefully to avoid scam. Ask for a full package price, including insurance, fuel fee and other fees. Some agencies can try to overcharge you with these fees. There are agencies that provide English-speaking drivers, quite a bonus for tourists. remember those limousine cars are more expensive than a normal car but they are the most comfortable ones.
There are the names of limousine cars that you should check (price per person):
Non Nuoc Ninh Binh – Price: 150.000 VND
An Binh Travel – Price: 200.000 VND
Aclass Buslines – Price: 25 US$ for one way & 45 US$ for round trip
Binh Minh Limousine – Price: 130.000 VND
Both of them has their own website, if the website doesn’t have English version, you can use Google Translate Tool to check the information or ask the concierge or one Vietnamese buddy to help you. In the other hand, you can choose one day scheduled tours if you don’t want to think so much about how to go, what to do or where to visit.
Finding out the best time to visit Ninh Binh by singing “How’s the weather?”
It is not really for sure right or wrong time to visit Ninh Binh city, it depends on how you feel when you are in a country with about 3200 kilometers of coastline and three different weather systems. Like in all north Vietnam, it is hot and humid in Ninh Binh from May to October.
Unfortunately, it has a high percentage of chance to typhoons during September. From November to April seems less challenging from the sky with dry and cooler weather. Not for sure that which time is better, in the rainy season, the scenery is so bright because the rice fields are at their best vivid green, so there’s no reason to think about which is the best time to go. The best time is around the year.
Don’t forget to try the specialty of Ninh Binh
Goat meat and burning rice (elderberry)! The burning rice is absolutely different because of the taste of the sauce. Nice pale yellow with nuts inside, pappy, fat but not bored.
Goat meat might be the real specialty of Ninh Binh. The resources of goat meat are from Limestone Mountain or from the farm. The meat is cut pieces and cook with many ingredients such as lemon leaf, ginger, sliced-chili, lemon juice and sodium glutamate. It can’t be expressed how delicious the dish is. Let come and try it!
Mountain goat meat is local special food in Ninh Binh you need to try
4. Have a look at itinerary for Ninh Binh day trip from Hanoi
It is up to you. There are many options for one day trip to Ninh Binh. Because we have more than one attractions, you need to make sure that which attractions really make an impression on you. You can look for some help from a travel agent, advice from experts is very helpful in this situation, given you more information for you from high rated agency.
>>> Get FREE ITINERARY PLANNING for days in Ninh Binh <<<
5. Small tips for your Ninh Binh Day Trip
- Make sure you bring enough money
There are no ATMs in anywhere around Trang An Complex and it definitely is so far to come back Ninh Binh city to withdraw the money. Not so happy if you realize that you don’t have enough money when paying something.
- Keep calm and keep driving
Don’t be rushed each time you hear quite lots of honks behind you. Vietnamese people just want to announce their presence to you, you’re not doing anything wrong.
- Being flexible if you share a car
Like we said in the blog, if you rent a private car shared by groups in order to save the money, you should offer them to choose a place among the hotels of each person and everyone concentrates on this spot and begin the journey if you don’t want your schedule broken by late because of picking each individual person from their hotel.
Hope that you find this article useful and will have a great time in Ninh Binh. If you want any further advice and information, feel free to contact us, the AZ Local Trip team. It is our pleasure to help you!