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Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

Lê Ngọc Minh Châu - November 02, 2018

You’re looking for Ninh Binh Itinerary? Here we are to provide you the BEST Itinerary to this beautiful hidden gem of Vietnam.

With more than 5 years of experience in planning itinerary and providing tours to more than 100.000 Travellers to the North of Vietnam, We – AZlocaltrip would like to introduce you the best itineraries that is suitable for almost travelers. 

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1. Why Go To Ninh Binh? Is Ninh Binh Worth It?

Well! I can say it’s one of the most sublime and magnificent natural landscapes in Southeast Asia. How can I be so sure about this statement?

A vast amount of limestone mountains emerging from meandering rivers, immense green or yellow rice fields depending on seasons… Perhaps that’s why we called Ninh Binh as “Halong Bay on land”.

Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

Amazing Mua Cave

If spectacular scenery isn’t convincing enough, let Ninh Binh show you the way to its true beauty. Contrary to luxury, splendor of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, this rural area is another way of living, slower and more peaceful. It’s totally a leisure trip for anyone who wanna stay away from dynamic lifestyle in cities.

If you are a cultural explorer, there are many architectural constructions here to delve into historical timeline of Vietnam. You will also have a chance to discover the capital of Vietnam in 11th century in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital.

Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Do you think Ninh Binh is a worth-visiting destination yet? If you still doubt about spending your time here, see more detailed things below to have your best decision: where to go, what time and some helpful tips.

2. Best Time To Visit Ninh Binh? - Ninh Binh Itinerary

Weather influences a lot of how your Ninh Binh itinerary will be. So first, let's find out what is the weather like in Ninh Binh? and what is the best time to visit?

Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

Unlike Hanoi, Ninh Binh has only 2 main seasons: dry season and wet season. Dry season lasts from November to April. During dry season, the weather is mostly dry and cool. Wet season is from May to October. During this period, the weather is hot and humid and plenty of rainfall.

Additionally, the month of September is especially at risk of typhoons. However, the wet season is a  great time to visit since the nature is most beautiful during this time with crystal blue sky and vivid green colour of the rice fields.

Below is the detailed description in each month:

April and May are the early harvest time. This is a great time to appreciate the ripen rice fields.

Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

Take a walk between the rice field is a moment to relax

June gives a perfect opportunity to take the stunning photographs of flowers, especially lotus. June is a blooming month of flowers, especially lotus flower which is Vietnam National Flower. In fact, there’re many places to see beautiful lotus flowers but a great thing about Ninh Binh is the natural and picturesque background that makes the whole scenery more striking and stunning.

September and October are the second harvest time of the year. The scenery of Ninh Binh will be covered by the yellow color of rice fields ready for harvesting. Any travellers that book a boat tour along the Bich Dong River can get to explore the Trang An Landscape Complex – Hoa Lu Ancient Capital – Tam Coc while being surrounded by the wonderful scenery of yellow rice fields.

Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

November – a trip to Ninh Binh at the end of November is likely to be relatively low on tourist traffic. It’d be much enjoyable to explore the area without the crowds. However, at this time, the rice has already been harvested, you won’t see the majestic view of yellow rice fields. Apart from this, the whole scenery still peaceful as beautiful as usual; also, and the weather is pleasant, not too hot and not too cold. In the evenings it can get a little chilly.

Is there a time to avoid?

Between December and February, there’re high chances of drizzles and isn’t appropriate for boat rides. It might not be a good idea to travel to Ninh Binh during this period. Also, after the Tet holiday (Vietnamese New Year) is not a good timing due to heavy crowds.

>>> Discover The Beauty of Ninh Binh in Ninh Binh One Day Tours

3. How Long To Spend in Ninh Binh? - Ninh Binh Itinerary

A stay of at least one or two nights in Ninh Binh is certain to be worth it. 2 days would be the best to explore the whole area but 1 day is enough to explore the highlights destinations.

4. Getting From Hanoi To Ninh Binh

By train

It takes 2.5 hours to get here and the train stops at the station near Trang An. About $2.5 USD is you need to pay for a one-way ticket from Hanoi to Ninh Binh train station. 

By private cars

You can hire a private car through tourist agency and go straight to the destination in Ninh Binh. However, this is properly costs the most out of 3 ways. 

By bus

A regular bus from Hanoi bus terminal Giap Bat departs quite often. It costs about $3.15 USD, and 3 hours as usual. You can buy tickets in the hall of tstation.

Like going by train, the bus stops in Ninh Binh, you need to have a suitable transport (taxi, bike) to tourist area.

The easiest and most convenient transportation is private cars without doubt. Or you can book a Ninh Binh tour that includes transportation, you don't need to worry about how to go anymore. Take a look at our Ninh Binh Tours to the most popular destinations in Ninh Binh. 

5. Suggested Ninh Binh Itinerary

Ninh Binh 2 days itinerary map by AZ Localtrip

Day One

Morning:

  • Bai Dinh Pagoda

In this architectural construction, not only the discovery of Buddhist values, but you also see many well-known records of this famous pagoda. These records are: The biggest golden buddha statue in Asia, The biggest Arhat hall in Asia, The biggest copper bell in Vietnam, The most La Han statues in Vietnam, The biggest pagoda in Vietnam, The biggest well in Vietnam.

Being a huge religious complex (539 ha), Bai Dinh compound includes 107 ha of new and old Buddhist temples and cultural park, Buddhist academy,… With this large area, people often visit the whole place by electrical car. We can also take a walk around and then enjoy the natural view more.

Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

The highest Buddhist Tower in Asia

Afternoon:

  • Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Time to spend: 1 hour 30 minutes

Entrance fee: 20,000 VND

In Ancient Capital Hoa Lu, you can pay a visit to King Dinh and King Le temple, the founders building this capital during 10th century. Gaining knowledge of the history of Vietnam more than 1000 years ago is a good idea, right?

Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

Chosen to be the first capital in Vietnamese feudatory era, Hoa Lu is definitely attached to many historical stories of 3 dynasties Dinh, Le, Ly.

Before, Hoa Lu was a splendid palace, covering by majestic mountainous area, meandering Hoang Long river and immense Nho Quan, Gia Vien rice fields. All of these makes Hoa Lu to be a perfect military basement and got notice of the first King Dinh Tien Hoang.

  • Trang An Ecological Complex

Time to spend: 2 hours

Entrance fee: 200,000 VND/adult for Trang An boat ride; 100,000 VND/child

Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

Don't miss this amazing trip - best choice for family and friends

Well-known as ‘Halong Bay on land’, Trang An is quintessential convergence of majestic limestone mountains, peaceful rice paddies, and clear emerald river. With the huge area (2168 ha), Trang An is totally a dreamland of tourists that make us surprise by majestic, picturesque landscape. Containing globally eminent values, Trang An deserves to get recognized as World Cultural and Natural Heritage by UNESCO.

You can explore this region by Trang An boat ride or cycle around is also great! Trang An is less crowded than Tam Coc, which means you can fully enjoy serene atmosphere and spectacular landscape here.

>>> Book Now: Bai Dinh Trang An Tour 

Day Two

Morning:

  • Tam Coc - Bich Dong

Time to spend: 2 hours

Entrance fee: 150,000 VND

Floating along Ngo Dong river, you can hear the whisper of the wild winds, enjoying serenity of this tranquil countryside. Tam Coc is literally known as ‘three caves” in Vietnam. Visiting Tam Coc, mysterious caves open for you, including Hang Ca, Hang Hai and Hang Ba. Majestic limestone cliffs, mysterious caves, rural scenery with peaceful river, rice fields - Tam Coc seems to possess all.

Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

  • Thung Nang

Time to spend: 1 hour

Entrance fee: 15,000 VND for sightseeing ticket; 60,000 VND for boat ride

We are easily fascinated by pristine, tranquil beauty of Thung Nang, of an immense lake reflecting prolific trees around majestic mountains. Just exactly the name people called Thung Nang (Sun area), the sun illuminate everywhere, down to leaves, reflecting to lake surface, creating colorful, magnificent landscape to us.

Noticing some birds flying or landing on boughs, we will see the liveliness, diversity of this wonderful destination. One hour floating on the river seems another great experience, right?

Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

  • Mua Cave

Time to spend: 1.5 hour

Entrance fee: 100,000 VND

Testing your flexibility by climbing 486 stone stairs to Mua mountain,  we will see the picturesque view of Tam Coc – Bich Dong area, especially on rice paddy season. Don’t miss a chance to contemplate Vietnamese version of Great Wall.

Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

View from the top of Mua Cave

Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

You will reach the top after 500 stone stairs

Afternoon:

Van Long Nature Reserve

Being the largest drowning natural reserve in North Vietnam, Van Long Natural Reserve is a unique and diverse ecosystem, a shelter for a wide variety of rare plants and animals.

In Van Long, we will go into the lively life of nature, in an easy, serene scenery, explore marvelous and glorious caves and mountains

Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

>>> Discover other hand-picked Tour Packages in Hanoi.

6. Where To Stay in Ninh Binh?

It all depends on your preference, your budget. I suggest some places here for you to consider your best choices.

Trang An Nature House

Address: 479B Trang An Street,  Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh

It’s only 1.6 km from Trang An Eco Tourism Complex and 4.8 km from Tam Coc - Bich Dong. Besides free Wifi, a buffet breakfast is available in the house each morning. You can taste delicious foods of Asian and European cuisine.

Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

Guests at this property can enjoy fishing nearby, or make the most of the garden.

Price ranges from $5 USD in 8-bed mixed dormitory room to about $26.5 USD for a King Room with Mountain view per day.

Tam Coc Eco House

Address: Van Lam, Ninh Hai, Hoa Lu

Garden views, a washing machine, a fully equipped kitchen, and a private bathroom with free toiletries are at your disposal. Some have a terrace and/or balcony. Free Wifi is included. An Asian breakfast is served daily at the property.

Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

The homestay offers a children's playground. Furthermore, you can go cycling or fishing, and the property offers a bicycle rental service.

Price ranges from $4 USD in mixed dormitory room to about $12.5 USD for a King Room with Garden view per day. Also, it’s only 300 meters from Tam Coc.

Cozy Son Hotel

It’s only 300 meters from Tam Coc. All rooms have air conditioning, a private bathroom and a kettle. Some rooms include a terrace. A buffet breakfast is served daily at the property.

The area is popular for cycling, and bike hire is available at Cozy Son Hotel. Speaking English and Korean at the reception, staff are willing to help at any time of the day.

Price ranges from $12.8 USD in King Room with Balcony to about $22.5 USD for a Family Room with Mountain view per day.

Ninh Binh Itinerary - BEST Itinerary to Ninh Binh, Vietnam's Hidden Gem

7. Tips and Advice for Ninh Binh Itinerary

1 – As said, Ninh Binh is a traveler – friendly location. It’s easy to access the area and to go around and explore. Many of the local roads are wide, flat and deserted and it’s really convenient and safe for tourists to go around by motorbikes or bicycles. You can discover this place on your own without worrying about the safety.

2 – Don’t know where to stay? The advice is stay in or around Tam Coc area since Ninh Binh town is quiet boring and doesn’t really have much going on an. Tam Coc is a tourism spot so it will be much more interesting and things to do around here.

3 – Since there are not many ATMs in Ninh Binh, especially at tourist attractions, make sure you bring enough money that covers all the whole trip. There’re ATMs in Ninh Binh Town but it’s 7 kilometers away from Tam Coc.

4 – Ninh Binh is an authentic side of Vietnam so that when coming to Ninh Binh, you have to try the most local things here. Instead of going in big restaurants, try to have meals in the small local restaurants or a local homestay. You will likely be served the more appetizing food compared to the restaurants.

5 – The best way to travel to Ninh Binh is to use the private cars or to use the shuttle bus service from Hanoi. Typically, it takes 2 hours moving on the streets from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. For the shuttle bus, you have to move to the meeting point which is Giap Bat Station.

6 – Alternative travel options include the routes that run to Ninh Binh from several cities, including Hanoi, Dong Hoi, Danang, and Hue.

7 - Always remember Bringing along a bottle of water, a hat, sunglasses and wear sunscreen if you get here in the summer

You might want to check out Hanoi Travel Package.

Below are everything you need to consider when planning Ninh Binh Itinerary. AZ Local Trip is here to provide you Free Itinerary Planning, don't hesitate to contact us.