What to Visit in Ninh Binh, Vietnam and how to Arrive ?

Note : You are on Page 2 of Ninh Binh. Start with Page 1.

Ninh Binh – Orientation – Maps

Map 1 – Distance from Hanoi

Map 2 – Main Attractions

Map 3 – Interactive Map : Tourist attractions + Transport

  1. Points in Red : Train Station + Bus Station
  2. Points in Blue : Main Tourist Attractions
  3. Points in Green : + Nearby Tourist Attractions
  4. Points in Gray : + Distant Tourist Attractions
  5. Points in Yellow : City Center Attractions (Nightlife)

What to Visit in Ninh Binh ?

There are 5 attractions that are amazing, and I list them first. They are located 10 to 20 Km from the city. There are also some several extra attractions in between and I also mention them here. 5 days is an adequate amount of time to dedicate to Ninh Binh. If you have extra days you can visit some natural reserves that are about 40 Km away and are less visited by tourists.
There is a small fee to enter the attractions (30 to 100 K Dong), the boat trips are more expensive.

See the Tourist attractions on Maps 2 and 3 above. 

How to arrive to the attractions ?
  1. Motorbike – If you can ride a motorbike, this is the best option. Rent one. See details in the Transport section of the previous page.
  2. Taxi
  3. Organised tour. You can ask your hotel about it or book online.
  4. On foot or bicycle, if the distance is short.

“Tam Coc” – Lake and river – boat trip 2 hours

Your hotel is probably on the lake, so you just need to walk to the boarding point and take a private boat trip.

The boat starts on the lake but then it continues into a river.
Each boat can take 4 people (except the driver) but for foreigners they limit it to 2. The joke is that non Vietnamese are fatter people (it’s true, by the way). I suspect that the reason is that they want to increase the chance of getting a Tip from the passengers.

The trip lasts almost 2 hours. It costs about 250 K Dong per person. A tip is expected by the driver of the boat (I gave 100 K Dong).

The boat drivers can also paddle with their foot (as you can see on the photo at the top of the page). Most of the boat drivers are women.
If you climb the hill of Hang Mua, you will see a part of the trajectory of the boats from above.

At spring time, there is agriculture on the water and it looks very beautiful.
On the way, expect to meet some sellers on boats. They will put pressure on you to buy a fruit (for you or for your boat driver).

How to get there ?

“Trang An” – Boat trip 3 hours

The scenery here is even more amazing than the boat trip of Tam Coc.

Like in Tam Coc, also here each boat can take up to 4 people but in this case there is no limit of 2 people per boat for foreigners. The price is around 250 K Dong per person to join a boat, but if you are a couple or more you will pay for the entire boat and it will be cheaper.

When you buy the ticket, you are asked to choose between 3 possible trajectories. I was told that path number 3 is the prettiest, so I took it and it was indeed beautiful.

The 3 trajectories have also some common stops. It seems that trajectory number 1 passes through a lot of caves (but all the trajectories include caves).

During the navigation of 3 hours, the boat stops several times in places with nice pagodas and the possibility to buy ice cream and water.

Take note that you are exposed to the hot sun, so take protections like hat, long cloth, umbrella and sun cream lotion. During the sail inside caves you have a break from the sun.

How to get there ?

Bai Dinh Pagoda – A very high pagoda

A huge complex with amazing religious Buddhist monuments and a very high Pagoda (several world records).

In the following picture, you can see the plan of the area. It is huge, about 1 Km square. If you really want to see every corner, you will need at least 5 hours.

Entrance to the complex is free but you may need to pay if you want to get to the top of the high pagoda (50 K Dong) and if you want to arrive from the parking area by electric car instead of walking 30 minutes (price 30 K Dong).

The high pagoda has an elevator, so don’t worry about stairs.

The view from upstairs is amazing.

The high pagoda is not the only interesting monument in the complex. There are several covered structures :

With Buddhas and very beautiful statues.

Note the bird which is standing on a turtle

If you like turtles, you will find a lot of them in this complex.

I mean, really a lot of turtles

Along the complex, there are 2 parallel corridors with a lot of statues. You walk for hundreds of meters and see beautiful statues.

As always, you can know in which part of the statue, people like to touch, for luck.

At the left upper corner of the complex, there is a hill

If you climb this hill, you will see 2 amazing religious caves

With interesting statues

Apparently, religious construction on this hill is still going on, with a lot of energy

You may see peaceful monks walking in the area

On the upper right corner of the complex, there is a huge beautiful Buddha.

How to get there ?

Hang Mua – Mountain, Panoramic view

You shouldn’t miss this place, the view is amazing.

It is not difficult to climb the hill, it takes just 15 minutes and there are stairs.

At the top there are 2 view points on 2 different peaks.

From above you can see part of the trajectory of the boats of Tam Coc

I saw a little goat crying, on that mountain

And later, his mother came to save him

At the ground, there is a very beautiful garden

With a place to drink a coffee

And a place to walk over the fields

And there are 2 caves. One of them is called the Tiger cave and the other Mua cave.

How to get there ?

Tuyet  Tinh Coc – A very beautiful lake

This is a wonderful lake with amazing colours of waters.

There are also 2 little hills at the extremes with a view over the lake.

This is a great place to take beautiful pictures and Vietnamese come here on week ends.

The lake is not huge and you can go around it in 20 minutes.

People who are going to marry, are making pictures here

How to get there ?

The place is very close to the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital.

Hoa Lu – Ancient Capital

You may find this place not as exciting as the previous attractions but everything around is still very beautiful and you can make great photos.

The area with structures is relatively small

The place was the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries.

You will probably not stay in place more than 1 hour, unless you choose to make a lot of photos, like me.

or make connections with the local cows

There is a small entrance fee of 30 K Dong.

How to get there ?

The place is very close to the beautiful Tuyet Tinh Coc lake.

The city of Ninh Binh

The city of Ninh Binh is not interesting at all. Still, in the northern part of the city, there is a water canal and a bridge in form of a Pagoda and it is all beautifully illuminated in the evenings. During day time, you will probably pass here on your vehicle on your way to the attractions outside town.

How to get there ?

Walk around Tam Coc lake

If you stay to sleep around the lake of Tam Coc (you do, probably), then you can make great walking excursions in the area. You can arrive by foot to the Temple Thai Vi, it is just 1 Km away and on the way, you will have wonderful scenery.

Just walk around the lake and continue to walk behind it

The view around is great

On your way, you will see a sort of cultural exhibition.

You may meet ducks

and chickens

There is a nice spot with a bench where you can watch the little boats passing with tourists

How to get there ?

Thai Vi Temple

I have mentioned it before. You just walk for 1 Km behind the lake of Tam Coc (where your hotel is probably located).

The temple is nice

But what is really interesting is the landscape around

It is a Buddhist temple from the 13 century

People arrive to pray here

How to get there ?

As explained on the Map above. About 30 minutes walk from the Tam Coc lake (1 Km).

Bich  Dong – Pagoda

Another nice place which is not far from the Tam Coc lake (where you probably stay). It is just 2.5 Km away.

It is a Buddhist temple

There is a small hill to climb (just a few stairs) and you get a nice view

At the top, there is cave

The place is surrounded by canals of water and there are promoters with small boats proposing you a private boat tour.

Somehow, I was the only one visiting the place, and a dog wanted to let me know what he thinks about my visit

Of course that the scenery on the way to the place, is amazing

How to get there ?

Extra attractions – Farther away

The Ninh Binh area has wonderful sceneries of nature and if you have extra days, you can visit more remote places, about 40 Km away from town.

These locations are less loaded with tourists.

I will just mention some places here :

  1. Thung Nham Bird Park – Close to Tam Coc lake (where you probably stay) – 6 Km
  2. Bear Sanctuary –  15 Km from Tam Coc lake
  3. Cuc Phuong National Park – 40 Km from Tam Coc lake
  4. Van Long Wetland Nature Reserve – 25 Km from Tam Coc lake
  5. Perfume Pagoda – 50 Km from Tam Coc lake (you may visit the place on your way to Hanoi).
How to get there ?

Organised Excursions in Ninh Binh

There are a lot of organised excursions in Ninh Binh.

Return to Page 1 of Ninh Binh

More on Vietnam :

  On Thailand :

Other Stuff :

If you find incorrect data on this page, like a restaurant that has closed or a big river that has moved or you want to tell me something, please write me to contact.