Often referred to as “Halong Bay on land”, the northern province of Ninh Binh combines jagged limestone peaks with flat rice paddies and mellow streams into seemingly impossible landscapes. Jam-packed with both natural and cultural attractions and only a short trip south from Hanoi, Ninh Binh is Vietnam at its most photogenic.
Boat trips around the village of Tam Coc and at the UNESCO-listed Trang An Grottoes are a memorable experience, with local oarswomen helming their boats with their feet as they take tourists on river rides across karst sceneries and through tunnels underneath colossal limestone outcrops. It is also well worth climbing the 450 steps at Hang Mua Peak for spectacular bird’s eye views of the area.
While it is easy to visit it on a quick trip from the nation’s capital, Ninh Binh deserves much more of your time than just one day. Cycling around the province is pleasant and relatively safe, so rent a bicycle from your hotel and explore Ninh Binh’s majestic nature and historical sites at a relaxing pace, away from tourist crowds.
Kenh Ga is a tranquil village where you can admire limestone cliffs and beautiful nature from the boat, cycle around or bathe in hot springs.
Trang An is a UNESCO heritage site with a boat tour through limestone cliffs and caves as a main attraction and cycling around the peaceful scenic area.
A trip to the highest peak at Mua Cave is considered one of the best things to do in Ninh Binh due to the incredible 360-degree views over limestone cliffs, rice fields, countryside and a romantic lotus lake.
Bai Dinh Pagoda is the biggest Buddhist complex in Southeast Asia with several temples and over 500 Buddha statues, attracting masses of local devotees and tourists.
The oldest National Park in Vietnam with ecotourism and many interesting activities, allowing you to discover the primary forest with rare species of animals, plants, caves, and Muong Minority villages.
Hoa Lu is an ancient capital from the 10th and 11th century and an excellent place to learn about the cultural and architectural values of Vietnam as you visit the remaining temples from that era.
Bich Dong Pagoda is an ancient complex of three cave temples located in the middle of a tropical forest, with spectacular views from the top.
Van Lam Village is known for impressive embroidery, and most of the locals are skilled artisans perfecting their craft that has been passed for generations.
Van Long Nature Reserve is a beautiful area covered by wetlands and limestone cliffs, where during a relaxed boat tour you can enjoy the magical scenery and spot rare birds flying above your head.
Built in stone in 1892 with a wooden interior, the architecture of the Cathedral combines a European style church with Chinese elements resembling traditional Vietnamese temples.
Tam Coc is a lovely town and a great place to stay with arguably the number one attraction in the area, a boat tour through the beautiful landscape of limestone cliffs, caves, and rice paddies.
Ninh Binh Hotels
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