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Ninh Binh

Travel to Ninh Binh to experience a unique convergence of Vietnam’s rich history and breathtaking natural landscapes. This enchanting region, once the seat of ancient emperors, is now a tranquil haven of limestone karsts, serene rivers, and lush valleys.

Ninh Binh offers a rare glimpse into the heart of Vietnam’s ancestral past, beautifully preserved in its temples and pagodas while inviting visitors to explore its rural landscapes and majestic natural beauty, echoing the grandeur of Halong Bay on land.

“Where Ancient Tales Meet the Lush Valleys of Northern Vietnam’s Countryside”

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Experience Ninh Binh

Attractions

Ninh Binh is renowned for its stunning natural scenery, blending cultural landmarks with lush nature. Key attractions include the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the serene boat rides in Tam Coc through natural caves, the majestic Bai Dinh Pagoda, and the historical richness of Hoa Lu, Vietnam’s ancient capital.

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Tours

Touring Ninh Binh is a journey through both time and nature. From river explorations that wind through ancient caves to temple visits that glimpse Vietnam’s spiritual history, there’s an unforgettable experience for every traveler. Booking your tour with Vietnam Is awesome to immerse yourself fully in this enchanting region.

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Taste

Ninh Binh’s cuisine is a delightful exploration of local and international flavors. From humble street-side eateries serving traditional Vietnamese dishes to upscale restaurants offering gourmet experiences, our carefully selected list will guide your palate on a memorable culinary journey.

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Ninh Binh Handbook: Essential Travel Tips

When is the Best Time to Visit Ninh Binh?

The best times to visit Ninh Binh are late November through early June. Late May and early June are particularly beautiful times in Ninh Binh because the surrounding rice paddies take on a golden hint during the end of the area’s dry season.

Transportation Tips

A. Getting to Vietnam

Flying is the best and most convenient option when traveling to Vietnam, with three international airports in key locations. Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi International Airport) is the best choice for those starting their adventure in the North (the closest airport to Ninh Binh). Overland bus travel from neighboring countries like Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand offers an adventurous alternative for Southeast Asian travelers.

B. How to get to Ninh Binh from Hanoi

To get to Ninh Binh from Noi Bai Airport, you can either book a private car through Vietnam Is Awesome, or opt for a budget-friendly journey by taking the #86 bus from the airport to Hanoi Railway Station (located at 120 Le Duan Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi) and then a regular train to Ninh Binh. The journey from Hanoi to Ninh Binh by takes about 2-3 hours. If you’re coming from the Old Quarter, you can either book a van through Vietnam Is Awesome, use companies like Trang An Limousine Service, hire a taxi directly, or use ride-hailing apps for slightly cheaper rates.

C. How to get around in Ninh Binh

  • Walking. Many of the most popular attractions in Ninh Binh are close together, especially in busy areas like Tam Coc. Walking from place to place is the most leisurely way to explore the region while absorbing the local atmosphere.
  • Bicycle. Most hotels and homestays rent bicycles for a few dollars a day, and they’re a quick and eco-friendly way to get from place to place.
  • Bus. The Ninh Binh bus system is less reliable and as nice as in most popular tourist areas of Vietnam, so we don’t recommend it for frequent travel. However, local buses are cheap for long distances, like day trips from Ninh Binh. Use Google Maps to plot out a bus route.
  • Taxi. Taxis in Ninh Binh are a convenient and inexpensive way to get around, especially at short distances. The average fare is 10,000 VND ($0.40) to start and another 10,000 VND for every kilometer. Ensure you negotiate a price with your driver before leaving to avoid scams.
  • Hire a car or motorbike with a driver. The price of this option varies wildly, and you’ll have to do your own haggling to settle on a rate that works for you.

Before You Go: Visa, Currency, Timezone, Voltage, ATMs, Credit Cards, Internet, SIM Cards, Tips

  • Visa: Check the visa requirements for your nationality. Many travelers can get a visa on arrival or an e-visa. Get the Ultimate Guide for getting a Vietnam Visa [here]. 
  • Timezone: Vietnam is in the Indochina Time Zone (ICT), UTC+7.
  • Voltage: The standard voltage is 220V, and the plugs are usually Type A (two flat pins) or Type C (two round pins).
  • Internet: Most hotels, cafes, and even restaurants in Ninh Binh offer free Wi-Fi; Wi-Fi plans are so cheap in Vietnam that almost all businesses have one. But it’s easy, inexpensive, and well worth buying a local SIM card with a data package at the Airport upon arrival. 
  • SIM Cards: You can easily purchase SIM cards at the airport or local stores for data and calls. Note that you’ll need to provide your passport to get a SIM. Viettel, Mobifone, and VinaPhone are the best mobile networks for Ninh Binh and most parts of Vietnam.
  • Currency: Vietnam uses the Vietnamese Dong (VND). VND only comes in bills (no coins), and 1 USD equals about 24,000 VND (commonly abbreviated as 24k). Some shops catering to tourists may accept USD, but most only take VND.
  • Credit Cards: Visa and MasterCard are commonly accepted, but smaller businesses usually only take cash.
  • ATMs: There are several ATMs in Sapa, though only on some streets, like in larger cities. Notify your bank before traveling to avoid card issues.
  • Tipping: Vietnam is not a tipping culture, so a tip is not expected. A tip is a good way to bring a smile to someone’s face, though. Note that cab drivers and tour guides often rely on some tipping, so it’s a good idea to tip them.

Understanding Culture & Customs In Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh is a culturally rich town in Vietnam. Dress modestly, ask permission before taking photos, and bargain politely in markets. Avoid giving money to children and support the local economy by purchasing handicrafts directly from the artisans. Engage with locals respectfully and show interest in their culture and way of life.

Common questions about Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh has one of Vietnam’s most developed tourist sectors, so there are many different types of hotels there. Please look at our accommodation on the Ninh Binh page for some of the best options.

If you’re looking for classy dining experiences in Ninh Binh, head to our restaurants on the Ninh Binh hub page. Ninh Binh also has distinct mountain-style street food options that can be found at vendors on the side of the road in busy areas like Tam Coc.

Ninh Binh is best known for its natural landscapes, often called “Halong Bay on land.” Its most notable features include stunning limestone karsts and cliffs, winding rivers, and lush rice fields. The region’s scenic beauty is best experienced by taking one of the Ninh Binh day tours with a local expert.

Popular activities in Ninh Binh include:
1. Trekking the local countryside
2. Caving in famous caverns like Mua Cave
3. Riding boats through the winding rivers of the area
4. Exploring the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, which has a lot to do with itself 
5. Sampling street food of the mountainous region.

December and February are a good time to visit Ninh Binh on a budget. The weather is often very cold and nearly always overcast, but at least it’s dry.
Another cheap time to visit Ninh Binh is during June-August. This time of the year is the hottest and has the most rain, but that can result in some extremely lush green landscapes that tourists will never get the chance to see.

The best ways to get around are by bicycle or taxi or hiring a car or motorbike with a driver. Local buses are good for long distances, but the system in Ninh Binh could be more reliable, so they’re not recommended for short distances.

Most tourists like to visit Ninh Binh from February through early June. Rice grows in February, bringing to life the agricultural landscapes surrounding Ninh Binh. The growing season climaxes in late May and Early June, with the rice harvest before the rainy season.

2-3 days is generally enough time to visit all of the famous sites in Ninh Binh and drink in the area’s natural beauty. If you’re also interested in the rich history of Ninh Binh and the Hoa Lu ancient capital, extend your trip another 2 days to check out museums, pagodas, and ancient ruins. If you’re short on time you can do a one day trip from Hanoi to Ninh Binh though!