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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the must-see attractions in Ninh Binh?
Ninh Binh is known for its stunning natural scenery, including Tam Coc, Trang An, Hoa Lu ancient capital, and Bai Dinh pagoda. These places are a must-visit for their beauty and cultural significance.
What is the best time to visit Ninh Binh?
The best time to visit Ninh Binh is between October and April when the weather is mild and dry. However, if you don’t mind the rain, visiting during the rainy season (May to September) can also be a great option, as the landscape is lush and green.
What is the best way to get around Ninh Binh?
The best way to explore Ninh Binh is by renting a bicycle or a motorbike. This will give you the freedom to explore the area at your own pace and discover the hidden gems that are off the beaten path. Another great option is to book a tour which includes transport between the attractions as well as guides!
What are the local specialties of Ninh Binh?
Ninh Binh is famous for its goat meat dishes, particularly the grilled goat meat (thit de nuong). The area is also known for its rice dishes, including com chay (burnt rice) and com nieu (rice cooked in a clay pot).
What are some cultural tips to keep in mind when visiting Ninh Binh?
When visiting pagodas and temples in Ninh Binh like Bai Dinh pagoda, it is important to dress modestly and respectfully. This means covering your shoulders and knees, and removing your shoes before entering sacred areas. It is also polite to ask for permission before taking photos of local people.
What should I wear when visiting Ninh Binh?
It is recommended to wear comfortable clothing and shoes suitable for outdoor activities, especially if you plan to visit the national parks or go trekking. Remember to bring some polite clothes if you plan to visit sacred areas.
Is Ninh Binh a safe place to visit?
Ninh Binh is generally a safe place to visit, but like any tourist destination, visitors should be aware of their surroundings and take normal safety precautions, such as keeping an eye on their belongings and not carrying large amounts of cash.