Ninh Binh Trip Guide for 2024

Ninh Binh, often dubbed the “Ha Long Bay on Land,” is a captivating destination in Vietnam that promises a blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and adventure. A trip to Ninh Binh is perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Hanoi and immerse themselves in serene landscapes and historical wonders.

Introduction to Ninh Binh


Ninh Binh is a province in northern Vietnam, noted for its fine landscapes of limestone karsts and being rich cultural heritage. It is an ideal way to get out from the bustle of the city’s routine and the correct spot for a day-trip plan.
ninh binh actractions

Historical Significance

Ninh Binh has played a huge role in Vietnam’s history. It was the site of the ancient capital, Hoa Lu, during the Dinh and Le dynasties. Historical sites, ancient pagodas, and temples are spread out everywhere, narrating the story of the dear and glorious past of Vietnam.

Why choose Ninh Binh Day Trip?

Proximity to Hanoi

Ninh Binh is located only a 2-hour drive from Hanoi, therefore one can drop by for tourists for a day. The well-connected roads and scenic routes will make the journey pleasurable and hassle-free.

Rich Cultural Experiences

From ancient temples and pagodas, through traditional boat rides amidst rice paddies and caves, the richness of Ninh Binh gives both cultural and natural experiences. The local culture and countryside serenity can be shown to visitors across this land.

Best Time of Year to Visit Ninh Binh

Seasonal Highlights

Spring:March – May: This is the time with the most pleasant weather conditions when flowers are in full bloom.Autumn: September – November: It has clear skies and a cool temperature, perfect for visiting.Weather ConditionsSummer: June – August: The temperature can get pretty hot, and the weather can be rather wet with occasional heavy rain.Winter: December – February: Although the weather is sometimes drizzly, it’s still alright to visit due to the cooler temperatures.

Top Attractions in Ninh Binh

Tam Coc

Tam Coc literally means “three caves,” a place much cherished for its karst landforms and gentle boat rides on the Ngo Dong River. It provides an opportunity for exploration into these lovely caves and rice paddies, thereby offering both tranquility and overwhelming experience to visitors. This boat ride has been termed “Ha Long Bay on land.” It chugs along three natural caves: Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba. The magnificent stalactites and stalagmites that have been forming over centuries will be widely visible as you glide through these caves. The rice paddies surrounding the site throw an added tint of golden beauty during their harvesting season. Tam Coc is not simply an eyes-only feast but a journey into the Vietnamese heart of natural splendor, making it a perfect inclusion in any Ninh Binh trip.

Exploring Tam Coc

Boat Rides

The highlight of Tam Coc is the boat ride through three caves: Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba. This serene journey takes you through lush rice fields and beneath dramatic limestone cliffs along the Ngo Dong River. Each cave offers unique sights, from Hang Ca’s expansive size to Hang Hai’s impressive stalactites and Hang Ba’s intimate, mystical atmosphere.

Scenic Views

Tam Coc, often compared to Halong Bay on land, boasts towering limestone karsts and winding waterways. The landscape is perfect for photography and relaxation, especially during the rice-growing seasons when the fields are vibrant green or golden yellow. The karsts and reflective waters create stunning, picturesque vistas ideal for capturing the area’s natural beauty.

Local Culture

Interacting with local rowers and villagers in Tam Coc offers a glimpse into traditional life. The rowers, often women, skillfully navigate boats with their feet and share local stories. Engaging with locals enriches your experience and supports the community.

Trang An

Recognized by UNESCO as a Heritage Site, Trang An is famous for its boat rides through rivers and caves. Known as the “Ha Long Bay on land,” it offers a tranquil environment to explore caves and limestone karsts. The boat tour includes visits to caves and temples with unique beauty and historical value. Trang An provides a serene escape from daily life, immersing travelers in Vietnam’s tranquil beauty. Views of crystal clear water, green landscapes, and ancient temples make this place a must-visit in any Ninh Binh trip.

Discovering Trang An

Boat Tours

There are a few different boat routes in Trang An to make all kinds of journeys across the huge natural complex. The boat ride is very tranquil and gives one a full view of the serenity in the landscape. You can pick routes of different lengths and scenes to ensure a personalized experience. These calm waters, peppered with emerald green vegetation and towered with limestone karsts, ensure that everything will provide a great beauty and relaxation setting for every visitor.

Cave Exploration

Of course, one of the actual highlights of the Trang An boat tours is visiting some of the amazing caves that dot the area. Such stops offer a glimpse into some unique geological formations and, in some cases, fascinating historical stories. Notable ones include:
Dia Linh Cave: It’s a natural wonder, interestingly structured to amaze visitors, with hanging stalactites and rising stalagmites.
Toi Cave: This is an adventurous experience to the dark areas of the cave, only lighted by those coming from the boat.
Sang Cave: Unlike Toi Cave, Sang Cave, otherwise known as Light Cave, is well-lit and airy with great views of the formation of rocks and the outside sceneries.

Historical Sites

Apart from the natural beauty, Trang An is replete with historical and cultural values. This area contains numerous ancient temples and shrines that provide an understanding of the spiritual heritage of this region. Some of the mentioned sites are:
Trinh Temple
This is the big spiritual place that was dedicated to the four guardian spirits of Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, mentioning the ancient protecting gods of this area.
Suoi Tien Temple
It was peace in this tranquil stream area, such a delicious retreat of local legends and religious practices that visitors would have loved to learn.
Kong: Skull Island Film Set
Visitors who are movie buffs get to venture further out into the filming location of the blockbuster movie for an exquisite mix between nature and cinematic history.

Bai Dinh Pagoda

Situated in Ninh Binh Province, Bai Dinh Pagoda is the largest Buddhist temple complex in Vietnam. The huge complex of 700ha comprises spiritual and architectural masterpieces with a mix of ancient and newly constructed temples, pagodas, and statues. This complex owns the biggest bronze Buddha statue in Vietnam, 10 meters high, and 100 tons in weight. Visitors can also prowl through corridors lined with the life-size 500 Arhat statues, which have different expressions and poses. Bai Dinh Pagoda is a worship place but also enshrines a cultural and historical site that speaks much about Vietnamese rich Buddhist history and culture. This includes a panorama from the top of the pagoda, overlooking the countryside surroundings, partly adding to the allure of the buoyant complex.
Bai Dinh Pagoda Complex

Architectural Marvels

Located in Ninh Binh province, Bai Dinh Pagoda is Vietnam’s largest, covering over 700 hectares with Buddhist architectures. The main attractions are the 100-ton bronze Buddha statue, 10 meters tall, and 500 unique Arhat stone statues. The new pagoda, built in the 21st century, features traditional Vietnamese temple architecture with detailed carvings. The ancient pagoda, over a thousand years old, retains old relics and traditional design.

Spiritual Significance

As one of the largest pilgrimage areas in the country, Bai Dinh Pagoda attracts visitors who come to find spiritual comfort here. The serene atmosphere, with its environment so tranquil and great temples, offers a very conducive environment for contemplation and meditation. The annual Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival attracts thousands, highlighting its role as a hub of Vietnamese Buddhism. It also functions as a center for Buddhist studies and practice, adding to its spiritual respect and value.

Mua Cave

This hidden cave will be a strenuous adventure climb for those looking for adventure, with a comprehensive view of the Tam Coc valley during your Ninh Binh trip. The climb comprises approximately 500 steps that lead to the top where an overview with breathtaking views awaits one. From the very top, one can view the serpentine flow of the Ngo Dong River, the green rice fields, and the dramatic limestone karsts of Tam Coc. The hike itself is refreshing and rewarding, while the view from the top is going to leave one in awe. On the way, visitors will have a chance to see the complex carvings and statues that give culture to the surrounding beauty of nature. Mua Cave should be the number one must-go place for those seeking both adventure and fine landscapes in Ninh Binh.Ninh Binh Trip
Mua Cave Adventure

Hiking Trails

The Mua Cave adventure includes a rather demanding yet so steeped-in-reward type of hike. It consists of ascending almost 500 stone steps to be more precise—a very heavy climb, which calls for stamina and determination. On the way up, you will have an entourage of intricate dragon statue lines adding a mystical element to your journey. These statues are decorative, but they also serve as way markers. The trail is enclosed with greenery; every step farther up brings a different view of the landscape below. And it’s all worth it.

Panoramic Views

When you reach the top of Mua Cave, what greets you can only be described as one of Vietnam’s finest panoramic views. From here, stretches out brilliantly before a visitor’s eyes the grand Tam Coc valley. Here, one finds a serpentine-like river running through lush emerald-green rice paddies, creating an image of green mosaic. This is a perfect viewpoint for anyone who is seeking excellent photography since nature is at its best. At the top, serenity and breathtaking views await one; the view is perfect for overviewing the land. Whether capturing the moments through a camera shot or just directly viewing the scenery around one, the view which Mua Cave presents is to stay in memory.

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam, offers insights into its rich historical past. During the 10th and 11th centuries, it was the country’s political and economic hub of the Dinh and Le dynasties. A visitor can access the ancient citadel remains and temples devoted to Emperors Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Dai Hanh. The architecture and artifacts at Hoa Lu reveal the cultural and historical significance of that era. Limestone mountains covered in luxuriant vegetation add a historic feel to the scenery. Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is a major site for those studying Vietnam’s history and heritage.

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital: Historic and Architectural Marvel on your Ninh Binh Trip

Historic Value

Hoa Lu was Vietnam’s capital in the 10th and 11th centuries, during the Dinh and early Le dynasties. This period is crucial in Vietnamese history, marking the emergence from Chinese domination into a self-sufficient state. Here, temples dedicated to Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang and Emperor Le Dai Hanh remain. These temples are significant in royal, cultural, and political history.

Some Architectural Highlights

Located among limestone mountains, Hoa Lu was a natural fortress for defense against invaders. The site’s dramatic beauty, historic context, and surrounding karst landscape meld together. The temples of the Dinh and Le dynasties are fine examples of archaic Vietnamese architecture. These temples are remarkable for their refined woodcarvings and structures with curving rooflines. The temples house statues, altars, and other artifacts, giving insight into the religious identity of the age and artistic merit.


A day trip to Ninh Binh with YESD promises a unique blend of adventure, history, and natural beauty. From the serene boat rides in Tam Coc to the historical significance of Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh offers something for every traveler. Plan your trip today and immerse yourself in the charm of this Vietnamese gem.
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