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What to do in Ninh Binh

Updated: Mar 30

Ninh Binh is located in the north of Vietnam, about 1h30 from Hanoi. It is a region known for its stunning landscapes and rock formations. For this reason, it is called "Land's Ha Long Bay" and attracts many visitors to visit it.

If you are looking for a peaceful place, different from the hustle and bustle of the capital, then you must include Ninh Binh in your itinerary.

Today, we're going to share with you our tips about this region so you don't miss anything when it's your turn to visit it.

Ninh Binh center is very cute
Ninh Binh center is very cute
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Staying in Ninh Binh or Tam Coc?

Ninh Binh is the main city in the region, with a wide range of accommodations, restaurants, and supermarkets. On the other hand, Tam Coc is a small town about 20 minutes from Ninh Binh and does not have as many infrastructures as the first.

When choosing where to stay, we always try to be closer to the places we want to visit. Therefore, we chose to stay in Tam Coc and it was a great choice. The atmosphere at Tam Coc is incredible, with a very calm and young vibe.

How to arrive

To get to Ninh Binh you have two options:

  • Minivan: One of the easiest ways to get to Tam Coc is by minivan. To book trips in Vietnam we always use 12.go and it worked very well. Here you can book buses, trains, and minivans. In this case, the trip from Hanoi to Tam Coc takes around 2 hours and costs €9.

  • Excursion: If you don't have many days to explore Vietnam and still want to visit Ninh Binh, you can choose to take a day trip from Hanoi. You can book a day trip through GetYourGuide that passes through the main points of the region.

How to move around

The best way to get to the main points of the region is, without a doubt, by motorbike.

To do this, you can rent a scooter in the center of Tam Coc or at the accommodation where you are staying.

This time, we chose to rent at the accommodation and it was 100,000 VND per day.

Be aware that traffic in Vietnam can be chaotic, so drive cautiously, especially if you have no experience driving a motorbike.

What to do in Ninh Binh

Trang An Landscape Complex

The boat tour in Trang An is one of the main attractions in the region. During the tour, you are surrounded by countless rock formations that create one of the most beautiful landscapes in Vietnam! Along the route, you will pass several caves and temples.

Before starting, you can choose between three routes (route 1, 2 or 3). We chose route 3, which includes 3 temples and 3 caves, including the largest, 1 km long. The tour takes between 2.5 hours and 3 hours and up to 4 people can go on each boat. The price is 250,000 VND per person.

Fun fact: part of the movie "Kong: Skull Island" was filmed here.

Mua Caves

If you visit Ninh Binh, you can't miss the most famous viewpoint in the region - Mua Caves.

The climb is nothing less than 500 steps to the top, but it is well worth the effort. Halfway along, you will have to choose whether to go to the Dragon Viewpoint (on the left) or the Pagoda Viewpoint (on the right). As we had time and energy, we chose to climb both. The view is equally beautiful, 360º of the Tam Coc rice terraces. The climb is easy and safe, but be careful in areas where it is very crowded.

The entire surrounding space is very pleasant and perfect for spending a morning or an evening.

The entrance ticket costs 100,000 VND.

Pagoda Bich Dong

Here, you will find a set of three temples built on a mountain. You can take a short walk to the last temple, which offers a panoramic view of the entire region.

However, the main entrance to the temple is the most well-known and frequently captured location in photographs.

As it is a sacred place, when visiting the temples it is appropriate to wear modest clothing as a sign of respect for the local culture and religious practices. So, if you want to visit them, bring your knees and shoulders covered.

Entry is free.

Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda is the largest Buddhist temple complex in Vietnam. This complex includes ancient temples, Buddha statues, and impressive architecture.

The complex is huge and takes about 4 hours to visit, the price is 100,000 VND.

Boat trip in Tam Coc

This is another boat trip you can take in the region. One of the advantages of this tour compared to the one in Trang An is that it is right in the center of Tam Coc.

This tour takes you through rice fields and some natural caves. It became well known on social media because boatmen/ladies steer the boats with their feet.

Each boat takes two people and costs 390,000 VND per boat. The tour takes between 1h30 and 2 hours.

Bike ride

The surroundings of Tam Coc are an amazing place to explore by bike. Rent a bike and cycle through the rice fields, enjoy the views, and appreciate the everyday life of the locals.

You can rent a bike in the center of Tam Coc for an affordable price.

Taste the Local Cuisine

Vietnamese cuisine is one of the best in Southeast Asia, including dishes such as Pho (rice noodle soup), Bun Cha (grilled meat with vermicelli), and Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich).

You can't miss trying Egg Coffee, the typical Vietnamese coffee made with eggs, sugar, and condensed milk. It's delicious!

In conclusion, if you like nature you cannot miss including Tam Coc in your Vietnam itinerary. Here you will find stunning landscapes, unique temples, and a peaceful atmosphere.

If you are planning a trip to this incredible country, be sure to check out our suggested 15-day itinerary in Vietnam.

Staying Connected

If you plan to visit Vietnam, don't forget that mobile data does not work outside the European Union!

The best solution to stay connected to the Internet is to buy an eSIM or a local SIM. This time we used a Local SIM, but in other travels, we bought an eSIM at Airalo, and it always worked well. Just have a phone compatible with eSIM and buy the card through the Airalo app. It's very easy!

Get Travel Insurance

It is essential to be prepared for any trip you take, especially outside of Europe. Unexpected events happen, and no one wants to come back from vacation with a huge hospital bill to pay. That's where travel insurance comes in, an indispensable ally to ensure tranquility and safety for your holidays.

IATI offers numerous types of travel insurance depending on your type of trip and various coverages. Moreover, by purchasing insurance through our link, you get a special 5% discount.

Don't let unforeseen events ruin your adventure!

Click here to get your discount.

IATI seguro de viagem


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