Hanoi to Ninh Binh Travel – The Ultimate Guide

BM Travel Adventure  has been a home gathering of leading experts in motorbike tourism in Indochina. Tasty local food along with a rich history and heavenly sceneries have made Ninh Binh a magnet for both local visitors and international tourists. With spectacular limestone mountains accompanied by a poetic riverscape, this province is among the most sought-after travel destinations in northern Vietnam.

As Ninh Binh offers many worthy places for you to explore, finding information about it may be a little bit intimidating. Check out our ultimate guide to what to do and where to eat in Ninh Binh to make the best out of your time here!

Hanoi to Ninh Binh Travel

Overall information about Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh province, home to many heritage sites, relics and conservation parks, is only 90 km south of the capital of Hanoi. It is blessed with natural wonders, cultural sights, and a rich history spanning different feudal dynasties.

This land gives visitors many travel choices in which the highlights are boat trips past limestone mountainscapes and throughout mysterious caves. Its rich ecosystem and  Cuc Phuong National Park  make Ninh Binh an ideal pick for nature travelers.

Other interesting attractions include old and new Bai Dinh pagodas, Trang An heritage complex recognized by UNESCO, Tam Coc-Bich Dong, Mua Cave, and Thung Nham.

The best time to visit Ninh Binh

As Ninh Binh has a tropical climate, it is very hot in summer and rains quite often from June to September here. To make the best out of your trip, visit Ninh Binh at the following time:

February ” March

Spring is the time for festivities in Vietnam. Thus visiting Ninh Binh during this time, you can join various local festivals. It’s very interesting to join festive activities, yet you should be well-prepared for the crowd.

April

The weather is very nice during this month with a clear sky, light sunshine and the cool breeze of spring. Nothing can beat a boat ride in Ninh Binh’s rivers in this weather.

September

This is the time when rice fields get ripe, so you will easily catch the sight of seemingly endless rows of golden rice fields. The weather is cool in September, so this is also an ideal time for you to discover Ninh Binh.

How to get to Ninh Binh 

Ninh Binh is only 90km away from Hanoi. Whatever means of transport you use, it will be a pleasant ride from Hanoi to Ninh Binh as the roads are smooth. Here are the common ways to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh:

By train

In Ninh Binh, there are many train stations: Ninh Bình, Cầu Yên, Äồng Giao and Ghá»nh so it’s convenient to take a train ride from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city to Ninh Binh.

If you depart from Hanoi or other cities and provinces in the north of Vietnam, you can choose SE1 (7:30 pm), SE3 (10:00 pm), SE5 (9:00 am), SE7 (6:00 am) or SE19 (8:05 pm).

If you start from Ho Chi Minh city, you can take SE2 (1:38 am), SE6 (4:55 pm), SE8 (12:49 pm).

By bus

There are many options for you to choose from if you want to travel by bus from Hanoi. There are currently many buses departing from My Dinh, Giap Bat or Yen Nghia bus stations.

By motorbike 

Ninh Binh is in short distance from Hanoi, the road to Ninh Binh is also comfortable and easy, so driving motorbike from Hanoi to Ninh Binh is a good alternative for those who prefer the open space. It is also more cost-saving to travel by motorbike.

From Hanoi’s center, you head to Giai Phong Street, turn left to Phap Van – Cau Gie highway and ride in Phu Ly – Ninh Binh direction until you arrive at the land of a heritage site ” Ninh Binh.

Ninh Binh Motorbike Tours

Accommodations in Ninh Binh

Top homestays in Ninh Binh

Chezbeo Homestay 

Address: Kha Luong Village, Ninh Thang Commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province.

What makes this homestay unique is its location. Chezbeo lies in the middle of a lotus pond which is well embraced by the surrounding spectacular mountain ranges. Thanks to this, guests will have the chance to enjoy an atmospheric ambiance while immersing themselves in the pure nature and the alluring scent of lotus.

Nguyen Shack Homestay

Address: Mua Cave, Khe Dau Ha village, Ninh Xuan Commune, Hoa Lu District Ninh Binh Province.

Situated near the Mua Cave, Nguyen Shack Homestay nestles deep into the spectacular mountain ranges, featuring rooms made of eco-friendly materials like bamboo and rattan, which gives its guests a great sense of living near nature and experiencing life in the peaceful countryside of Vietnam.

Hotels in Ninh Binh

Camellia Hotel 

Address: Trang An Eco-Tourism Complex, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province. 

Camellia Hotel is a newly open property with clean and shiny rooms. Its location in the center of Trang An Eco-Tourism Complex makes it easy for you to travel around and explore the area.

Tam Coc Gecko Garden

Address: Tam Coc Boat Station, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province.

With its favorable location, green garden, a bar, free bike service, and scenic view, Tam Coc Gecko Garden is a good option for both local and foreign tourists.

Resort in Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh Hidden Charm Hotel And Resort

Address: Tam Coc, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province

Ninh Binh Hidden Charm Hotel And Resort offers you a great resort vacation with a breathtaking view of spectacular mountains on one side and golden rice fields on the other side. As a four-star resort, Ninh Binh Hidden Charm Hotel and Resort has highly rated rooms and services by its guests.

Emeralda Resort Ninh Binh

Address: Van Long Nature Reserve, Gia Van Commune, Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province

Situated on the edge of the Van Long Reserve, this five-star resort offers spacious, luxurious and villa-styled rooms. This has been one of the top picks for local families and foreign tourists. Every corner of this resort offers nice background for your fancy photos.

Top things to do and see in Ninh Binh

Bai Dinh Pagoda 

Currently served as both a spiritual practice site and a tourist destination, the pagoda draws visitors who come to worship, sightseeing and pray. Recognized as the biggest pagoda in Vietnam with multi-record-breaking architecture, Bái Äính Pagoda is an alluring crowd of visitors. The 80ha pagoda has the record number of bronze statues in Vietnam, with a 526m corridor 100-ton bronze statue of Buddha.

Top things to do and see in Ninh Binh

For those who want to experience the serenity and tranquility of ancient pagodas, we recommend a visit to the original 1000-year-old Bái Äính Pagoda. It is located on a mountain at the height of 180m above sea level and about 800m away from the newly built pagoda. The well-preserved pagoda with characteristic architectural features of the Ly  Dynasty, tranquil ambiance and some temples and statues inside caves is definitely worth a visit.

Trang An Eco-Tourism Area 

Many have said a trip to Ninh Binh will be incomplete without visiting Trang An. This world heritage is indeed a highlight on the province’s tourism map. This area, along with Tam Coc Bich Dong and Hoa Lu ancient citadel, are parts of the larger Trang An Landscape Complex which covers a total size of 10,000 ha in three districts of Ninh Bình.

The breathtaking view here is characterized by the limestone karst mountains and scenic valleys with steep cliffs. Trang An has around 50 grottos and caves and some 30 valleys of various sizes. This area, also famous for its diverse ecosystem, is home to about 500 species of flora, more than 70 species of birds, and some 40 species of animals.

Trang An Eco-Tourism Area 

There are three waterway tours and one road route to serve tourists in Trang An area. Though this is a touristy activity and the area may get very crowded in high season, a scenic boat trip of two or three hours through various temples, palaces and caves and picturesque mountainscapes is truly rewarding. The clear river water enables you to see aquatic plants living on the river bed while nature is wonderful with a cool breeze (in autumn), the burbling sound of water and the chirping melody of birds.

Van Long Swamp 

This site is not very touristy as not many people know about it as a tourist attraction. To get to Van Long Swamp, you will need to take a boat ride past the scenic limestone karst mountains of different shapes like Meo Cao, Mam Xoi or Mo Coi mountains.

The area has more than 1,000 eye-catching caves. Many of them are big caves with significant values. Covering a total area of 3,500ha, this is the largest wetland nature conservation area in the Red River Delta region. Being the habitat for thousands of species of animals, plants, and aquaculture, Van Long swamp will be a perfect destination for nature fans or kids.

Van Long Swamp 

In Van Long, you can also have the chance to catch the sight of the Delacour’s langur (a species of primate that is found only in Vietnam and sadly is among the world’s most critically endangered primate species).  The boat trip around the swamp takes you about 1 to 1.5 hours. Sitting on the boat and feeling the peace of the vast nature reserve site with the calm and clear water is really an experience of your lifetime.

Hoa Lu Ancient Citadel

Ninh Binh is well-known as the cradle of civilization of ancient Vietnamese people. This is where the former capital of the Vietnamese feudal was situated more than 1,000 years ago before the capital was moved to present Hanoi. A visit to this rich-in-history land is such a good way for you to learn about the feudal history of Vietnam.

Hoa Lu Ancient Citadel

Nowadays, every April, locals hold a special festival to pay tribute to King Dinh Tien Hoang, who set up the first centralized state and set Hoa Lu as the capital of Vietnam at the time. The festival features many exciting cultural and local sports activities that tourists can join.

Mua Cave Area 

If you want a more challenging place with some trekking, Mua Cave is definitely the place to go. Dubbed the little Great Wall of Vietnam, this area has some mountain peaks only a few hundred meters above sea level for both amateur and experienced trekkers to conquer.

With a fair climb of some 500 steps, you will get to the top of the mountain where you can admire the whole beauty and afford the panoramic view of the region with a winding river, vast rice fields, magnificent mountain ranges, and little red-roofed houses below. This is the place where you can take a panoramic picture of Ninh Binh without a drone.

Tam Coc Bich Dong

Like Trang An, Tam Coc Bich Dong is another heaven on earth’s destination. Coming here, you can choose different boat routes which take you to various places.  On the two sides of the snaking river are the impressive limestone mountains and rice fields that turn golden in the harvest season.

Known as Halong Bay on land, this area is covered with majestic mountains, lush green rivers gently flowing and vast rice fields. Climbing up a high mountain to get the whole view of this heavenly place. Like the route in Trang An, a boat trip in Tam Coc Bich Dong will take you to explore the mysterious large caves with a cool refreshing atmosphere and interesting karst formation inside.

An Tiem Cave

For many local travelers, this place is well-known as one of the most Instagram-worthy spots in Ninh Binh. The stunning view of this area makes it look like a film studio. A perfect place for those who want to escape the fast-paced life in the city to enjoy peace, nature, and tranquility.

An Tiem Cave

The interesting history of this area also intrigues a great sense of curiosity in tourists as it originally served as an execution ground to punish crimes.  With the untouched gorgeous landscape, An Tiem Cave has made a name for itself as a must-see destination in Ninh Binh, attracting not only tourists but also couples who come for wedding photos.

Recommended dishes in Ninh Binh

Food can tell a lot about a place and its people and when you come to visit Ninh Binh, don’t miss these local specialties:

Rice crust

Rice is the staple food in Vietnam and the main ingredient for various types of Vietnamese food and dishes ” from pancakes and noodles to desserts. In Ninh Binh, rice crust is more than just a type of snack. With a humble appearance yet crispy texture and tasty flavor, this has become a popular travel gift for tourists.

Goat meat 

Goat meat is a delicacy of Ninh Binh just like foie gras is to Paris culinary. Here in Ninh Binh, goat meat is processed into many different dishes such as stir-fried goat meat, salad with goat meat, and goat meat soup served with a rice crust.

Goat is so common in Ninh Binh. Thus, it is not difficult for you to find a restaurant with delicious goat meat here. If you go in  a large group, don’t forget to make a reservation to have the best service.

Mountain snail 

There is a range of snail dishes for you to try: boiling snail with lemongrass and chili, snail stirred fried with tamarind or coconut or snail grilled with cheese. Snail may sound intimidating to foreign tourists but once you try it, you will soon fall for it.

Detailed itineraries for your trip in Ninh Binh, the land of cultural and natural heritage 

Many tourists choose to explore Ninh Binh by themselves rather than using a travel agent so that they can be fully immersed in the places they travel to. You can spend from one to three days to fully explore Ninh Binh. We offer you three itineraries for you to choose from as follows:

Visit Ninh Binh in one day

We start our trip at around 6 am. From Hanoi to Ninh Binh we can either ride a motorbike or book a bus. It takes around 2 hours to travel from Hanoi to Ninh Binh.  If we use a bus to get to Ninh Binh, we will stop in Ninh Binh city’s center and rent a motorbike here.

The first destination we visit in the day is Van Long Swamp. Traffic is light and the weather is cool in the morning. The entrance fee to the nature reserve is 20,000vnd (nearly US$1) and a boat tour costs 60,000vnd a person (US$2.6).

After a tour around Van Long swamp, we ride a motorbike to the Mua cave area, climbing up to Ngoa Long mountain peak. The entrance ticket is 100,000vnd (US$4.3) with free parking. Spending about 1.5 hours here and moving to Trang An to have lunch at about 80,000vnd per person (US$3.4). Make a restaurant reservation in advance if we travel in a large group.

In the afternoon, we will spend around 2 hours on the boat tour around Trang An with the fee of 200,000vnd (US$8.6) each before heading to Bai Dinh pagoda at 3 pm. It costs 30,000 (US$1.3) for an electric bus ride inside the complex. We head back to Hanoi at 5 pm.

The total cost for a day tour to Ninh Binh is around 500,000vnd (US$21.7) for each person.

Explore Ninh Binh in two days, one night

Explore Ninh Binh in two days, one night

Day 1: Ha Noi – Ninh Binh – Tam Coc Bich Dong ” Mua Cave – Hoa Lu Ancient Citadel 

We hit the road at 6 am, checked in the hotel at 8 and then move to Tam Coc Bich Dong boat wharf to buy a ticket for one and a half-hour boat tour. After having lunch, we visit Mua Cave and get back to Hoa Lu’s ancient citadel, visiting some temples in the area before returning to the hotel and having dinner. Taking a stroll around Tam Coc at night is also a worthwhile experience.

Day 2: Trang An ” Bai Dinh ” Ha Noi

We start the day by exploring Trang An. Try to get here as early as possible to avoid the crowd. We get back to the hotel to have a quick rest at 11.30, checking out and having lunch. We then spend the whole afternoon to discover the old and the new Bai Dinh pagodas before heading back to Hanoi at 5 pm.

Total costs for two day one night tour from Hanoi to Ninh Binh: 

  • Accommodation: 150,000vnd (US$6.5)
  • Mua cave entrance fee: 100,000vnd (US$4.3)
  • Tam Coc Bich Dong entrance fee: 200,000vnd (US$8.6) (boat tour included)
  • Trang An entrance fee: 200,000vnd (US$8.6) (boat tour included)
  • Bai Dinh entrance ticket: 30,000vnd (US$1.3)
  • Food: 300,000vnd (US$13)
  • Other expenses: 100,000vnd (US$4.3)

=> Total expenses are 1,100,000vnd (US$47.8) for each person for two days one night tour in Ninh Binh.

Discover Ninh Binh in three days two nights

Day 1: Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Trang An 

We start from Hanoi at 7 am and arrive at Ninh Binh at 9 am. We head to Trang An, visit Kong Skull Island blockbuster studio and get back to have lunch at 11 am in Trang An.

We then spend the whole afternoon discovering the scenic Trang An landscape complex, getting back to the hotel at 5 pm.

Day 2: Van Long swamp ” Bai Dinh pagoda – Hoa Lu ancient citadel – An Tiem cave

After having breakfast, we travel to Van Long swamp for sightseeing and have lunch here at 10 am. We get back to the hotel, take a walk around the area and then explore Bai Dinh pagoda and visit Hoa Lu ancient citadel with old temples in the afternoon. Visit the heavenly An Tiem cave before heading back to the hotel.

Day 3: Tam Coc Bich Dong – Mua cave – Hanoi

On the third day, we visit Tam Coc Bich Dong in the morning and Mua cave in the afternoon. We head back to Hanoi at 5 pm.

Total costs for three-day-two-night tour from Hanoi to Ninh Binh:

  • Accommodation: 300,000vnd (US$13)
  • Food: 500,000vnd (US$21.7)
  • Mua cave entrance fee: 100,000vnd (US$4.3)
  • Tam Coc Bich Dong entrance fee: 200,000vnd (US$8.6) (boat tour included)
  • Trang An entrance fee: 200,000vnd (US$8.6) (boat tour included)
  • Bai Dinh entrance ticket: 30,000vnd (US$1.3)
  • Van Long swamp entrance ticket: 80,000vnd (US$3.4)

=> Total expense is 1,400,000vnd (US$61) each.

Check Out:  Ninh Binh Motorbike Tours 2 days Transfers with Limousine Luxury Car

We hope that our detailed guide gives you an insight into destinations in Ninh Binh and helps you experience this place to the best!

Contact us for more interesting information​

  • Address: 3/7/36 Duy Tan Street, Cau Giay District, Ha Noi City
  • Mobile: +84 976 024 986
  • Email: info@vietnammotorbiketoursclub.com
  • Website: https://vietnammotorbiketoursclub.com/
                                   

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