Best Things to Do in Ninh Binh: Guide to Vietnam's Scenic Wonderland

Posted On: 10/05/2024

Ninh Binh, often hailed as the "Ha Long Bay on land," is a captivating province located in the northern part of Vietnam. Renowned for its majestic limestone karsts and scenic river valleys, this region mirrors the iconic sea-bound beauty of Ha Long Bay but on a more intimate, terrestrial scale. Drawing nature enthusiasts, history aficionados, and thrill-seekers alike, Ninh Binh offers a unique blend of natural wonders and rich cultural heritage. It stands as an irresistible destination for those eager to explore the less trodden paths of Vietnam's diverse landscape.

1. Exploring Ninh Binh

Things to do in Ninh Binh Exploring

Ninh Binh, a captivating region just a few hours south of Hanoi, is a mosaic of nature, history, and culture. Known for its breathtaking landscapes and rich history, here’s a guide to making the most of your visit.

1.1. Explore by Boat

Tam Coc Bich Dong: Often referred to as the "Halong Bay on land," Tam Coc offers an enchanting boat ride through serene waterways, flanked by lush rice paddies and punctuated by towering limestone karsts. The journey includes passing through natural caves that form dramatic tunnels under the mountains.

Trang An Grottoes: This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-visit for nature and adventure enthusiasts. The area is comprised of a spectacular network of waterways cutting through impressive limestone mountains and caves, which you can explore by boat. Each turn presents a new tableau of natural wonder, making it an unforgettable experience.

1.2. Embrace History

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital: Delve into the rich history of Vietnam by visiting Hoa Lu, the ancient capital. The site features remnants of a once-thriving citadel and offers insight into the 10th-century dynastic rule. This historical sanctuary showcases temple complexes dedicated to Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang and Emperor Le Dai Hanh.

Bai Dinh Pagoda: As one of Southeast Asia's largest Buddhist complexes, Bai Dinh Pagoda is renowned for its majestic architecture and religious significance. The complex includes several temples, over 500 intricately carved Buddha statues, and the largest bronze Buddha statue in Vietnam. The area's spiritual ambiance is complemented by panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

1.3. Delve into Nature

Cuc Phuong National Park: As Vietnam’s first national park, Cuc Phuong is a haven for biodiversity. Visitors can hike through the lush, verdant rainforest to spot rare wildlife and admire ancient trees. The park is also home to the Endangered Primate Rescue Center, where you can learn about conservation efforts.

Van Long Lagoon: Often overlooked, Van Long Lagoon offers a peaceful retreat into nature with its calm waters and spectacular natural scenery, sometimes called the "Inland Ha Long Bay." A quiet boat ride here allows for viewing of wildlife, including the elusive Delacour's langur.

Mua Caves: For those looking to stretch their legs, a climb to the top of Mua Caves offers breathtaking panoramic views of Ninh Binh’s landscape. The ascent, marked by a stone staircase alongside the Lying Dragon Mountain, rewards hikers with one of the best vistas in Vietnam.

1.4. Other Activities

Rent a bicycle: One of the best ways to experience the charm of Ninh Binh is on two wheels. Cycle through the countryside to explore local villages, hidden temples, and verdant fields at your own pace.

Visit the Thung Nham Bird Sanctuary: This sanctuary is a paradise for bird watchers, offering a chance to see numerous species of birds in their natural habitat, especially during the migratory seasons.

Relax in a homestay: To truly immerse yourself in local culture, stay in a homestay. This experience allows you to connect with local families, enjoy authentic Vietnamese cuisine, and learn about the daily lives of the residents.

2. Culinary Delights

Things to do in Ninh Binh Culinary Delights

Ninh Binh, a mesmerizing landscape in Vietnam, not only captivates visitors with its dramatic natural beauty but also offers a unique culinary journey shaped by its lush rice paddy fields and the life-giving rivers that weave through the region. The local cuisine reflects the simplicity and freshness of ingredients that are farmed and fished locally, delivering flavors that are both subtle and richly satisfying.

Must-Try Dishes

As you explore Ninh Binh, there are several local dishes that you simply must try to truly experience the essence of this region’s culinary culture:

Cơm Cháy (Stir-fried rice): Cơm Cháy is a signature dish of Ninh Binh and a delightful treat for the adventurous eater. The rice are stir-fried with local herbs and spices. This dish captures the boldness of Vietnamese cuisine, offering a crunchy texture, a common delicacy in the area.

Cá Kho Ninh Bình (Caramelized fish): This dish is a testament to the Vietnamese technique of caramelizing, which imbues the fish with a rich, sweet, and savory flavor. The fish, typically caught from the local rivers, is slowly cooked in a clay pot with a mixture of caramel sauce, fish sauce, garlic, and chili. The result is a tender, flavorful dish that melts in the mouth, perfectly accompanied by steamed rice.

Gỏi Nhệch (Spring rolls with local greens): Another must-try are the Gỏi Nhệch, which are unique spring rolls made with pounded eel and mixed with fresh local herbs. Wrapped in rice paper along with other greens and served with a dipping sauce that typically includes a fish sauce base, lime, and chili, these spring rolls offer a refreshing crunch and an explosion of flavors.

Each of these dishes provides a window into the soul of Ninh Binh, showcasing how the local cuisine has evolved to not only use the natural bounty of the land but also to create flavors that are deeply rooted in the traditional ways of life. Dining in Ninh Binh allows visitors to not only taste but also appreciate the culinary artistry that has been passed down through generations.

3. Tips for Travelers

Things to do in Ninh Binh Travel Tips

When planning a trip to Ninh Binh, a picturesque region in northern Vietnam known for its breathtaking landscapes and rich history, it's essential to consider a few practical tips to make your visit enjoyable and hassle-free.

3.1. Best Time to Visit

The best time to explore Ninh Binh is during the spring (February to April) and fall (September to November). These seasons offer mild temperatures and minimal rainfall, making it ideal for outdoor activities like boating, hiking, and cycling through the lush countryside. The scenery during these months is particularly stunning, with vibrant rice paddies and clear, sunny skies enhancing the natural beauty of the area.

3.2. Getting Around

  • Renting a Motorbike: Highly recommended for those who want to explore at their own pace. Renting a motorbike offers the flexibility to navigate rural roads and visit remote attractions independently. Motorbikes are available for rent at numerous outlets in the area at reasonable rates.

  • Hiring a Taxi: Ideal for larger groups or those who prefer not to drive. Hiring a taxi for the day is a convenient and cost-effective option. Taxis can be easily arranged through your accommodation or local taxi companies.

  • Book a Tour with Asia Mystika: For those interested in a guided experience, booking a tour with Asia Mystika can enhance your visit. Enjoy expert insights and convenient travel arrangements to make the most of your trip.

3.3. What to Pack

Packing the right items is crucial for a comfortable experience in Ninh Binh. Regardless of the season, comfortable walking shoes are a must, as exploring the stunning landscapes often involves a fair amount of walking or hiking. During the summer months, light clothing is advisable to stay cool under the hot sun, while a jacket is essential during the winter months when the weather can be quite chilly, especially in the mornings and evenings. Additionally, don't forget to bring essentials such as sunscreen, a hat, and a reliable insect repellent to protect against the sun and bugs.

4. Ninh Binh: A Journey of Wonder and Culture

Things to do in Ninh Binh A Journey of Wonder and Culture

Ninh Binh, a gem nestled in the heart of Vietnam, serves as a portal to the quintessence of natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. This destination offers a mosaic of experiences that will satisfy any adventurer. The region's landscapes are a visual feast, characterized by emerald green paddy fields and majestic limestone cliffs that rise dramatically from the earth. The tranquility of these scenes is juxtaposed with the vibrant life of the rivers and lakes, where traditional boats glide silently under vast, open skies.

Beyond its natural allure, Ninh Binh is steeped in history, offering a glimpse into the storied past of Vietnam through its well-preserved temples and ancient ruins. Each site offers a unique narrative about the dynasties that once ruled and the artisans who built these enduring monuments.

The culinary offerings in Ninh Binh are just as diverse as its landscapes and historical sites. Here, food is a celebration of local flavors and techniques, with dishes like goat meat seasoned with local herbs and the famous burnt rice (com chay) which are not just meals, but cultural experiences.

We invite you to step into the magic of Ninh Binh, where every corner holds a story and every meal is a piece of heritage. Whether you are a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or a culinary connoisseur, Ninh Binh promises a journey that captivates and delights. Come and explore this enchanting region; let it transform your perception of beauty and heritage, and leave you with memories that last a lifetime.

Loved exploring Ninh Binh? Continue your Vietnamese adventure and discover the country's hidden gems with our Bests of Vietnam tour. Explore the essence of Vietnam through our tailored tour packages. Each private tour is carefully designed to match your individual tastes, providing a unique and personal journey through Vietnam's secret wonders and cultural riches.



Years Experiences


Tour Packages


Happy Customers


Award Winning


For unique travel ideas and an insider's eye on all things
Southeast Asia, subscribe to our Asia Mystika e-Newsletter.

Follow Us

Cookie Consent

button cookies

We use cookies to improve your experience. You consent to the use of our cookies if you proceed. For more information, please visit Cookie Policy

Leave An Email
Customize Your Trip