Temple surrounded by mountains inTam Coc, Vietnam

Best things to do in Ninh Binh

Last updated on May 7th, 2021

Ninh Binh Province is one of the most beautiful places of Vietnam, prepare to be transported into a magical universe… I guarantee it will leave you speechless. Keep reading to discover the best things to do in Ninh Binh.

Only two hours away from busy Hanoi, Ninh Binh province is a heaven on earth. Imagine lush forests, green rice paddies, rivers everywhere, and amazing kart rock formations. Called the terrestrial Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh Province will keep you busy for a couple of days.

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Things to do in Ninh Binh and what not to miss:

1- Take a boat ride

Ninh Binh
Villagers working

The boat ride is just amazing, you feel like you’ve just entered some fairyland in a parallel universe. The only signs of civilization you’ll see are temples (and the King Kong movie set) apart from this it’s only nature. Depending on the water level you’ll go through many caves, admire the huge rock formations and maybe see a fisherman or two.

You can hire a boat pretty much everywhere on the river, just ask at your guesthouse. Make sure to watch how the women use their feet for rowing the boat, it’s quite impressive!

King Kong Set - Ninh Binh
King Kong Set – Ninh Binh

2 – Visit the ancient capital of Hao Lu

Offerings to Buddha in Hao Lu

Hao Lu was Vietnam’s capital from 968 until 1009 when it was moved to Hanoi. Of the ancient capital only two temples, rebuilt in the 17th century, are left standing today: Dinh Tien Hoang Temple and Le Dai Hanh Temple. The surroundings are pretty nice, the view amazing and the temples well preserved. Definitively worth a visit.

Read more about Hao Lu’s History.

3 – Go to Bai Dinh Pagoda

Things to do in Ninh Binh, Vietnam
View from the top

This brand new pagoda (2010) is quite impressive, probably one of the biggest pagodas in Vietnam. Visiting it is one of the best things to in Ninh Binh. Built on three levels, you’ll have to climb many steps to reach the top, the view from up there is breathtaking, go in the early morning for a misty vibe. Inside the temples look for the huge statues and the thousands of small Buddha.

4 – Discover Phat Diem Cathedral

Phat Diem Cathedral

30 km east of Ninh Binh City, this huge cathedral is worth a stop if you have time. Built in 1891, the architecture is a mix of Catholic churches and Vietnamese pagodas, the outside as well as the inside is quite surprising and intriguing.

5 – Take a walk around

Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh

The best way to enjoy the natural wonders of Ninh Binh is simply to take a walk around, exit the main roads, take the smaller paths and you’ll see all the region has to offer. You’ll also pass through some local villages and witness the daily life of its inhabitants.

Where to stay in Ninh Binh:

There are many options to choose from, Ninh Binh city offers many budget option, but the city in itself has nothing to offer. Most people stay in Tam Coc village, but it gets a bit crowded… I would advise staying in one of the many guesthouses near Tam Coc but more isolated, with view on rice fields, the river, and the rock formations.

Ninh binh

If you’re in Northern Vietnam, don’t forget to check out the Ha Giang Loop, one of the most amazing experiences you can live in Vietnam.

If you don’t have much time, check out some of the tours you can take from Hanoi:

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Tam coc Travel guide

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