Hidden gems of Ninh Binh – a full guideline for foreign backpackers
Binh Ninh – as known as the hidden gem of Vietnam – is famous for its majestic landscapes and jaw-dropping sceneries, containing hundreds of limestone cliffs emerging from the ground across rice fields. As a place which is still not yet commercially exploited, maybe you need a very first guideline of every details to get to this wonderful place. If there’s a yes in your head, then check out our tips for traveling Ninh Binh below:
I have to say this, almost any time of the year is suitable time to visit Ninh Binh. Having a mild temperature between 15oC – 25oC in the spring-winter and 25oC – 33oC in the hot summer, Ninh Binh is not too cold or hot throughout the year. Like in other northern Vietnam provinces, May to Oct in Ninh Binh is hot, humid, and high rainfall. From Nov to Apr maybe a little cooler and dry. However, if you get there in the rainy season, it’s also the best vivid green time of rice fields, taking a picture of this figure scenery seems not to be a bad choice, right?
The urban city of Ninh Binh itself has nothing for you to do, actually. All the gemstones are in the rural side of this destination. When it comes to Ninh Binh, I can speak out 4 most visited places, include:
All of these places are awesome with photogenic views. I think going with couples of friends or going in groups are best so you can take photos for each other.
If you are in Hanoi and want to arrive Ninh Binh, train is a good choice for you. There’re 3 southbound trains available. Personally i prefer travel by bus, as it’s more convenient. You can easily buy a bus ticket to Ninh Binh with the price range from 130 000 VND (~$5,6). However maybe it’ll be a little uncomfortable if you buy at the cheapest price, so remember to pay a little more to have a more pleasant journey.
Both train and bus take 2 hour to drive, and you can book the trip with any travel agent you believe!
If you’re in the south Vietnam, bus and train are both available. The trains departing from Hue to Hanoi stops at Ninh Binh, so it shouldn’t be so hard to get on one. Besides, there’re direct buses to Ninh Binh from Cat Ba or Ha Long Bay. In case you want to travel by bus, make sure you know exactly where’s the bus stop is as there’re many different bus agents, and don’t get on the wrong bus!
Whether you’re still wondering Ninh Binh has what, i must say Ninh Binh has lots of things for you to go crazy with. Next I will go through some typical destinations of Ninh Binh for your reference
Trang An boat ride
Yes, I most like this activity over all the things. You will hop on a rowing boat and a lady rower like this takes you about 2 hours going through caves, lakes, and temples. A rower usually waits for 4 positions until begin the journey.
During the whole trip, the scenery is mesmerizing. In Trang An also have fewer visitors experiencing boat ride than Tam Coc, so you will not wait long. The price for each person is VND 200 000. Having no duty to pay more for the rower but you can bonus them a tip because tourism is a major source of income for the area, especially ferryman.
Ninh Binh has a lot of pagodas and temples for worshipers. Perhaps the most dramatic and photogenic is Hang Mua temple. Lying on top of hills, this destination is both a challenge and a delight for your journey. The view from high place over scenery is awesome. If you’re looking for something less challenging but still beautiful, i recommend the Bai Dinh pagoda. This recently rebuilt Buddhist pagoda is huge and attracts lots of visitors every time through the year. Although the fact that it’s heavily destroyed by time and war, Hoa Lu ancient capital is also a worthy place to visit.
Tucked away of the mountains, this natural park is where most of the bird in the region make their nest. The park has several caves and hiking trails which is perfect for taking a fresh air and go on a relaxing walk.
Cuc Phuong is well-known as a rare well-preserved natural park. It’s a great place for hiking, biking or observing rare kinds of birds and wide range of wild animals. The national park sits 45km away from Ninh Binh city and there is a mandatory 20000 VND fee for a guide agent.
I lay below entrance fee of these destinations for you (as per 2018):
Electrical car: 30.000 VND/person for 1 way ticket
Visiting Bao Thap: 50.000 VND/person