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  • Writer's pictureTravel Vietnam Local Guide

Ninh Binh travel guide - Time to visit and things to do

Updated: May 11

If you're itching to explore Vietnam's stunning natural wonders, Ninh Binh is the place to be! Just 90 kilometers from Hanoi, this charming province is packed with jaw-dropping landscapes that'll blow your mind.

Best travel time to Ninh Binh

The best time to visit Ninh Binh is from April to June and September to October when the weather is just right and rainfall is low.

  • From April to June, the temperatures are mild, ranging from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. The landscapes are lush and vibrant, perfect for exploring the iconic karst mountains, caves, and rivers that make Ninh Binh famous.

  • From September to October, the weather is pleasantly cool, with temperatures ranging from 26 to 31 degrees Celsius. It's ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and boat trips. Plus, you'll get to witness the mesmerizing sight of golden rice fields during the harvest season in September.

February and March are also fantastic months to visit Ninh Binh if you're interested in local festivals. You'll experience lively celebrations that highlight the traditions and spiritual beliefs of the community.

Best things to do in Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh is packed with captivating attractions waiting to be explored. Check out our top 10 must-visit places in the region:

01 Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong National Park NinhBinh
Cuc Phuong National Park Ninh Binh (Source: Internet)

As Vietnam's inaugural national park, it's a treasure trove of diverse flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species that'll thrill nature lovers.

One of its star attractions is the butterfly season, from April to June, when thousands of colorful butterflies take flight. If you're lucky enough to visit during this time, guided tours offer a chance to witness this mesmerizing spectacle and delve into the park's ecology.

Beyond butterflies, there's plenty to explore: hiking trails wind through the park, the Endangered Primate Rescue Center beckons, and ancient caves and limestone formations beg to be discovered.

02 Trang An - must-visit in Ninh Binh

Trang An Ninh Binh
Trang An Ninh Binh (Source: Internet)

Trang An is a hotspot in Ninh Binh, famed for its breathtaking karst formations featuring limestone mountains, caves, and rivers. Its unparalleled beauty has earned it UNESCO World Heritage status and even starred in the movie Kong: Skull Island.

Discovering Trang An is a treat – hop on a boat tour along its meandering riverways, gliding through caves to soak in the mesmerizing natural wonders. Or, opt for a hike up one of the mountains for sweeping panoramic vistas. The hiking trail is well-kept and beginner-friendly, welcoming visitors of all levels.

03 Mua Caves Ninh Binh

Mua Caves Ninh Binh
Mua Caves Ninh Binh (Source: Internet)

Mua Caves, or Hang Mua, is a standout gem among Vietnam's cave wonders, offering awe-inspiring vistas from atop Mua Mountain. Legend has it that Emperor Tran Thai Tong enjoyed dance performances here, hence the name "Hang Mua," meaning "dancing cave."

To conquer Mua Mountain's summit, brace yourself for a steep ascent of roughly 500 steps. But fear not – the climb is handsomely rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of majestic mountains and sprawling rice fields. The caves themselves boast intricate carvings and ancient shrines, enhancing the allure and historical significance of this must-see attraction.

04 Tam Coc - Bich Dong Ninh Binh

Tam Coc - Bich Dong Ninh Binh
Tam Coc - Bich Dong Ninh Binh (Source: Internet)

Tam Coc is famed for its scenic limestone karsts emerging from golden rice fields and the serene Ngo Dong River meandering through the landscape. As rice paddies turn to a golden hue during the season, the area earns its moniker "Ha Long Bay on land."

Named for its trio of caverns, "Tam Coc" translates to "three caves" in Vietnamese. A boat excursion glides you through these natural wonders, with the caves flanking the riverbanks. Lush greenery and rural hamlets dot the backdrop, offering a picturesque journey.

Adding to Tam Coc's allure is the remarkable Bich Dong Pagoda. Nestled into a mountainside, it comprises three tiers, surrounded by verdant foliage and a tranquil pond. Dating back to the 15th century, this sacred site provides a serene setting for contemplation and spiritual reverence, steeped in rich cultural and historical significance.

05 Bai Dinh Pagoda Ninh Binh

Bai Dinh Pagoda Ninh Binh
Bai Dinh Pagoda Ninh Binh (Source: Internet)

Encompassing 539 hectares, Bai Dinh Pagoda stands as one of Southeast Asia's grandest temple complexes. Spanning from 2003 to 2010, its construction melds ancient and contemporary architectural styles, blending the old Bai Dinh Pagoda with newer additions.

Visitors are greeted by a tranquil ambiance amidst breathtaking natural surroundings. The complex's centerpiece is an awe-inspiring bronze Buddha statue, soaring 10 meters high and weighing a colossal 100 tons. This monumental figure holds the distinction of being Vietnam's largest bronze Buddha, drawing throngs of visitors from near and far.

Among the complex's many highlights are the 500 Arhat statues, each bearing a unique expression, adding to the allure of this revered site.

06 Hoa Lu - an Ancient Capital in Ninh Binh

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital Ninh Binh
Hoa Lu Ancient Capital Ninh Binh (Source: Internet)

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is a must-visit destination in Ninh Binh, offering a blend of historical intrigue and natural splendor. History buffs and nature lovers alike will find delight in exploring this ancient site.

Discover the rich heritage of the former capital through its exhibits and artifacts, delving into the cultural tapestry of feudal Vietnamese dynasties. Meanwhile, immerse yourself in the captivating scenery of limestone peaks and lush rice paddies that envelop the capital, adding to its allure and timeless charm.

07 Van Long Lagoon Ninh Binh

Van Long Lagoon Ninh Binh
Van Long Lagoon Ninh Binh (Source: Internet)

Van Long Lagoon, nestled in Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh, is a haven of tranquility and natural beauty. Stretching across 3,500 hectares, it stands as Northern Vietnam's largest wetland reserve.

Hop on a boat and glide along the serene waters, soaking in the mesmerizing vistas of limestone peaks and verdant rice paddies that adorn the landscape. As you navigate through the lagoon, keep an eye out for its diverse wildlife, including rare and endangered species like the Bonelli eagle, langur monkey, and black-faced spoonbill, adding to the allure for nature enthusiasts.

08 Thung Nham Bird Garden Ninh Binh

Thung Nham Bird Garden Ninh Binh
Thung Nham Bird Garden Ninh Binh (Source: Internet)

Thung Nham Bird Garden, a beloved spot in Ninh Binh, beckons to bird watchers and nature lovers alike. Encompassing around 334 hectares of limestone formations, caves, and wetlands, it offers a haven for a myriad of bird species.

Embark on a leisurely boat ride through the wetlands to catch sight of the diverse avian population, including storks, herons, mallards, fork-tails, flamingos, and more. Beyond bird watching, visitors can also partake in a range of activities such as hiking, cave exploration, and indulging in local cuisine, making it a delightful outing for all.

09 Phat Diem Stone Church Ninh Binh

Phat Diem Stone Church Ninh Binh
Phat Diem Stone Church Ninh Binh (Source: Internet)

Phat Diem Stone Church stands as a captivating gem in Ninh Binh's landscape. Crafted entirely from stone, it seamlessly fuses Vietnamese and European architectural styles. With its impressive bell tower, grand cathedral, and ornate chapels and statues, it's a testament to both craftsmanship and cultural harmony.

10 Am Tien Cave Ninh Binh

Am Tien Cave Ninh Binh
Am Tien Cave Ninh Binh (Source: Internet)

Prepare to be enchanted as you enter the cave, greeted by the pristine beauty of Ao Giai Lake. Its crystal-clear waters mirror the surrounding mountains, casting a spellbinding reflection. And that's just the beginning. Venture deeper into the cave to discover a mesmerizing world of stalactites and stalagmites, sculpted over millennia, each a testament to nature's artistry.

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