Ninh Binh, located in the Red River Delta of Northern Vietnam, is an ideal base for exploring the nearby karst scenery, particularly at Tam Coc (Three Caves). At this UNESCO World Heritage Site, limestone formations tower above verdant rice paddies in what is considered one of Vietnam’s most spectacular areas.
Most travelers visit Ninh Binh Province on a day tour from Hanoi, and activity options are plentiful. Take in the gorgeous scenery of “Halong Bay on Land” from a traditional sampan boat along the meandering Hoang Long River, cycle along quiet rural roads past rice fields and through small villages, or learn more about the region’s feudal dynasties cultural heritage with visits to the temples of Hoa Lu, the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Ninh Binh is a must-see for nature lovers and photographers.
- Day trips from Hanoi can last upwards of 10 hours, depending on the option you choose.
- Don’t forget to bring plenty of water, as the area can get hot and humid.
- Be sure to have some cash with you; there are no ATMs in Tam Coc or the area.
How to Get There
The easiest way to reach Ninh Binh is by bus from the Giap Bat bus station in Hanoi. The trip takes two to three hours.
When to Get There
There’s not really a bad time to visit Ninh Binh. While the rainy season (May to October) can get hot and humid, the rainfall means the rice fields are at their greenest and most photogenic. Visitors in the dry season (November to April) enjoy cooler, drier weather.
Other Points of Interest in Ninh Binh
While many Ninh Binh visitors head directly to Tam Coc, the region boasts many other worthy sights. An easy bike ride outside of town, the Trang An Grottoes are a series of caves similar to those at Tam Coc but less touristed. Bird-watchers should set aside time for a visit to Thung Nham Bird Garden, where the trees teem with nesting birds during the early morning and late afternoon. Adventure travelers will find plentiful hiking and biking opportunities within Cuc Phuong National Park, a rain forest area with a botanical garden and primate rescue center.