Are you in Vietnam and would like to explore one of its best kept treasures? If so, Ninh Binh is the perfect place for you. This beautiful province located south of Hanoi is known as Halong Bay on land, thanks to its spectacular scenery of mountains, rivers and rice paddies. If you’re looking for an authentic Vietnam adventure, read on to find out what to do and see in Ninh Binh!
Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh’s natural beauty is breathtaking, from limestone mountains to rice paddies to meandering rivers. Here are some of the most impressive natural attractions in the region:
Tam Coc and the Ngo Dong River
Tam Coc is one of the main tourist destinations in Ninh Binh. Known as “Halong Bay on land”, it is a cave system that runs through the limestone mountains. You can take a boat tour on the Ngo Dong River, which will take you through three different caves. You will enjoy a breathtaking view of the rice paddies that line the river, as well as learn about the history of the region.
Cuc Phuong National Park
Cuc Phuong National Park is one of the oldest parks in Vietnam. Here you can find a wide variety of flora and fauna, including monkeys, bears and snakes. You can also visit the primate rescue center, where you can see rescued monkeys and gibbons.
The rice fields of Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh’s rice paddies are some of the most beautiful in all of Vietnam. You will be able to enjoy its natural beauty while you walk the trails that cross them. You will also be able to participate in the rice harvest, an authentic experience that will allow you to get up close to the rural life of the region.
Discover the rich history and culture of Ninh Binh
In addition to its stunning natural beauty, Ninh Binh also has a rich history and culture. These are some of the places you must visit to learn about the history and culture of the region:
Bai Dinh Pagoda
Bai Dinh Pagoda is one of the largest pagodas in Vietnam. It is located on a hill and offers an impressive view of the region. The pagoda is made up of several sections, including the old pagoda and the new pagoda. In the new pagoda, you can find the largest bronze Buddha statue in Vietnam.
Hoa Lu Citadel
Hoa Lu Citadel was the capital of Vietnam during the Dinh and Le dynasty, more than 1000 years ago. Despite the fact that only ruins remain, it is an important historical site that will allow you to learn about the history of the region.
Hang Mua’s cave
Hang Mua Cave is a must if you want to enjoy a spectacular view of the region. It is located on a limestone mountain, and you will have to climb more than 500 steps to reach the top. Once there, you will be able to enjoy an impressive view of the rice fields, mountains and rivers of the region.
Enjoy the local food of Ninh Binh
You cannot visit Ninh Binh without trying its delicious local food. This region is known for its meat and rice dishes, as well as its deep-fried spring rolls. Here we present some of the most popular dishes in the region:
Com chay is a fried rice dish served with tofu and vegetables. It is a vegetarian dish that is very popular in Ninh Binh.
Bun cha is a meat dish served with rice noodles and vegetables. The meat is cooked on a grill and served with a sweet and spicy sauce.
Nem ran are deep-fried spring rolls filled with meat and vegetables. They are a crunchy delight served with a sweet and spicy sauce.
Discover the rural life of Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh is a rural region, where life revolves around agriculture and fishing. If you want to experience the rural life of Vietnam, do not miss these activities:
Bike ride through the rice paddies
A bike ride through the rice paddies is one of the best ways to experience rural life in Ninh Binh. You will be able to walk the trails that cross the rice paddies and meet the local farmers.
Vietnamese Cooking Classes
If you want to learn how to cook authentic Vietnamese dishes, don’t miss the cooking classes offered in Ninh Binh. You’ll get to learn how to cook dishes like pho and bun cha, then enjoy them for lunch.
Tours and activities in Ninh Binh
Uncover the wonders of Ninh Binh with an extensive selection of tours and activities. Explore the breathtaking natural beauty of Tam Coc, venture into its fascinating caves, and pay a visit to ancient temples. Immerse yourself in the rich history and vibrant culture of this region as you embark on unique adventures in Ninh Binh.
Is it safe to travel to Vietnam?
If you’re considering traveling to Vietnam, it’s important to be aware of certain risks to ensure your safety. Although Vietnam is generally a safe country, theft is common in big cities, public transportation, crowded markets, and tourist areas.
It’s recommended to ask for the price before buying anything and negotiate if necessary since it’s common to be charged higher prices for taxis, souvenirs, products, or services, especially in the more touristy areas of Vietnam, if you’re a foreigner.
In addition, some areas of Vietnam, especially in the central region and near the border with Laos, have landmines that can pose a danger to travelers. If you plan to visit these places, it’s important to inform yourself in advance about the mined areas and follow the recommendations of local authorities.
Safety for Women
I spent a year and a half traveling in Vietnam and never encountered any truly unpleasant situations. It’s common for men to want to take pictures with you or even blatantly put their phone in front of your face and record videos.
That being said, Vietnam is not free from sexual assaults, verbal harassment, or unwanted groping. I recommend that you:
- Be cautious at night, especially if you plan to drink at a bar (which is not advisable).
- Use Grab to move around safely at night and always avoid taxis and motorbikes you find on the street.
- If you become a victim of sexual assault, seek immediate medical assistance, contact the local police, your embassy, and make sure to file a report.