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Top 8 Things To Do in Ninh Binh

Not only does the ancient capital of Hoa Lu and the stunning landscape of Tam Coc-Bich Dong capture your heart, but Ninh Binh also has many other attractive things of interest. Join Deluxe Group Tours to explore the must-do things to do in Ninh Binh for the most complete experience.

1.Visit Trang An Eco-tourism Site

7 kilometers from the city center of Ninh Binh, the Trang An Ecotourism Site is a significant national monument and one of the must-visit things to do in Ninh Binh. Coming here, you are sure to be amazed by the system of caves, limestone mountains, and the vibrant and diverse ecosystem, alongside historical relics closely associated with the resilient capital of the ancient Dai Co Viet state.

Owning a system of 31 lakes and ponds connected to 48 caves, this tourist site is likened to a watercolor painting depicting an impressive natural landscape that has existed for hundreds of years. In addition, the caves here also attract a lot of attention, especially from archaeologists, with a diverse system of stalactites in various shapes, such as the Sang Cave (Bright Cave), Toi Cave (Dark Cave), Com Cave, Dia Cave, Ba Giot Cave, Nau Ruou Cave, and Boi Cave.

Top 8 Things To Do in Ninh Binh

Besides the cave system combined with lakes, swamps, and mountain ranges that have existed for hundreds of millions of years, the Trang An ecological tourist area also possesses culturally significant landmarks such as the Trinh Temple, Tran Temple, Tu Tru Temple (Four Pillars Temple), Vu Lam Palace, Phu Khong, Suoi Tien Temple, and Cao Son Temple.

You can join the Trang An festival, a day set aside by the locals to celebrate the spirits of Cao Son and Quy Minh, along with several entertaining folk activities, if you visit Trang An on March 17–19, the lunar month.

  • Address: No. 33, Le Dai Hanh street, Thanh Binh ward, Ninh Binh city.
  • Opening hours: 06:00 – 16:45 (summer days) and 07:00 – 16:00 (winter days)
  • Ticket price: 250.000 VND/ adult, 120.000 VND/ child

2.Explore Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

The historical relic associated with the Dai Co Viet state for over 1000 years, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, displays a serene beauty shaped by the vicissitudes of time. Surrounded by a mountains and lakes system, the ancient capital possesses a tranquil and distinctive landscape that has endured various ups and downs, which is worth on the list of top 8 things to do in Ninh Binh.

The architectural ensemble of the Ancient Capital Hoa Lu possesses a series of large-scale structures, including walls, tombs, temples, imperial citadels, and caves, alongside other historically and culturally significant constructions. Surrounding the ancient capital is a system of limestone mountains that enhances its majestic and imposing appearance.

With over 1000 years of ups and downs, this ancient capital still preserves important historical relics from the Dinh-Le period. When visiting the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, you will experience historical events at the temples of the Dinh King, Le Dai Hanh King, Am Pagoda, the tombs of Dinh-Le, and other important historical and cultural sites, such as Bai Dinh Pagoda, Hoa Lu Cave, East Gate, and South Gate.

  • Address: Truong Yen commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province
  • Opening hours: 07:00-17:00
  • Ticket price: 20.000 VND/ person

3.Admire Tam Coc-Bich Dong

The Tam Coc-Bich Dong tourist area is an equally renowned stop, featuring a system of limestone caves and historical relics from the Tran dynasty. As part of the Trang An scenic landscape complex, Tam Coc Bich Dong boasts a network of 20 tourist spots with vibrant natural scenery, in addition to mysterious cave systems and ancient mountain ranges.

Tam Coc means “Three Caves” in English, which is a system of three caves named Ca Cave, Hai Cave, and Ba Cave. These caves are formed by the Ngo Dong River penetrating through the mountains. Ca Cave is 127 meters long with an entrance over 20 meters wide, piercing through a large mountain. When exploring it, you will feel the chilly atmosphere and witness numerous stalactites in various shapes and sizes. About 1 kilometer from Ca Cave is Hai Cave, which is 60 meters long and features unique limestone formations. Ba Cave, with a length of 50 meters, is located near Hai Cave and has a lower height compared to the other two caves, resembling a giant stone arch.

Bich Dong, acclaimed as the “Second most beautiful cave in the Southern Sky,” is located 2 km away from Tam Coc. The name Bich Dong means “green cave” and comprises a dry cave situated on the back of a mountain, housing the Bich Dong Pagoda, and a water cave penetrating through the heart of the mountain, known as Xuyen Thuy Cave.

If you come here in the early days of the new year, you will have the chance to contemplate the scenery of the pagoda, take a boat tour, and immerse yourself in the lively festival atmosphere. Additionally, in the last days of the lunar May and the beginning of June, it is the time when the local rice fields start turning golden. During these days, the golden hue of the rice blends with the green colors of the sky, trees, grass, and ponds, creating an incredibly romantic and poetic natural picture.

  • Address: Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province
  • Opening hours: 07:30-17:00
  • Ticket price: 250.000 VND/ adult, 120.000 VND/ child and senior citizen

4.Discover Mua Cave

Mua Cave is one of the must-visit attractions in Ninh Binh, captivating with its pristine, picturesque scenery and a touch of mystery. When you come here, you will witness the majestic mountains and impressive gray stone formations up close. At the foot of the mountain are clear lakes, creating a serene atmosphere that captivates every visitor. Especially from the summit, the impressive view encompasses the entire beauty of Tam Coc, from vast golden rice fields to the meandering river, making Mua Cave even more enchanting. The challenging journey to conquer the 500 stone steps, with the reward being a breathtaking natural painting at the mountain’s peak, adds to the allure of Hang Múa, distinguishing it among Ninh Binh’s renowned landmarks.

  • Address: Khe Dau Ha Village, Ninh Xuan Commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province
  • Opening hours: 07:00-17:00
  • Ticket price: 100.000 VND/ person

5.Visit Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda is located on Bai Dinh Mountain, covering a vast area of 539 hectares, including 80 hectares for the temple. The Bai Dinh Pagoda is divided into two sections: the new temple area and the ancient temple area. This is a spiritual complex with grand and unique architecture in Vietnam. The main hall is impressively designed with three floors and twelve curved roofs shaped like a double-edged sword, topped with traditional tiled roofs. The temple is adorned with a decorative stone dragon terrace from the Ly dynasty era and a spacious stone courtyard that overlooks the Ngoc Well.

When visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda, you will admire many historical and spiritual landmarks with numerous fascinating legends. You also have the opportunity to visit the Sang Cave, where gods and Buddhas are worshiped, and the Toi Cave, where statues of mother goddesses and fairy beings are deeply situated within the cave, surrounded by enchanting layers of stalactites.

In addition, you will also have the opportunity to visit Ngoc Well, the largest temple well in Vietnam, with water as green as jade and the largest bronze bell in Vietnam. There is also the longest corridor of Arhats in Vietnam and many breathtaking scenes that you shouldn’t miss.

Especially if you visit the pagoda on the 6th day of the lunar New Year, you will have the opportunity to witness the most remarkable festival, the Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival.

  • Address: The west of Hoa Lu ancient capital relic site belongs to Gia Sinh commune, Gia Vien district, Ninh Binh province.
  • Opening hours: 06:00-21:00
  • Ticket price: 50.000 VND/ person

6.Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong National Park is famous for its unique landscape and diverse ecosystem. This is a must-visit thing to do in Ninh Binh for those who love to explore nature.

Visiting Cuc Phuong National Park is a captivating journey of natural exploration. Conquering May Bac Peak provides a panoramic view of the Cuc Phuong forest, the distant Bai Dinh Pagoda, and the ancient capital of Hoa Lu. Admire the enchanting Yen Quang Lake, with its sparkling blue water and gently rolling waves creating a poetic scene. Explore giant ancient trees hidden deep in the mountains, along with countless species of climbing vines, lianas, and bird nests.

Not only that, exploring Cuc Phuong National Park is also a journey deep into the culture. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural space of the highland ethnic groups with a series of engaging experiences such as weaving traditional fabrics and participating in the agricultural activities of the Muong ethnic people. Explore the traces of ancient settlements and the burial culture at the Nguoi Xua Cave.

Especially if you visit Cuc Phuong National Park in the exact days of May, you will witness a scene resembling a fairyland, with countless butterflies racing and fluttering around, showcasing their vibrant colors. Surely, this picturesque view will leave you mesmerized.

Moreover, at Cuc Phuong, you can engage in activities such as hiking, adventurous tourism, mountain climbing, etc. This allows you to indulge in your passion for physical activities while admiring the natural beauty of Vietnam. In the national forest, you can also savor the unique specialty dishes of Ninh Binh, such as mountain goat and a unique type of snail that can only be found here.

  • Address: Nho Quan District, Ninh Binh Province
  • Opening hours: 07:00-19:00
  • Ticket price: 60.000 VND/ person, 20.000 VND/ pupil, 10.000 VND/ child

7.Phat Diem Stone Cathedral

Phat Diem Stone Cathedral is one of Vietnam’s oldest and most venerable churches, with over 100 years of history. Thanks to its unique blend of Eastern and Western architecture, it is considered the most beautiful Catholic church complex.

Phat Diem is also known as the “Catholic capital” of Vietnam, constructed in the form of the letter “Vuong” with an open and expansive space. It incorporates various elements arranged logically, creating a picturesque and traditional Vietnamese architectural scene.

One of the architectural masterpieces within the Phat Diem Stone Cathedral is the Phuong Dinh, a large and nearly square three-story pavilion built from solid green stones. The topmost floor features five towers and a bell weighing 2 tons, producing sounds audible from over 10 km away. Standing here, visitors can admire the surrounding natural landscape of the Phat Diem Cathedral.

An impressive site for tourists visiting the Phat Diem Cathedral complex is the Trai Tim Duc Me Church (the Heart of the Virgin Mary Church). This church is entirely constructed from stone and adorned with beautifully carved stone reliefs, notably a relief depicting the four seasons symbolized by pine, apricot, bamboo, and chrysanthemum.

Exploring the unique and harmonious religious architecture that blends elements of Buddhism and Catholicism at Phat Diem Stone Cathedral is an appealing thing to do in Ninh Binh.

  • Address: Quarter 4, Pham Van Nghi Street, Dong Thanh Ward, Ninh Binh City.
  • Opening hours: 06:30-18:30
  • Ticket Price: free

8.Kenh Ga Hot Springs

Kenh Ga Hot Spring is a thermal bathing destination located in the province of Ninh Binh. This place boasts a large area with a naturally beautiful and sacred hot mineral water source, ranking among the top in Vietnam. This will be the perfect thing to do to unwind in Ninh Binh.

Situated about 25 kilometers northwest of the city center of Ninh Binh, the hot spring system of Kenh Ga originates deep within the Hang Ca mountain and flows into the Hoang Long River. Because it emerges from deep inside the mountain, the water has a high mineral salt content, is clear, and has no odor. The water also contains many beneficial minerals for the body, providing therapeutic effects and promoting relaxation of the mind.

In the dreamy morning hours, immerse yourself in the hot water and gaze upon the picturesque scenery of the Ninh Binh mountains. Additionally, Kenh Ga has evolved into a tourist and resort destination with various services, such as massages and ethnic herbal baths, offering relaxation and health benefits.

To reach Kenh Ga, you must take a boat ride along the Hoang Long River. This will undoubtedly be a worthwhile experience, as you’ll have moments to admire the surrounding natural landscape with trees, birds, and romantic hills like a painting.

  • Address: Gia Thinh commune, Gia Vien district, Ninh Binh province
  • Opening hours: 07:00-19:00
  • Ticket price: 15.000 VND /person for an entrance ticket price and 75.000 VND/ person for a ticket price for the hot spring swimming pool.

Ninh Binh Travel Tips

Move to Ninh Bình From Hanoi

Ninh Binh is located approximately 100km south of the capital city, Hanoi, and serves as a crucial transportation hub with nine national highways and a convenient system of expressways. If you’re traveling from Hanoi, transportation such as motorcycles, cars, or limousines is the most optimal choice.

If you go by motorbike, you will travel on the French Highway Phap Van-Cau Gie to get to Ninh Binh in about 2 hours.

But if you want to rest and enjoy the scenery, you can choose a tourist passenger car or limousine.

  • With passenger cars, you can purchase tickets at Giap Bat Bus Station, My Dinh, at various departure times. Ticket prices range from 100,000 to 150,000 VND per person.
  • As for limousines and tourist vehicles with 9 to 11 seats, you can choose the pick-up and drop-off locations at your convenience. You can easily search and make reservations with various companies, such as Duy Khang Limousine, Trang An Limousine, etc.

Best Time To Visit

To have an optimal trip to Ninh Binh, you should visit during the two most beautiful times of the year, which are spring and summer.

  • From January to March, Ninh Binh welcomes you with a cool climate, not too cold, and little rain, making it convenient for sightseeing and enjoying the scenery. This time is also ideal for spiritual tourism activities such as visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda, Trang An, and the stone church.
  • From April to June, the weather in Ninh Binh is usually cool and pleasant, not too cold nor excessively hot. Summer is the time for expansive landscapes, with lush vegetation providing an opportunity to admire the beauty of golden rice fields in Tam Coc or the diverse ecosystem of Cuc Phuong Forest. With the gentle and harmonious sunlight, you will have the chance to capture beautiful and artistic photographs.
Kris Goetghebeur

Kris Goetghebeur

With over 20 years of work experience, ranging from seasonal to full-time assignments in different sectors of the Travel, Recreation, Hostelry, and Service Industry, I have a strong background. I have been based in Saigon, Vietnam, since 1999. My educational qualifications include a degree in Management in Tourism and Recreation Studies as well as a degree in Accountancy. I am proficient in French, Dutch, English, and German. I have extensive experience in crafting tailor-made tours and incentive packages, boasting a nearly 100% satisfaction record from my customers.