The Bai Dinh Pagoda Ninh Binh is a newly built temple complex that is now the largest one in Vietnam. Be prepared to spend most of your day exploring the different features of the complex, including temples, a massive pagoda and also golden Buddhas.
How to get to Bai Dinh Pagoda Ninh Binh
To get to Ninh Binh, we used 12Go to book a bus from Hanoi. 12Go is a super cheap and reliable way to get around Vietnam and other popular Southeast Asian countries.
↠ Book: Latest 12Go prices and timetables.
From our accommodation in Tam Coc, it took us roughly 30-40 minutes. We drove ourselves on our scooter which we rented for 100,000 VND ($6 AUD) per day. When you get to the complex, it covers a massive area so finding the entrance can be a little tricky.
The entrance into Bai Dinh Pagoda Ninh Binh is actually nowhere near the complex. Your GPS will tell you to turn left, leading you along the outskirts of the complex. Don’t turn left and continue heading straight through the village for a few more minutes until you see a large gateway to the right. If you cross the bridge, you’ve gone too far. Parking will cost you 15,000 VND.
Where to stay
The are two main areas you can stay in when visiting Ninh Binh. You can either stay in Ninh Binh Town or Tam Coc which aren’t too far from each other. We personally preferred to stay in Tam Coc. There are plenty of accommodation options as well as restaurants. We stayed at the King Kong Hostel in Tam Coc and definitely recommend it. The owner was super lovely and made us breakfast everyday! If you’re after a nicer hotel in Tam Coc, the Tam Coc Boutique Garden has gorgeous rooms surrounded by a beautiful garden.
↠ Check availability: Ninh Binh accommodation.
Bai Dinh Pagoda is open daily from 7am – 6pm.
Bai Dinh Pagoda Entrance Fee
Entrance into Bai Dinh Pagoda Ninh Binh is free, however it’s a long distance to the temple complex. You’ll have to pay for one of the yellow golf carts that take you there. It’ll cost you 30,000 VND ($1.80 AUD) per person for a one way ticket. The golf cart will drop you off at the very bottom and you’ll slowly work your way up to the top. We usually prefer not to pay for these types of things but the walk is roughly 4km and in the heat it would’ve been a challenge.
What to Expect
We got lost trying to explore everything and it took us awhile to figure out how to get to the exit. You’ll basically work your way up the right side of the complex and then into the middle before you start walking down on the left side.
The first thing you’ll come across is a hallway which has hundreds of Buddha statues and golden decorations. After walking up plenty of stairs, you’ll soon reach the pagoda that you can’t miss as it towers over the complex. To go inside and enjoy the panoramic views from the top, you’ll have to pay 50,000 VND ($3 AUD). Behind the pagoda are some more stairs that lead to a massive silver Buddha statue.
Continue walking to the left and you’ll soon come across a giant temple building which is located in the middle of the complex. This was one of our favourite attractions as there are three large golden Buddhas sitting side by side. There are also crane statues that stand beside each Buddha and the detail on them is incredible.
Once you’ve finished admiring the architecture and buildings, you can follow the road to the left of the building all the way down. This will lead you back to the bottom where the golf carts can take you back. There are plenty more things to see, however we were running low on time.
Bai Dinh Pagoda Ninh Binh is definitely not a quick trip. You’ll most likely be spending hours exploring the different features within the temple complex. If you’re looking to explore some more pagodas, be sure to check out Bich Dong Pagoda. It’s nowhere near as large but at least you wont have to walk as much!