Bai Dinh Pagoda Ninh Binh is a fairly new temple complex that is now the largest one in Vietnam. This complex is so big, you can easily spend all day walking around and admiring the different structures. The tallest structure in the complex can be spotted from miles away! At Bai Dinh Pagoda, you can expect to find beautiful temples, pagodas and golden buddhas. The grounds are so large that you’ll have to take a golf cart transfer to and from the entrance.
How to get to Bai Dinh Pagoda Ninh Binh
We decided to drive ourselves on our scooter from our accommodation in Tam Coc which took us roughly 30-40 minutes. You can rent a scooter for around 100,000 VND ($6 AUD) per day. The roads are paved and easy to follow, although traffic in Vietnam can sometimes get crazy. If you’re not a confident driver, another way to reach Bai Dinh Pagoda is to take a taxi or go with a tour.
When you arrive to the complex, it covers a massive area so finding the entrance can be a little tricky. We’ve heard of many people who drive themselves having troubles finding the parking area. The parking area and entrance into Bai Dinh Pagoda is actually nowhere near the complex. Your GPS will tell you to turn left at the complex, leading you along the outskirts of Bai Dinh Pagoda. 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. We have pinned the parking area on the map below. Parking for you scooter also costs 15,000 VND.
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. Whether you’re looking to get to Ninh Binh or travel to your next spot in Vietnam, we definitely recommend using 12Go.
↠ Book: Latest 12Go prices and timetables.
Bai Dinh Pagoda Opening Hours
Bai Dinh Pagoda Ninh Binh is open daily from 7am – 6pm. Be mindful that this place can get quite busy. It’s best to go late in the afternoon or early in the morning. We went late in the afternoon just before closing and found it to be quieter and the weather wasn’t too hot. You’ll be doing a lot of walking here!
Bai Dinh Pagoda Entrance Fee
Entrance into Bai Dinh Pagoda Ninh Binh is free, however you’ll have to pay for a golf cart transfer since the complex is actually very far from the parking area. It costs 30,000 VND ($1.80 AUD) per person for a one way ticket. The golf cart will drop you off at the very bottom of the complex and you’ll slowly work your way up to the top, stopping at the different temples along the way. We usually prefer not to pay for these types of things but the walk is roughly 4km and in the heat it’s definitely not worth the hassle!
What to Expect
Bai Dinh Pagoda is incredibly large and you’re sure to spend many hours walking around the giant complex! We got lost many times trying to navigate the grounds and trying to find the exit. The way it works is that you start at the bottom of the complex and eventually work your way up to the top. As you make your way to the top, you’ll walk past many different beautiful temples which you can stop and explore. You’ll walk up the right side of the complex and then into the middle before you start walking down on the left side. This complex is filled with stairs and many hills so be sure to bring some water!
What you’ll find
The first thing you’ll come across is a hallway which has hundreds of Buddha statues and golden decorations. The hallway is certainly beautiful and very unique. After walking up plenty of stairs and passing different temples, you’ll soon reach the pagoda. You won’t miss it as it towers over the complex. If you want to check out the pagoda from the 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 giant silver Buddha statue. Every stop in this complex is unique in its own way and we recommend visiting them all if you have time.
Continue walking 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 although it’s one you’ll remember! You’ll most likely be spending hours exploring the different features within the temple complex which makes for a great day out.
Where to stay
There 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 and we really enjoyed the laid back vibe.
Ninh Binh Hidden Charm Hotel & Resort – Luxury: This hotel is definitely the best in the area and for the affordable price, you can’t beat it! Located only a short distance from the centre of Tam Coc town, it’s the ideal choice if you’re looking for a luxury getaway for an affordable price.
Tam Coc Boutique Garden – Midrange: Tam Coc Boutique Garden is the perfect place to stay if you’re after large clean rooms and a good breakfast. This hotel is located along the rivers edge and only a 5 minute walk to the very centre of town. The owners are also super friendly and help you with anything you need.
Tam Coc River View Homestay – Budget: Everyone who stays at this super affordable homestay only has positive things to say! From it’s perfect location to friendly owner and nice breakfast, it’s everything you need for the perfect stay. This homestay is also located along the river so you can watch the local boats row by.
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