When you think of the landscape in Vietnam, you’ll probably imagine vast green valleys with rivers and caves running between the towering limestone mountains. Ninh Binh is one of those places that has it all and it sure looks like something out of a movie. There are plenty of things to do in Ninh Binh that’ll take your breath away, so we’ll be giving you our must see recommendations.
How to get to 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.
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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.
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Top 4 Things To Do In Ninh Binh
1. Mua Caves Hike & Viewpoint
The Mua Caves hike and viewpoint was one of our favourite things to do in Ninh Binh. A short 15-20 minute hike up some steps will lead you to the top which is where you’ll find the stone carved dragon. Once you reach the top, you’ll have some pretty spectacular views overlooking the iconic Vietnamese landscape. You’ll also be able to see the surrounding fields and river which cuts through the limestone cliffs. It’s an awesome way to start your day while watching the morning fog roll over the vast landscape. Be sure to visit early so you can have this spot all to yourself.
For more details on the Mua Cave Hike, check out our full blog post here.
2. Bich Dong Pagoda
Bich Dong Pagoda in Tam Coc is an incredibly picturesque location due to its magical entrance. There is a bridge that stretches out over the lake full of lily pads, leading through an ancient Vietnamese gateway. The temple complex also consists of three pagodas that are located in caves and along the mountainside. The three pagodas all have beautiful traditional architecture and are great to admire. Be sure to avoid the entrance fee and parking scam when visiting Bich Dong Pagoda!
For more information on Bich Dong Pagoda and what to look out for, check out our full blog post here.
3. Tam Coc River Boat Tour
The Tam Coc River Boat Tour is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable things to do in Ninh Binh. You’ll be able to view the incredible scenery as you slowly cruise along the river. Along the way you’ll also squeeze under low caves that are just high enough for you to fit so watch your head! The locals take you out for about 1 and a half hours. They also use their feet to paddle the boat which was crazy to see. The river boat tour is a good way to enjoy the view without having to walk or hike anywhere. You can sit back and relax for the whole ride and take in the stunning views of the river and limestone mountains.
For more details on the Tam Coc river boat tour, check out our full blog post here.
4. Bai Dinh Pagoda
Bai Dinh Pagoda is the largest temple complex in Vietnam that has recently finished being built. There is a 13-story pagoda which can be seen from a mile away as it towers over the whole complex. Additionally, you’ll find hundreds of Buddha statues that fill a hallway as well as three large golden Buddhas sitting side by side. The three Buddhas are located in a giant temple building with intricate patterns and golden details. Be prepared to spend hours exploring the different features within the temple complex.
For more information on Bai Dinh Pagoda, check out our full blog post here.