One of the most fascinating landscapes in Vietnam, Ninh Binh is usually overlooked for more famous places. The iconic limestone pinnacles of Vietnam jut out of rice fields in this area, giving it the name “Ha Long Bay on land”. The Van Long Nature Reserve here is an absolutely pristine wetland surrounded by the famous limestone cliffs. There are also several caves to explore including the Mua Cave and Trang An. Lastly, the Cuc Phuong National Park is over 200 sq. km of lush tropical forest and one of the country’s most important protected areas. Vietnam’s rural and authentic side is more affordable and accessible at Ninh Binh.

THINGS TO DO IN NINH BINH

SIGHTSEEING

Tam Coc: Ninh Binh town, Tam Coc is one of the best nature destinations in Vietnam although it remains firmly off the tourist trail. Tam Coc is known for its karst landscape which is similar to the better known Halong Bay, although here you will find some scenic limestone hills which are dotted amongst emerald green rice paddies. Halong Bay has larger cliffs, although it is also more crowded, so Tam Coc is the place to come if you want to get off the beaten track and you can explore the area by boat which takes around two hours.

Phat Diem Cathedral: The center of Ninh Binh is Phat Diem Cathedral which sits in the middle of some scenic canals and rice paddies. This would have been the central place of worship for the commune of Phat Diem which was also called the ‘Vatican of Vietnam’ during the colonial period. The cathedral dates from 1898 and was built using a mix of Vietnamese and Western styles which include two gothic chapels and some massive iron wood columns. The scale of the cathedral and its location are extremely impressive and this is one of the top sights not to miss in Ninh Binh district.

Bich Dong Pagoda: Bich Dong Pagoda is a cluster of majestic mountain cave temples elegantly residing around the area. These ancient shrines and historic pagodas are scattered in intervals along the hillside, some dating back to as early as the 15th century. You’ll have to walk and climb to get to each monument, but the journey en route treats you to lavish views of the valley and luscious greenery.

Mua Cave: The highlight of the Mua Caves would be the panoramic view of the mountains and rice fields from the very peak of the area. It’s just a short 15-minute trek up 500 steps, so it’s definitely one of the most worthwhile activities to spend time on in the area.

Tuyet Tinh Coc: The region of Ninh Binh has its fair share of scenic spots for the keen traveller, and in recent years, it has become famous for another beautiful attraction: Tuyet Tinh Coc (also known as Am Tien Pagoda). Consisting of a gorgeous temple carved in a mountain overlooking a breathtaking emerald lake, all in the middle of a lush green valley, Tuyet Tinh Coc has become a little-known gem in Ninh Binh. To reach it, you must climb over 200 stairs up into the mountain.

Cuc Phuong National Park: Cuc Phuong National Park is one of the main national parks in Vietnam and was established in 1962. This is part of a huge swathe of protected land in Ninh Binh and was set up in order to take care of the wildlife in the region which has been in decline for many years as a result of poaching. The park now spans 222 square kilometers and is made up of tropical forest which is home to a plethora of wildlife. On a visit here you will find some 307 species of birds as well as 133 species of mammals and 122 species of reptiles.



SHOPPING:

  • Shops In Tam Cock And Trang An: Tam Coc and Trang An are two most beautiful places to visit during your trip in Ninh Binh where you can also buy nice table cloth, pillow covers.
  • Local Market: When you think of the Ninh Binh shopping experience, the one experience that will never let you down is shopping in the local markets. Flea markets are added to the bunch too. Examples of such local markets include, the Rong Market, Tam Coc and numerous others. The famous flea market of Ninh Binh is the Cho Rong market, also known as the Dragon Market. On display at the markets include authentic clothing and accessories, you will not find any counterfeits in the real Vietnamese markets. For those in for a culinary experience, there are food carts in the markets loaded with cheap, delicious local foods. Prepare yourself for an assault of flavors with each bite of these local delicacies. Flowers are sold too at these markets, with bouquets of intricate design.
  • Shopping Malls: Ninh Binh has a lot to offer when it comes to the modern day shopping malls. Examples of famous shopping centers in Ninh Binh include the Big C, Tam Hang Plaza, Da Nam Cao Cap shopping center and the Dong Thanh Plaza, just to mention a few. Inside these shopping centers, you will find almost all the products that you would find in any shopping mall in your hometown. The experience within these shopping centers will bring up that nostalgic feeling, and will transport you home for those few moments. Your Vietnam private tour will be one to remember.

CUISINE:

Fried Rice (Com Chay): Ninh Binh Province, Fried Rice is what you must try for sure when visiting this land. This specialty is mainly found along National Route 1, in Ninh Binh City, and tourist attractions. What to distinguish the food from that in other regions is the way to fry rice and the sauce going with it. While the rice is slightly fried to have a beautiful yellow, this way to fry makes it tasty, crispy, and great to enjoy. The sauce surely enhances the rice’s flavor.

Kim Son Salad with Fish Raw: When experiencing a trip to Ninh Binh Province, you ought not to ignore Kim Son Salad with Fish Raw as it is considered as the most delicious specialty here. To prepare this food requires a cooking process of many complex steps. It is a perfect balance of local ingredients: thin slices of eel, fried glutinous rice, vinegar, chilly, pepper, garlic, citronella, etc. All harmonious together create the unique taste and unforgettable flavor. Another interesting thing is, this salad must be served with a local type of pâté which is just found in this province, but anywhere else.

Mountain Snails: The range of limestone mountains at Tam Diep, Yen Mo District, and Nho Quan Communes is home to this type of snails. They often occur from April to August, the rainy season when the weather is humid. The snails’ staple food is different sorts of mountainous plants, some of which are valuable herbs. Therefore, it is believed that eating this snail type is probably good for your health. The food from it includes mountain snails steamed with ginger, mountain snails fried with chilly and citronella, and salad.

Hoa Lu Rare Goat Meat: Despite the fact that there are lots of dishes from goat meat, the Hoa Lu people love to prepare and enjoy, such as fermented goat meat, steamed goat meat, grilled goat meat, etc., rare goat meat is still considered to be the top position of the list. What makes the dish more special than the others is the secret recipe to cook it and the way to add spices. The goat meat is not only luscious, but also nutritious since the goat is supposed to feed on precious herbs on the mountains.

Ruou Can Nho Quan: Ruou Can Nho Quan (Nho Quan wine drunk out of a jar through pipes) is one of the special cuisines in Ninh Binh. You can come there to try or also buy for your friends, family and gather together to enjoy it, you will have unforgettable moments. Ruou Can is inside a jar, the size of the jar will depend on your hobby. To get a good bottle of wine, it must undergo several stages: from selecting ingredient to the processing and especially to calculate the appropriate time so that just in time. The main ingredient depends on the region, it may be corn, rice or cassava, but the best is sticky rice. To make Ruou Can Nho Quan is made from sticky rice. The Sticky rice must be chosen new rice, the alcohol will be delicious. Alcohol yeast are made from the peel of trees mixed with chili powder, ginger powder, rice powder and water, this combination is cut into smaller pieces and dried in 10-15 days, then crushed and mixed with the dried mixture of cooked rice and rice hulls, which is kept in the vase in 1-2 days, then dried banana tree’s leaves are covered on the surface of the mixture in 1 month before the wine is ready to drink. The longer the wine is kept, the better taste it has; each material has its own taste. Drinking Ruou Can with Com Chay Ninh Binh (Ninh Binh Rice Crust), it will be the best combination.

Cassava Vermicelli Soup with eel (Mien Luon): Apart from fried rice and rare goat meat, cassava vermicelli soup with eel is also referred to as the must try food in Ninh Binh. The place where you can savor these three dishes is street corners at the intersection Tran Hung Dao, Ninh Binh City. The tantalizing aroma of the soup wafts everywhere, encouraging you to try it. Surely, for a Vietnam tour package to Ninh Binh Province, it is difficult to ignore this wonderful delicacy.

NIGHTLIFE:

  • Explore Thien Ha cave – The sparkling beauty at night: Bai Dinh Pagoda where is located in the complex of Trang An Grottoes ( Ninh Binh) has become a popular spiritual destination of the Red River Delta and all of vietnamese. However, not many of people in Vietnam have a chance to admire the magical beauty of this pagoda at night. When the sun goes down, the space of Ninh Binh has brightly-lit giant lamp decorations, with their constantly interchanging colors. In contradistinction to the daytime, the night life at Bai Dinh is more quiet and peaceful. The electric cars depart from hotel lobby to pick up us for exploring Bai Dinh Pagoda at night.The air is very fresh, and sometimes you will feel smell of flowers. The temple bell could be heard all over the temple,many visitors say they feel their cares and worries leave them and feel relieved.
  • Night camping, Exploring the wildlife world at night in Cuc Phuong National Park: When you come to Cuc Phuong, you should not miss experience camping here! I am sure that it is a very enjoyable experience whenever you remember about the ancient capital. Not only that, but even more interesting is the activity of observation and study of wildlife at night.
  • Ninh Binh Province: Ninh Binh (Ninh Bình) is the capital city of Ninh Binh Province with a population exceeding 130,000 people and tourism playing an important part in the local economy. However, the nightlife in Ninh Binh Province or Ninh Binh city is not as sophisticated as other big cities of Vietnam such as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Frankly, not many people think of enjoying drinking and nightlife in Ninh Binh as Ninh Binh has more activities and potential delights in the daytime. Therefore, they often sleep early to prepare their energy for the next day tour.

TRANSPORTATION:

  • Motorbike / Scooter: Motorbikes or scooters can help you discover every corner of narrow streets. The price for rent is between 8 and 15 USD per day. You can rent for as many days as you want, depending on your personal schedule. Just need to remember to wear helmets and check the traffic situation before going out because the traffic here is a little bit crazy.
  • Bus: Normally, tourists to Vietnam often use this kind of transportation to transfer places to places because it is suitable for short routes. In case you want to go outside the big city, you will need a long-distance night bus, which has lying seats for you to sleep at night. However, booking with a prestigious tour company is highly recommended for you.
  • Car: Normally, tourists to Vietnam often use this kind of transportation to transfer places to places because it is suitable for short routes. Driving in Vietnam can be challenging, especially for those not too skillful. In that situation, the ideal option for you is to hire a chauffeur from the tour agencies. These drivers are the ones who have lots of experiences so they can take you to your intended places in the fastest way.
  • Airplane: The three international gateways include Tan Son Nhat, Da Nang and Hanoi. The national airline named Vietnam Airlines links Vietnam with almost 50 foreign cities while VietJet Air, the second largest one can serve 5 international destinations. If you want to enter Vietnam, you need to have a passport with at least 6 months of validity and a visa, which is normally valid for 1 month. Tourists come from Denmark, South Korea, Japan, Sweden, Norway and Finland can stay in Vietnam for 15 days without a visa while tourists from Southeast Asia can stay here for 30 days. To get better prices, you should book the tickets in advance. But don’t forget to check the booking conditions carefully before deciding to book that airline.
  • Train: The national train route is the Reunification Express, which departs from Hanoi and ends in Ho Chi Minh city. The other main train stations are located in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, and Hue. You can save a large amount of time if you go in the evening. But you will need to book the tickets in advance in case there is nothing left for you, especially during peak periods. In addition, if you want to go to Vietnam’s neighboring countries by train, there are also railway links available to you.
  • Taxi: Taxi can be seen very commonly in big cities as well as in urban areas. There are official and unofficial types of taxis. The former offers customers with good services and reasonable prices while the latter is sometimes vague about the fee calculation. Some of the most reputable taxi brands you should go are Vinasun and Mai Linh taxi.
  • Bicycle: Bicycle is very simple to use. You may see local people riding it a lot in the countryside. If you’re lucky enough, you will also see beautiful girls riding their bikes while wearing Vietnamese traditional costumes.
  • Cyclo : Cyclo is the final means of road transportation mentioned in this article. You will sit in the little cart in front of the drivers and they will take you around the city to contemplate beautiful scenes. Additionally, you will not need to care about the traffic because the drivers will take notice of it for you.
  • Cruise: This kind of transportation is popular in the country in Vietnam. People use it to approach offshore islands. In the famous destinations like the Mekong Delta River or Halong Bay, there are a lot of appealing packages of cruises for customers to choose. Transportation in Vietnam is becoming better and better each day, bringing the most convenience for both local people and tourists. So, don’t miss a chance to experience all these interesting kinds of transportation in Vietnam.