Nowadays, tourism in Vietnam is growing stronger. Tourists can choose a lot of very attractive tourist sites for their Vietnam trip like Hanoi, Halong Bay, Ho Chi Minh City, Ninh Binh, etc. Indeed, Ninh Binh is also one of the destinations not to be missed during your tour to Northern Vietnam. It is deep in the Red River Delta and characterized by lotus flower lakes, towering limestone mountains, paddy fields, and vast unspoiled forests. Now, let us discover these activities in detail!

Best Things to Do in Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh

1. Go around Tam Coc, Ninh Binh

It is located not far from Trang An. They are considered the 2 main attractions of Ninh Binh. To get to the place, you have to use the rowing boat and cross a very picturesque river of Ngo Dong (Corn River).

The three caves of Tam Coc are Ca cave (first cave), Hai cave (second cave) and Ba cave (third cave). All these three caves are connected by a river which passes under the mountains. From a higher perspective, you can see the thin curves of the Ngo Dong River around the limestone islands and islets. The first cave is the longest with a length of 127 m, the second and third caves are 60 m and 50 m respectively.

Tam Coc - Our Ha Long Bay on land - Vietnam Paradise Travel FAM Trip

Tam Coc – Our Ha Long Bay on land

The best time to visit Tam Coc is from mid-May to June when the Ngo Dong River is surrounded by the yellow color of rice. This is also the time when Tam Coc is more beautiful and romantic.

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2. Taste the snails

Mountain snails are cooked in different ways: steamed with ginger, sautéed with chili and lemongrass, serving with vegetables, etc. Snails are only found in the mountains of Tam Diep, Yen Mo, Nho Quan and during the rainy season between April and August. Its exceptional quality is appreciated in the varied recipes which are as delicious as each other.

3. Visit Phat Diem Church

Phat Diem Cathedral, Ninh Binh

Phat Diem Cathedral, Ninh Binh

Phat Diem is one of the most famous cathedrals in Vietnam for the very special combination of Western and Vietnamese architectural styles. The entire cathedral was built of stone and wood for 24 years. Phat Diem is a complex comprising a cathedral, a stone church, a lake, a pavilion, and 3 artificial caves. The bell house, which in Vietnamese is called Phuong Dinh is a 3-story building made entirely of stone. On four towers of the bell’s house stand 4 statues of 4 historic saints which are characteristic of Vietnamese architecture. The cathedral and pavilion are designed with many similarities to traditional Vietnamese pagodas and temples. Phat Diem is only 25km south-east of Ninh Binh so this is a must-visit site on your trip to Ninh Binh.

4. Explore Van Long Nature Reserve

If you wish to continue exploring outside of Ninh Binh, you can go to Van Long. This is a wetland reserve which is the perfect place to visit for bird watchers.

As it is a protected land area, it is full of local flora and fauna. Hence, if you are a nature-lover and you want to discover Vietnamese fauna, do not miss it outside the itinerary.

Ninh Binh - Van Long Nature Reserve

Ninh Binh – Van Long Nature Reserve

The wetlands are also home to several Vietnamese species such as monkeys, reptiles and birds. You can feel the best of this site in late afternoon, when thousands of storks fly back home. That scenery is like a rustic, peaceful and poetic atmosphere appearing a lot in literature, poetry and art.

5. Visit Bich Dong Pagoda

Tam Coc and Bich Dong are often combined in tours to Ninh Binh. Located 2km from Tam Coc, Bich Dong consists of 3 pagodas, each of the three pagodas rests on a different level of the mountain. Bich Dong Pagoda is the second cave in the group of the three best caves in Vietnam (the first is the Huong Tich cave and the third is the Dich Long cave). The 2nd pagoda is built separately with a part outside the mountain and the other part hidden in the mountain. The location and architecture make Bich Dong a unique tourist site in Ninh Binh.

6. Spend the day in Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh

It was the capital of Vietnam under the Dinh dynasty and the first period of the Le dynasty. The temples of Hoa Lu are worth a visit and are part of most of the Ninh Binh itineraries. The ancient capital of Hoa Lu was located in a flat valley between small but steep limestone mountains. The two temples, dedicated to the respective kings Le and Dinh, are ornate reconstructions of the 17th century on the site of some ancient ramparts and walls. However, what makes the trip interesting is the beautiful landscape of the region, especially along the rural road connecting the site with Tam Coc nearby.

7. Drop in Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong National Park

This is the very first national park in Vietnam. The limestone mountains contain many accessible caves. Cuc Phuong has a great biodiversity of flora and fauna. There are 97 species of mammals, including langurs; 300 species of birds, 11 species of fish here. Besides, the park also has 2,000 species of vascular plants and thousands of species of insects.

Arriving at Cuc Phuong, you can visit the endangered primate rescue center which is responsible for rare primate animals and is home to more than 140 creatures and 100 descendants. There are 15 species of gibbon (long arms, eater-fruit monkey), languor (long-tailed tree monkey) and loris (small nocturnal primate with large eyes).

8. Admire the beauty of Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda, Ninh Binh

Bai Dinh Pagoda, Ninh Binh

This Buddhist temple has its location at the spiritual and cultural complex of the Bai Dinh Temple, on Bai Dinh mountain and is crouched in a tranquil forest in Gia Vien district, Ninh Binh province. The surface of this pagoda is 700 hectares. The construction of the pagoda started in 2003 and ended in 2010. This place is considered to be the largest complex of Buddhist temples in Vietnam and a place that miraculously reacts for Buddhist pilgrims on their travels to Northern Vietnam.

9. Chase the sunset at Mua cave

Located at the foot of Mua Mountain in the eco-tourism area of ​​Ninh Xuan commune, Hoa Lu district, Mua Cave is one of the must-see tourist attractions in Ninh Binh during your tour in Vietnam. While visiting this place, visitors can also admire the view of karst landscapes. A view which is the pride of the local population and which has made Tam Coc dear to tourists. There is nothing to worry about, even though an ascent of 450 steps awaits you. Because your efforts will be largely rewarded with a chance to discover its forest of limestone peaks crossed by the Ngo Dong river on one side and another, its infinite carpet of rice fields.

10. Visit Trang An Complex

Ninh Binh - Trang An Complex

Ninh Binh – Trang An Complex

This site is the most famous attraction in Ninh Binh. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Covering an area of ​​6,172 ha, the Trang An complex has extraordinary beauty with a harmonious combination of rivers, mountains, and caves. This Halong Bay on land has its wild and romantic beauty like a fairy tale.

This two-hour trip is surely the most impressive of Ninh Binh as you will be taken on a winding journey on the river under colossal caps and dark caves. It is one of the best destinations for your discovery of Vietnam as well.

11. Eat goat meat and rice gratin

This emblematic specialty of the region is a must-visit during your trip to Ninh Binh. Well-known for its firm texture and particular taste, this lean meat requires such a careful preparation to delight guests with so many variations, steamed, fried, fermented, etc. which are as nutritious as succulent.

The locals also eat goat meat soup with rice gratin. This dish is very unique! The rice gratin of Ninh Binh is different from that of other regions. The best quality product is light yellow, crisp but binding, the taste a little oily but it is not bad. Once dried in the sun, this dish should be grilled well to obtain a beautiful, shiny color.

12. Take a bike tour in Ninh Binh

One of the very participating means of transport to discover Ninh Binh is the bicycle. The reason is because the terrain here is very level. So you can easily rent a bike and go to all the sights in this region.

Many hosts have free bikes for guests, or you can sign up for a dedicated tour with a guide who will show you all the major attractions in the area and learn about the history and culture of this part of Vietnam.

13. Discover Thung Nham Bird Garden

Poetic Thung Nham Bird Garden

Poetic Thung Nham Bird Garden

Located about 12 kilometers east of Ninh Binh. It is one of the tourist destinations full of cultural and spiritual factors, landscapes and biodiversity. You can come between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. or between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to watch the birds fly. For bird lovers and photographers, you can’t miss Thung Nham Bird Park. This is an opportunity for you to get closer to the wilderness and the diverse ecosystem.

14. Gallivant all over Kenh Ga hot spring

Kenh Ga hot spring, Ninh Binh

Kenh Ga hot spring, Ninh Binh

It is a tourist area consisting of the Kenh Ga hot mineral spring, the floating village of Kenh Ga, the Van Trinh cave and the Nham Hao cave. Kenh Ga hot spring is one of the top 5 famous hot springs in Vietnam. The floating village of Kenh Ga is an isolated and rustic village resembling an oasis. The village is in the middle of rivers and mountains. The only way accordingly to enter the village is by boat.

15. Spend one night with a local family in Ninh Binh

It is a special occasion to discover not only the culture and customs but also the life of the inhabitants. You have 2 choices: Overnight at a homestay in Van Long or Son Ha. If you like natural sites, this circuit is for you! Discover authentic landscapes as well as the daily life of the local population.

This circuit will allow you to participate in so many interesting and fresh activities. You will have a chance to do the work in the fields, sleep with the locals, learn to cook Vietnamese dishes, live real encounters with the locals, etc. In summary, an amazing opportunity to discover the best of Vietnam!

I hope that this article helped provide you with helpful and detailed information about the best activities to do while in Ninh Binh. Customize your Vietnam tour now so that we can help create your best experience in the beautiful S-shaped country!

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Bich Ngoc

As a true Vietnamese enthusiast of music, books and coffee, Bich Ngoc loves researching into those typical cultural characteristics of Vietnam as well as exploring further destinations in the country of thousand years of civilization.


  1. Ha, this is the place that I would come back like, forever. Had some truly amazing vacations there. And for those who don’t know, their goat meat and Com Chay (don’t know its appropriate name, not fried rice though) are quite a masterchef recipe!

    1. Thank you for your comment. I could not agree more, Ninh Binh is an amazing destination with a lot of breath-taking tourism sites and delicious cuisine, especially goat meat and scorched rice (Com Chay). Next time revisiting Ninh Binh, you can also make a decision to gallivant other nearby destinations such as Halong Bay or Hanoi capital, with tons of exciting things and gastronomy to discover.

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