Ninh Binh Location MapGeneral Information

Ninh Binh is located in the south of the Red River Delta region in northern Vietnam, 100 km from Hanoi.

This is a must-visit destination when you are on a tour to Vietnam. There are many religious sites and natural landscapes: Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex – a filming location of Kong: Skull Island with an amazing grotto system, Bai Dinh Pagoda – the largest pagoda in Vietnam, Tam Coc – Bich Dong – a place for romantic boat trips, Cuc Phuong National Park – the oldest nature reserve of our country, etc.


Basically, you can take a tour to Ninh Binh anytime a year. The most westerner touristic times in Ninh Binh are from November to March.

  • Spring (February – April): The weather is cool in this city in spring; you can enjoy some cultural festivals and pray for luck at a pagoda. Don’t forget to visit some famous religious spots such as Bai Dinh, Bich Dong and Duyen Ninh pagodas in this festive time of the year.
  • Summer (May – August): Ninh Binh is affected by the monsoon, thus, it is sultry during summers. April to the beginning of May is the best time for you to take picture of golden ‘rice carpets’ during harvesting time in Tam Coc and ‘butterfly season’ in Cuc Phuong National Park.
  • Autumn and Winter: They are the low season here; you can enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of limestone mountains, dreamy rivers and quaint pagodas in Ninh Binh in autumn and winter.
Weather in Ninh Binh
Weather in Ninh Binh

Getting to Ninh Binh

  • By motorbike/car: If you travel by private motorbikes or cars, from Hanoi, head to Giai Phong Street to Giap Bat Bus Station, turn to Phap Van – Cau Re expressway. From there, you head to Phu Ly to Ninh Binh.
  • By bus: There are plenty of buses to Ninh Binh. You can go to Giap Bat, My Dinh or Nuoc Ngam Bus Station; they have buses every 30 minutes.
  • By train: Train is the safest way to travel to this city. Tickets cost VND 80,000 – 120,000 dong from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. The train stops at Ninh Binh’s new train station, so take into account the distance from there to your planned attractions and hotels.

How much time to spend in Ninh Binh?

Bai Dinh Pagoda - Ninh Binh
Bai Dinh Pagoda

To explore all attractions in Ninh Binh, you need at least 3 – 4 days. However, if you are short for time, 1 day in this province is fine to visit two attractions, just make sure that all attractions are on the same route. For 2 days, you can visit 4 to 5 attractions.

There are 2 itineraries for you to choose if you take a 1-day Hanoi – Ninh Binh daily tour:

  • Option 1: Hanoi – Tam Coc – Hoa Lu Ancient Capital
  • Option 2: Hanoi – Bai Dinh Pagoda – Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex

Getting around Ninh Binh

It is quite far to travel between different destinations in Ninh Binh, thus, the best way to go around this city is by taxi or motorbike:

By taxi: There are some reputable brands in this city:

  • Taxi Ninh Binh: 0229.3.633.788
  • Taxi Mai Linh: 0229. / 0229.6.251.888
  • Taxi Minh Long: 0229.
  • Taxi Xuan Thanh: 0229.
  • Taxi Thuy Duong: 0229.
  • Taxi Hoa Lu: 0229.2.211.444

By motorbike: Most hotels and homestays have motorbike rental service at around US $15 a day.

By bicycles:  Since the roads are flat here, cycling is recommended when you visit nearby attractions. You can rent a bicycle at VND 50,000 – 80,000 dong a day.

Where to Stay in Ninh Binh

There are many hotels, hostels and guest houses in this city, however, if you desire to get close to nature and local people, a homestay near some attractions such as Tam Coc and Trang An is recommended. Imagine that you wake you in the early morning, listen to the birds singing, inhale the fresh air and enjoy the beautiful view of the river; this is a one-of-a-kind experience which you cannot find anywhere else.

Ninh Binh Valley Homestay
Ninh Binh Valley Homestay

Homestays in Ninh Binh:

  • Tam Coc Westlake Homestay

Address: Ninh Hai Commune, Hoa Lu

Phone number: +84 98 365 33 86

  • Ninh Binh Valley Homestay

Address: Dong Cung, Khe Ha Village, Ninh Xuan Commune, Hoa Lu

Phone number: +84 97 536 86 65

  • Ninh Bình Panorama Homestay

Address: Ninh Xuan Commune, Hoa Lu

Phone number: +84 94 844 36 16

  • Tam Coc Mountain Lake Homestay

Address: Ninh Hai Commune, Hoa Lu

Phone number: +84 167 839 2682

  • Ham Rong Homestay

Address: Ninh Xuan Commune, Hoa Lu

Phone number: +84 94 330 74 48

What to See in Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh contains many easy-to-access tourist attractions which are suitable for your family vacation in Vietnam. You can retreat your soul at a Buddhist pagoda, relax on a rowboat, explore unspoiled jungles, and discover our unique stalactites and stalagmites system.

Ninh Binh main attractions map
Ninh Binh main attractions map

1. Bai Dinh Pagoda

Located in Gia Sinh Commune, Gia Vien District, Bai Dinh Pagoda was built to commemorate King Ly Thai To who changed the capital from Hoa Lu to Hanoi in 1010.

Bai Dinh is the largest complex of Buddhist shrines, temples, and pagodas in Vietnam. It contains the original old temple and a newly-constructed larger one. Bai Dinh Pagoda is a sacred place to pray for peace, prosperity and fortune. You cannot miss this place when traveling to Ninh Binh, especially during the Lunar New Year. Bai Dinh is also known as ‘The Temple of Records’ for possessing:

  • The largest bronze Buddha statue in Asia
  • The longest Arhat corridor in Asia
  • The largest bronze Maitreya statue in Asia

Through the gate into the pagoda, tourists cannot help noticing the 500 Arhat statues, each 2.4 meters high and 4 tones weight on both sides. Especially, don’t forget to see the 13-storey stupa of Bai Dinh Pagoda which reserves Buddhist relic procession from India and Myanmar.

2. Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex

Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex - Ninh Binh
Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex

Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex is the most well-known tourist attraction in Ninh Binh. It was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Covering an area of 6172ha, Trang An Complex has an extraordinary beauty with a harmonious combination of quintessential limestone mountains and unspoiled tropical forests, surrounded by beautiful aquatic flowers and plants.

River network in this area is well-developed with Hoang Long River to the north, Chanh River to the east, He River to the south, Ben Dang River to the west and river systems of Sao Khe, Ngo Dong and Den Voi in the center of Trang An. Taking a sampan around the river and caves is a must-do activity when visiting this heritage. You can have a chance to admire the karst tower landscape here which is one of the most awe-inspiring limestone systems in the world.

3. Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Hoa Lu was the capital of Dai Co Viet (literally ‘Great Viet Land’, the old name of Vietnam) under the Dinh dynasty, the Early Le dynasty and the beginning period of Ly dynasty. Hoa Lu was chosen for its imposing limestone mountains surrounding the area which were considered as a natural city wall against Chinese invaders. With the total area of around 14 square kilometers, this is a must-visit place for history lovers when coming to Ninh Binh.

There are two temples here which are dedicated to King Dinh and King Le. The distance between them is 500 meters. The Temple of King Dinh has stunning architectural works with three pavilions, while the Temple of King Le is smaller and much simpler.

4. Cuc Phuong National Park

Established in 1962, Cuc Phuong National Park is the oldest national park in Vietnam. The park is a lush mountain rainforest which is the home to 97 species of mammals, 300 species off birds, 110 reptilian species, 11 species of fish, and thousands of kinds of insects. Many kinds of rare animals listed on the Red Book can be found here: Asian black bears, golden leopards, and unique red-bellied squirrels.

At the weekends, this park attracts a large number of domestic and international travelers who fond of trekking and hiking. There are dozens of trails in the forest for your 1-day or 2-day trekking: you can take a journey to Dinh May Bac (Silver Cloud Peak) and the Cave of Prehistoric Man (Dong Nguoi Xua) where you can see several prehistoric human remains.

5. Tam Coc (The Three Grottoes) and Bich Dong Pagoda

Tam Coc - Ninh Binh
Tam Coc

Tam Coc attracts a large number of tourists for its harmonious combination of natural sceneries and the talent of humans. This place is praised as a ‘Halong Bay of the Rice Fields’ thanks to its endless mountain views, tranquil water, and spectacular caves, which is an inspiration for poets and painters. Coming here in May, you can see golden rice fields during harvesting time which look like a winding carpet embracing karst mountains.

2 km from Tam Coc Wharf, you will come across a pagoda called Bich Dong. Its architecture is inspired by the Oriental style: all pillars were made from ironwood and there is a pond near the entrance. There are three pagodas in Bich Dong complex: Ha (Lower) Pagoda, Trung (Middle) Pagoda and Thuong (Upper) Pagoda.

6. Phat Diem Cathedral

Located in Kim Son District, Phat Diem Cathedral is one of the most spectacular churches in Vietnam which is the combination of Western style and Vietnamese religious buildings. Constructed from 1875 to 1898, it was built totally by stone and wood which are available in karst mountains around Ninh Binh.

This attraction consists of a lake, a cathedral, a stone church, Phuong Dinh Bell House and three artificial grottoes. The highlight of this place is Phuong Dinh Bell House which was transported from Thanh Hoa Province. Unlike round or square-shaped bell towers which can be found in Western churches, Phuong Dinh is in a shape of a communal house with 25 meters high and 17 meters wide.

7. Thung Nham Bird Park

Thung Nham Bird Park - Ninh Binh
Thung Nham Bird Park

Thung Nham, also known as Thung Chim, is the home to a thousand kinds of birds and plants. Located in Ninh Hai Commune, Hoa Lu District, Thung Nham Bird Park is about 5km from Tam Coc – Bich Dong and 12km to the west of the city. In this park, you can immerse yourself in a peaceful atmosphere of many tropical forests, river, and caves and listen to the birds singing. 46 species of birds inhabit in Thung Nham and many of them are listed in the Red Book. Birds usually concentrate in this area from July to September, so prepare your time!

8. Hang Mua (Mua Cave)

Mua Cave - Ninh Binh
Mua Cave

Though not being as famous as Tam Coc – Bich Dong nor Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, Mua Cave has recently become a popular place in Ninh Binh thanks to its imposing beauty and peaceful atmosphere. Located on the foot of Mua Mountain, Mua Cave has been constructed to serve customers on ecotourism trips to Vietnam.

Mua Cave is praised as a ‘Great Wall of Vietnam’ for its 500 white-stone stairs leading to the peak of the mountain. On both edges of the stairs, you can see the symbol of dragon or phoenix inspired by Tran dynasty’s art. It is said that when Tran King established Thai Vi Temple in Ninh Binh, he often came to Mua Cave to enjoy performances by odalisques. On the top of Mua Cave, tourists can admire the breathtaking view of Tam Coc area, especially the golden winding rice paddies during harvesting time here in May and June.

9. Kenh Ga Hot Spring (Chicken Village)

Kenh Ga is one of the most worth-visiting hot springs when you travel to Vietnam. Located in the foothills of Canh Ga Mountains and surrounded by three rivers namely Boi River, Lang River and Hoang Long River, Kenh Ga looks like a small and separated islet. This hot spring contains a high amount of sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and calcium, which is perfect for soaking in hot mineral water and retreat yourself from stressful daily life.

10. Van Long Wetland Nature Reserve

Not only is Van Long a nature reserve, it is also a beautiful lagoon with spectacular landscapes. Covering an area of 3,500ha, Van Long is the largest wetland nature reserve in Red River Delta and is praised as a ‘Waveless bay’ because when tourists take a boat trip to this area, the tranquil water surface looks like a giant mirror. Van Long Nature Reserve has 32 grottoes which are named according to their shapes: Meo Cao (Cat), Mam Xoi (Glutinous Rice Tray), Hom Sach (Book Trunk), Da Ban (Rook Table), Nghien (Slab), Co Tien (Fairy), etc.

Read more: 1 or 2 Days in Ninh Binh

Things to Do in Ninh Binh

  • Refresh your body and soul at a religious site.
  • Take a boat trip to Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex or Tam Coc – Bich Dong.
  • Discover Cuc Phuong National Park during ‘butterfly season’.
  • Trekking and hiking to limestone mountains.
  • Relax in a rustic bungalow near the river.

What to Eat in Ninh Binh

1. Ninh Binh’s eel vermicelli (Mien Luon Ninh Binh)

Eel Vermicelli Ninh Binh
Eel Vermicelli

The most famous eel vermicelli’s restaurant chain in Ninh Binh belongs to Mrs. Phan’s offsprings. When she got older, Mrs. Phan passed on her cooking skills and recipes to her three sons so that they can carry on the family business. You can find their three restaurants around Ninh Binh city center: Tran Hung Dao crossroad, near Rong market and near Ninh Binh General Hospital.

The soul of this dish is fresh and lean eels with brownish pink backs and yellow bellies. Beside the eels, banana flower and vermicelli are carefully selected to produce a savory and mouth-watering dish. There are many other spices to enhance its flavors such as fish sauce, shrimp sauce, lemon, pepper, chili powder and other herbs

2. Goat meat

Surrounded by limestone mountains, Ninh Binh is a suitable place to raise goats. There are many kinds of goat dishes you can find here: rare goat meat mixed with lemon (de tai chanh), steamed goat meat, stir-fried goat meats (de tai lan),  grilled goat brisket, goat hotpot, and roasted goat, etc. Among which, rare goat meat is the most unusual and delicious dish.

Don’t forget to try these gastronomic dishes when you visit Trang An, Tam Coc and Hoa Lu. Goat meat is nutritious with a high amount of protein and served with many fresh and healthful herbs.

3. Yen Mac fermented spring roll (Nem Chua Yen Mac)

Nem chua Yen Mac is a special delicacy of Ninh Binh. This food is made from lean pork and served with fish sauce mixed with chili, lemon and garlic. The cooking process is really strict so that nem chua can be preserved for a week without being degraded. Covered in banana leaves, this food possesses a fresh smell with the greasy taste of meat. You can buy nem chua as a gift to your relatives and friends.

4. Burned cooked rice (Com chay)

Com Chay Ninh Binh
Com chay

Com chay is a delicious dish you should try in Ninh Binh. However, the local cooks do not burn it in the fire when making com chay. Instead, com chay is made from deep-fried rice and you can dip it in a special soup served with this food. Com chay can be eaten both in the main course as well as for snack. The taste of com chay is impressive and unforgettable, especially when eating with savory meat and a little bit of chili.

3 famous restaurants in Ninh Binh:

1. Thang Long Restaurant
  • Address: Chi Phong Village, Truong Yen Commune, Hoa Lu
  • Opening hours: 9 am – 11 pm
  • Phone number: +84 1238 880 606 / +84 974 155 458

This is one of the top picks by tourists when visiting this city. Thang Long Restaurant is well-known for its fresh goat meat which is marinated in a traditional method. This food is the best when tasting with cơm cháy. This restaurant is spacious so you don’t have to worry about running out of tables.

 2. Duc De Restaurant
  • Address: 446 Nguyen Hue Street, Ninh Binh City
  • Opening hours: 8 am – 22.30 pm
  • Phone number: +84 30 3874 858

This restaurant is popular for its numerous appetizing traditional goat dishes: rare goat meat mixed with lemon (dê tái chanh), stir-fried goat meat (dê tái lăn), lemongrass and coconut goat, steam goat meat, grilled goat brisket, goat hotpot, goat gruel and roasted goat, etc. It is located in the city center and you can come here after spending time at some attractions.

3. Hoang Giang Restaurant
  • Address: Hang Ca, Truong Yen Commune, Hoa Lu
  • Opening hours: 8 am – 10 pm
  • Phone number: +84 915 437 028 / +84 987 719 509

It is one of the rustic restaurants with the best view in Ninh Binh. Located next to the dreamy Hoang Giang River, Hoang Giang Restaurant offers a spectacular scene to Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex and Bai Dinh Pagoda.

We recommend other restaurants you can try in Ninh Binh. Note that most famous restaurants concentrate around Hoa Lu District and at the city center.

AreasRestaurantAddress & Phone Number
City centerNon Nuoc Hotel – RestaurantAddress: Street 4, Dong Thanh Ward

Phone Number: 0229 3897 878

Trau Vang RestaurantAddress: 283 Tran Hung Dao Street, Dong Thanh Ward

Phone Number: 0229 3884 598

Thanh Loi RestaurantAddress: 199 Le Hong Phong Street, Dong Thanh Ward

Phone Number: 0229 3874 386

Bai DinhHo Nui Dinh RestaurantAddress: Xom 10, Gia Sinh Commune, Gia Vien District

Phone Number: 0208 3825 826

Cao Son RestaurantAddress: Road 304, Gia Sinh Commune, Gia Vien District

Phone Number: +84 90 466 87 69

Hoang Hai Hotel – RestaurantAddress: Near Bai Dinh Pagoda

Phone Number: +84 98 666 01 81

Trang An – Hoa LuTrang An Harbor RestaurantAddress: Trang An Harbor, Ninh Xuan Commune, Hoa Lu

Phone Number: +84 94 232 58 97

Thanh Cao RestaurantAddress: Truong Yen Commune, Hoa Lu

Phone Number: +84 91 768 32 90

Anh Dung RestaurantAddress: Ninh Hai Commune, Hoa Lu

Phone Number: 0229 3618 020

Thien Truong RestaurantAddress: Trang An Village, Truong Yen, Hoa Lu

Phone Number: 0229.3621.929 / +84 961.966.456

Hoang Son RestaurantAddress: Inside Hoang Son Peace Hotel, Square 1, Trinh Tu Road, Ninh Khanh Ward, Hoa Lu

Phone Number: 0229 3890 955

Tam Coc – Bich DongThe Long RestaurantAddress: Tam Coc – Bich Dong, Van Lam, Ninh Hai Commune, Hoa Lu

Phone number: 0229 3618 077

Lac Hong RestaurantAddress: Mua Cave, Ninh Xuan Commune, Hoa Lu

Phone number : +84 167 869 9330

Van LongVan Long Stilt House RestaurantAddress: Gia Van, Gia Vien District

Phone Number: 0229 3641 248