A dream come true for nature lovers, Ninh Binh is a province in Northern Vietnam situated on the boundary of three geographical areas; Red River Delta, Northwest, and North Central. Ninh Binh City is the spectacular but diverse capital of that province and is ideal for relaxing and soaking up the tropical heat.
Population: 100,000 people.
Vibe: Ninh Binh is the ultimate chilled vibe; verging on a hippie-like. It is the perfect place to relax, reflect, breathe in the fresh air, and admire the work of the very talented, Mother Nature.
Known for: Ninh Binh is known for its beautifully green surroundings and picturesque countryside. It is the perfect place to be at one with nature, and enjoy its accessibility to many outstanding natural places of interest such as caves, mountains and rainforests.
Must Do: Climb Hang Mua Peak! The peak of Mua Caves are the highest viewpoint in Ninh Binh and feature a huge stone dragon waiting for you at the top. With panoramic views, one side offers views of the winding river, the other of beautifully lush rice paddies. Get up there in time for the sunset and you won’t want to come back down!
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Tam Coc is a small town in Ninh Binh, definitely worth the visit; whether it is for the day or for a couple of night’s stay. Simple and scenic, Tam Coc is surrounded by mountains and rice paddies, breath-taking from all angles.
Hoa Lu Ancient Capital
The former capital of Vietnam, Hoa Lu offers dozens of monuments, including temples, pagodas, and tombs, and has a lot of interesting Vietnamese history.
Trang An Grottoes
Situated in the Ancient Capital, Trang An Grottoes in a particularly interesting visit; similar to Tam Coc but with many more caves to explore, wide enough to take a boat trip through.
Cuc Phuong National Park
Approximately one and a half hours away from Ninh Binh, Cuc Phuong National Park is a great day-trip, or even overnight stay in the park itself. It has a turtle centre and a primate centre where you can see gibbons, monkeys, and other primates that have been rescued from around Vietnam, and currently being prepared for release back into the wild. It also has a botanical garden, and literally thousands of beautiful butterflies flying along the roadway. A great place to get those warm fuzzies and super cute Instagram shots!
Phat Diem Cathedral
Situated in the middle of rice fields and canals, Phat Diem Cathedral is spectacular in size and a great mix of Middle Eastern and Western style architecture.
EATING AND DRINKING
Mountain Goat is a local speciality in this region, typically served with fried rice. Com Chay is another local speciality. Com Chay is essentially just fried rice and pork, a bit burnt around the edges. Not your thing? Don’t worry; given its increase in tourism, Ninh Binh also offers some backpacker-style restaurants and food options with Western dishes. These restaurants are easily sussed out with names such as “good food” and “fast food cheap.”
Not exactly renowned for a big night out, Ninh Binh is best for a couple of local draft, Bai Hoi’s over dinner.
WHERE STRAY STAYS
Nam Hoa Hotel
Freestyle Tours (Single, double and deluxe rooms)
Tam Coc - Bich Dong,
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Tel: +84 229 3618 043
Centrally located and only 20metres from the must-see ancient caves, Tam Coc-Bich Dong. The impressive views of the hotel's surroundings, comfortable and clean air-conditioned rooms and friendly staff make staying here an absolute delight!
Facilities: Free WiFi, luggage stroage, 24hour front desk service, restaurant and bar, bicycle hire.