Nestled peacefully in the northeast of Hanoi, the laid-back city of Ninh Binh is a quaint land but it’s worth a visit. Touted as “Halong Bay on land”, this hidden treasure is a great place to visit if you want to get out and about and explore some of the most untouched yet beautiful parts of Vietnam. Ninh Binh is the decision of destinations of many nature lovers thanks to its craggy mountain landscapes, verdant tropical forest, and amazing historic heritage. Here are 10 best things to do in Ninh Binh for a fun-filled trip.

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1. Explore the Eco-site of Trang An with a Relaxing Boat Trip

Trang An is one of the top destinations in Ninh Binh. This World Heritage Site is known for a unique combination of natural and cultural value including some famous attractions such as Trang An Ecological Park, Tam Coc- Bich Dong, Bai Dinh Temple, and Hoa Lu Ancient Capital. This place is a wonderland to get lost in with a poetic boat ride down the river. Its jaw-dropping landscapes of karst mountains, lush forests, winding rivers, and beautiful rice fields make the place no less than a heaven. Enjoy a boat ride, glide through the grandeur of nature, you’ll find the reason why it’s on the top list of things to do in Ninh Binh City.

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2. Explore the Historic Site of Tam Coc-Bich Dong

Tam Coc is considered one of the most famous beauty spots in Ninh Binh. It is known for incredible karst landscape which is similar to Halong Bay. This amazing scenery is surrounded by the lovely green rice fields and embraced by the meandering river. Unlike the touristy spot of Halong Bay, Tam Coc offers an off-beaten-track experience with a fabulous 2-hour scenic boat ride passing through the towering limestone cliffs and into the depth of the cave's chambers.

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Once in Tam Coc, tourists can choose to visit Mua Cave - a scenic mountain lying down a sleepy road between beautiful rice fields. However, what awaits you at the top is truly amazing. Taking a hike over 500 steps to the mountaintop is one of the great things to do in Tam Coc. Once on the top, feast your eyes on the mind-blowing scenery – one of the most iconic views in Vietnam.

Located 2 kilometers away from Tam Coc is the solemn place of Bich Dong Pagoda - an interesting pagoda dating back to the 15th century. Take a walk on a stone bridge to get deep into the grotto where you can see historic temples. Making the way to the top of the grotto, you will be treated with fabulous views of the cave itself and the surrounding scenery.

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How to get to Tam Coc from Ninh Binh City

The distance from Ninh Binh city to Tam Coc is quite short, around 2.5 km. Tourists can choose to get there by private car or taxi which takes around 10 minutes. The drive from Ninh Binh to Tam Coc is truly scenic with breathtaking landscapes of nature. Enjoy it!

3. Visit Bai Dinh Pagoda - An Impressive Religious Site

Covering the area of 530 hectares, Bai Dinh is the largest spiritual complex in Southeast Asia. Nestled in a quiet forest, the complex includes a wide range of temples, pagodas, and shrines attracting a huge crowd of travelers and local devotees to come and pay their respects. This religious site is not just for paying homage, admiring the intricate architecture or taking in the serene and peaceful atmosphere but also joining a variety of activities and events during your visit.

If you visit the pagoda during springtime, grab the special chance to witness a vibrant and colorful festival (between February and March) with interesting blessing ceremonies, ritual processions, traditional music, and folk games.

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4. Enjoy bird-watching in Thung Nham Bird Garden

Thung Nham Bird Garden is one of Ninh Binh highlights. This eco-tourism attraction is impressed by a number of cultural and spiritual factors, amazing landscapes and rich biodiversity. Surrounded by the evergreen forest, majestic limestone mountains, verdant valleys, amazing caves and waterways, Thung Nham is a picture-perfect place to any nature lovers. Widely known for its largest bird park in Vietnam, Thung Nham is the habitat of thousands of kinds of birds from storks, herons, teals to tropical starlings.

Visiting Thung Nham Bird Park, you will be immersed in the wild nature, serene atmosphere and the melodious songs of the birds. Paddling in the sea and relaxing in peace is the best way to stay close to nature, get into the natural habitat of birds and soak up the untouched environment.

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5. Travel back in time with a visit to Dinh and Le Temple

While getting around the little remains of the former capital city of Hoa Lu, you will see two small yet intricate Dinh and Le temples dedicated to the Dinh and Le Dynasties. For history buffs, visiting these two iconic temples is one of the top things to do in Ninh Binh. Nestled on the foot of limestone hills amongst lush greenery, these temples boast the long-lasting history of the entire country. Take your time to feast your eyes on excellent creation of Vietnamese from beautifully intricate architecture, interesting sculptures to ornate shrines dating back to the 17th century.

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6. Unwind in the grandeur of nature in Cuc Phuong National Park

For adventure enthusiasts wondering of what to do and see in Ninh Binh, the answer could definitely be found in the amazing excursion to Cuc Phuong National Park. Located just 120 kilometers from Hanoi, Cuc Phuong National Park should be added in any Ninh Binh day trip. It is the most impressive national park in the north of Vietnam thanks to the incredibly diverse ecosystems, stunning natural landscapes and the precious values of history and culture. An excursion into the mysterious jungle of Cuc Phuong could be an out-of-this-world experience. You may be lost in the pristine world of exotic nature with elegant flowers, verdant orchids, and amazing animal species.

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7. Climb to Non Nuoc Mountain - a peaceful destination

Paying a visit to Non Nuoc Mountain is definitely listed as one of Ninh Binh best things to do. Set on an area of 2000 square meters in the Northeast of Ninh Binh City, Non Nuoc Mountain, and Pagoda is an enticing place to revel in the peaceful ambiance and scenic landscape. Climb up 72 stone steps to reach the top of Non Nuoc Mountain, you will be treated with the panoramic views of the whole city, breathtaking scenery of greenery and mountains. This little relic also witnessed the glory and brilliant history of the Vietnamese people and the country. With its historical and natural values, Non Nuoc mountain deserves the symbol of Ninh Binh town.

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8. Discover in depth the mysterious Thien Ha Cave

Thien Ha Cave, also known as Galaxy Cave is a beautiful attraction that adds more charm and adventure to your Ninh Binh tour. For an unusual experience of the most beautiful grotto, a scenic boat ride to the less touristy area of Thien Ha Cave should be on the top 10 things to do in Ninh Binh. As a part of a newly-discovered tourism complex, Thien Ha Cave is heavenly untouched with the natural formation of magical stalagmites & stalactites making a trip to the cave no less than a trip to the paradise on earth. Make sure to bring a flashlight along to keep an eye on every corner of the cave while gliding along the hidden river which offers you the best sense of this picturesque paradise.

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9. Enjoy the authentic taste of Ninh Binh

While traveling around Ninh Binh, you shouldn’t miss some amazing local delicacies. Trying local food is one of the great things to do in Ninh Binh town. Com chay and mountain goat meat are some of the best known local dishes.

Com Chay is made from rice which is burnt to make the crispy and fatty taste. It is served with the special sauce creating the best flavor of the dish.

Mountain goat meat is also a unique and famous dish in Ninh Binh. All the goats live on the surrounding limestone mountains which makes the meat more delicious and healthier than in other areas. You can find a variety of dishes from goat meat such as goat meat hot pot, fried goats, stir-fried or baked goat meat. The sauce made from goat meat is best served with Com Chay creating the unique combination of these two specialties. Take the chance to enjoy it!

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10. Take a bike tour around the beautiful countryside

Paddling around the sleepy village is one of the great things to do around Ninh Binh. Exploring this blissful land on bicycles is undoubtedly an exotic experience. Natural bestowed with amazing landscapes of limestone karsts, mysterious and hidden caves, and immense rice fields, Ninh Binh countryside is a perfect place for a bike ride. Just hop on your bike and make your way along the winding village paths lined with verdant rice paddies, you’ll forget the bustling world outside.

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What could be more amazing things than these? Do not miss out on this little blissful land during your trip in Vietnam. Exploring the rich land by yourself, you could even find more enticing things to delve in. Keep an eye on our updated travel guides to get the best news and information for your trip in Vietnam.

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