I am sharing Ninh Binh itinerary from 1 to 3 days exploring the area. This is a new rising destination for visitors in Northern Vietnam
A trip to Vietnam won’t be completed without a visit to Ninh Binh, Halong Bay on land, only 2.5 hours drive south of Hanoi. It is a place of rich history with a former capital of Vietnam, Hoa Lu; a fascinating cultural heritage site with Trang An, lots of beautiful scenery of karst mountains: Tam Coc, Van Long nature reserve, Thung Nham bird garden; a unique primitive forest of Cuc Phuong national park and well-known religious sites of Bich Dong and Bai Dinh pagoda.
Spending 1, 2 or 3 days Ninh Binh is the right choice, allowing you enough time to visit top attractions in Ninh Binh. Let this Ninh Binh itinerary guides you for things to do in Ninh Binh for 1 to 3 days.
On the other hand, you can also explore the rustic beauty of rural life in Vietnam with endless rice paddy fields, see numerous species of birds gathering in the bird park and enjoy unique cuisine with goat meat and Com Chay (Burned rice topped with pork floss in Ninh Binh style)
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This Ninh Binh 3-day itinerary is perfect for those who have a certain amount period of time and want to explore in-depth Ninh Binh
I recommend staying near Van Long nature reserve for the earlier night because it takes only 50 minutes to get to the national park.
8.30 am : Hit the road for 50 minutes drive to the main gate of Cuc Phuong national park. Buy the ticket, walk to the nearby Endanger Primate Center and Turtle Conservation centre
Note : Those places will be closed at 11 am. That’s why I suggest you to visit first
Entrance fee: 60k for the national park and 40k for those two centres
You will get a1-hour guided tour with a local guide provided by the national park to see those two centres
Next, drive 20 minutes to reach the cave of Prehistoric man (Dong Nguoi Xua). Hike 200 steps to reach the entrance and spend an hour exploring the cave.
Tip : Get a torch around 10k from the vendor who selling the stuff right outside the parking lot.
Then drive another 20 minutes to get to Bong centre where you start your hiking to 1000 years old tree. It takes 2.5 hours round trip to hike. Remember to take your water bottle, raincoat, insect spray, snacks. After that, I recommend having lunch in the restaurant near the gate, which is cleaner than the one in Bong Center.
Drive back to Van Long nature reserve. Take a boat ride to explore the caves, see the monkey and enjoy bird watching.
Tip : Take the 4.30 pm boat ride and don’t forget to ask the boat rowers to take you to see the birds and offer to tip after that.
Stay overnight in a hotel near the pier with a great location and an affordable room rate of about 20 bucks. If money matter isn’t an issue, staying in Emerada Resort nearby is a perfect way to unwind after a long day.
Clear the bill and check out in the morning.
The second day starts with short drive to Bai Dinh Pagoda. Take an electric car ride for 15 minutes from the parking lot to the entrance gate of the pagoda. A ride costs about 60k VND per person and you are sharing with a few others. Spend 2 hours exploring the pagodas by hiking along with the steps and the view from the top pagoda is amazing because you see the whole complex.
Next, take half an hour drive to discover Hoa Lu, the former ancient capital of Vietnam, dating back since the 10th century. Check out the two kings’ temples of Dinh Tien Hoang and Le Dai Hanh. Expect to pay 20k for the entrance fee.
On the way to Trang An, have lunch in Truong An restaurant near the T-Junction with a bridge. Feast on Ninh Binh cuisines with goat meat and Burned rice topped with pork floss
After lunch, get to Tuyet Tinh Coc for a short hike and capture awesome panoramic photos of mountains and lakes, a romantic place for couples. The entrance fee per person is 20k
Then head to Trang An, the UNESCO heritage site for 2.5 hours boat ride to explore the stunning view of Karst mountains, caves, temples, and more. There are 3 routes to choose from. Route 3 is the best so far because you are riding the boat through the longest cave in the Trang An area. Entrance is 250k per person
It time permits, check out the local wet market in Tam Coc before heading to your accommodation in Tam Coc. Tonight, you’ll sleep in Tam Coc
There are tons of bars in Tam Coc to hang out. I like that one in Double Decker right on the Tam Coc pier.
What’s better than hiking 500 steps to reach the top of Mua Cave for a spectacular panoramic view overlooking Tam Coc boat ride. There are two viewpoints: the Mua peak and the Lying dragon peak. Entrance is 100k
Next, visit Thai Vy temple, just 2 kilometers from Tam Coc pier, dedicated to the first king of Tran Dynasty.
Afterward, get to Bich Dong Buddhist temple for a short hiking trip to explore 3 pagodas. In order to enter the top one, you need to go through a dark cave. Remember not to wear shorts when visiting the pagoda.
Having lunch in Minh Toan father is cooking with yummy Vietnamese food. Expect to pay 150k for lunch and drinks for one
Lastly, check out Nham valley (aka Thung Nham bird park) . First, explore the Mermaid cave with stunning stalagmites and stalactites, which take over 1 million years to form. On the other hand, there is more to see: the orchard garden, three ladies’ cave, Vai Gioi cave. Entrance is 100k
Taking a leisurely boat ride to see thousand of birds gathering at the bird park for 45 minutes. You are sharing with 8 persons on one boat. Please note you will pay an extra 20k VND per person and go on the boat ride after 4 pm in order to see lots of birds, including cranes, phoenixes, storks, bitterns, and some rare breeds listed in the Red Book, which might be extinct in the near future.
See more : Thung Nham bird garden
It concludes your trip in Ninh Binh and its famous attractions. You can see how much you explore Ninh Binh in 72 hours or 3 days and hope you have a nice time there
|Expenses in American Dollar
|Food (casual restaurant)
|Drink (casual place)
|Activities (Entrance fee)
|Transport by Motorbike(Rent+ Fuel)
|Accommodation (Budget hotel/homestay)
If you are looking for a perfect Ninh Ninh itinerary just for one day, we are here to help. With 10 years working in the tourism industry as a local English-speaking guide. I believe what I have provided you in the best choice so you can plan a perfect trip to Ninh Binh, which is known as Halong Bay on land.
This is a sample itinerary on a guided tour that I have done a ton of times as following
8am : Drive 2 hours to Ninh Binh. You first check out Hoa Lu ancient capital.
11.30am : Hiking 500 steps to admire its amazing view of limestone mountains and green paddy field on the peak of Mua cave
1pm : Having lunch in a restaurant in Tam Coc
2.15pm : Take a leisurely boat ride to explore 3 caves in Tam Coc
4pm : Transfer back to Hanoi. Arrive in Hanoi around 6.30pm. Trip ends
Yes, it is. It is a must-see when traveling to Northern Vietnam. A top travel destination, especially for those who have limited time and often take a day trip to Ninh Binh. But it deserves more than a day to visit.
If you want to see the highlights of Ninh Binh, an organized day trip is enough, including 3 to 4 famous tourist attractions. But if you want to see what Ninh Binh offers, spend two or three days.
100 % yes. A great place for solo traveller who want to travel at your own pace.
Read more : Ninh Binh solo traveller guide
I believe Tam Coc is the best place to stay in Ninh Binh. Tam Coc is a rural area with lots of restaurants, bars, pubs and close to lots of well-known tourist attractions such as Thung Nham bird garden, Bich Dong pagoda, Mua cave, Thai Vy temple
Two days in Ninh Binh is suitable for those who have a bit limited time but want to explore the very best of Ninh Binh and I recommend staying in Tam Coc because it is the peaceful area with the rustic beauty of Vietnam rural areas
There are 4 options to choose from for Ninh Binh itinerary for just one day
This itinerary option is the perfect choice for nature lovers who have less than a week to explore Northern Vietnam includes top 3 destinations: Hanoi, Halong bay, Ninh Binh with 2 options to choose from
Day 1 : Arrive in Hanoi. Street food walking tour
Day 2 : Hanoi city tour
Day 3 : Ninh Binh. Staying overnight
Day 4 ; Ninh Binh to Halong/Cat Ba/Bai Tu Long Bay.
Day 5: Back to Hanoi
Hanoi Eco Tour offers free travel planning for visitors in Vietnam in general and Ninh Binh in particular by travel experts who has been working in tourism industry over 10 years. Please contact us via email at email@example.com
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