Ninh Binh for seniors

This is exactly what you need to know for traveling Ninh Binh for seniors. This complete travel guide for seniors in Ninh Binh is written by David Nguyen, who has been guiding a hundred tours in Ninh Binh. 

This post includes things to do in  Ninh Binh for seniors, recommended accommodations in Ninh Binh, the best restaurants to eat and more.  

Ninh Binh is known as one of the top 4 travel destinations in the North of Vietnam that you should not miss. 

What makes Ninh Binh special is a green island with towering limestone islands, beautiful nature, friendly locals and more. 

Overview of Ninh Binh 

Ninh Binh, known as Halong bay on land,  is a rising tourist destination in the North of Vietnam which is famous for its natural beauty of the towering limestone mountains, lush green rice paddy fields and numerous rivers. 

In this section, it includes my personal travel experience about Ninh Binh with everything you need to know to travel Ninh Binh for seniors including things to do, where to stay, place to eat etc…..

Top frequently asked questions when travel Ninh Binh for seniors

What is the top reasons to travel Ninh Binh?

Ninh Binh knows  as an ideal destination, thanks to its close proximity to Tam Coc (7km away) and Trang An (8km away). Both Tam Coc-Bich Dong and Trang An are magic landscapes to explore on a sampan boat ride. Ninh Binh attracts visitors primarily for its natural allure, featuring limestone karsts mountains like Halong Bay, meandering waterways, lush green rice fields, and ancient temples and pagodas.

Located on the outskirts of  Ninh Binh, Hoa Lu was the former Vietnam’s capital, dating back to the 10th century with two king temples built in the 17th century

Ninh Binh is known for its yummy local cuisine. The mountain goat is the signature dish of Ninh Binh, Along the roadside, you’ll often encounter stalls showcasing whole spit-roasted goats. You can easily find goat meat in the menu in most of the restaurants in Ninh Binh. Don’t forget to try it..

Where is Ninh Binh?

Ninh Binh is located in the Southeast of Hanoi, with 2 hours drive from Hanoi only. It is a popular travel destination for both day trips and overnight trips from Hanoi. 

When is the best time to travel Ninh Binh 

Ninh Binh, located in Northern Vietnam, experiences four distinct seasons with hot summers and cold winters due to its delta location, so it has a flat landscape. The region is susceptible to flooding and occasional landslides, primarily during the rainy season from May to August. Honestly, it isn’t an ideal time to travel for seniors because it is TOO hot. The average temperature ranges from 29 to 32 degrees Celsius. 

However, if you want to see the ricefield during the harvesting season, early May is a great time to see by taking a sampan boat trip in Tam Coc. To be, October to early April offers cool temperatures during the winter season and early spring, it is less rainy and dry, not TOO hot. It can be misty and foggy in March and April due to high humidity in the morning, but it will be clearer from noontime. 

Ninh Binh can be crowded on weekends, especially in the summertime from the middle of May to August. Summertime is a high tourist season for Vietnamese. I advise you not to travel during public holidays like May Day, and Independence Day, as Vietnamese tourists will be everywhere. 

How long to stay in Ninh Binh 

As a senior traveler, you don’t want to spend the whole day touring around, so I do think 3 days is enough to see Ninh Binh. 

Each day, just spend over half day for 5 to 6 hours for touring around. Start at 10am and be back to the hotel by 5pm. 

Why Ninh Binh is an ideal destination for seniors

  • Just 2 hour-drive from Hanoi
  • Travel in a slower pace 
  • Stunning view of towering limestone cliffs, endless lush green rice field
  • Tons of things  to do for seniors : sampan board ride, temples and pagoda visits, sightseeing, food tour end etc
  • There is a tons of accommodation choices in Ninh Binh from standard to luxury which suits all of your budget
  • An ideal place for natural lovers. 

Top accommodation choice for seniors in Ninh Binh

To my opinion, it is not necessary to spend a big amount of money for 5-star luxury hotels and resorts in Ninh Binh. Save your money and book more affordable accommodations like even a bungalow, 3-star hotel, or 4-star hotel which is clean, comfortable, and affordable so that you can spend more money on booking a guided tour that helps you to travel at your comfort, design your itinerary and help you to go off the beaten track to avoid the big crowd. 

However, I know everyone is different if you just want to sit back, relax, and unwind at a nice resort without doing too many things. Here is my suggestions

Top luxury hotels in resorts in Ninh Binh 

Tam Coc Garden Resort: The most luxurious accommodation in Ninh Binh 

Aravinda Resort Ninh Binh: 5-stars resort but affordable price, from 100 USD 

Wyndham Grand Vedana Ninh Binh Resort: it is suitable for those who want to explore Cuc Phuong National Park because it is so far away from Tam Coc, not for typical travelers.

Top middle-range accommodation for seniors

Ninh Binh Hidden Charm Hotel and Resort: This is my favorite place for 4-star accommodation in Ninh Binh, located in Tam Coc, just a 10-minute walk to Tam Coc pier with lots of cafes, and restaurants around. 

The Reed Hotel in Ninh Binh City: It is located in Ninh Binh city, so it makes more sense for those who are business people who just want to combine a business trip with short leisure trips in Ninh Binh. 

The Vissai Hotel, just another business hotel, is located in the heart of Ninh Binh City with an affordable rate, only 30 USD per night, not favorite one. If I have to choose I will go for the Reed. 

Emeralda Resort Ninh Binh is an excellent resort in Ninh Binh, near Van Long area, good for those who want to stay away from big tourist hubs like Tam Coc. It is beautiful, quiet, lots of trees which is ideal for nature lovers with only from 80 USD per room per night.

3 stars accommodation in Ninh Binh for seniors

Latila Boutique Hotel

This is my favorite hotel in Ninh Binh. It is new, affordable, good service with a great value of money, only from 40 USD. Located in the Tam Coc area, a 15-minute walk from the Tam Coc pier. If I ask one of the hotels in Ninh Binh for an affordable rate, Latila Boutique will be the first on my list.

ChezCao Rice Field Ecolodge Ninh Binh 

This is a new resort with an affordable rate and very comfortable, in the middle of nowhere to avoid the big crowd. It is located in between Mua cave and Trang An so it’s easy to tour around top tourist attractions in Ninh Binh. You gonna love it, especially natural lovers. 

Other options for 3 stars hotels in Ninh Binh

  • Lotus Hotel 
  • Tam Coc Lion King Hotels 
  • Tam Coc center boutique hotel
  • Ashahi Villa Tam Coc
  • Tam Coc Catalina Hotel 

Top things to do in Ninh Binh for seniors 

Mua viewpoint might be not on the recommended list for seniors in Ninh Binh since you need to hike 486 steeped steps to reach its peak. 

Top sampan boat trips in Ninh Binh 

Experience the breathtaking wonders of Tam Coc and Trang An through a captivating boat trip along the river. Revel in the stunning landscapes featuring lush paddy fields, majestic mountain cliffs, and enchanting wet caves.

Tam Coc (Three Caves):

Tam Coc during the rice hearvest season

Tam Coc during the rice hearvest season

Explore the wonders of Tam Coc in Ninh Binh with a boat ride costing 11 USD. This includes a sightseeing ticket, a 1.5-hour round trip on the river, and accommodates two foreigners in one boat. May is the ideal time for a Tam Coc boat ride, offering awe-inspiring photo opportunities amidst vibrant yellow rice paddies. Don’t miss the chance to stop at a small bridge on the way back and take a 20-minute stroll to Thai Vy Temple.

Pro tips  : You can also take a free buggy ride which is included in the boat trip ticket in Tam Coc to explore its surroundings in Tam Coc. 

Trang An Ecotourism Site:

Boat trip in Trang An

Boat trip in Trang An

Discover Trang An with a boat ride priced at 200,000VND (around $8.5), inclusive of a sightseeing ticket and a 4-foreigner capacity boat. Three distinct routes are available:

Route 1: Explore 9 caves and 2 temples in a 3-hour journey.
Route 2: Visit Saint Cao Son Temple, Vu Lam Palace (Tran Dynasty), and the Kong Skull Island movie set in a two-and-a-half-hour boat ride with scenic view
Route 3: If you are a big fan of cave, take this route, because you will cruise along the longest cave in Trang An, Dot cave, , Suoi Tien Temple, and the Kong Skull Island movie set during a 3-hour scenic boat ride.

Route 4 : Only a one-and-a-half-hour boat trip with 4 caves and 2 temples visit. It is a good options for seniors who don’t want to stay that long on the boat. 
Pro tips for sampan boat trips in Trang An

  • Note your boat rower’s number.
  • Carry small change for washroom stops (2,000 or 3,000VND).
  • Tipping is optional but appreciated.
  • Keep the printed ticket for checkpoints.
  • Avoid peak periods for a more relaxed experience.
  • Essential items include bottled water, a hat, suncream, sunglasses, and small change.

Trang An is a must in your Ninh Binh itinerary
Van Long Nature Reserve – The Land of King Kong:

van long nature reserve
Explore the largest wetland natural reserve in Northern Vietnam, covering 3,500 hectares. Van Long is home to diverse wildlife, including the endangered Delacour’s langurs. The entrance fee and boat ride is 100,000VND per person (4.5 USD , and a boat ride for a maximum of 2 people. Enjoy a 1 to 1.5-hour boat ride amidst stunning limestone mountains and paddy fields.

If you are a big fan of nature, this is a great place to be. The place is truly authentic, untouched by human. 

Dong Thien Ha (Galaxy Grotto):

Venture off the beaten track with a boat trip to Dong Thien Ha, a hidden gem in Ninh Binh. Marvel at the unique landscape, take a short walk to the main cave with captivating rock formations and discover vestiges from prehistoric times. The boat ride, operated by local rowers, allows you to explore the cave’s water section and even experience the distinct sounds produced by different rocks. Show appreciation by leaving a small tip of  $2 per person at the end of the trip.

To me, the cave itself is amazing including a dry cave and a wet cave.

You can also combine biking around the rural path around the area to see rice fields, farmlands, local villages, and more. 

Pro tip : Take a boat trip through the Buddha cave to reach Thung Nham Bird Park, otherwise, you need to get back on the same route and take a 1-hour drive to get to Thung Nham, which is close to the Tam Coc area. 

Thung Nham bird park 

thung nham ninh binh

Thung Nham Bird Park, the best place for birding in Ninh Binh

If you are a fan of real bird parks, you shouldn’t come here. It has functioned like a theme park. The best time to go is after 5pm when you can see birds with a variety of species 

Thung Nham bird garden , a serene haven for nature enthusiasts seeking tranquility amidst its pristine landscapes. This picturesque bird garden, nestled within a day’s journey from Hanoi, boasts an array of captivating attractions, including limestone caves, orchard gardens, and the enchanting Valley of Love.

The valley serves as a sanctuary for an impressive assembly of wildlife, hosting around 50,000 birds encompassing over 40 diverse species. Among its avian inhabitants are majestic cranes, mythical phoenixes, elegant storks, elusive bitterns, and a collection of rare breeds documented in the Red Book, facing the imminent threat of extinction. Thung Nham offers a unique opportunity for visitors to connect with nature, appreciating both its beauty and the urgent need for conservation efforts to safeguard these remarkable species.

Pro tips : Don’t go there at weekends during the summertime, there is a packed of Vietnamese tourists who spend the night at the resort. 

There is a tons o photo opportunities in Thung Nham bird park 

Take a boat trip (about 15 to 20 minutes) to see the birds instead of walking 2 kilometers to the platform (the view isn’t great at that spot) 

Other temples, pagoda complex in Ninh binh to see 

Bich Dong Buddist temple

Bich Dong pagoda

Bich Dong pagoda

The Bich Dong Buddhist Temples stand as one of the most renowned religious landmarks in the Ninh Binh region, situated a mere 3 kilometers from Tam Coc Wharf. It is a frequent stop for tourists exploring Ninh Binh on a day trip.

Constructed by two itinerant Buddhist monks from Nam Dinh on their journey to propagate Buddhism, the pagoda’s initial form was transformed into a three-tiered structure as an ode to its breathtaking beauty.

Upon arrival, Ha Pagoda, the first tier, welcomes visitors as a Buddha shrine adorned with statues and the lingering fragrance of incense. The pagoda at the base provides a sacred space for prayer, surrounded by ancient Jack fruit and persimmon trees.

Ascend 80 steps to reach the middle tier, boasting a distinctive boat-shaped tile roof, a nod to Vietnam’s historical reliance on waterways for travel. This section showcases the country’s unique architectural heritage.

Continue upward with another 25 steep steps leading to the Dark Cave, housing a venerable 17th-century bell and statues representing Buddha in three temporal phases: past, present, and future. Just outside the cave lies an ideal vantage point, offering breathtaking views of the pond, mountains, and surrounding landscapes, perfect for capturing memorable photographs.

Press on with the ascent to the top tier, where a statue of the God of Mercy presides over the landscape. Additionally, two smaller shrines honor the gods of the landlord and the mountain. The Bich Dong Buddhist Temples stand not only as a testament to religious devotion but also as a testament to Vietnam’s rich cultural and architectural heritage.

Pro tips : Avoid big crowds with Chinese tourists from 2.3opm, be careful with the lady who tries to follow you to give a message or sell you something. I would stay 4pm is good timing to see the Buddist temple

It sometimes closes early at 4.30 pm so make sure you will be there before it closes. 

Hoa Lu ancient capital

king dinh temple hoa lu ancient capital

King Dinh temple in Hoa Lu ancient capital

Formerly known as the capital of Vietnam from 10th century with 03 dynasties Dinh, pre-Le and Ly, Hoa Lu ancient capital is a highlight of Ninh Binh trip. Learn more about Vietnamese history during feudalism by checking out two kings’ temples Dinh and Pre Le, built in 17th century.

Pro tips : Getting there at noontime or after 3pm to avoid the crowd 

Phat Diem Cathedral

Phat Diem Cathedral

Phat Diem Cathedral

This captivating cathedral stands out for its intriguing fusion of European and local architectural styles. The seamless integration of traditional pagoda roofs with Western Gothic-style walls renders it a unique and visually striking landmark.

Celebrated as one of the most fascinating churches in the country, it draws the attention of both local residents and international visitors. The cathedral’s distinctive blend of architectural influences adds to its allure. Acknowledged for its historical and religious significance, the church is damaged during the war but underwent a comprehensive restoration. Today, it is known as a central hub for Catholicism in the province of Ninh Binh.

Pro tips : Some buildings aren’t open during the weekdays so you may only view from the outside

Bai Dinh Pagoda complex

Bai Dinh pagoda - Ninh Binh itinerary

Paroramic view of Bai Dinh pagoda complex

It is a place for those who want to see massive Buddha statues and enjoy sightseeing at the pagoda. The complex was built in 2010 so you won’t expect history here but the original one was built in 11th century. 

To get around, I recommend you take a combo ticket of 220,000VND with an electric buggy car ride and a visit to the 13-floor tower which is a highlight of the pagodas complex. 

For photographers, I highly recommend this place, there is lots of spots for taking cool photos. 

Ninh Binh shore excursions for cruise passengers from Halong

If you are a senior traveller from Halong on a cruise ship wants to see Ninh Binh on a day trip, take this private Ninh Binh shore excursion day tour 

Top restaurants in Ninh Binh for seniors

There are a ton of restaurants with a variety of Vietnamese cuisines, Asian cuisine, and even Western food. 

Goat meats restaurant

  • Duc De
  • Chinh Thu
  • Xuan Vinh Quan 

Vietnamese food

  • Family restaurant in Tam Coc 
  • An Tam Coc
  • Father cooking restaurant
  • Thao Beo restaurant
  • Hoang cuisine

Indian food

Curry King

Aroma Indian

Vegetarian and Vegan food

Ngon Vegan

Hoa Lu vegan

Western food

  • Dao Phu Ket Bar and restaurant
  • Chookie Beer garden
  • The Pizza Factory
  • Napoleon Fine Italian cuisine
  • T-Pub restaurant

Over to you

We hope this Ninh Binh for Seniors travel guide helps you plan a wonderful family trip to Ninh Binh.

If you would like a hassle-free short trips to Ninh Binh, or a private day tour in Ninh Binh please get in touch with Hanoi Eco Tour for a guided tour to Ninh Binh via via Whatsapp at +84.974.313.104

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