Travel Ninh Binh with Kids : Top 5 things to do for family with kids in Ninh Binh

Travel Ninh Binh with kids

Travel Ninh Binh with kids

Traveling with kids is not always easy at all. Vietnam is a country for kid-friendly tours. In the North of Vietnam, Ninh Binh is knowns as the perfect destination for families with kids so your family will spend your valuable time exploring the beautiful natural beauty of the towering limestone mountains, lush green rice paddy fields and numerous rivers. 

David writes Ninh Binh with Kids guide, he is a local guide in Vietnam who has been working in the touristy industry over the past 12 years. After spending well-researched on the internet, he hasn’t found any article which covers everything you need to know to travel with kids in Ninh Binh

Where is Ninh Binh?

Ninh Binh is located south of Hanoi. The distance between Hanoi and Ninh Binh is 100 kilometers or 63 miles which usually take 2 hours to get there. 

Is Ninh Binh with kids the right choice?

Ninh Binh is known as top 4 travel destination is Northern Vietnam, a perfect family-friendly place, where you can spend a few days with your kids.  

If you start your trip in Hanoi, the bustle and hustle of city life. You want to find a place to escape from it, get some fresh air, see the rice paddy field, and enjoy stunning views of natural beauty. Let’s head out to Ninh Binh for the country air.

What’s better than riding a push bike through the tiny alleyways in the hidden rural villages with very traffic or taking a leisurely sampan boat ride on a river to relax and enjoy the stunning view of the towering limestone mountains? Ninh Binh has everything to satisfy your family and is worth spending a few days there.

How to travel to Ninh Binh with kids from Hanoi?

There are many options to choose from: local buses, tourist buses, private transfers, and trains, based on your preference and budget. 

By tourist bus

Travel with kids on a tourist bus is comfortable, safe, convenient and affordable. Your ticket includes pick up and drop off door-to-door so you don’t have to worry about your luggages. 

There are a few options to pick out such as limousine Dcar, shuttle bus, and Limousine bus. 

If you travel light with 02 suitcases and 2 backpacks, I recommend taking a Dcar Limousine with 9 seats. There is no baby seats on bus but the seats are so comfortable. 

If you travel with lots more luggage, taking a Limousine bus (usually 17 seaters one) is a right choice, pick up and drop off is door-to-door unless your accommodation is far from Tam Coc pier. If there is no drop off at your accommodation, ask your hotel/homestay in Ninh Binh to offer a pick up from Tam Coc pier (aka Ben Thuyen Tam Coc). See the location on google map here

By Local Bus

I don’t think it’s a good choice for family with kids since you need to take a cab from your hotel in the Old Quarter to Giap Bat bus terminal (20 minutes drive), taking a bus (The departure time is accurate but they may stay on the side of the road to pick up more passengers). The last stop is Ninh Binih bus terminal, you also need to take a taxi to Tam Coc, which costs another $6 to $7 dollar. 

At the end of the day, you waste both time and money so I don’t recommend this option.

By train

The same process as you are taking a local bus but eye-opening experience. It takes only 2 hours for the train ride from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. 

Departs Arrives Train No Hard Seat Soft Seat Hard Berth(6) Soft Berth(4)  
15:30 17:48 Reunification Express Train SE5 2hr 18min $12 $15 N/A N/A  
06:00 08:19 Reunification Express Train SE7 2hr 19min $12 $15 N/A N/A  
19:50 22:05 Reunification Express Train SE19 2hr 15min N/A $15 N/A N/A  

Where to take the train?

Hanoi train station is just 10-minute drive from the Old Quarter of Hanoi. You can easily get there by Grab (Like an UBER ride) or taxi. The station is on Le Duan side, don’t go to Tran Quy Cap side. If you go to the wrong side, you must walk 10 minutes to the other side. 

If I were you, I would go for the option that departs at 15.30pm, you may get to your hotel around 6.30pm so you have time to take showers, take the kids out for dinner or just walk around the town of Tam Coc.

If you take a day tour outside Hanoi, pick the one which departs at 7.50pm. If you are back in Hanoi around 5pm, so you can find a restaurant in the Old Quarter to eat, relax or ask the hotel for a room to take a bath. 

Other options is to drop off at a hotel near the train station, take a shower and head out to eat. I think it’s a smart way for time-saving. 

Family travel tips for taking a train to Ninh Binh

  • Buy a ticket beforehand with your hotel in Hanoi or take a Grab to the Hanoi train station. Just make sure that you have enough cash to pay for the ticket. If not, buy the tickets with your hotel in Hanoi or with a travel agent. Of course, they do make a commission, but you’ll save time. 
  • You can easily find some restaurants near the station, from vegetarian and Vietnamese food to junk food like KFC.  There is a food stall which is opposite to the station offering Pho soup at about $2 per portion. 
  • Get some snacks and water before boarding the train. 
  • Eat in Hanoi if you are taking a later train which departs at 7.50 pm, because you will arrive at your accommodation in Ninh Binh pretty late so it’s hard to find food then. 
  • Get things ready 10 minutes before getting off at the Ninh Binh station because the train only stops for a couple of minutes. 

By private transfer

If you have a flexible budget, travelling to Ninh Binh from Hanoi by private car is a good choice. It costs around $85 for one-way transfer which is really affordable whist taking a sharing limousine bus costs around $37 for a family of four. 

For private transfer services, please get in touch with Hanoi Eco Tour via WhatsApp: +84.974.313.104

Read more : How to travel from Ninh Binh to Halong 

How to travel from Ninh Binh to Pu Luong 

How to get around Ninh Binh with kids

The bicycle ride is recommended since you can stop whenever and wherever you want and see as much as possible. Just make sure that if you can find a baby seat or buy one in Hanoi before heading to Ninh Binh or ask your accommodation to prepare it. 

Alternatively, taking a car is a great choice to get around Ninh Binh, especially during the high heat in the summertime. You can arrange a car ride with your accommodation in Ninh Binh

lemongrass, gorgeous grilled fish with rice paper rolls, delicious vegetarian curry, sweet and sour pork

Top 5 things to do in Ninh Binh with kids

Taking a sampan boat trip on Tam Coc

Tam Coc Ninh Binh

Sampan boat ride in Tam Coc Ninh Binh

A laid-back and relaxing boat trip for 1.5 hour on Ngo Dong river, the boat starts at Tam Coc pier which is super convenient for those who stay around the Tam Coc area, the most popular place for nights in Ninh Binh. 

The boat ride takes you through 3 caves : Hang Ca, Hang Hai and Hang Ba. Passing the magical limestone cliffs, rice fields, tombs and local houses. 

Family travel tips for taking a bamboo boat in Tam Coc

  • Don’t forget to stop at a waterside temple near Hang Ba (the last cave) and take a short hike for cool photos of the panoramic view of Tam Coc. 
  • Bring an extra water botted to give it to a boat rower because of their hard work ( On sunny days)
  • Don’t take a boat trip between 12pm to 2pm ( which is the hottest time during the summertime from May to late August)
  • If you have kids over 12 years old, which is considered like an adult, so be prepared to take 2 boats; each boat allows 2 adults and 1 young kid or 2 young kids. 
  • Bring changes or small notes of 50k to 100k VND to give tips for the boat rower at the end of the trip.
  • Take along with you: hats, umbrellas, bottled water, suncream, sung glasses. 
  • If you want to check out Thai Vy temple, ask the boat rower stop at the sign of Thai Vy temple on the way back 
  • May and early June is the best time to see yellow rice paddy during the harvest season, the view is absolutely stunning.

Hiking Mua viewpoint

The dragon peak at Mua viewpoint

The dragon peak at Mua viewpoint

Hang Mua viewpoint is known as the best viewpoint in Ninh Binh with magnificent views of towering limestone cliffs, green paddy fields and rivers. From its peak, you can see Ngo Dong river from above, where the boat ride in Tam Coc is.

To reach its peak, there is a 486 steps staircase to hike, it’s a bit challenging for kids but the awesome view is worth every single step. 

The higher you hike, the stepper steps are so be careful when you get down, it’s better to hold the hand of your kids when getting down. It looks scary, really. 

My advice is to hike Mua viewpoint in the late afternoon, around 5 pm and admire the sunset on the peak, especially during the summertime. 

It can be misty during the Springtime from March to early April but the panoramic view is so breathtaking

Insider family travel tips when hiking the Mua peak

  • There are 2 peaks to choose from but the dragon peak offer 360-degree view but it’s hard to get there, the other one called the virtual pagoda peak which is less beautiful but easier to hike. Just choose one of them to hike to save your engergy
  • Don’t hike around noon or 2pm in the summertime because it is super hot. Believe me, you will be thirsty, exhausted and maybe sunstroke with the kids
  • Bring a couple of water botted when hiking. There is also a store on halfway to reaching its peak
  • Put on walking shoes and have to be very careful when the rain is light because it will be so slippery
  • There is no handrail, so take along a walking stick which may helps.
  • Go pee pee before hiking because there is no toilet on the peak.

Taking a leisurely pushbike ride through alleyways in the villages around the Tam Coc area.

Biking in Tam Coc Ninh Binh

Biking in Tam Coc Ninh Binh

There is no better way to explore the Tam Coc area on two wheels. You can easily find a bike rental store near Tam Coc pier or get one at your homestay where you are staying. Please be aware to check the tire, break before hopping on a bike, and maybe test ride for a couple of minutes. If something is wrong, someone there fixes it for you.

Biking route around the Tam Coc area

Pick up your bike from the Tam Coc pier, take a left turn and follow the main road til you see  the bridge; take a left turn into the country road, til you see a banyan tree, take a left turn and follow the main path, when you see the tombs take a ride turn and follow the path, you will see the main road, take a right turn and ride along the main road, heading to Bich Dong pagoda, until you see a T-junction, take a left turn and keep riding another 5 kilometers to reach Thung Nham bird park 

I do recommend taking a guided tour to Ninh Binh so you can explore the hidden routes only locals know, otherwise, you cycle along the main road with lots of traffic. 

Trekking the Cuc Phuong national park

Hiking in Cuc Phuong national park

Hiking at cuc phuong national park

I have read lots of blog posts about travelling Ninh Binh with kids, but none of them has mentioned the national park. Trekking through the jungle is a very unique experience.

Cuc Phuong national park is just 1 hour drive from Tam Coc, a great place to explore the richness of the faura and flora, trek through the primeval jungles and more.

Cuc Phuong is a great place for kids 

  • A place for outdoor activities with 2 hours of trekking through the jungle with many trees and plants, heading to the thousand-year-old tree. 
  • Learn in-depth about animals at Endangered Primate Center and about different species of langurs and turtles at the Turtle Conservation Centre.
  • If time permits, hike 200 steps to reach the entrance of Early Man cave; remember to bring the torch with you because it’s pretty dark inside the cave. 

Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh

Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh

Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh

Again, I don’t know why it isn’t the bucket list of travelling with kids in Ninh Binh. For sure, your kids gonna love the place. It is on the way to Cuc Phuong national park, a couple of kilometers from the national park. Why don’t you combine a visit with the national park. 

Founded by FOUR PAWS, the worldwide welfare organization for animals.  The sanctuary serves as a new refuge for bears rescued from bile farming and the illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam. It provides an indelible opportunity for learning and exploration in a pristine natural environment.

I recommend contacting them in advance to organize a guided tour from 45 minutes to 1 hour to see the sanctuary. You will learn in-depth about the center here. It is really worth it. Don’t forget to buy some souvenirs at their store to support the center

Taking  a bamboo boat at Trang An Ecotourism site

Boat trip in Trang An

Boat trip in Trang An

Trang An is a Unesco Site, a very popular tourist hotspot among Vietnamese, it is perfect for those who want to experience a longer bamboo boat ride than Tam Coc through limestone caves, admire the stunning beauty of the towering limestone cliffs, learn more about the history of Vu Lam palace. 

There are 3 routes to choose from 

Route 1 : Temples and caves routes : There are 9 different caves and a couple of temples and pagodas. It is also the longest route, 3 hours boat ride. I don’t recommend this route

Route 2 : The shortest one, just over 2 hours bamboo boat trip for those who like nature beauty, highlights in Trang An with limited time. This route is suitable for those who don’t like going through the longest cave. 

Route 3 : It takes about 2.5 hours for this route. I do like this route a lot since it offers the boat ride through the longest cave in the Trang An complex, also, the view is so stunning that you may feel lost in a different world.  I found out this route is a great balance of route 2 and Route 1

I recommend taking a boat in the morning or afternoon after 3pm to avoid big crowds and heat. 

Thung Nham bird park 

Thung Nham bird parrk Ninh Binh

Thung Nham bird garden is home to 40 species of birds

A lesser-known destination than Tam Coc and Trang An but Thung Nham bird park is perfect for families with kids during your visit in Ninh Binh. It offers everything for kids, from boat trips, bird watching to walking, cycling, exploring limestone caves, and tons of photo opportunities.

Thung Nham Bird Garden is 5 kilometers from Tam Coc, easily accessible by bicycle, moped, and car. Just follow the biking route to reach the bird park from Tam Coc. 

Thung Nham is home to 50,000 birds of over 40 species, a great place to learn about birds. Remember to get there after 5pm to see the birds returning after a day-long out.

If your family is in Thung Nham, do these things

  • The Mermaid cave
  • Boat trip along the Buddha cave
  • Boat trip to see tons of birds 
  • Walk around the orchard gardens

Where to stay in Ninh Binh with kids

There is a ton of options to choose from : homestays, bungalows, hotels, and resorts based on your interest and budget. 

Top homestays around Tam Coc and Trang An area to stay

  • An Eco Garden is located in the middle of nowhere but beautiful, quiet and safe. 
  • Horizon Bungalow – highly recommended with nice host, just 6 minute’s walk from the Tam Coc downtown
  • Tam Coc friendly family homestay
  • Ham Rong homestay
  • Tam Coc Mountain Lake Homestay

Note : Homestays aren’t a good choice for families with toddlers for pretty hot days since there is only airconditioning in the room. 

IF your family is out for the activities during the daytime and just comes back to sleep after the full-day activities then it is fine. I am sure that a place with pool during the summertime from May to August will be a great ideal. 

Middle-range accommodation in Tam Coc area

  • Latila hotel – brand new hotel with affordable price 
  • Le Clos du Fil Boutique Hotel & Spa
  • Tam Coc Condeluz Boutique hotel

Deluxe and Luxury Accommodation in Ninh Binh

  • Esmeralda Resort near Van Long Nature Reserve
  • Tam Coc Garden resort
  • Ninh Binh Hidden Charm Hotel – I like it the best since it is centrally located, just a few minutes walk from Tam Coc pier.
  • Ninh Binh Legend hotel with old and new buildings with 3 pools, one of them is an indoor pool (Good for hot summer) 

Family travel tips for choosing accommodation in Tam Coc

  • Look for the one with pool if you are travelling during the hot season, homestay is most recommended 
  • Ask for a mosquito net if you are staying in a bungalow
  • Check if the accommodation offers lunch and dinner
  • If you are taking a boat to Halong bay, ask your accommodation to prepare take away breakfast the night earlier or check if they can serve early breakfast

Top Ninh Binh family-friendly tour options 

Ninh Binh private tours for family with kids

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

If you would like a hassle-free short trips to 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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