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
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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.
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.
There are many options to choose from: local buses, tourist buses, private transfers, and trains, based on your preference and budget.
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
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.
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.
|Reunification Express Train SE5 2hr 18min
|Reunification Express Train SE7 2hr 19min
|Reunification Express Train SE19 2hr 15min
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
There is a ton of options to choose from : homestays, bungalows, hotels, and resorts based on your interest and budget.
We hope this Ninh Binh with kids travel guide helps you plan a wonderful family trip to Ninh Binh.