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Travel Guide

15 Best Things To Do in Ninh Binh for first time visit! (MUST-DO)

best thing to do in Ninh Binh - Mua Cave

Tourists in Hanoi often opt for Ninh Binh to be the next destination. Ninh Binh is a beautiful place with a lot of attractions, such as Tam Coc – Bich Dong and Trang An tourism complex. They are usually in the wishlist of travelers coming to Vietnam. However, many travelers are still wondering about What to do in Ninh Binh. Therefore, here is a list of Top things to do in Ninh Binh!

best thing to do in Ninh Binh - Mua Cave

Ready to fall in love with Ninh Binh?

What to do in Ninh Binh Vietnam that you don’t want to miss?

1. Visit Tam Coc

Tam Coc is one of the pearls of Ninh Binh with its magnificent landscapes. It has gained popularity for so long and became the most visited destination in Ninh Binh. Our advice for the best experience at Tam Coc Ninh Binh is to choose a boat trip, but you can also opt for motorbike. Coming to Tam Coc is the right choice if you want to get off the beaten track and stay away from the crowd of tourists.

best thing to do in Ninh Binh - Tam Coc

Tam Coc is truly a place with beautiful landscape

2. Visit Bich Dong Pagoda

If you love taking aesthetic photos, Bich Dong Pagoda is a must-visit place for you and it’s not far away from Tam Coc. So tourists often visit Bich Dong along with Tam Coc within a trip.

The ancient pagoda is surrounded by a water trench with blooming lotus all year round. The special things about Bich Dong Pagoda is the path to its top is connected to a cave decorated with massive statues. When you are at the peak of Bich Dong, you will have a panoramic view of the landscape around you, everything is so beautiful and marvellous. This is no doubt a photogenic place.

best thing to do in Ninh Binh - Bich Dong Pagoda

Bich Dong Pagoda is located on the side of a mountain and includes three pagodas called the Ha, Trung and Thuong Pagodas

3. Spend the day at Hoa Lu Citadel

Hoa Lu is the ancient capital of Vietnam and is located in Ninh Binh.it is famous for the beauty and charm which can rival any other tourist destinations with a large number of pagodas and temples. Hoa Lu is now a rising star in the list of tourist when coming to Vietnam. This breathtaking ancient beauty is now a relic complex lying in the North of Vietnam and was the capital of three ancient dynasties.

Hoa Lu is recognized by UNESCO as one of the four core zones of the Trang An World Heritage Complex – also a place worth visiting. The story of a thousand-year history of Vietnam will be revealed in Hoa Lu with its serene landscape and magnificent temples.

>>> Visit Hoa Lu – Tam Coc and many other destinations in one trip!

best thing to do in Ninh Binh - Hoa Lu Citadel

Hoa Lu Citadel is a mysterious and historic place that you will fall in love with

4. Visit Kinh Dinh Temple

King Dinh Temple is one of the unique architectures to worship King Dinh Tien Hoang, one of the greatest Kings of Vietnam.

Built with carved wood and stone, King Dinh Temple was the masterpiece of the skilful Vietnamese folk artists – all made by their hands alone. The temple will bring you back in time of hundreds years ago with its peaceful, sediment and impressive beauty.

King Dinh Temple lies at the foot of Ma Yen mountain, and it takes a climb of more than 200 steps to the top of the mountain to visit this temple, so of course the panoramic view there will be significant. The lush green forest and cloudy mountains running to the horizon will give your camera the best shot..

best thing to do in Ninh Binh - Kinh Dinh

Kinh Dinh is located in Hoa Lu Citadel complex

5. Visit Kinh Le Temple

Just nearby King Dinh Temple is the Temple of King Le. This temple is usually regarded as a smaller version King Dinh Temple, but it still has a unique beauty. The whole architecture has three parts: the front shrine, Thien Huong house and the sanctum worshipping Le King.

The highlight of both temples can be considered to be the statues displaying the art of ancient Vietnam. They were sculptured a long time ago – maybe hundreds of years ago – but generally they are intact and beautiful as ever. They survived war and time, just waiting for you to explore them!

Both temple is located in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital so don’t forget to visit these places when you come to Hoa Lu.

best thing to do in Ninh Binh - Kinh Le

Nearby Kinh Dinh is Kinh Le so it’s really convenient for tourist to explore the 2 places in a short time!

6. Explore Mua Cave

Mua Cave, literally meaning is “The Dancing Cave”, is an eco-tourism complex located in Khe Ha Village, Ninh Xuan commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam. Nowadays, this attraction is a must for hiker and photographer tourists to visit in Ninh Binh.

The way leading to the peaceful, natural Mua Cave is a 500-step zigzag stone staircase. At the end of the staircase is an altar of Quan Am. And when you conquer the staircase, you can stand at the peak of mountains with a stunning view of Ninh Binh. The photogenic and impressive view of Mua Cave will be an unforgettable memory for anyone who seeks natural beauty.

>>> Check this out to start your journey here!

best thing to do in Ninh Binh - Mua Cave (2)

The photogenic and impressive view of Mua Cave will be an unforgettable memory for anyone who seeks natural beauty.

7. Visit Phat Diem Cathedral

34 kilometers away from the center of Ninh Binh is Phat Diem Cathedral which located in the middle of charming scenic valleys and rice paddies.

This place has once been the central worship land for the commune of Phat Diem which was also called the ‘Vatican of Vietnam’ during the colonial period. The highlight of this is Phat Diem Cathedral, which dated back to 1898 and was built with a mixture of Vietnamese and Western styles; including two gothic chapels and some massive ironwood columns.

The cathedral is utmost impressive, it also means that you should not miss out this destination. The best way is combining Phat Diem with Tam Coc trip!

best thing to do in Ninh Binh - Phat Diem Cathedral

Phat Diem Cathedral is extremely remarkable with its ancient architecture

8. Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong National Park is a massive natural museum and a really good place for you to pave your way into the wildlife. It is located somewhat around 120 kilometers away from Hanoi and you can easily find a tour to Cuc Phuong National Park from Hanoi.

Cuc Phuong National Park was established in 1962 to be a part of protected land in Ninh Binh to take care of the endangered wildlife in the region and preserve the biodiversity of Vietnam in general.

>>> Take a look at Tam Coc Tour Trekking in Cuc Phuong Park

Cuc Phuong National Park butterflies

If you visit Cuc Phuong National Park in spring, you can see thousands of beautiful white butterflies flying everywhere since its reproductive season

9. Visit the Conservation Centers

Apart from National Park Cuc Phuong, conservation centres are ideal places for nature-lovers in Ninh Binh. You will be amazed by the stories of origins of all kinds of species, from animals to plants told by these centres:

  • Established in 1985, Cuc Phuong Botanical Garden was listed in the International Botanical Gardens to be a place for the preservation of genetic resources and rare plants, forming a semi-wild ecology for these kinds of flora. You can easily access the garden within a walking distance.
  • The Endangered Primate Rescue Center aims to help to rescue individual rare primates such as Gray langur, Cat Ba langur, etc, from confiscation; releasing animals to nature and doing research on primate’s living habits and environment. This is a wonderful place of a good deed.
  • If you are into academic knowledge, you should pay a visit to Cuc Phuong Museum. To students, conservation experts, botanists and tourists all alike, this is truly one of the greatest study sites about biology. The museum has been the preservation site of specimens such as insects, butterflies and other animals such as bear, leopard, monkey, etc.
best thing to do in Ninh Binh - Endangered Primate Rescue Centre

Rare lorises at Endangered Primate Rescue Centre in Cuc Phuong.

10. Admire Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh temple complex is another sightseeing worth visiting. It includes three levels: the bell tower pagoda on the first level, the giant golden Buddha statue on the second level and the third one is Bai Dinh pagoda. Besides, at the top of Bai Dinh Temple, a silver Buddha statue is standing there, at the peak of the mountain.

best thing to do in Ninh Binh - Bai Dinh Pagoda

To explore Bai Dinh Temple is to learn more about Vietnam

The religious, impressive, out-of-this-place and appealing beauty of Bai Dinh temple complex is the main reason for its worldwide fame. There is even a 36-ton bronze bell in the Bell Tower! If you are in love with the ancient Asian architecture, you should note down this place.

11. Take a boat trip in Trang An

Trang An is a familiar name with tourists – it is undeniably one of the best places to visit in Northern Vietnam. Terminology speaking, Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex is a world heritage site, consisting of various tourism destinations. However, the absolute recommendation for Trang An tourists is taking a boat tour to explore this place.

>>> How about a trip to Hoa Lu, Trang An and Mua Cave? It will help you save time and yet still explore the best of Ninh Binh

best thing to do in Ninh Binh - Trang An boat tour

You will be able to enter a cave with a whole new world lying before your eyes

Unlike Halong Bay, there is no luxury cruise here, unfortunately. The reason is that the narrow waterway makes going by small paddle wooden boat better than a large ship passing through. You will have the chance to row slowly on a wooden boat with friendly locals through the jade-like water and serpentine streams with mountains and valley on both sides – something that will make your trip memorable.

12. The Kong: Skull Island filming location and the aboriginal village

If you are a fan of the blockbuster, don’t miss this. The aboriginal village is almost identical to what you see in the movie and even better: it’s free of charge. If you love the Kong: Skull Island, this is the place re-created for the tourists to get the movie’s experience. You will be lost in a mysterious world with all the architecture and the native people.

Private Hoa Lu Trang An Mua Cave

Film your own Kong: Skull Island here!

In order to get to “Skull Island” or the aboriginal village, you can go by boat. The main pier of Trang An scenic complex is near there. So consider this Hoa Lu – Trang An – Mua Cave trip!

13. Eat at the Snail Restaurants

If you go to Mua Cave in April to August, you may have a chance to try the famous mountain snail dishes in may form: roasted, steamed with ginger, or boiled with herbs and lemongrass,… The chewy and delicious snails are definitely the new face of Ninh Binh cuisine.

best thing to do in Ninh Binh - Snail

Don’t miss this new face of Ninh Binh cuisine while in here!

14. Try the goat meat

Dishes from mountain goat is the second thing you should try. In Ninh Binh, there are a lot of restaurants specialised in cooking goat meat with secret family recipes that are handed down from generation to generation. The dishes are undisputable tasty and remarkable.

best thing to do in Ninh Binh - Goat Meat

The goat is also usually served with rice paper rolls and a plethora of fresh herbs

15. Try the Scorched Rice

Talking about Ninh Binh cuisine, you must talk about scorched rice, also known as crunchy rice. This is a thin and crispy layer of brown rice cooked at the bottom of the pot on direct flame or heat. Scotcher rice was recognized as one of the most excellent dishes of Vietnam and Asia in the year 2012. The recommendation of the restaurant to enjoy this dish is on the side of Highway 1, at local restaurants or in the centre city of Ninh Binh.

best thing to do in Ninh Binh - Scorched Rice

Scorched Rice is properly the specialty of Ninh Binh. Don’t forget to buy some for gifts!

This is also the end of the complete list of what to do in Ninh Binh exclusive just for you. We hope that you will find this helpful and encouraging you to visit Ninh Binh someday.

If you have any questions or if you want further information and advice, please feel free to contact us, the Original Hoa Lu – Tam Coc team. It is our pleasure to help you plan your perfect trip to Ninh Binh province!

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