Ninh Binh Itinerary for ONE Day – Time to plan your own trip

Best Ninh Binh itinerary for anyone wish to visit this amazing place!

Ninh Binh, situated in the southernmost plains of North Vietnam, consists of many tourist spots that definitely bring to the visitors a breathtaking landscape. A tranquil province stays 95 kilometres to the south from Hanoi, Ninh Binh has more things to do than your expectation of a day trip from Hanoi.

You probably want to see it all but spending long days in Ninh Binh isn’t always an option. This article provides the most amazing one-day itinerary let’s escape from a bustling city to a majestic and impressive natural space.

Ninh Binh is perfect place for family, friend or even solo travelers

Ninh Binh in a day – Aware the featured places

The scenery itself is absolutely worth the trip. You can find out why Vietnamese call Ninh Binh as “Vietnam’s Hidden Gem”. Genuinely, Ninh Binh keeps their gorgeous mysteries deep inside the spots proximity nearby Tam Coc, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Hoa Lu. Coming to this place, the most interesting thing that appears in your eyes is the karst – rock formations rising from the mist. Indeed a fantasy scenery!

Ninh Binh was actually the capital of Vietnam for three significant dynasties throughout the tenth and 11th centuries, preserving their historical and cultural legacies until now. It is one of those places you definitely need to get your own transport if you don’t want to miss out amazing things in the peaceful rural road.

In fact, the highlight of Ninh Binh is to take a seat on the rowboat in Tam Coc or Trang An, spreading out your arms to feel the breeze of the land. The smell of the rice paddies and the fresh air make you close the eyes and find your inner peace.

>>> Check out Top Things To Do in Ninh Binh for the best trip ever!

Highlight of the trip is taking a boat tour. MUST TRY for any tourist!

Count the splendid destinations on the maps for Ninh Binh 1 day itinerary

Now, let’s find out which places to put on the Itinerary-1-Day-in-Ninh-Binh wish list!

Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex (A convergence of cultural and natural values)

On 23 June 2014, Trang An Complex was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee in Doha.

Trang An is a perfectly mixed cultural and natural resources within three protected areas: Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, Trang An-Tam Coc-Bich Dong Scenic Landscape, and Hoa Lu Special-Use Forest. It consists of a handful of caves and rocks jutting out of a huge complex of canals and lakes.

The whole picture is formed of hat-shaped limestone mountains, covered by leafy jungles and the valley is blanketed with the golden paddy fields. Not to mention the crystal-clear rivers and streams that run along these valleys, reflecting the blue sky above.

Trang An Landscape Complex attracts thousands of tourists every year with its natural epic beauty

Entrance fee: 200.000 VND included 2.5 hours boat ride which is rowed by an experienced boatwoman, who is very known all the way around the area.

Tam Coc (Three Spectacular Caves)

The attractive structure of the limestone mountain is the main reason why Trang An is nicknamed “Ha Long Bay on Land”. If Halong Bay features huge rock beyond the sea, Tam Coc has them beyond the beautiful rice paddies. Can’t miss in your Ninh Binh itinerary!

Tam Coc has three caves included: Hang Ca, the first cave with 127 meters length; Hang Hai, the second cave, is 70 meters long and the third and smallest cave, Hang Ba, is only 40 meters. There is no way to see all the caves better than a rowboat trip.

A boat trip in Tam Coc will lead you through 3 mysterious caves

The 2-hour boat trip takes you to all the caves. Drift downstream on the Ngo Dong River, the boat ride is indeed a peaceful experience you ever try and surely leave you in awe with the mother nature’s beauty. It will bring to you a healthy dose for the next long journey. There’s no shade in the boats so don’t forget to bring sunscreen and a hat or umbrella unless you want to own a sunburnt skin when coming back.

Entrance fee:

  • Sightseeing ticket: 120.000 VND/person. With children’s height is below 140cm: 60.000 VND/person
  • Boat ticket: 150.000/boat (4 Vietnamese person or 2 foreigners ). Free for children who are under 3 years old.

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Come to Hoa Lu, you will stay into the capital of Vietnam during the Dinh (968 – 80) and early Le (980 – 1009) dynasties. The historical value of Hoa Lu covered an area about 3 square kilometres with the temples, shrines and the king’s palace. The royal family lived in the inner citadel. It is very peaceful inside the complex and you can wander around by yourself or ask for help from the guides at the temple who work for free.

>>> Usually, travelers will combine Hoa Lu and Tam Coc in 1 trip as the 2 places are close to each other. Moreover, they carry the most signature value and beauty of Ninh Binh

Entrance fee: 20.000 VND/adult. 10.000 VND/children

The ancient Hoa Lu will bring you back to the old day of Vietnam

Phat Diem Cathedral

Phat Diem Cathedral is one of the most famous and beautiful churches in Vietnam with special architecture: an elegant combination of Western church architecture style and Vietnamese religious buildings.

Not the most popular choice but cosider to take a trip here if you want to explore the unique architecture. Moreover, Phat Diem is the most perfect place for those who don’t like “too-crowded” place.

The cathedral’s wooden interior boasts a vaulted ceiling supported by massive columns. Vietnamese-looking cherubs swarm, while Chinese-style clouds drift across the blue ceiling above the granite altar. Beneath are icons of the martyrs slaughtered by Emperor Tu Duc during the anti-Catholic purges in the 1850s. There’s free-standing bell tower, and stone slabs are where mandarins used to observe the Catholic Mass opposite the cathedral’s main doors. And the tomb of the Vietnamese founder, Father Six, between the tower and the cathedral.

Entrance fee: Free

Beautiful scenery surrouding Phat Diem Stone Cathedral

Mua Cave

Mua Cave is the most dramatic destination. Climbing to 500 steps above ground, it is absolutely challenging for who impermanent do the exercises.

From the top of the mountain, the whole beauty of the Tam Coc area with the vast and green rice fields appear under your eyes. The view all-over Tam Coc is really remarkable and it is worth 500 steps. According to legend, Tran King often came here to hear the beautiful women singing and dancing when he returned to Hoa Lu. Therefore, this place is named Dance Cave, which means Hang Mua in Vietnamese.

>>> Witness the Ninh Binh scenery on above with Hoa Lu Tam Coc Mua Cave trip!

Entrance fee: 100.000 VND/person

You can visit Mua Cave on your trip or join the Hoa Lu Tam Coc Mua Cave tour with us!

Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda is also a good option as it’s fairly beautiful and less challenging than Mua Cave. The Southeast Asia’s largest pagoda makes you immerse yourself in Buddhism culture as well as gain a deep understanding of how this religion influences Vietnamese.

Located 15 kilometres away from Ninh Binh city in a mountain area, Bai Dinh Pagoda is a HUGE religious complex. In fact, everything is massive here. Within the 5.39-square-kilometers premises, there are 5000 Buddha statues, a 36-ton bronze bell and dozens of Buddhist temples, each more opulent than the other. Usually, visitors move to the gate by electric car.

Bai Dinh Pagoda is more glorious when all the lights’re on

Built-in 2003 and finally complete in 2010, the new Bai Dinh Pagoda covers a total of 7000 square metres and adheres to traditional Vietnam design aesthetics with special materials from local handicraft villages was selected for the interior. The old Bai Dinh Pagoda is located some 800 metres from the new one, smaller and stayed into a series of small caves on the mountainside.

Entrance fee:

  • Electrical car: 30.000 VND/person for 1 way ticket
  • Visiting Bao Thap: 50.000 VND/person

Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong is established in 1962. It’s the oldest national park and rare well-preserved rainforest. Just 45 kilometres from Ninh Binh, this Botanical Garden is the greatest place for hiking, biking and observe plants and wild animals.

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

There is another thing will surprise you, that is an amazing scenery made by variety of colourful butterflies. Welcome to one of Mother Nature’s Habitat.

Entrance fee: 60.000 VND/person, 20.000 VND/student, 10.000 VND/children

Best itinerary one day in Ninh Binh

Let’s see some Ninh Binh day trip itinerary from our local experts. If you wish to have one made only for you, contact us for FREE Customized Itinerary!

Hoa Lu, Trang An & Mua Cave


  • Climbing almost 500 steps to the top of Mua cave
  • Hoa Lu ancient capital, a treasure of culture, architecture and history of the original land of Viet Nam
  • Biking, Vietnamese food
  • Panoramic view of Trang An
  • Immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of Trang An – UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Unforgettable boat ride through the beautiful landscape of Trang An

>>> Take a look at the detailed trip


  • Head to Mua Cave & Lunchtime
  • Explore Hoa Lu Ancient Capital
  • Discover Trang An Complex
  • Return Hanoi

500 steps to the top of Mua Cave to witness this fantasy scenery

Hoa Lu, Tam Coc


  • Understanding of Vietnamese history through Hoa Lu Ancient Capital – Capital of Vietnam in the 10th to the 11th century.
  • Visit the temples of Dinh and Le Dynasties and explore ancient relics remaining from when Hoa Lu was the country’s capital.
  • Immerse yourself on stunning landscape with natural limestone formations in Tam Coc.
  • Experience Tam Coc River Tour
  • Cycling to explore pretty villages
  • Try local dishes in Ninh Binh


  • Explore Hoa Lu Ancient Capital
  • Lunch Time & Explore Tam Coc
  • Cycling Along The Roads Of Tam Coc
  • Return Hanoi

Take a seat on the rowboat in the Ngo Dong River, spread out your arms and feel the familiar breeze of the land warms your skin

Tam Coc, Mua Cave


  • Understanding of Vietnamese history through Hoa Lu Ancient Capital – Capital of Vietnam in the 10th to the 11th century.
  • Visit the temples of Dinh and Le Dynasties and explore ancient relics remaining from when Hoa Lu was the country’s capital.
  • Immerse yourself on stunning landscape with natural limestone formations in Tam Coc.
  • Experience Tam Coc River Tour
  • Cycling to explore pretty villages
  • Try local dishes in Ninh Binh


  • Explore Hoa Lu Ancient Capital
  • Lunch Time & Explore Tam Coc
  • Cycling Along The Roads Of Tam Coc
  • Return Hanoi

>>> If you wish to take a private trip to spend time with your friends, family or lover, check Private Tam Coc Mua Cave Tour!

The altar of Quan Am (the Goddess of Mercy) located on the mountain top

Or consider some alternative choices

Phat Diem Cathedral Tam Coc


  • Visit Phat Diem Cathedral
  • Take a boat ride to scenic caves and grottos
  • Experience Tam Coc River Tour
  • Try local dishes in Ninh Binh


  • Explore Phat Diem Cathedral Complex
  • Lunch Time & Discover Tam Coc
  • Cycling Along The Roads Of Tam Coc
  • Return Hanoi

An overview of Phat Diem stone cathedral Ninh Binh

Trekking Tour in Cuc Phuong National Park


  • Adventurous day trip
  • Visiting the Endangered Primates Rescue Center, Turtle Conservation Program, Botanical garden, Great jungle trek through primary forest
  • Find “1000-year-old tree”
  • Explore special caves in the park


  • Arriving in Ninh Binh
  • Transfer to Cuc Phuong National Park
  • Visiting the Endangered Primates Rescue Centre
  • Lunchtime & Take a rest
  • Visit the cave of prehistoric man & Trek in the forest
  • Return Hanoi

>>> Start your adventure now! <<<

You can easily spot many special animals in Cuc Phuong Park so get you camera ready!

Time to go exploring the way to Ninh Binh

There are many way to reach Ninh Binh: train, bus, private car and motorbike for those who love adventure. You can look for some suggestions in Hanoi to Tam Coc – Transports and Tickets. There, you can find the way to reach Ninh Binh or Tam Coc directly!

In another side, highly recommend finding a trusted agent, they will provide you with the best travel guide and absolute more certain for your short-term trip to Ninh Binh. And the can recommend you the best Ninh Binh itinerary!

>>> See more Best Ninh Binh travel agencies

Small tips for your big trip

Make sure you bring enough money

There are no ATMs in anywhere around Trang An Complex and it definitely is so far to come back Ninh Binh city to withdraw the money. Not so happy if you realize that you don’t have enough money when paying something.

Keep calm and keep driving (for anyone traveling by motorbike)

Don’t be rushed each time you hear quite lots of honks behind you. Vietnamese people just want to announce their presence to you, you’re not doing anything wrong.

That’s what you need to know to plan a Ninh Binh one day trip! If you have any question, please ask us – the Original Hoa Lu Tam Coc. It’s our pleasure to help!