Ninh Binh Itinerary: 1, 2 or 3 Days is Better?
How many days is enough for exploring Ninh Binh, one, two, or three days? Most tourists book a day trip to Ninh Binh from Hanoi, some spend overnight in Ninh Binh or even 2 nights there. Depending on the amount of time you have for your holiday, one, two, or three days’ trip to Ninh Binh is still good for everyone. Find useful information for the itinerary for Ninh Binh in this article: Ninh Binh Itinerary: 1, 2 or 3 Days is Better? you can easily make the decision about how much time you need for this province.
Popular Ninh Binh itinerary
Ninh Binh one-day Itinerary
If you have only one day in Ninh Binh, what can you do? Where should you visit? I would recommend Hoa Lu - Tam Coc for a day tour from Hanoi. Coming to these places, you will be impressed by their epic history and breathtaking scenery.
Hoa Lu is an indeed important national remains complexes of Vietnam. The remains system in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is related to the people under Dinh, Tien Le, Ly Dynasty. It has very special architectural complexes and was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage. With a long history of over 1000 years, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital had witnessed many ups and downs of the whole country. Nowadays, the old citadel stands silent as a sacred heritage site, offering a glimpse of historic glory lost in the mists of time.
Tam Coc is a flooded cave karst system with serene scenery which is not far away from Hoa Lu. Tam Coc, literally “three caves”, consists of three stunningly beautiful natural caves on the river – Ca Cave, Hai Cave, and Ba Cave. The three caves can only be accessed via boat, so sailing through them is the best way to enjoy the view, the fresh, cool air in the caves. You will also have the chance to gaze at the innumerable bizarre stalactites in various shapes and sizes hanging from the cave roof. If you come here during the harvest season (either May/June or September/October), there is a chance for you to see the golden rice, take picture of this peaceful scenery of mountains, rivers, and rice fields.
The tour not only includes boat rowing along the river but also cycling around beautiful villages to enjoy fresh air in the rural area and discover huge limestone mountains. At lunchtime, tourists can enjoy the delicious food of Ninh Binh in Vietnamese traditional restaurants.
Ninh Binh Tourist maps
Ninh Binh Two Day Itinerary
It would be great if you have more than one day in Ninh Binh, as there are many other things to do in Ninh Binh. Two days’ itinerary for Ninh Binh, you can visit Mua cave, Bich Dong, Tam Coc, Bai Dinh pagoda, and Trang An.
Day 1. Mua Caves. Bich Dong Pagoda. Tam Coc Boat Tour.
The first stop in Ninh Binh itinerary for 2 days is Mua cave which is known as the “Great Wall” miniature in Ninh Binh. Conquering and climbing 486 stone steps to the top of Mua Cave you will see the breathtaking views of the area’s beautiful scenery, the view of the city in the distance with Tam Coc behind you, and the limestone mountain along to the south of Vietnam.
The next stop is Bich Dong pagoda which itself is a set of 3 temples enclosed in a mountain. To explore the highest one, you need to pass through a series of caves. At some points, it is pitch dark inside, so watch your step. Inside you can find several Buddhist images carved in stone and hollow stalactites on which you can play some tunes. Some of these caves were used by the Viet Minh to hide from the French during the First Indochina War
Today's tour can end with a boat ride in Tam Coc along the Red River Delta which offers up-close views of the stunning karst cliffs in the area & Stay overnight in Ninh Binh.
Tam Coc boat ride
Day 2. Trang An Boat Trip. Bai Dinh Pagoda.
Starting your second-day tour in Ninh Binh by visiting the stunning Trang An Landscape Complex -– a World Heritage Site recognized by UNESCO which houses some of the most valuable historical and natural attractions in town. Trang An is made up of a cluster of limestone half covered in water, resulting in natural lakes and swamps connected to each other through caves. It takes roughly three hours to sail through and visit all the most remarkable caves here.
After a boat trip in Trang An, you head to Bai Binh complex, get on electric cars to visit massive architecture. Bai Dinh Pagoda area includes the ancient pagoda and the new pagoda. Bai Dinh Pagoda is designed with monumental architecture, bold traditional identity, attractive area for foreign tourists. This is a famous destination, honored as the largest pagoda in Southeast Asia.
Bai Dinh Pagoda
Three Days Itinerary
For a 3-day itinerary in Ninh Binh, we can use 2 days itinerary above and visit Cuc Phuong National park on the third day.
Cuc Phuong national park is the first national park and the largest nature reserve in Vietnam, hosting many diverse and abundant species of animals and plants in Vietnam. To join the tour to Cuc Phuong national park, you will need to be active, and at a reasonable physical fitness level as you will be trekking through dense grass jungle. There will be a lot of activities on the tour such as visiting ancient trees, the endangered Primate Rescue Center, the Cave of Prehistoric Man, trekking, cycling, kayaking…
Cuc Phuong National park
Tips to find the best Ninh Binh Itinerary
Above are 3 itineraries for Ninh Binh in one, two, and three days. Depending on how much time you have for your holiday to choose the best which is suitable for you
The first itinerary is suitable for those who are short in time but still can see the best of Ninh Binh. Hoa Lu and Tam Coc are among the best places to see in Ninh Binh. These two places are close to each other; it saves a lot of your traveling time.
The second itinerary allows you the chance to see Ninh Binh in depth. Do not have to be rush and spend many hours on day travel back and forth, you will have a chance to stay overnight in Ninh Binh, enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and fresh air. The sightseeing, the boat trip, or climbing the mountain is at a slow pace. You can both travel and relax.
The third itinerary is for the tourists who have much more time in Vietnam. You have a chance to visit most of the must-see places in Ninh Binh, and the national park.
Ninh Binh, the ancient capital city of Vietnam is recently an appealing destination for both natural sceneries and historical meaning. No matter what you are after, there is always something for you in Ninh Binh to explore. Pick up one among the three above itineraries, you will great time in this wonderful land.
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Questions & Answers (6)
Is Grab available in Ninh Binh for transportation between local attractions? Will we have to use a traditional taxi instead?
Hi! Grab isn't recommended in Ninh Binh as there's not many cars working there. You should use traditional taxi or for avoiding scams, please book private car through out your trip in advance.
Is Tam Coc still closed?
Hi! Tam Coc is opened. However, as it lacks of boat for sightseeing (only can adapt half of daily visitors), you may need luck to visit Tam Coc successfully.
how much should I tip the local paddlers after the boat tour?
Hi! The tip is up to you, usually, it's about 50,000 VND (~ $2.5).
Any recommend for foods and restaurants?
Hi! Ninh Binh has some specialties, such as:
- Dried burned rice: a kind of savory snack, sold in many rest stations and restaurants in Ninh Binh
- Goat meat: must-try in Ninh Binh, can be found everywhere here, but best restaurants is in Hoa Lu, such as Cuong De Restaurant or Chinh Thu Restaurant
When is the best time for shutterbugs to visit Cuc Phuong National Park?
You should come to Cuc Phuong National Park in the butterfly season (from April to June) when this national park's covered by a huge number of butterflies.