Guide to Ninh Binh, Vietnam’s Hidden Gem

When visiting Vietnam, most tourists would prefer to go to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, and other famous attractions in the country. But if you prefer to venture off-the-beaten-path, consider visiting Ninh Binh, Vietnam’s most beautiful hidden gem. Boasting impressive natural landscapes, quaint villages, and beautiful colonial buildings, the city of Ninh Binh is not like any other cities you’ve been! If this is something that you find interesting, then here’s your guide to visiting this beautiful city of Vietnam.

How to Get to Ninh Binh


Ninh Binh is located in the northern part of the country. It is best to fly to Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city when visiting Ninh Binh. There are numerous International flights that go directly to Hanoi. If you need a visa to enter the country, you can apply for your visa in advance at

Upon arriving in Hanoi, you’ll have two options to get to Ninh Binh. You can take the train or catch a bus. When taking the train, take one of the southbound trains that travel to Ninh Binh province. But a more convention option would be to catch the bus. There are regular buses that travel to Ninh Binh daily coming from the southern bus terminal of Hanoi. The travel time for both train and bus is 2 hours, more or less. You can book your ticket through a travel agent or go directly to the train or bus terminal.

What to Do in Ninh Binh


There are so many things to do in Ninh Binh but if you have limited time in the city, here are some of the most recommended things to do:

  • Go boating in Trang An – the Trang An landscape complex is one of the most popular sights in Ninh Binh. The best way to explore it is by riding a small rowing boat where a local guide takes you to a 2-hour journey into the massive caves, lakes, and temples. On this tour, you’ll be treated to the most stunning natural views during your entire journey! Trang An is about 7 km away from the city of Ninh Binh. You can hire a car with driver to get there or rent a motorbike and drive yourself.

  • Explore the countryside on a bike – if you’re confident enough to drive a motorbike in Vietnam, it is best to rent one and drive all over Ninh Binh to explore its beautiful sights and attractions. Take a stop on some of the scenic rice fields. Walk through the tiny paths that will lead you to the local villages. This is a great way to observe the local lifestyle up close and learn more about the culture.

  • Visit the Thung Nham Bird Garden – this beautiful bird garden is tucked in a mountain and only a few visitors would venture into the place, which means that there’s usually less crowd in this park. It’s home to hundreds of different bird species. If you visit in the late afternoon or early in the morning, you’ll see that the trees are filled with all kinds of birds, which is truly a joy to watch!

  • Explore the Cuc Phong National Park – another park that is worth a visit in Ninh Binh is the Cuc Phong National Park. The place is famous for its beautiful Botanical Garden. It’s also home to an animal rescue center that serves as a shelter to hundreds of primates from all over the country. This is a great place to hike, bike, and get close to a wide range of interesting animal species!

Getting Around Ninh Binh

For a more convenient way of exploring Ninh Binh, it is best to get your own transport. Renting a motorbike is so cheap in Vietnam, costing only $5 per day. So if you have a driver’s license and you’re comfortable with driving a bike, then go ahead and get one! You can check with your hotel or inquire at some local travel agents on where you can rent a bike. In fact, driving a motorbike is one of the most exciting things to do in Ninh Binh, especially if you pass into the scenic rice fields!

If you don’t have a driver’s license, you can instead rent a bike and pedal your way into the city! Almost all the areas in Ninh Binh are flat and the roads are in decent condition so it should be safe to bike around. If you’re heading to Tam Coc, biking is a great way to explore the area. For your safety, avoid biking into the main roads where buses and cars travel very fast.

If you don’t want to rent a motorbike or bike, your best bet is to hire a car with driver. You can book this through a travel agent in Hanoi or when you arrive in Ninh Binh.