Ninh Binh is an agricultural province in the Red River Delta.
WHEN TO GO?
As Ninh Binh is located in the Red River Delta, its weather is like that in Hanoi. It means that Hanoi and Ninh Binh experience the same temperature such as wet, humid, hot, cold climate all round the year. So you can enjoy daily short tours and excursions from Hanoi all the time of the year.
HOW TO GET THERE?
Ninh Binh is faraway 100km from Hanoi. We head south to Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh by the high way No1. It takes nearly 2 hours if you travel by private car. If you take the public transportation – buses, your journey is longer around 3 hours by bus.
On the other hand, you can reach Ninh Binh from Halong Bay (250km) by road N10. After enjoying your cruise in Halong Bay, you drive from Halong Bay to Ninh Binh via Hai Phong, Thai Binh province, Nam Dinh which are all the hearts of Red River Delta.
Or you can head out to Ninh Binh from Hoa Binh town after your discovery to Mai Chau valley.
You also can travel to Ninh Binh from Hue by train or by bus. There are open bus tours which run daily from Hanoi to Hue via Ninh Binh and vice versa along the Highway No1.
WHERE TO STAY ?
There is a wide range of accommodation in Ninh Binh province:
You can stay at one of hotels in Ninh Binh centre city with 2, 3, 4 star hotels per local standards ratings. Or if you are attached to the nature, you accommodate at Emeralda Resort & Spa (5*). You stay in the nature and retreat yourselves with spa treatments.
You also can get in touch with local peoples by choosing homestay in Tam Coc – chez Loan. You learn about daily lifestyle and habits of local inhabitants from washing house to teaching children to do their homework, cooking meals (lunch and dinner) to gardening or farm activities.
You can also indulge with wildlife in Cuc Phuong National Park if you decide to overnight in the guest house of Cuc Phuong National Park. There, you get up with bird songs and animals of all kinds.
WHAT TO DO ?
Since 2012, there is a new golf course in Ninh Binh, called" Royal Golf Course Club" which offers a challenging shot of 54 holes for golf players.
Back to the time in the early 1990, Ninh Binh province was popular for its sightseeing like Hoa Lu, Tam Coc Bich Dong are famed as Halong Bay inland or Dry Halong Bay.
In Hoa Lu and Tam Coc Bich Dong pagoda which are the most favorite attractions over two decades thank to French movie "Indochine" in 1991. At the beginning, travelers from France arrived for a day tour from Hanoi or they stayed in Ninh Binh town for one night before travelling to Halong Bay or Hue or Mai Chau valley in Hoa Binh. Visitors come graduately from other countries around the world such as Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Spain etc...
Hoa Lu - Ancient capital
Hoa Lu is the legendary ancient capital of Viet Nam. The old capital was built more than 10 centuries ago under the reign of Dinh Dynasty and Le Dynasty. It was its capital for just 41 years (968-1009). The capital then was moved to Thang Long under the Ly Dynasty (1010). With the size of 3000ha, Hoa Lu is protected by a natural wall with surrounding Trang An limestone mountains and Hoang Long river. The combination between mountains and rivers make Hoa Lu surroundings very picturesque. Hoa Lu is famous for the number of palaces, pagodas, tombs and pavilions that were built by different dynasties. Bao Thien Tue Palace that was plated with gold and silver is very popular with its architecture. There were also two famous temples that were built in the 11th century to dedicate King Dinh Tien Hoang and his successor Le Dai Hanh.
Tam Coc – Bich Dong pagoda
Tam Coc – Bich Dong - Vietnam Tourist Destination Tam Coc – Bich Dong is a very popular and attractive tourist spot community, which is known as ecotourism, culture, history, festivals, spirit, etc.Tam Coc – Bich Dong travel area is 100km of distance to the South from Hanoi, within the scope of Ninh Hai region, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province. There is still natural original feature here, with natural and simple beauty of the country, with many caves, which bring man to be sunk in nature with many historical monuments, culture, which are well known such as Thai Vi temple, Bich Dong pagoda, Tam Coc cave, Tien cave, Linh Coc pagoda.
Phat Diem Stone Cathedral
Phat Diem Cathedral was built between 1875 and 1899 with four roofs and six sets of iron wooden pillars and consists of a network of ponds, lakes, churches, and artificial caves. On both sides of the church are four smaller churches of different styles. Phuong Dinh Church, part of the Phat Diem complex, is a giant building entirely made of stone. Numerous stone sculptures are on the inside and outside walls. A large bell cast in the 1890s weighing nearly 2 tons is found in the bell tower. On the extreme north corner are three stone caves. The most beautiful of these caves is Lo Duc Grotto. Unlike these structures, built by Europeans and resembling typical churches of the era, Phat Diem Cathedral was designed by a Vietnamese priest, known as Father Sau.
Cuc Phuong National Park
Cuc Phuong National Park is located 100km south of Hanoi in Ninh Binh and it is on the borders of three provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa. Cuc Phuong National Park is surrounded by several limestone cliffs, the highest is May Bac, meaning "silver cloud peak," with a height of 656m. The best time to visit Cuc Phuong National Park is during the dry season, from December to April. When the hard forest rain accounting for 90% of the annual rainfall is over. The park is conveniently located on the route to several tourist attractions, including Bich Dong Pagoda, Hoa Lu, and Sam Son Beach. It was officially opened in 1962 as the first national park in Vietnam.
Van Long Natural Reserve
Van Long Nature Reserve is known as the "Preserved Nature Area" of Ninh Binh, it offers wonderful views of landscapes and rural life. Compared to Tam Coc - the used-to favorite site, Van Long is much more primitive and completely untouched. River, mountains, grottos, rice paddies, old houses, friendly locals, tiny-bamboo boat riding, ect., all contribute to make Van Long a must-see for the connoisseurs of traveling. Tourists who come to admire the reserve will have the opportunity to view rich flora and fauna within the most bio-diversified wetland in Vietnam, according to research by national and international scientists.
Kenh Ga Floating Village
Set on the banks of the Hoang Long River, Kenh Ga Floating Village is a remarkable place, not only because it is surrounded by the same massive rocks that dominate Hoa Lu, but also because for most of the year the entire community lives on the water itself. The floating village of Kenh Ga receives relatively few visitors compared to nearby Hoa Lu and the peoples' aquatic way of life has changed little over the centuries. The area is known as one of the most rural area in the Red River Delta. It offers a combination of unrigged countryside landscapes, traditional rural lifestyle and well-known friendly local folk. Touring the area would be really relaxing and fascinating as you are seating in a rowed-by-feet boat with scenes of people fishing, children rowing boats to school, simple houses clinging to limestone cliffs, etc. along the canal.
Van Trinh Cave
Van Trinh Cave is located in Mo Mountain (Wooden Bell Mountain), in Van Trinh hamlet; Thuong Hoa Commune, Nho Quan district. It is both accessible by boat from Kenh Ga resort and mini bus along the Dyke of Hoang Long. With an area of around 3,500 square meters, Van Trinh Cave is the biggest dry cave of Ninh Binh consisting of two connected caves.The lower cave is called Ca Cave that is divided in to two separated areas by a stalactite screen; behind this screen is a "luxurious palace". The ceiling of the cave is high and large.
There are many beautiful stalactites on the walls of the cave. The cave foundation has many multi-shape stone stalactites. Many stalactites form artificial ornamental basin with full edges and decorative patterns, the water is always full and clear. The second cave looks like a big theatre with many stalactites hanging from the ceiling, touching the foundation with the height of dozens of metres. The stalactites have melodious sounds like the sound of a gong and musical stone when we knock on it.
Because of its beauty, the local people named it Fairy Descending Cave (Giang Tien Cave). Legend says that a young fairy wanting to help the local people feed their children found the place so marvellous that she chose the cave as her living quarters. The fairy's swimming pool inside the cave is always filled with clear water. The poor sought the fairy's help by leaving a piece of cloth in the temple as an offering. When they returned, they found the cloth had been replaced with a baby's jacket that helped the child grow quickly. Van Trinh Cave still keeps it natural beauty with the purity and simplicity of the stone. The further the tourists discover the more interesting things they will enjoy in this cave.
Trang An Eco-tourism Complex is a potential destination in Ninh Binh. Covering an area of 1,961 hectares, Trang An belongs to the mass of Attraction Relic of Hoa Lu Ancient Capital and includes three main functional subdivisions: Center area for welcoming visitors and festival organization; tourist area of Grottoes with 48 grottoes and caves together 31 large and small valleys; and hallowed cultural area of Bai Dinh Pagoda. The whole complex has 47 historical relics and nearly 100 grottoes stretching around 20km South – North.
Bai Dinh Pagoda
Bai Dinh Pagoda is famous for its great size and imposingness. The pagoda will be also set more record for the owner of the most Arhat Statues in ASEAN with 500 Arhat statues made of stone and stand higher than human’s head. Its back leans against the Bai Dinh Mountain with the height of 200m. The area for constructing Ba Dinh Pagoda is 80ha, which is located on the mass of “Bai Dinh Pagoda hallowed culture” belonging to Trang An Tourism Area. Currently, this mass is executing many items of Pagoda including Tam The (Past, Present and Future) Temple, Sanctuary and Bodhisattva Kwan Yin statue, Dharma Temple, Bell-tower, Three-door temple gate, and dormitory area for Buddhist monks, etc.
On the other hand, you can enjoy a leisure biking tour to visit the surrounding villages in Tam Coc, Bich Dong, Thung Nang, Van Long to get in touch with local people, have talks with them or indulge in the rural atmosphere of Red River Delta in Vietnam.
WHERE TO SHOP ?
Tam Coc village is famed for its embroideries products such as naps,
When you arrive to Tam Coc, you can see a lot of shops with hand-made products as souvenirs. You are invited to buy with friendly sellers.
In Ninh Binh city centre, there are all kinds of gadgets like other cities in Vietnam: cellephones, sim cards, clothes etc…
WHERE TO EAT ?
Every hotel has its restaurants to serve in-house guests where you can taste local cuisine and food. It is fine for you when you have meal there.
In the event you want to experience like local people, you can sit down to drink “bia hoi” – draught beer like Hanoi beer. Please be aware that you will be fine after dining at local street food stalls.
© Cosmos Travel Vietnam Co.,Ltd. All rights reserved