Ninh Binh is deep in the Red River Delta and characterized by lotus flower lakes, towering limestone mountains, vast rice paddies and evergreen untouched forests. Hoa Lu a district of Ninh Binh was the capital city of Vietnam in the 10th century A.D. Cuc Phuong National Park of Ninh Binh is among the best preserved national parks in Vietnam and was the starting point of the legendary Ho Chi Minh Trails in the War.
Traveling in Ninh Binh we can combine the trip to the authentic countryside of the Red River Delta with an eco tour of the Cuc Phuong park, a history tour of Hoa Lu and sightseeing tour of Kenh Ga, Tam Coc, Bich Dong and Thung Nang. We can also travel further into the Catholic area of Phat Diem to adore the stone Cathedral of Phat Diem built mainly of stones.
Ninh Binh is suitable for any travellers, travellers can do adventure or nature seekers or sightseeing fans.
Cuc Phuong National Park
Is an eco system of limestone mountains covered with rain forests. There are many endangered species still found in Cuc Phuong. Please refer to our national park section for more details.
Kenh Ga with a system of natural rivers snaking along the limestone mountain range. Visiting Keng Ga you can not only adore the nature's beauty, but also witness the tranquil life on the river of the local residents. Kenh Ga is visited by boat.
Van Long is a floating village with life-on-the-water of the local farmers. Van Long is visited by sampan.
Kenh Ga Fishing Village: Set on the banks of the Hoang Long River, Kenh Ga 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 principal reason for its lack of visitors is that the village is accessible only by boat. Gliding along the river and canals, weaving one's way through the boathouses and fishing vessels of Kenh Ga is a unique experience for there is no other place in Vietnam that combines the stunning backdrop of the limestone cliffs with an authentic floating village.
The village of Kenh Ga (Chicken Canal) gets its name apparently from the number of wild chickens that used to live in the area. It's essentially a floating village on the Hoang Long River, with just a few permanent buildings on the riverbanks. About the only other place in Vietnam where you can see anything like this is in the Mekong Delta. On the other hand, nowhere in the Mekong Delta will you find a stunning mountain backdrop like the one at Kenh Ga. Another difference: people in Kenh Ga row boats with their feet, leaning back and watching the world go by.
It's a lovely area, and one of the best places in northern Vietnam to see river life. People here seem to spend most of their lives floating on water: at their floating fish-breeding pens, harvesting river grass to feed the fish, trawling in the muddy shallows for shellfish or selling veggies boat-to-boat. Even the children commute to school by boat.
From the pier you can hire a motorboat to take you for an hour or so touring around the village for 40,000d per person. The boat trips are organised through the local government tourism agency and, thankfully, they've managed to keep the operation relatively low-key and hassle-free. How much longer can it last?
The locals are very friendly. The children gleefully shout "tay oi" (Westerner) at every tourist they see, even Vietnamese tourists!
Hoa Lu is a little valley surrounded by ranges of towering limestone mountains. The strategic terrain may have made Hoa Lu to be the capital city of Vietnam in the 10th centure under King Dinh Tien Hoang. Visit Hoa Lu, we can enjoy a walking tour of the 2 temples dedicated to the 2 royal families of Vietnam of the time and enjoy the green countryside with sublime beauty.
Tam Coc and Thung Nang are 2 adjacent flooded flat paddy fields encircled by towering ranges of limestone mountains. Visiting Thung Nang or Tam Coc, we'll enjoy 2 hours on sampan making our way amid rice fields and with the mountains surrounding us.
Bich Dong is a cave pagoda built in the 15th century. There are 3 main pagodas here called Chua Ha, Chua Trung and Chua Thuong. We'll start a walking tour across a stone bridge and start hiking up the mountains on the stone steps, passing through the dark cave and we'll find ourselves on top of the mountains with private view of the surroundings.
Phat Diem Stone Cathedral was built by Father Sau in 1875 with no design at all. It's said that Father Sau just built the magnificent Cathedral following God's advice in the father's dream. Visiting the Cathedral you'll adore the workmanship and the architecture. We'll appreciate the work of Father Sau further if we know that the whole area was a swampy area in the past. Father Sau and the local Catholic had to spend months reclaiming land, making the steady foundation and bringing the huge slabs of stone to the site for the contruction.
Ninh Binh offers the travelers all kinds of tours such as sightseeing, trekking adventure tours; nature and eco tours; culture and history tours.
For the travellers who are interested in sightseeing tours, you can enjoy the timeless moments with relaxing sampan cruise amid the green rice paddies and towering mountain cliffs in Thung Nang, Tam Coc, Kenh Ga or Van Long.
For the adventure travelers you can go trekking in the jungle of Cuc Phuong National Park or do mountain climbing to Hang Mua.
For the traveller who would like to have a relaxing countryside tour combined with a bit of culture and history, you can join us to learn more about Hoa Lu and the history of Vietnam in the 10th century or visit the Stone Cathedral built by Father Sau and the local Catholics.
For the travellers who want to do something different than sampan cruising or trekking or hiking, you can join us on a bicycle tour through the evergreen rice paddies and through the sheer mountain cliffs, cycle through different villages and chat with the locals who make intricate embroidery.
From Ha Noi vietnamtripadvisor offers 1 day, 2 - 5 days to Ninh Binh. Please don't hesitate to contact us for further information on your trip to Ninh Binh.
There are many hotels in Ninh Binh Town ranging from simple guest houses to fairly good 2 star hotels.
In Cuc Phuong National Park, the only choice is the guest house located in the middle of the forest. The facilities are simple, but the experience is cozy and unforgettable.
Getting there and away
From Ha Noi or Hue or Vinh or Quang Binh there are different daily trains to Ha Noi with a stop at Ninh Binh Train Station. Please refer to our train time table section for more information.
Otherwise you may like to hire a car/van and it takes 2 hours to get to Ninh Binh Town from Ha Noi. The road is good and traffic is not too busy.
You can go trekking in Cuc Phuong National Park or go hiking at Tam Coc. Alternatively you can hire a bicycle and ride through the countryside with fresh natural scenery.