Information on the region of Ninh Binh
The Ninh Binh region is especially known as the “terrestrial Halong Bay”, offering unique landscapes of sugarloaf mountains. The best sites to appreciate this natural beauty are the town of Tam Coc and the UNESCO-listed Trang An Landscape Complex. It is here that scenes from the film Indochine with Catherine Deneuve and more recently the feature film Kong was shot.
Located not far from Hanoi, a visit to Ninh Binh is a perfect combination with the Halong Bay during a tour in North Vietnam.
Where is Ninh Binh?
Ninh Binh is located in the north of Vietnam, 95 kilometers from the capital Hanoi, the travel time from Hanoi is about 1 hour and 45 minutes. It is possible to visit the area in one day, however, it is recommended to spend one night there.
It stretches between the Red River and the Ma River and is composed of seven districts: Gia Viễn, Hoa Lư, Kim Sơn, Nho Quan, Tam Điệp, Yên Khánh, and Yên Mô.
The atmosphere of Ninh Binh
The inhabitants of this very authentic region have been engaged in agricultural trades for a very long time. The main products are rice, tea, coffee. The manufacture of mats is developed in the Kim Son and Phat Diem regions. Coal is exploited in the districts of Yên Mô and Nho Quan. Marble and granite are exploited in the districts of Hoa Lu and Tam Diêp.
In contrast to the peasant activity, the province possesses many historical and cultural sites such as Hoa Lu: the ancient capital of the country Dai Cô Viêt, the beautiful caves Bích Dông, Tam Côc, the terrestrial Ha Long bay; the thermal springs of Kênh Gà and Dâm Cút….
The virgin forest of Cúc Phuong is a natural museum with rare and precious species of fauna and flora typical of tropical regions. Finally the Bich Dông and Duc Thúy mountains are worth a visit.
What to do in Ninh Binh?
See the view from Hang Múa
Admire the landscape of karst formations at Hang Múa, where 500 steps have been spectacularly carved into the steep face of a mountain. At the top, a lookout offers a view of the Trang An landscape complex where the river meanders lazily through rice fields. If you have any energy left, embark on another climb to the impressive lookout of Bích Động Pagoda.
Take a sampan ride
At the Tam Cốc boat dock, hop aboard one of the waiting sampans. The boat driver rows with his feet, not his hands. You will be expertly guided through the landscape and into caves barely high enough for these boats to pass through. If a boat trip is not enough, head to Trang An where two more fascinating river trips await you.
Visit the ancient capital
Today, the capital of Vietnam is Hanoi, but in the past, this honor was held by Hoa Lư. This small ancient city served as the political center of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries. Today, it is a good place to learn about the history of two impressive restored pagodas.
Go in search of wildlife
An exotic boating experience is a must at Vân Long Nature Reserve. Keep your eyes open for exotic animals around you – Delacour’s langur, one of the most endangered primates in the world. For primate viewing, visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Center in nearby Cúc Phương National Park. Here, along with Delacour’s Langur, you’ll see golden-headed langurs, Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys and black-crested gibbons.
Visit Bai Đinh Temple
An important pilgrimage site and the largest Buddhist temple complex in the country, Bái Đính is a fascinating site for its mix of old and new. The old temples are housed in caves that you can only reach by a pretty 300-step climb, while the new temple area covers an area of 500 hectares. It is a quiet place to spend an afternoon.
Truong Yen Festival
It is famous all over the country. From the 9th day to the 11th day of the 3rd lunar calendar month, this festival commemorates the memory of the ancient capital of the two dynasties, symbol of a glorious episode in Vietnam’s history when, after a thousand years of Chinese domination, the country conquered its independence.
When to go to Ninh Binh?
The best time to visit Ninh Binh is from October to December and from February to April, at these times, temperatures are mild, with a lot of sunshine and low rainfall. Winter, from December and January are an interesting alternative, but the weather is cooler and gray. In summer the temperatures can be unpleasant because very high, the climate is humid with heavy rainfall.
Culinary specialties of the region
The wild goat, this emblematic specialty of the region is a gastronomic must during a trip to Ninh Binh! The goats raised in the mountains are famous. Known for its firm texture and particular taste, this lean meat requires careful preparation to delight the guests. There are many dishes based on goat: steamed, fried, fermented, etc.