Additional sights in Ninh Binh
The previous sights are the standard to visit the region. If you’re feeling more adventurous or have a little bit more time, then you can expand your route. And oh boy, there’s a lot to see and do in Ninh Binh!
Right off the get go, you can go on the infamous Tam Coc boat ride. I’d recommend you to only if it’s the right season and the fields are vivid green. Good luck with the hawkers though!
Located east of Ninh Binh city, Phat Diem Cathedral is considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in Vietnam. It’s western-inspired and it’s worth to visit if you’re into architecture or just want to extend your religious-site hopping spree.
1,5 hours from Ninh Binh lies Cuc Phuong National Park. It’s a well-preserved rainforest, filled with hiking trails, prehistoric caves and ancient trees. It’s also a site with rich fauna: turtles, butterflies and critically endangered primate species can be found here.
Finally in Van Long there’s the option to go on a much more off the beaten track boat ride than Trang An and Tam Coc. It’s relaxing and perfect for bird-watching. The natural reserve also holds the world’s largest population of Delacour’s langurs, a critically endangered primate species.
Driving around Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh is pretty much all flat which makes driving around fairly easy. And pleasant! Actually you could just wander around skipping all sights and the surreal backdrop for your drive would still make the trip worth it. I felt like in a movie set all the time!
That said, Ninh Binh city can be a bit crazy, just like everywhere else in Vietnam. We had to go there to withdraw money – there are currently no ATMs in Tam Coc – but other than that there’s no reason to go there anyway.
My recommendation is to drive slowly, ignore all the noise around you and don’t make any sudden maneuvres. If you stick to this, you’ll be fine.
How much does a bike cost in Ninh Binh?
We rented a motorbike for 100,000 dong per day in Tam Coc. Not the most visually striking one, but it did its job. A bike will cost you roughly half of it. Gas is very cheap, you can fill the deposit for about 70,000 dong.
Read more about getting around on my Ninh Binh guide.
Where to stay In Ninh Binh
Don’t stay in Ninh Binh city. I can’t understand how people come to such a nature-gifted place and stay in an uninspiring and ugly city. Instead, base yourself in Tam Coc, in the countryside. It’s a much more pleasant small town closer to the main attractions – including the rice fields.
The only downside from the place we stayed (below) was the location: 2,5km from Tam Coc center, with all the shops and restaurants. On the other hand, we had a quieter location with much better views!
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