Ninh Binh day trip from Hanoi Vietnam: 1-day Itinerary

Known as “Halong Bay on Land”, Ninh Binh truly lives up to its reputation. With many limestone mountains, green rice fields, serene rivers and rural villages, Ninh Binh is truly idyllic. Visitors can enjoy activities including cycling, river cruising and visiting temples.

Even though Ninh Binh is not as well known as other famous places in Vietnam, it has a lot of things travellers are looking for especially if you want to see the unspoiled parts of Vietnam.

Some people visit this city as a day trip from Hanoi, or they travel through the Northern region either on their way to Cat Ba Island or Halong Bay while going north or on their way to Hue while going south. 

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What you need to know before taking a trip to Ninh Binh

Before you spend the day in Ninh Binh, check out these travel tips first:

  • Ninh Binh is a safe city for solo female travellers.
  • It is safer to ride a bike and scooter in the rural region.
  • Ninh Binh is not as well known as other places in Northern Vietnam. However, that might be the selling point for visiting Ninh Binh. Because not many people know about it, this region is less touristy, and the rural atmosphere remains intact. Roads are wider and with fewer cars.
  • Join an organized tour from Hanoi or venture on your own. Even though I’ve never been much of an organized tour type, this was a great excursion from Hanoi. It was well organized, the tour guide was funny and had many information and stories about the region.

Ninh Binh 1-day itinerary: things to do in one day

We were shuttled to Ninh Binh via a minibus just a few hours south of Hanoi. But if you want to venture independently, Ninh Binh is easily accessed by train and bus.

Bai Dinh Pagoda

On our tour, we visited Bai Dinh Pagoda, the biggest pagoda in Southeast Asia and the Buddhist Centre of Vietnam.

This complex has many temples and covers 1,000 square meters. The biggest and heaviest statue in Vietnam is the bronze Buddha Sykamuni statue in this complex. Visitors come here to see the 500+ Arahat statues, where each figure is in a different position and has a different gesture, and visitors rub the feet of each statue for good luck.

Ecotourism Trang An Boat Tour

We continued the tour to our next destination, the Ecotourism Trang An Boat Tour.

Trang An has many limestone systems and natural caves. The only way to see this area is by a small rowing boat.  Our guide took us on this scenic river ride, and we skillfully navigated through a series of limestone caves. It takes incredible skills to manoeuvre through the cave systems, as the cave cavities are quite small.

We saw many caves, temples, and even wild animals like mountain goats throughout the two-hour boat ride.

Other things to do in Ninh Binh if you stay overnight

Tam Coc and Mua Caves

If you have a few days more days, consider going to Tam Coc for a riverboat ride. This is slightly different from the one in Trang An but equally beautiful. While in Tam Coc, visit Mua Caves as well. There is a path up the limestone mountain where you can hike up to see the magnificent view of the entire area. And consider renting a scooter to scoot around Ninh Binh to see what rural Vietnam looks like. And see Trang An grottoes too.

Where to eat in Ninh Binh

Our lunch was included in our tour. It was a buffet-style lunch with chicken, pork, goat, fried noodles, rice and fruits.

If you have additional time in Ninh Binh, try out their specialties, including goat, eel vermicelli and cơm cháy (crispy rice cracker).

Where to stay in Ninh Binh Vietnam

There are a lot of options to stay in Ninh Binh. Check out Agoda for all the different options as this is the website I always use to search for accommodations in Asia. They have the best prices, and their database has all the hotels. And if you open a profile and reserve your hotels under your profile, you can accumulate reward points and use them for future bookings.

Accommodations range from five-star luxury hotels to rustic bungalows lining the river bank with limestone cliffs as the backdrop.

I also read from other blog posts that if you are to stay in Ninh Binh, stay in the countryside, Tam Coc instead of Ninh Binh city. Tam Coc is closer to all the attractions, and you can explore the rural country of Vietnam.

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You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Vietnam:

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 18+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!

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