Top 3 Ninh Binh Attractions

If you’ve read my previous blog post about Bai Dinh Pagoda Ninh Binh, you will know that I’m a big fan of Ninh Binh. But Ninh Binh is more than just pagoda, it has very beautiful nature and wonders that you can barely find in other parts of the world. In this post, I’m going to show you the top 3 Ninh Binh attractions you must visit.

Ninh Binh Attractions

Ninh Binh Attractions – Where is Ninh Binh?

Located on the Southern end of the Red River Delta, Ninh Binh is around 2 hours drive from Hanoi. It is blessed with diverse topography of both mountainous and coastal areas. It can be said that the province contains all the scenic quintessence of whole Vietnam within its relatively small size. Not only that, Ninh Binh represents typical rural villages of Northern region with vast green paddy field, expanding mountains and poetic river that flows to the horizon. Ninh Binh’s history is also worth mentioning: the ancient capital of Vietnam in the 10th century, Ninh Binh is a venue of relics that reflect its 1000 years of history and development.

Ninh Binh Attractions pagoda

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Top 3 Ninh Binh Attractions

  • Ninh Binh Attractions 1 – Hang Mua Pagoda (Mua Cave)

Down a sleepy road between rice paddies, this cave is truly impressive at the peak. It offers panoramic views of the rice paddies as you climb up the zigzags stairs. There are in total 450 steps but the height of the cave looks a lot more than that.

Ninh Binh Attractions hiking

Ninh Binh Attractions mua cave

Once you reach the top, you will see two dragon statues. And guess what? You can actually climb over there AT YOUR OWN RISK. At first I didn’t dare to climb either, but Calvin and I decided to go ahead after seeing some adventurous souls there. I have to say the “path” is pretty narrow and steep, so you really have to be very careful. But trust me, the experience and the view is really rewarding!

Ninh Binh Attractions view

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  • Ninh Binh Attractions 2 – Trang An Boat Ride

If you’ve heard the beauty of Halong Bay, Trang An is the Halong Bay of the land. It has spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys, many of them partly submerged and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs. And – best of all – there are very few tourists, so you can really enjoy the serenity of nature. I wrote a post on Halong Bay too, check out the beautiful place if you haven’t.

Ninh Binh Attractions trang an

When you reach Trang An, get your ticket at the counter at 150,000 dong (US$7) per person. In no time, you’ll find yourself in a boat and set off your journey! The boat ride is between 2-3 hours depending on your choice. Although it sounds long, you’ll enjoy every minute of it!

Ninh Binh Attractions trang an boat

All 5 of us managed to squeeze in one boat. After around 30 mins or so, the large river finally came to an end. What was in front of us was a small dark cave. Guess what? The cave turned out to be a narrow tunnel and was a lot smaller than we expected. We literally had to bend down throughout the journey to make sure we could get out safely and soundly.

Ninh Binh Attractions trang an cave

After around a long 5 mins, we finally got out and found ourselves being surrounded by mountains again. The scenery became even more beautiful. In many areas, we were the only boat in the lake.

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Ninh Binh Attractions trang an tree

Ninh Binh Attractions trang an lake

Over the next 2 hours, we encountered close to 10 caves, with some being long and narrow, others being big and wide. I’ve never seen any landscape like that before, not even in Halong Bay. Going through all the caves was full of fun and excitement. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

Ninh Binh Attractions trang an lady

The most important bit of advice I can give here is to take sunscreen and some water. In summer especially, it can get extremely hot and there is no shade, so you’ll need some protection with you. And if you are thinking about going to Tum Coc for boat ride instead, many travelers say that it’s over crowded and the boat lady will force you to buy things from her. So stick to my advice, visit Trang An and enjoy the peace!

Ninh Binh Attractions trang an scenery

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  • Ninh Binh Attractions 3 – Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda Ninh Binh is a religious complex covering a total area of 539 hectare, a size of more than 800 football fields combined! Located in the mountainous area, the peak of the pagoda offers breathtaking views. When you finally reach the top, you’ll be able to see a beautiful temple with gorgeous scenery as a backdrop. If you want to find out more about the pagoda, read my blog post on Bai Dinh Pagoda Ninh Binh.

Ninh Binh Attractions bai dinh

  • Ninh Binh Attractions 4 – Bich Dong Pagoda

From Tam Coc boat pier, head East nearly 3km, you will reach Bich Dong pagoda – an ever ancient three tiered cave pagoda. This pagoda is very small. To be frank, the old relic has nothing much to see or do. I won’t considered it to be the top 3 attractions. But if you are a big fan of historical buildings, Bich Dong Pagoda is a nice place to visit.

Ninh Binh Attractions pagoda history

Ninh Binh Attractions bich dong

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I hope this post has successfully convinced you to visit Ninh Binh. If not, watch the awesome video below and be prepared to be awed!

For more awesome videos, check out my YouTube Channel

  • I haven’t been to Vietnam and hadn’t heard of Ninh Binh. Thanks for sharing about this beautiful place, would love to visit the Pagoda and the lovely and lush area around it.

  • Amanda O’Brien

    looks like a really interesting area = I would like to go and visit the caves

  • My family and I have not been to Vietnam yet but am really looking forward to it. Ninh Binh looks beautiful and I’d love to take our daughter so she can learn about its’ fascinating history and its relics.

  • This looks so beautiful. I havent been to Vietnam yet, but always wanted to go. I would definitely not climb Mua Cave at my own risk. It looks quite scary but so beautiful. So cool you see two dragon statues at the top 😀 I cant believe how large that Bai Dinh Pagoda is. never seen anything like it. Thank you for letting me know about these attractions , really hope I get to travel to Ninh Binh 🙂

    • Glad you find the tips useful. Vietnam is a beautiful country waiting for you to explore! Check out the rest of the destinations suggested in my blog. You’ll fall in love with Vietnam!

  • Everything you have described sounds truely amazing! I love seeing a place from a different point of view so would love to take a boat ride and explore all those caves! Thanks so much for the tips!!

    • Hi Rachel, Glad that you find it useful!Enjoy your boat ride when you are there. 🙂

  • Agree that sunscreen is super important when trekking around! These sound like some great places to visit. I hope one day to get back to Vietnam!

    • Yeah this should totally be in your list during your next Vietnam visit!

  • All of these excursions look like a lot of fun. I too, would be hesitant to walk over to the Dragon Statues, but then totally go for it, when I saw others doing it.

  • Sounds like a fun experience, I’d love to see rice paddies too. I probably would have been scared to climb the statue too, but I’m sure the view was worth it 😀

    • And when you see others climbing it, it just gives you the courage! :p

  • Looks amazing part of Vietnam to visit. Our kids wouyld certainly love the boat ride into the caves. The Pagoda looks amazing. Vietnam is on our list of countries to visit in the later part of this year.

    • Glad that Vietnam is in your list! You and your family will have so much fun there. 🙂

  • This looks like a fun caving experience. I’m not sure I would like the surprise of the cave turning into a smaller setting than anticipated. Looks like a great experience for $7 (US Currency).

    • I was very surprised too. Although it’s a little scary, it’s all worth it. 🙂

  • Awesome post Guys! I have gone through video and I enjoyed a lot. The boat ride in Trang & hike at Mua cave, just fantastic. Its just must-visit place & I would live to visit once. Thanks for sharing.

    • Glad you enjoy the video and the post! You’ll have so much fun there!