There is lots of spectacular scenery in Ninh Binh that tourists can’t go to in just one day. This list below describes 10 of the most famous beauty spots that you should visit in Ninh Binh.
1. Boat Trip in Trang An
Trang An is an ecotourism destination which is surrounded by rice paddy fields and striking limestone outcrops. Although it is possible to cycle, drive or even walk around the mountains, a boat trip through caves is the most popular activity to discover the beauty of this area. While riding in the boat, you will discover 31 lakes, basins, and caves such as Sang Cave with its strange glitter stalactites. Legend has it that giants used to stay in Nau Ruou Cave (Brewing Wine Cave) and Com Cave (Rice Cave) where they would dine on rice and wine. Furthermore, “Kong: Skull Island”, a Hollywood movie released in 2017, was shot here in Trang An. Tourists can come to Trang An and visit the village which appeared in the movie.
2. Walking in Bai Dinh Pagoda
Bai Dinh is a complex of Buddhist temples on Bai Dinh Mountain, in Gia Vien District. Bai Dinh is famous for many reasons. It contains: the largest temples in Viet Nam; the biggest gold-plate copper of Asia, the longest lobby of Arhat statues in Asia.
Bai Dinh is comprised of an ancient pagoda area and a new pagoda area. The ancient pagoda area is located near a quiet forest, while the new area was built in 2003 and completed in 2010. The new pagoda complex includes large halls, courtyards and enclosures. Builders of the new pagoda area used construction material from locally quarried stone and timbers and tiles from Bat Trang (an ancient and famous ceramic village in Ha noi). Bai Dinh pagoda has become a famous Buddhism pilgrimage center. Every year there is a Buddhist festival on the sixth day of the first lunar month. Many tourists travel there to pray for peace and luck.
3. Boat Trip Tam Coc- Cycling to Bich Dong
Tam Coc – Bich Dong, known as “Ha Long Bay inland” of Vietnam, is a part of Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex. It is divided in two separate destinations: Tam Coc – a flooded cave karst systems and Bich Dong, a series of mountain pagodas.
Tam Coc, meaning “three caves”, consists of Ca Cave, Hai Cave, and Ba Cave.All three caves are on the Ngo Dong River. Ca Cave is the longest cave: 127 meters long with an entrance width of 20 meters. Hai Cave is about 1 km from Ca Cave and it’s 60 meters long. Ba Cave is 50 meters long. Caves in Tam Coc have fascinating stalactites with many strange shapes and impressive sizes.
After your boat ride through Tam Coc caves, hop on a bicycle take a peaceful 2 km ride through the rice fields to Bich Dong cave and temple.
Bich Dong, meaning “Blue Cave,” includes a dry cave in the middle of mountain (Bich Dong Temple) and a water cave (XuyenThuy Cave). XuyenThuy Cave is a dark water cave stretching through Bich Dong Mountain from East to West. After visiting this unique cave, head over to the most popular attraction in this region: Bich Dong Pagoda Complex. Built in 1428, it consists of three distinct pagodas Ha, Trung, and Thuong, in ascending order.
Walking around Bich Dong to admire the beauty of Mother Nature in the Blue Cave is my favorite thing to do.
4. Strolling in Hoa Lu Citadel
Hoa Lu Citadel was the first capital of Viet Nam in the late 10th and early 11th centuries. It’s also the hometown of Dinh Bo Linh, the first king of Vietnam, who defeated 12 rebellious warlords and founded the first independent feudal system of Vietnam in 968. The ancient capital is divided into the Inner Citadel, which lies to the West, and Outer Citadel, which lies to the East. Between them is a limestone mountain range. On the ground of the former palace, in 13th century, Dinh King Temple and Le King Temple were built in dedication to the two first kings of Vietnam from the Dinh (968-989) and Le dynasties (980-1009). In 1010, Ly Cong Uan, the first king of the Ly dynasty, moved the capital from Hoa Lu (in Ninh Binh) to Thang Long (Ha noi).
King Dinh Temple was built on the foundation of an ancient palace. The temple is a majestic sight to see, with the Ngo Mon gate, lotus pond, Mount Gia, flower garden, three houses of worship, and harem. The “Long Sang” (King’s bed) is made of monolithic, lively stones. Additionally, there are also the statues of King Dinh Tien Hoang and his sons. Other sophisticated carvings include dragons, clouds, fairies, and flowers.
King Le Temple is about 500 meters from the Temple of King Dinh. King Le has a smaller scale. The King Le temple also retains many ancient architectural traces with elaborate and sophisticated sculptures. Here the old palace relics and some ancient ceramics were found. These precious objects are kept in the museum on the left side of the temple.
5. Visit to Phat Diem Cathedral
Located in Kim Son District, Phat Diem is a harmonious association between Viet Nam and European architectural styles. It consists of a lake, a grand cathedral with five separate side chapels, three artificial grottoes and a majestic bell tower named Phuong Dinh. The main materials used to create this church are wood and stone from all around the country. Phat Diem not only is an ideal place for Christian followers, but tourists of other religions or non-religious backgrounds can also arrive and enjoy the beauty of this cathedral.
6. Hiking in Cuc Phuong National Park
Cuc Phuong, the first National Park in Viet Nam, has the area of 22,000 hectares. Three quarters of this area is limestone reaching heights from 300 – 600 meters above sea level. In Cuc Phuong, tourists have the chance to explore diversity of nature. With 97 species of mammals, most notable endangered langurs; 300 species of birds; 36 reptilian species; 17 species of amphibians; 11 species of fish; 2,000 species of vascular plants, and thousands of species of insects, Cuc Phuong now is the VietNam’s largest Nature Reserve. A number of species in the park are listed on Vietnam’s Red Book of endangered species. There are a numerous activities tourists can do in Cuc Phuong: hiking through forests (with or without guide), camping, cycling, or even living in a private house and enjoying cultural performances.
7. Boat trip – Thien Ha Cave
Thien Ha Cave is an imposing cave, a galaxy hidden inside mountains. It was considered as a watch tower which protected Hoa Lu Capital from any dangers. Thien Ha was just discovered in 2007. This means it’s presentation is completely natural. Like Trang An, tourists could take a boat trip gliding through 700 meters of the cave. While gliding along, tourists will see 200 meters of dry cave and 500 meters of water cave. In the water cave, tourists will be amazed by the “Milky Way” with many colorful stalactites. Scientists also found artifacts of ancient Vietnamese civilizations inside this cave such as mollusk shells, raw pottery pieces, animal bones and a tortoise shell.
8. Boat trip – Van Long Natural Reserve
Van Long Natural Reserve is a legendary land, the largest Wetland Natural Reserve in Northern Viet Nam. Van Long has 32 unique and specific grottoes, such as: Bong grotto, Rua grotto, and Chanh grotto. The Reserve has 457 species of higher plants, and 39 species of animals living in Van Long forests such as the white short langur, chamois, and King cobra. Taking a boat trip and cycling are popular choices in Van Long wetland nature reserve. Tourists can cycle to some historical places, such as: Chi Le Temple, Mai Trung Temple, historic relic of Dinh Tien Hoang, etc.
9. Thung Nham Bird Garden
From Bich Dong Pagoda, about 4km from the road, tourists can travel to ThungNham Bird Garden, home of approximately 40 species of birds of 50,000 birds. The best time to bird watch is when the sun goes down and the storks return to their nets. Watching the diverse bird species fly around is a heart-touching landscape.
Besides the Bird Garden, Thung Nham also has some original destinations: But Cave, which includes a heavy plaster stone man-fairy statue; Vai Gioi Cave, which has 3 cave floors with many fanciful stalactites, and moving banyan trees.
10. Climbing up to Mua Cave
Mua Cave lies at the foot of Mua Mountain located in the Ninh Xuan Commune, Hoa Lu District. In 13th century, Kings of the Tran dynasty came here and enjoyed dancing and singing performances. Therefore, it is called “Mua Cave” (Dancing Cave). Mua Cave’s construction follows model of “The Great Wall” in China with 500 limestone steps. Standing on the top of Ngoa Long Mountain, tourists will have a wonderful panoramic view of Tam Coc, Trang An and Ninh Binh City. The best time to visit Mua Cave is in the early morning or late afternoon, so you can enjoy sunrise or sunset.