Likened to an inland Halong Bay, Ninh Binh's attraction is in its limestone karst topography.
The town itself is fairly unremarkable, but as you head further out into the countryside, there is a chance to see rural Vietnam at its best.
With rivers that snake through cave formations and farmers tending their fields with water buffaloes, the scenery around Ninh Binh is compelling. Although spectacular, Tam Coc is the most notorious of the region's caves for being a tourist trap, swamped by over-zealous vendors peddling their wares.
For this reason we avoid it and visit other equally impressive cave formations, where local guides will gently row you through a network of waterways out into lakes dwarfed by limestone mountains. Cycle along raised paths that criss-cross paddy fields. You can also visit the remains of the ancient citadel and temples at the nearby settlement of Hoa Lua, once the capital of Vietnam, as well as exploring the Cuc Phuong National Park.
Within a two hour drive of Hanoi it is possible to visit Ninh Binh as a day trip, but we would encourage you to stay a night or two to unearth this intriguing and charming area.
Suggested Ninh Binh itinerary
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Ninh Binh, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Ninh Binh
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Ninh Binh
- Hanoi 55 miles away
- Mai Chau 64 miles away
- Ky Son 72 miles away
- Halong Bay 87 miles away
- Mu Cang Chai 159 miles away
- Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park 184 miles away
- Ha Giang 190 miles away
- Sapa & the Tonkinese Alps 201 miles away
- Lao Cai 203 miles away
- Dien Bien Phu 207 miles away
- Northwest Vietnam 207 miles away
- Hue 282 miles away
- Bach Ma National Park 298 miles away
Accommodation choices for Ninh Binh
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Ninh Binh. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Ideas for experiencing Ninh Binh
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Ninh Binh, and which use the best local guides.