Hardly can a tourist coming to Vietnam have not heard of a worldwide well-known spotlight- Ha Long Bay; however, not many of them have been reminded of “the terrestrial Ha Long Bay” or another World Heritage located not very far from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam – Ninh Binh province. Situated only approximately 100km away from Hanoi; Ninh Binh appears to be one of the most charming and exciting destinations in the Vietnam exploration tour which attracts a growing number of tourists annually.
Things to do
Trang An and Tam Coc boat trip
Declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Site, a boat trip to explore and admire the beauty of some of the country’s most ancient landscapes is indispensable to anyone who wishes to have an opportunity of passing by Ninh Binh one day. A numerous of travelers coming to Ninh Binh are incredibly shocked by majestic and spectacular limestone hills, imposing caves, large swathes of a placid river, rice paddies and abundant forest. Most tourist will choose Trang An as the starting point for their boat trip as here lies the most well-known spot in Ninh Binh. Particularly, a boat cruise around Trang An is more popularly taken by local or domestic visitors, therefore, if you expect to emerge yourselves and enjoy the quiet and marvelous scenery here, you probably should avoid weekend and national holidays. Nevertheless, another option available is to choose an alternative boat cruise near Bich Dong or between Trang An and Hoa Lu which is peaceful and less touristy. The experience of sitting on a small wooden boat paddled by a local woman, even using their feet, along the river for hours, passing by verdurous forest on the limestone hills rising from the water, through several magnificent caves with imposing stalactites definitely won’t let you down.
Tam Coc-Bich Dong
Granted as terrestrial Ha Long Bay, Tam Coc – Bich Dong outstandingly earns themselves a slot on the list of travelers when it comes to exploring Ninh Binh. While local tourists choose Trang An as their boat cruise’s kicking off point, foreigners prefer Tam Coc which also represents incredible and grandiose views but characterized in a more mysterious and peaceful atmosphere. At the same time, Bich Dong is acknowledged to be the oldest Buddhist temple in Vietnam constructed in the middle of the 15th century. The pagoda leans strongly on a limestone hill with caves inside offering mind-blowing scenery of stalactites hanging up on the cave’s ceiling carved into Buddhist statues and images. Visitors also can climb all the way up to the top of the outcrop by steps on the side of the hill where tourists will undoubtedly be wowed by stunning views of rice paddy fields, mountains and forest throughout Tam Coc – Bich Dong. Undeniably, your effort of taking about exhausting 500 steps to the top of the limestone hill will be well rewarded.
Bai Dinh pagoda complex
Bai Dinh pagoda, covering over 700 ha of land, is an artificial pagoda which is granted with numerous of records worldwide such as the biggest artificial pagoda in South East Asia, having the biggest copper bell, etc. The complex is quite new and some parts are still under construction that might make visitors picture in mind a pagoda lacking of historical or ancient interest. Notwithstanding, you will be guaranteed to have a memorable and fantastic visit leaving you with outstanding experiences. It might take tourist half of the day to a day in order to completely discover every corner of the complex. From the entrance, following the steps built on a hillside which is enhanced by hundreds of big stone Buddha statues on the side, travelers are lead to the biggest statue lying at the top of the hill. Besides, on the way to the last stop, tourists will also have chances to contemplate and visit several unique and majestic buildings and shrines which are differently characterized in architecture and decoration.
Aside from these noted tourist attractions, visitors can also spend some time on visiting Phat Diem Cathedral with a unique architecture site which is said to be of historical importance and a real hit with Vietnamese tourists. Another option exist is Hoa Lu- the ancient capital of Vietnam in Dinh-Le dynasties date back from the 11th century to find out how ancient Vietnamese lived, worked and built up the country, or travelers totally can head straight to Cuc Phuong national park- the oldest national park in Vietnam which covering more than 200 square kilometers of tropical forest and reversing a huge number of wide life animals and precious plants definitely handle you the best time of discovering Vietnam.
Best time to visit Ninh Binh
Actually, there is not a bad time to visit Ninh Binh but to have a complete fulfill trip, tourists should avoid the rainy season taking place between July and October. The period from late September or early October will be just perfect for you to have an opportunity of contemplating the harvest season with fascinating scenery when local residents are working hard on rice paddy field and collecting rice. From May to June should be also considered due to the fact that in this season, especially in Cuc Phuong national park, there will be loads of butterflies flying abundant on the way. If you love to experience the hustling and bustling atmosphere of domestic visitors traveling during the lunar New Year period, February to March is the time; however, take note that it might be a little bit raining in this period of time.