Ninh Binh Attractions

Ninh Binh City

Ninh Binh is located on Red river delta about 90 km from Hanoi to the south. This land is home of 3 dynasties: Dinh – Le – Ly still remain temples and pagodas. With over 1.400 square kilometers of natural area, Ninh Binh has forests, sea and a diverse system of fauna and flora.

Ninh Binh is endowed with many natural wonder that well known inside and outside Vietnam such as Tam Coc – Bich Dong, Cuc Phuong National Park, Trang An Grottoes and Van Long Nature Reserves. There are also many historical relics, for instances Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, Bich Dong Pagoda, Thai Vi Temple, Phat Diem Stone Cathedral.... all make it the charming land of myth and unique landscapes.

Beside historical sites, natural beauty, Ninh Binh houses about 60 traditional craft villages such as: Cyperaceae production, embroidery, woven bamboo, pottery…

When visiting Ninh Binh do not miss its cuisine: goat dish and Kim Son wine.

The attractions in this region:

 1 ) Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong National Park is the oldest and the largest national park in Vietnam covering over 22,200 ha, attracts a lot of scientists by its biodiversity.

In 1960, Cuc Phuong became a forest reserve and national park was declared, two years later by President Ho Chi Minh, to remind his people the role of the environment in their lives. Located 120 km southwest of Hanoi, Cuc Phuong National Park is a major site for conservation efforts.

Situated on a limestone mountain range, surrounded by beautiful landscape, Cuc Phuong national park  has a rich ecosystem, consisting of a wide variety of species some of which were surprisingly introduced from Burma , India, and Borneo. A gigantic tree 1000 years stands in the middle of forest. The park has 97 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 36 reptiles, 17 amphibians, 11 fish species and thousands of insect species. A number of species in the park are listed in the Red Book of endangered species in Vietnam. When visiting the park, no one can fail to see the primates, including macaques, gibbons, monkeys leaves and slow Loris.

The natural landscape also has a cultural value since the rocky outcrops of Cuc Phuong contain very valuable archaeological remains as a marine reptile fossil, dating from 200 to 230 million years and evidence of the presence of prehistoric man, who lived here in the forest there are over 7500 years.

 2 ) Hoa Lu ancient capital

Hoa Lu is a popular destination of Ninh Binh province, for its history and surrounding scenic beauty. Even if nothing remains of the imperial city travelers can discover the architecture and culture through the two shrines built in honor of the kings.

Located  8km north of Ninh Binh, Hoa Lu is a monuments covering 13 km2, which was the capital of dynasties Dinh Thien Le and Ly, from 968 to 1009. In 1010, King Ly Thai To moved the capital to Thang Long, now is Hanoi.

The most remarkable relics of the city are the temples dedicated to King Dinh Tien Hoang and King Le Dai Hanh, two emperors who lived in the tenth century in Hoa Lu and considered as heroes. It seems that the temples were built on the old foundations of their original palaces. Although the temples were not fully preserved, some precious antiques are still well remained, as the thrones made of stone with dragon design, the lacquered wooden statues of King Dinh, Kinh Le, Queen Duong Van Nga and the two princes of the dynasty. The most beautiful temple was erected in honor of King Dinh Tien Hoang. The setting is a complex of paths, gardens and lotus pond

3 ) Tam Coc Caves

Tam Coc, which means "three caves", about two hours drives to the south of Hanoi (110 km). In the past this region was the sea in many centuries, karst mountain was eroded  to many odd shapes.

Travelers visit Tam Coc has the only way is taking a sampan. As the sampan gliding on Ngo Dong river guests will leave noise of bustling city behind to feel deeply the pure serenity. On the cruise visitors just hear the sound of oars beating on water, the rustle of wind blowing through bushes, the songs of bird singing… This small sampan rows between the spreading fields of rice on two side of river’s bank. Extending your vision far away is range after range of mountains, sometime goats jumping in.

During this romantic promenade, sampans cruise inside the cool caves: Ca cave(127 m), Giua cave (70 m) and Cuoi cave (40 m).

4 ) Bich Dong pagoda

In 1773, Mr. Nguyen Nghiem (the father of the great writer Nguyen Du) visited this cave. After viewing the whole scenery of the mountains, waterways, fields, and sky covered in green mist, he gave the cave a very beautiful and romantic name, Bich Dong (which literally means “Green Pearl Grotto”). Bich Grotto has been said that  the second most beautiful cave in Vietnam.

Bich Dong pagoda is on the short drive to the South of Tam Coc, it was built on the Truong Yen limestone mountains range, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province. Bich Dong pagoda includes three palaces on three levels: Lower, Middle and Upper pagoda. The Low pagoda has five compartments built on the ground at the foot of mountain. From the Low pagoda up to 120 steps is the impressive Middle pagoda with a half of it was carved into mountain including three compartments. Up to 40 steps is the High pagoda located on the highest point nearby the top of The Bich Dong mountain. From here you can have the wonderful perspective view of the Bich Dong pagoda.
5 ) Van Long nature reserve

Van Long nature reserve is situated in Gia Vien district, about 17 km from Ninh Binh city centre to the northwest. Van Long is one of the last natural treasures in the province, litter spoiled by tourism.

Van Long is the largest wetland in northern delta covering nearly 3000 ha. It is a home of many species of plants and mammals in which some of them are listed in Red book of Vietnam and the world such as the very rare Delacour Langur.

There are many stunning caves: Ca (Fish) cave, Rua (Turtle) caves… Not only being the nature reserve Van Long wetland is also the attractive sightseeing called as “bay without wave” since cruising on the bay travelers will see a giant mirror reflects clearly surrounding scenery on its transparent water surface.

6 ) Trang An Eco-tourist Complex

Not far from Hoa Lu, you can discover by boat the site of Trang An which closely resembles that of Tam Coc, or to Halong Bay with tower limestone rising from water. This beautiful spot is surrounded by mountain forest, mysterious caves some of which has two km long such as: Dia Linh, Sinh Duoc, May cave. You will have a chance to discover the history of ancient capital through temples: Trinh, Tran temple, Khong palace which were built beside the water or nestled between the mountains and lost amidst the vegetation.  Do not miss this place for: stunning scenery, friendly people, peaceful, relaxing, great photo opportunities, interesting culture.

7 ) Phat Diem Cathedral

Phat Diem  is one of the most beautiful cathedral in Vietnam, located 24 km southeast of Ninh Binh. It was built from 1875 to 1898 under the leadership of priest Father Tran Luc.

Phat Diem cathedral’s architecture is the harmonious combination between Western church style and Vietnam traditional design. Travelers will be amazed by its scale, the complex of cathedral, chapels, lake and three artificial grottoes. The path leads to grand cathedral passing a small island amidst the lake with a statue of Jesus Christ. The grand cathedral is 80 m long, 24 m wide and 18 m high, built of stone from Ninh Binh, with 48 iron wood columns, there is many sophisticated sculpture inside.

Phat Dien cathedral is not only the pride of Vietnamese Ctholics but also of its unique architecture style found in Ninh Binh only.