Ninh Binh Province Tour in Vietnam
January 21, 2020
Known as the “Inland Halong Bay”, visiting Ninh Binh Province makes for a perfect day trip from Hanoi, Vietnam. There are several potential locations to visit when doing a tour of Ninh Binh Province and, unless you are planning to spend more than one day, you are going to have to choose which sights you want to see. One of the tours included the Bai Dinh Pagoda, which is the largest pagoda in Vietnam, as well as the caves of Trang An where the movie Kong: Skull Island was filmed. We chose to do what seemed to be the more popular tour that included the ancient capital of Vietnam, the caves of Tam Coc, and the incredible views from the mountains above Mua Cave. It was a full day tour that include lunch with a meal that is representative of the Ninh Binh Province.
- Hoa Lu – Our tour started with a visit to the temples of Hoa Lu, which is the ancient capital of Vietnam. The temple of Đinh Tiên Hoàn is dedicated to the first emperor of Vietnam, Ninh Bo Linh. Sitting next to it is the temple of Lê Đại Hành is dedicated to Lê Hoàn who is the second emperor of Vietnam.
- Tam Coc Caves – A highlight of the tour is taking a row boat along Ngo Dong River and going through the three caves that make up Tam Coc. Seeing the oarsman rowing the boat with their feet is certainly very interesting. The scenery is absolutely beautiful and is definitely clear why Ninh Binh Province is compared to Halong Bay.
- Mua Cave – The main reason for going to Mua Cave is to climb the over 540 steps to the summit of the mountain to see the incredible views of Ninh Binh Province. The observation deck provides 360 degree views of the region and also overlooks Ngo Dong River where you can see the boats touring the Tam Coc caves. It is a very steep climb, but well worth the effort as you see the mountains in one direction and the rice paddies and fields in the other.
- Traditional Lunch – In addition to the restaurants, you could see women on the side of the roads selling cooked goat meat as we drove throughout Ninh Binh Province. We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant after visiting Hoa Lu and before doing our tour of the Tam Coc caves. We enjoyed a goat stew as well as some typical fried spring rolls.
When visiting Hanoi, going to Halong Bay is certainly a must, but if you have the time, we’d highly recommend doing a day tour of Ninh Binh Province. Most of the tours include a traditional hat to help protect you from the sun, which is helpful when on the river. Our Ninh Binh Province tour was one of our favorite memories of our time in Vietnam. The tour is typically 11 to 12 hours long and the tour company will pick you up and drop you off from your hotel in Hanoi’s old quarter.