Ninh Binh is probably my most favourite destination in Vietnam. It's so pure, full of nature, not crowded, and not very touristy.
How many days do you need to see the whole Ninh Binh?
Ninh Binh is relatively small so the most that you will need to visit this whole place is 2-3 days. For your reference, I stayed in Ninh Binh for 2 days and drove around the entire Ninh Binh 2 times.
Getting around Ninh Binh
As mentioned, Ninh Binh is somewhat a small area and the best way to go around Ninh Binh is by scooter. Each attraction is only 10-30 minutes apart from each other by scooter. You can easily rent a scooter from your hotel/hostel for around 3-5$ per day. You can also bike around some certain areas in Ninh Binh, but not all as that will be a lot of biking to do, and of course it will take a lot longer.
Where to visit in Ninh Binh
1. Mua Caves
Mua Caves is definitely my favourite place of Ninh Binh. The views from the top are just out of this world. When you arrive to Mua Caves, you can go straight all the way to the gate and park inside the park as it's easier, cheaper and safer. There are many parking lots just outside Mua Caves but be aware most of them seem to be over-priced.
Mua Caves entrance ticket is around $4 USD. As you can see in my picture, there are a lot of steps to climb, and the weather is usually baking hot, so make sure you bring a lot of water to keep yourself hydrated. If you forgot to bring water, there's a little shop just right at the start of the hike, but of course, everything there is very expensive since it's inside the park.
I highly recommend you to visit this place right before the rice fields harvest season as the views would be even more breathtaking with all the yellow rice fields. The best time to visit Ninh Binh in general, according to locals is between May and early June.
2. Tam Coc
Initially I visited Mua Caves and did not realize Tam Coc is just right below Mua Caves! So yes, you can view the entire Tam Coc just from Mua Caves. However, I highly recommend taking a boat ride through the entire river to fully enjoy and experience the whole Tam Coc. You can by tickets at the Tam Coc port for round $25 USD per boat (maximum 4 persons). After that, a local will row the boat and take you across this amazing place. Totally an experience you shouldn't miss! At the end of the boat ride, they might ask you for tips, so just prepare some extra cash for that.
3. Bich Dong Pagoda
You probably have seen many pictures from this iconic place. This temple is surrounded by lotus fields and it is free to visit. You only have to pay a small scooter parking fee for around 1 USD but that's about it. If you would like to go up and see the whole temple, make sure you dress properly as I wasn't allow to go in with this white dress. The locals told me I needed to wear something to cover my legs completely, hence, I only take some pictures then left.
4. Trang An
Trang An is place that you must purchase a boat ride tour to visit the entire place. The ticket is around 12-15$ per person but it is totally worth it, as the whole boat tour is around 3 hours and locals physically have to row you around for hours to get to different parts of Trang An. Through this boat ride tour, you will get to visit the floating temple, and the place where King Kong movie was filmed and you will be surrounded by pure nature. The last boat ride is at around 5pm so make sure you arrive to this place before this time.
5. Bai Dinh Pagoda
I went to Bai Dinh Pagoda during sunset hour and the place was closed so unfortunately I did not get to go inside this place. However from my drone view, this place looks incredible. I decided not to go back here the next day because I did not want to pay for any extra entrance fees, but if you have the budget for it, I think this is a place you should totally check out.
Hope you enjoyed scrolling through my Ninh Binh blog! See you soon in my next blog!