Ninh Binh is also called "Halong Bay on land" because of its landscapes similar to Halong Bay. Located in the Red River Delta, Ninh Binh Province was created on a karst land, covered from time to time by the alluvial deposits of the Red River. Ninh Binh has a large number of immersed karstic mountains, rivers, caves, lakes, nature reserves and primitive forests. All of this make Ninh Binh a natural paintings of exceptional beauty.
Ninh Binh is also a land of a thousand years history, it was chosen for the capital of Vietnam in the 10th century, during the reigns of Dinh-Le-Ly. Now we can see in Hoa Lu the remains of this historical period through temples dedicated to King Dinh and King Le.
ATTRACTIVE SITES IN NINH BINH
Tam Coc means 3 caves, the three caves are linked by the river Ngo Dong winding through the karstic mountains. The first cave is 127 m length, the second is 60 m and the third is 50 m. In the caves, the stalagmites come in fascinating multiforme. Tam Coc is the site where the boat cruise - the main activity of Ninh Binh tourism - was practiced the first time.
Located 15 km from Hoa Lu and 9 km from the Ninh Binh city, the Bich Dong Pagoda - which means pagoda in the Jade Cave - is situated on the slope of a steep mountain. According to legend, around 1705, the two superior bonzes Tri Kiên and Tri Thê began their journey to proselytize in the region. Arriving at Ninh Binh, they decided to build three small pavilions at the level of the ground which, according to them, was at the heart of the five mountains which form as many lotus petals. The three buildings - one of them in a cave - form the Bich Dong Pagoda.
Cuc Phuong national park
Cuc Phuong National Park is one of Vietnam’s most beautiful and important protected areas. It was officially opened in 1960 as the first national park in Vietnam. The park contains diversified flora and fauna, characterized by tropical forest.
The best time to visit Cuc Phuong national park is in the dry season, between December and April. It is better to avoid the rainy season between May and November, since the high humidity of the rainy season favors the development of mosquitoes and other insects. They can pump you blood.
Arriving at Cuc Phuong National Park, travelers can do the following activities:
Hiking in the primitive forest
Hiking in the forest and sleeping at homestay (this activity requires good physical fitness)
Watching wild animals at night
Observing bird species
Cycling in the forest
Hoa Lu ancient capital
Hoa Lu belongs to the whole world heritage of Trang An, covers an area of 13.87 km². Hoa Lu was the first urban center in the history of Vietnam. The capital Hoa Lu existed for 42 years (968-1010), during the reign of three successive dynasties Dinh, Le and Ly. In 1010, under the Ly dynasty, the capital was transferred to Thang Long, which is Hanoi nowaday.
Phat Diem stone cathedral
The Phat Diem Cathedral is a monument of unique architecture in Vietnam. It was built in 1891, by the harmonious combination between the eastern pagodas architecture and the western Gothic architecture. The Cathedral consists of a network of ponds, lakes, churches, and artificial caves.
The Phat Diem complex located on a charming landscape. Moreover, it is well situated according to the Asian concept. According to the concept of oriental geomancy, a monument with water (pond) in front and the mountain behind, will always be at peace and all the best will arrive.
Van Long nature reserve
Close to the Cuc Phuong National Park, the Van Long nature Reserve is a site of exceptional beauty, with its flooded rice paddies surrounded by karstic peaks. These are the same rocks that you find in Halong Bay, as in the whole of this region, which is also called the "Halong Bay on land". You visit the reserve on small bamboo boats, that a rower control cleverly ... with his feet.
Your cruise in the meanders of the river across the reserve, offers you an unreal landscape of rainforests and centuries-old mountains reflected in the water. Van Long also allows you to observe a number of species of exotic birds in their natural habitat.
Thung Nham bird species Reserve
Thung Nham Reserve is located in the midst of the karst mountains covered by the greenery of the primitive forest.
To visit Thung Nham, the local people with their boats will offer you the fantastic cruise on the transparent water.
Towards the end of the day, Thung Nham is blushed by thousands of birds returning to their habitat. If you like to observe the birds, the ideal time to go to Thung Nham is in the autumn. In the autumn, it's a bit cold, birds go for food not too far and return to their habitat sooner, so birds can be observed in the afternoon before dusk.
Eco-tourism site of Trang An
Trang An has been recognized by UNESCO as natural heritage and world cultural heritage. Its picturesque natural landscapes are made up of rivers that wind through the limestone mountains, forming many fantastic and mysterious caves.
When to go
Ninh Binh is accessible all year round, however, for those wishing to see the rice fields turning yellow, it is recommended to go to Ninh Binh towards the end of May.
How to get there
Located about 100 km from Hanoi capital, the bus is the most convenient means of transport, it takes 2 hours drive to reach Ninh Binh from Hanoi.