Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh is a playground for adventurers, and an oasis for nature lovers. Vietnam’s first capital was established here, and today the area is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ninh Binh is a town which lies to the southeast of Hanoi and acts as a base for visitors to explore the surrounding area. Located outside of Ninh Binh town, Tam Coc is one of the best nature destinations in Vietnam although it remains firmly off the tourist trail.

Located within Ninh Binh Province of North Vietnam near the southern margin of the Red River Delta, the Trang An Landscape Complex (Trang An) is a mixed cultural and natural property contained mostly within three protected areas; the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, the Trang An-Tam Coc-Bich Dong Scenic Landscape, and the Hoa Lu Special-Use Forest.

Bich Dong pagoda is one of the most attractive landmarks in Ninh Binh. It is also known as the second beautiful cave of the Southern, after Huong Tich cave in Ha Tay. Toa Lu Ancient Capital of Vietnam lies 90 km south of Hanoi, protected by high limestone mountains and earthen walls. Hoa Lu is the beautiful ancient city that was the economic and political center of Dai Co Viet, a kingdom that extended from what is now northern Vietnam to the center during the 10th and 11th centuries.

Tam Cốc, literally “three caves”, consists of three natural caves — Hang Cả, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba — on the Ngô Đồng River. Tourists are taken in small boats along the river from the village of Ván Lám, through rice fields and limestone karsts, through the caves, and back. Locals serve as guides and attempt to sell embroidered goods to their passengers. The guides are well known for rowing their boats using their feet.

I would firmly recommend you visit Ninh Binh and all of its sites. There are many in the area and as such, you should spend at least a week here and hire yourself a scooter. The safest, quickest and cheapest way to get here is by train from Hanoi. For more information, please do contact me

Author: Piers Midwinter
I am an artist and a teacher. I am currently teaching at a Cambridge International School in Vietnam.