Few tourists visit Ninh Binh, but their loss is your gain as you’ll be able to enjoy the untouched, natural landscapes yet to be tainted by commercialisation. Ninh Binh is known as ‘Halong Bay on land’, although (unlike its namesake) we’re not convinced dragons had anything to do with this place! Instead, the nickname comes from the imposing karst pillars and the network of caves and tunnels in the hills.
We recommend at least an overnight stay, or even two, so you can experience everything the area has to offer, including Cuc Phuong National Park and the rice fields. The town is also extremely close to the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, where two dark and mysterious temples still stand. However, it’s better known for its iconic scenery and historic farming community. You can still see water buffaloes, rice paddies and lush green fields wherever you go!
To be honest, even if the town of Ninh Binh itself is a little unimpressive, there’s a host of surrounding sites that make up for it. Vietnam’s largest pagoda is a short drive away, and you can visit the Trang An grottoes. They’re a UNESCO World Heritage Site that wind their way through the hills.
Right in the heart of the rice fields is Phat Diem Cathedral; a superb fusion of western and oriental architecture. There’s still a large catholic community today in Ninh Binh, and they’ve preserved this cathedral spectacularly well.
Plan your trip to Ninh Binh today.