A day in Ninh Binh

If you’re looking to escape or reconnect with nature after days in the bustling city, Ninh Binh is one of the best options, even just for a day trip. Ninh Binh is renowned for its beautiful landscapes, with the Trang An World Heritage Site being its highlight.

The Trang An World Heritage Site boasts stunning natural beauty, grandeur, and antiquity, yet remains poetic. It includes various unique destinations such as Tam Coc-Bich Dong, Bai Dinh Pagoda, and the ancient capital of Hoa Lu. If you still need to figure out how to spend a full day in Ninh Binh, this blog is for you.

With the itinerary from Hanoi to Bich Dong Pagoda, Tam Coc, and Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the majestic mountainous landscapes, the beauty of lush fields on a boat in Tam Coc, and explore the historical roots of Vietnam’s first capital.

Let 365 Travel guide you to explore a day in Bich Dong – Tam Coc – Hoa Lu.

1. Where is Ninh Binh in Vietnam?

Many may wonder why Ninh Binh is chosen as a destination for exploration instead of other places. Regarding geographical distance, Ninh Binh is approximately 100 km south of Hanoi, taking about 2 to 2.5 hours to travel. This makes it a convenient location for travelers to delve into the history and culture of Vietnam while still being close to the beautiful natural landscapes of forests and mountains.

Moreover, the proximity between the destinations – Bich Dong Pagoda, Tam Coc, and Hoa Lu – is not too far apart, with each location only taking about 10 to 15 minutes to travel between, which is very favorable.

2. How to get to Bich Dong – Tam Coc – Hoa Lu from Hanoi?

A few transportation options are available for your day trip from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. You can opt for a shuttle bus, which operates regularly and typically takes around 2.5 – 3 hours, depending on traffic conditions. Alternatively, you can take the train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh train station, then arrange for a taxi to Tam Coc.

For the most convenient experience, consider using motorbike or car, following Phap Van – Cau Gie expressway leading towards Phu Ly (Ha Nam) and Ninh Binh.

Additionally, guided tours from 365 Travel are available for those seeking a more personalized and convenient travel experience.

>>> Contact us for more information

3. When is the best time to visit Bich Dong – Tam Coc – Hoa Lu?

Ninh Binh is best visited in its finest weather. Here are the overall weather conditions in Ninh Binh that you need to know:

  • Spring in Ninh Binh (January – March) brings temperatures ranging from 15-24°C, but expect drizzles and high humidity, making trekking slippery.
  • The best time to visit Ninh Binh is in the summer (April – June). This is the time that you can enjoy the lush green fields and blooming lotus flowers, it is perfect for outdoor activities. However, it gets hot and sunny during midday, so make sure to bring sunscreen and all your necessities when outside.
  • In Autumn (July – October), Ninh Binh experiences frequent and prolonged rain during this period, along with the possibility of storms and heavy winds, making it less favorable for travel.
  • Winter, which lasts from November to February in Ninh Binh is cold, making you get sick easily. Outdoor activities may not be as enjoyable due to the chilly weather

As a local DMC, we understand deeply Ninh Binh’s climate and the best times to visit for a memorable experience. 

4. What to eat in Bich Dong – Tam Coc – Hoa Lu?

When visiting Bich Dong – Tam Coc – Hoa Lu in Ninh Binh, you will have the opportunity to experience rich and diverse Vietnamese cuisine. Ninh Binh is particularly famous for its goat meat and rice crust, so try these specialties for a complete experience during your day trip.

5. What will you do for a full tour day Bich Dong – Tam Coc – Hoa Lu?

Visit Bich Dong pagoda – the 600 hundred years old pagoda in Ninh Binh

Bich Dong Pagoda, an ancient temple nearly 600 years old, epitomizing Vietnam’s architectural finesse and spiritual legacy. As you step into Bich Dong Pagoda, the tranquil atmosphere envelops you, infusing the surroundings with a sense of peace and serenity. The verdant forest, the majestic mountains, and the meandering river blend harmoniously, creating an enchanting ambiance that feels both ancient and poetic.

Bich Dong Pagoda – Ninh Binh

As you step inside, you feel excitement all around, like you’re starting an adventure where old stories begin. The temple’s sacredness blends perfectly with the beauty of nature, creating a feeling of awe and respect.

The pagoda’s unique design follows the shape of the Chinese character “Tam” (三), featuring three separate but interconnected temples situated along the mountainside. These temples are divided into three levels based on their elevation: the Lower Pagoda (Chua Ha), the Middle Pagoda (Chua Trung), and the Upper Pagoda (Chua Thuong). 

The Lower Pagoda (Chua Ha)

As you explore the ancient halls and sacred spaces, you’ll discover the history of Bich Dong Pagoda, tracing back to its beginnings in the 15th century. Founded by monks Tri Kien and Tri The, this tranquil Buddhist sanctuary is nestled among the limestone mountains. Despite undergoing renovations and expansions over the years, the pagoda’s essence as a place of worship and peace has endured. It stands as a symbol of Vietnam’s spiritual legacy and architectural excellence, attracting visitors to marvel at its beauty and historical importance.

Visitors explore Bich Dong Pagoda

Ascending to the Upper Pagoda, panoramic views of the surrounding countryside unfold before your eyes. Amidst the tranquil ambiance and natural beauty, you can find solace and tranquility, immersed in the timeless allure of Vietnam’s landscapes.

Travelers climb the stone steps to reach the Upper Pagoda

Our insightful tips: For a more interesting experience, consider visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon to savor the serenity of this revered temple away from the crowds.

>> Discover more about Bich Dong Pagoda

Visit Tam Coc – known as Ha Long Bay on land

The next stop of this one-day tour is Tam Coc. The name Tam Coc means Three Caves, is derived from the three natural caves formed by the Ngo Dong River as it winds its way through the karst landscape.

Boat riding along Ngo Dong River in Tam Coc

As you travel by boat through the calm water in Tam Coc, you witness a breathtaking display of nature. Towering limestone karsts form stunning geological formations. Over millions of years, these karsts have shaped a surreal landscape that enchants the mind. 

This tour offers travelers a blend of natural beauty, ancient temples, and cultural experiences, evoking feelings of peace and wonder.

Visitors sit on boats steered by experienced rowers

The boat trip will take you go through three caves, begins as you glide into Hang Ca, the First Cave, boasting a length of approximately 127 meters. The cave’s wide entrance, piercing through a large mountain, creates a fascinating and captivating visitor experience. The atmosphere inside the cave is pleasantly cool, with numerous stalactites hanging down, forming a myriad of shapes and sizes, resembling a natural masterpiece. Moving on to Hang Hai, located about 1 km from Hang Ca, stretching for 60 meters. The cave’s ceiling also features numerous peculiar stalactites hanging down, creating a mysterious and enchanting atmosphere. Lastly, Hang Ba, although smaller than Hang Ca and Hang Hai, impresses with its unique vaulted rock ceiling. Despite its size, the cave offers stunning views of towering limestone cliffs, casting intriguing shadows that add to the allure of this captivating landscape.

The first cave of Tam Coc – Hang Ca

The rhythmic paddling of oars and the soft rustle of leaves create a symphony of sights and sounds that will awaken your senses and calm your soul. Sometimes, you may hear the cheerful greetings of the boat rowers, bringing warmth and joy to the peaceful atmosphere. These moments will enrich your journey, weaving a deeper understanding and appreciation for the culture and community of Tam Coc.

The ideal time to visit Tam Coc is usually from late May to early June, lasting for about two weeks. During this time, the lush green rice fields blend with golden ripe rice fields, forming a captivating color. Some areas are being harvested while others are still untouched, leading to even more breathtaking and picturesque scenery.

Our insightful tips: As you glide along the Ngo Dong River, ask your boat rower to stop at May Peak & Sky Ravine. Here, you can enjoy stunning panoramic views and capture unforgettable photos. Take in the expansive landscape stretching in every direction, offering a unique perspective of Tam Coc’s beauty.

Standing at May Peak offers a stunning view of the rice field in Tam Coc

Cycling through the picturesque field of Tam Coc

Spending about 30-40 minutes cycling through the fields of Tam Coc is a great choice. While cycling through Tam Coc’s beautiful landscapes, you’ll feel surrounded by a peaceful atmosphere filled with wonder and tranquility. The calm surroundings, along with the stunning views of limestone cliffs and lush greenery, will make you feel peaceful and amazed.

With every pedal, you’ll become more connected to nature, fully enjoying the natural beauty around you. You can admire the scenic views, take beautiful photos, and enjoy the freedom to explore at your own pace. This relaxing bike ride offers a refreshing break from the busy daily life, refreshing your mind and creating special memories.

Visit Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Continuing the journey from the stunning landscapes of Tam Coc, we head towards the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, which is 10 km drive away. As we approach, Hoa Lu unfolds with its majestic mountains, serene rivers, and imposing fortifications.

Hoa Lu was the first capital of Vietnam, where Dinh Bo Linh’s triumph over twelve warlords marked the establishment of the Dai Co Viet. Nestled in a valley surrounded by lush mountains, Hoa Lu boasts a grandiose landscape, with mountains towering above and rivers flowing below, resembling a picturesque painting.

The ancient capital of Hoa Lu spans approximately 300 hectares. Upon arrival, we are greeted by two magnificent dragon statues guarding the entrance, symbolizing strength and resilience amidst the hills and mountains, emphasizing Hoa Lu’s strategic military importance. 

While the grand palaces and towering walls of the past are no longer visible, every inch of land and every mountain here bears the proud imprint of a glorious era. Instead of that, we discover the temples of King Dinh and King Le, built atop the ancient foundations of Hoa Lu. These temples, dating back to the 17th century, showcase exquisite wood and stone carvings of remarkable craftsmanship. You’ll have the opportunity to admire and learn more about the remaining ancient capital here.

King Dinh’s Temple

Stone Dragon bed at King Dinh’s Temple

King Le’s Temple

Relics at Exhibition of Hoa Lu Ancient capital.

Tags : First touris group to Hoi an
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