Ninh Binh travel guide - Rusty Compass

An independent travel guide to Ninh Binh with candid reviews and recommendations. No sponsored content, no advertorial.

Ninh Binh travel guide

Ninh Binh Introduction

| 25 Apr 2018
Last updated 25 Apr 2018

The landscapes just south of Hanoi around Ninh Binh are some of the most beautiful in Vietnam. Limestone peaks tower from rice paddies and mellow streams meander through ancient caves.

Most travel brochures describe the area as "Halong Bay on land", which goes part way to telling the story.

Ninh Binh is also one of the best places in Vietnam for casual cycling. It’s possible to visit the best historical and natural sights of the area by bicycle on relatively safe picturesque paths.

Further afield, a visit to Phat Diem, home to Vietnam’s most interesting Catholic Cathedral and a centuries old flourishing Catholic enclave is also worthwhile.

Day trips from Hanoi to Ninh Binh are popular but are a very poor second to a couple of nights here. Exploring Ninh Binh in your own time and out of sync with the daytripping masses will do far more justice to this spectacular region.



Ninh Binh - Getting there and Away

Ninh Binh is easily reached from Hanoi (93kms away) either by bus or train. Ninh Binh is on the main line between Hanoi and the south.

Buses run regularly by day from Hanoi Giap Bat bus station. Open buses from the backpacker area of Hanoi also service Ninh Binh. Bus tickets to Ninh Binh sell for around US$5 and less.

We prefer the train service. It’s far more pleasant than the chaotic roads and it’s cheaper too. There are two services a day from Hanoi’s main railway station.

It’s also possible to rent a private car or van for the 90 minute journey.

Those travelling overland will usually head further south towards Hue or North to Hanoi from Ninh Binh. Trains and buses operate in both directions.

Ninh Binh - Getting Around

The best way to get around Ninh Binh is by bicycle. Unlike other parts of Vietnam, roads are relatively safe and the rides take you through stunning mountain country and rice paddies.

Low quality bicycles are available for hire from most hotels for around 1USD per day. The best bikes we found were at the Thuy Anh Hotel who charged US$5 per day.

Xe om or motorcycle taxis are another option. Hotels can also arrange car hire.

Ninh Binh - Health and Safety

Ninh Binh is a safe environment for travel with the greatest risk being posed by motorcycle and cycling adventures gone wrong.

There is a basic local hospital however those needing medical assistance are strongly recommended to try to return to Hanoi for all but the most urgent medical care. Contact your hotel for assistance should you need to attend the local hospital.

English is not widely spoken.

Ninh Binh Hospital
Phuc Thanh St,
Ninh Binh
Tel:   +84 303 871791

Ninh Binh - Internet, WIFI and ATMs

Free wifi is widely available in Ninh Binh hotels and mobile phone and data reception from major carriers is good. 

There are several ATMs in Ninh Binh town accepting international cards.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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