Ninh Binh is a province in Red river delta. It is far about 90 kilometers from Hanoi with convenient transportation system. Nature blesses this land many fascinating landscape, famous cavessuch as Tam Coc - Bich Dong, Trang An cave, Phat Diem cathedral, Van Long natural reserve, Kim Son...
It shares border with Hoa Binh and Nam Dinh in the north, Ha Nam in Northeast, Thanh Hoa in the south and west. Ninh Binh also has a very short coastline abutting the Gulf of Tonkin. The population is 915.727 people and the total area is 1.329,4 square kilometers.
Ninh Binh is far about 90 kilometers from Hanoi with convenient transportation system. It is outside the National Highway 1 A, North-South railway, a system of seaports, river, ocean which is convenient for economic cooperation with other provinces in the country as well as international trade.
Ninh Binh is located in tropical monsoon climate: in the summer: hot and rainy from May to October; in the winter: from November to April next year. The average rainfall: 1700-1800 mm, average temperature 230C.
In terms of orest resources, Ninh Binh has 19033 hectares including 13.633,2 hectares of natural forests, 5.387 hectares of plantations. Besides, Ninh Binh has a coastline about 17 kilometers and limestone resources with an area of 12,000 hectares. This is an important resource for developing the industry of construction materials like cement, bricks, tiles…
Ninh Binh is an important point of intersection from the North to the South. There includes 3 ways to Ninh Binh: by road, railway or waterways. Ninh Binh has much rich potential tourism destinations. Nature blesses this land many fascinating landscape, famous caves. In addition, tourists coming here also have opportunities to travel, and enjoy many other famous places such as Tam Coc-Bich Dong, Phat Diem cathedral, Van Long natural reserve, Kim Son… in which Tam Coc-Bich Dong is praised as "Nam thien de nhi dong" or "Halong on Land" with the destinations such as: Tam Coc, Thai Vi temple, Bich Dong pagoda, Tien pagoda, Linh Coc Pagoda… Especially, Cuc Phuong National Park is an old growth forest with the area of 22.000 hectares, and many species of flora and fauna. Recently, Ninh Binh becomes an attractive tourist resort of thousands of domestic and foreign tourists.
Moreover, Ninh Binh was once the ancient capital of Dai Co Viet from 968 to 1010. Therefore, this area has many historic relics such as the Hoa Lu ancient capital, Phat Diem cathedral, Non Nuoc pagoda… All relics and scenic spots have become attractive destination for tourists.
According to datas collected in December 31st 2005, the province has 125 relics that have been ranked the national scale. Ninh Binh has been completed dossier to UNESCO to recognize: Historic relic Hoa Lu ancient capital as the world culture heritage and Cuc Phuong natural park, Trang An caves as the world natural heritage. Ecotourism with form of homestay help visitors understand daily life, production of local communities. This is the reason for Ninh Binh to revive the traditional craft villages, cultural heritage to provide tourism. Especially, Ninh Binh has Trang An eco-tourism area in the process of finalizing the dossiers to submit UNESCO for recognizing it as the world natural heritage. Spiritual tourism is one of the strongest of Ninh Binh, the advantages are the capital of three feudal dynasty associated with major shifts in the history of the nation; the convergence many religions especially Buddhism and Christianity and other religious structures- valuable cultural architecture.
The special dishes in Ninh Binh include dishes of goat meat, Kim Son wine, Ninh Binh'eel vermicelli and burned rice. The most famous and unique dishes in Ninh Binh is goat meat. Goat meat is a nutritious and delicious dish since it is served with many precious fine herbs which are very good for people’s health.
Ninh Binh is the place suitable to visit the whole year
The bus station in Ninh Binh is located near the Lim Bridge, just below the overpass to Phat Diem. Regular public buses leave almost hourly for the Giap Bat bus station in Hanoi ( 2½ hours, 93km). Ninh Binh is also a stop for open-tour buses between Hanoi ( two hours) and Hue ( 10 hours), which drop off and pick up passengers at some of the hotels. Ninh Binh's train station (1 Ð Hoang Hoa Tham) is a scheduled stop for Reunification Express trains, with destinations including Hanoi (two to 2½ hours, four daily), Thanh Hoa (one to 1½ hours, three daily) and Hue ( 12½ to 13½ hours, three daily). Travelling distances to the nearest major towns are 93km to Hanoi, 60km to Thanh Hoa and 49km to Thai Binh.
Tam Coc Rice Valley
The cliffs of the Tam Coc area are some of the most impressive in Vietnam, and the winding river valleys flanked by the steep cliffs are very dramatic and make for a great area of the country to explore. While it may not have the international recognition that the coastal destination of Ha Long Bay enjoys, the Karst formations at Tam Coc are truly spectacular. The area can either be explored by bicycle, where the roads are present, or by boat, with local rowers available for hire to take you to some of the most attractive areas along the river.
Bich Dong Pagoda
A short distance north of Tam Coc, the cave temples of Bich Dong are famous for the ornate entrances to the cave, and the beautiful formations inside the caves themselves. The stalactites hanging from the roof of the cave help to provide plenty of atmosphere, while there are three separate caves that can be explored in the pagoda complex. Legend has it that these pagodas originated in the early fifteenth century, when two monks visited the area and fell in love with the scenery, writing about the area in poetry which brought the area to the attention of the royal family.
Trang An Scenic Landscape
Located on the southern banks of the Red River Delta, the Trang An Grottoes are a series of caves that include some of the oldest areas occupied by humans in the country, with some caves showing signs of activity as far back as thirty thousand years ago. Many of these caves are submerged and can be explored by boat in an organized tour, while others can be visited on foot. The site also includes the ancient capital of the country, Hoa Lu, which was a key part of ruling Vietnam’s during the tenth and the eleventh centuries.
Many churches in former colonial cities tend to have architecture that only reflects the style brought to the country by the colonial powers, but this stone cathedral is one example where the local influence can also bee seen in the design. Dating from the late nineteenth century, the pagoda style roofs can be seen in many parts of the building, while the cross shape and the ornate carving around the arches reflect the European tendencies, making this a fascinating place to visit.
Cuc Phuong National Park
This lovely area of rainforest is one of the most pristine and untouched parts of Vietnam, and it is famous for the wide range of different animals that can be spotted by those exploring the park. Night tours are particularly interesting, as they reveal many of the nocturnal animals that cannot be spotted during the day, and there is also a turtle center that explores the history and habitat of these wonderful animals. There is also a primate rescue center that is located near the entrance to the national park, and here visitors can see some of the 150 different species of primate that live in the park, that are either too injured to be reintroduced into the park, or those in the process of rehabilitation.
From the middle of the tenth century, northern Vietnam independently ruled their land apart from the Chinese dynasties. However, due to political separations, the country was divided into 12 parts ruled by 12 different generals. These different kingdoms continuously fought one another in order have absolute power but for many years the country remained divided. Then, there was a man named Dinh Bo Linh who gathered an army to fight the 12 armies. This man was very talented, and step by step he defeated all of the generals. Eventually, in 968 he reunified the country, became a king, and named the country Dai Co Viet, which means the great country of the Viet people. This is the first absolute monarchy of Vietnam.
After 12 years of being a king, Dinh Bo Linh was assassinated. Many details surrounding the assassination are still disputed to this day, history can’t even identify the killer, but it might relate to one of the five wives of Dinh Bo Linh, Lady Duong, and a general named Le Hoan. It was said that Lady Duong and Le Hoan conspired against the king. After King Dinh Bo Linh died, the son of the king and Lady Duong became the next king, but he at that time was merely a six-year-old boy.
In early 980, the Tong Dynasty of the Chinese people started to invade the country of Dai Co Viet. Lady Duong took that chance and convinced other generals to let Le Hoan become the king to lead the Vietnamese army and people to fight against the Tong army. Le Hoan won the throne of Dai Co Viet, marking the beginning of the dynasty of the Early Le.
King Le Hoan was also a talented general. His army pushed the Tong’s army back to the border. Up until 1009, a general of the Early Le Dynasty named Ly Cong Uan was enthroned when the Le family couldn’t successfully rule the country. Ly Cong Uan became the founder of the Ly Dynasty. In 1010, King Ly moved the capital of the country from Hoa Lu to Dai La and changed the name of Dai La to Thang Long (meaning flying dragon), which is Hanoi capital city of present Vietnam.
Hoa Lu was the capital of Vietnam for just 42 years, but it holds the history of Vietnam and the three dynasties of Dinh, Early Le, and Ly. It’s not a random choice that King Dinh choose Hoa Lu as a capital. Many high mountains watch over the valley of Hoa Lu, acting as a natural barrier to protect the capital. After King Ly moved the capital to Thang Long, Hoa Lu was still an important military base in the north of Vietnam.
1. Biking around the village
Ninh Binh is a perfect place for you to explore the countryside life and idyllic scenery in Northern Vietnam. And the best way to do it is by bicycles. By biking you can enjoy the picturesque villages on both sides at a slow and leisure pace.
2. Local lunch
A lunch at the local house is becoming a trend of traveling in 2015. And Ninh Binh seems to be a good place to do it. Don’t forget to try marinated goat meat, a real delicacy in Ninh Binh. This can be paired perfectly with some rice wine.
3. Taking a boat trip in “Terrestrial Halong Bay”
There are two sites in Ninh Binh that is dubbed as “Terrestrial Halong Bay”: Trang An, Vietnam’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site and Tam Coc. These sites are characterized by long waterways divided by dark caves with rice paddies and towering karst mountains on both sides, somewhat similar than the setting in Halong Bay. Another good place for a boat trip in Ninh Binh is Van Long, where you will feel completely belong to nature.
4. Exploring at Cuc Phuong National Park
Cuc Phuong is the first and arguably the most famous national park in Vietnam. It has also been one of the most popular places for forest expeditions and camping for both domestic and international travelers in Northern Vietnam. Inside the country’s largest nature reserve is some exotic flora and fauna, some of which are listed in Vietnam Red Book of endangered species, most notably the langur.
5. Visiting the largest temple in Vietnam
Larger than any other religious complexes in Vietnam, as well as Laos and Cambodia, Bai Dinh Temple is becoming one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Northern Vietnam along with Perfume Pagoda in Hanoi and Yen Tu Pagoda near Halong City. The annual Bai Dinh Festival which is held on the sixth days of the first lunar month now draws a huge number of pilgrims from all parts of Vietnam.