Top Tips for one day in Ninh Binh
Short on time? Do you only have one day to discover the sights in Ninh Binh? I'm here to help, I will give you some of my top tips on how to make the most of your day so you don't miss the best of this amazing destination.
If you are arriving to Ninh Binh early in the morning then I suggest you head to Chookie's to refuel your body and enjoy one of the best breakfasts in town. If you have a night bus or train then the staff will also be happy to store your bags for the day so you can start exploring right away.
I think the best way to get around is by motorbike, the roads here are a little quieter so you don't have to worry about crazy traffic like in Hanoi and its much quicker than a bicycle between the different sights. You can rent motorbikes for around $7/day from most places in the area. Remember to wear a helmet not only for your safety but its also the law for drivers and passengers.
It's best to start nice and early before it really heats up with the midday sun, start your day with a boat trip in Tam Coc, it's the best time of the year to visit and you will be amazed by the beautiful scenery. After the boat trip follow the road to Bich Dong Pagoda, along the way detour off the main road and weave your way around some of the little villages to get a glimpse of local life. At Bich Dong make sure to walk up through the cave to the top of the mountain and enjoy the peace and quiet before returning to your motorbike.
Now it's hot and your belly will be getting hungry so I suggest you take a break to cool down with some drinks and fill your belly with some tasty food to get enough energy to continue your day. You can stop by Chookie's Beer Garden for total relaxation, refreshing drinks and a bite to eat or you can try to find some restaurants serving goat meat which is the local specialty.
By the time you finish lunch it should start to cool down a little and you can continue your day with a drive through the country roads to visit Hoa Lu Ancient Capital. A lot of people don't like Hoa Lu much because they don't understand the meaning of this place or it's too busy with tour groups and you can't appreciate the beauty of the temples. If you visit in the late afternoon it's generally pretty quiet and you can enjoy the peacefulness and beauty of these two little temples in this holy land.
Now head back in the direction of Tam Coc to visit Mua Cave Lookout for a spectacular sunset view over Ninh Binh. It's about 500 steps to the top but the view is definitely worth the effort, you won't regret visiting this place, it's the perfect ending to your day in Ninh Binh.
For those not confident to ride a motorbike by yourself then contact the staff at Chookie's to arrange a tour with a licenced driver and English speaking guide. You won't get lost and you'll gain lots more insight into life in Vietnam. Alternatively you can also book a private car with driver to see all the best places in one day. If you have any questions about what to do in Ninh Binh or need some help planning your trip then send me a message and I'll be happy to help.