Updated: Oct 16, 2022
📍 Ninh Bình
🛌 £29 a night
💰 £1 = 28,000 Vietnamese dong (roughly)
Ninh Bình is a reasonably small city in the Northern region of Vietnam. It is pronounced "Nin Bin" but with a Vietnamese accent sounds a bit more like "Ning Bing." There are many things that may attract you to Ninh Bình, such as boat riding in Tam Coc, the stunning pagodas and the lucisous national park. I enjoyed my time in this city as it delivers the perfect blend of urban life and a green getaway.
Youtube Travel Vlog
5 Things To Do In Ninh Bình
Tràng An Complex - Tam Coc Caves
Cuc Phuong National Park
Bich Dong Pagoda
Bai Dinh Pagoda
The hotel was set slightly back from the main road, providing an excellent shelter from the rumbling cars passing by. It vaguely reminded me of a motel you'd see in an old American movie from the outside. The rooms were clean, spacious and kitted out with the typical basic amenities.
The AC here was incredibly powerful, to the point I actually caught a cold here. Yep, despite the warm outdoor temperatures, I had a full-on runny nose.
As I was staying at this hotel for 2 nights I decided to do my laundry here. The process of getting your clothes cleaned in Vietnam differs depending on whereabouts you're staying. However, more often than not you'll be charged by the weight of your clothes. Your chosen laundry provider will put your clothes in a bag and weigh them. The cost can be anywhere between 30,000 -60,000 dong per kilogram. A lot of these hotels and businesses will claim they can you do your washing overnight or in a few hours but be warned they do not always deliver this promise or you may receive damp clothes if you're in a hurry.
That being said I had a great time here, I even got caught in another thunderstorm where I happened to be in the pool again.
Trang an & Tam Coc Caves
The Tràng An complex is on the must visit list if you ever happen to grace Ninh Bình. This mountainous area is well known for boat ride tours, sailing through the Tam Coc caves and stopping off at various temples. It offers scenery which I believe is similar to Halong Bay but just on a smaller scale.
This UNESCO world heritage site is fairly popular and welcomes a large number of tourists each day. The entrance cost was 200k dong per person which is roughly £7.50, but well worth the cost. Once inside the complex you have the option of about 3 tours that vary in length, cave passing and pagoda sightings. I think the tour I chose was a good mix of all 3.
There is a minimum of 3 passengers per boat which is something to bear in mind if travelling solo.
I was amazed at the strength of the little old lady who was single-handedly rowing the weight of 3 grown adults. I can't lie I did feel a little guilty but was sure to leave a nice tip at the end of the tour. Furthermore, your tour guides who will be rowing your boat may only be fluent in Vietnamese so be sure to keep a phrasebook handy if you're interested in the history of this area.
I absolutely loved this activity. It was tranquil, relaxing and simply peaceful.
This excursion basically consisted of sailing down the valleys, travelling through some of the low-roofed water caves and hopping off to explore some temples.
Fun fact - These mountains and islands have been used to film many movies we know an love. King Kong Skull Island (2017) being one of the more popular house hold names.
You absolutely have to come down to Trang An if you're in Ninh Binh!
The karaoke bars in Vietnam are the best I’ve ever been to. They were all huge. Big tall buildings with private rooms, bright neon lights and garish decorations. I can't quite describe them as tacky as I just loved the atmosphere. Some were a little more gritty than others, found down dark roads in what looked like the middle of nowhere. I'll just call them hidden gems.
Ninh Bình will be another memorable stop on my Vietnam tour as this was the first time I actively participated in Karaoke. I don't sing in public. Funnily enough, this was also one of those occasions where I washed the entirety of my laundry. This meant that after a day out in the sun, dirtying my clothes I had nothing odourless to wear in the evening. So you'll see here I was out in a scarf, sports bra and shorts hiked all the way up to cover my rolls ahahaha.
Yay Or Nay?
YAAAAAY. There are loads of things to do in Ninh Bình, more than I have probably mentioned but you'll find something here for everyone.
There are big restaurants in some of the more urban areas however nature is never too far away in Ninh Binh! You can easily switch off for a few days and stay in a quieter area.