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How to get from Ha Long Bay to Ninh Binh - Top attractions in Ninh Binh

Posted By : Threeland Travel / Ninh Binh -Travel Tips

You have just finished your vacation in Ha Long Bay and your next destination is Ninh Binh? You want to make the most of your time and do not want to return back Hanoi before transferring to Ninh Binh?

You don’t know how to commute from Ha Long Bay to Ninh Binh and which transportation company is reliable to choose? If you are having those questions in mind, this blog is for you. Hereafter we will provide detailed information on the transport information between the two places and introduce the best attractions and what you should do to make the most of your time while in Ninh Binh.

How far is it from Ha Long Bay to Ninh Binh? The distance from Halong Bay to Ninh Binh city center is about 300km - approximately 5h-drive by a tourist D-car shuttle or 6h-drive by local bus.

There are different attractions in Ninh Binh such as Tam Coc, Bai Dinh Pagoda, or Trang An and you can choose the drop-off point you want. It only takes 20-30m taxi drive to commute from one attraction to another.

How to transfer from Halong bay to Ninh Binh?

There are not many (ideal) options for tourists to travel from Ha Long Bay to Ninh Binh, but if you do some research in advance you might find something that fits your timing and budget.

Local Bus to transfer from Halong city to Ninh Binh

Local bus is a popular means of transport across all cities in Vietnam, for local people, including between Ha Long and Ninh Binh. However, most of bus drivers and on-bus staff can not speak English which could be inconvenient for tourists. It’s quite annoying thinking about what if there is something wrong to your belongings and you have no one to speak to.

Also, it’s easy to get scammed at the bus stations by many unreliable bus suppliers. If you do wish to take a local bus to get to Ninh Binh from Ha Long, you are recommended to have a quick look at Vietnam Local Bus Website which provides detailed bus information and transparent booking process across almost the whole country. There are 2 buses daily picking up at Tuan Chau or Hon Gai port in Ha Long at around 12pm and arrive Ninh Binh city center at around 5pm. The price is roughly 15 USD/ person/ way.

Private Transportation/ D-Car (Limousine Shuttle) - Best way to transfer from Halong bay to Ninh Binh

This seems to be a more ideal option for tourist due to good bus quality and fast speed the all D-cars travel through the highway and only stop at designated points. Threeland Travel offers private transportation from 4 to 16-seat depending on your group size with decent services and no hidden cost.

Or if you stay on land in Ha Long Bay, you can always come to the hotel's receptionists and grabs some pieces of information about the transfer to Ninh Binh. Most hotels do help their guests with private car/ tourist bus booking to get them safe and sound to Ninh Binh.


So once you arrive in Ninh Binh, wondering what attractions to visit?

Ninh Binh holds such an incredible value for both nature and culture that will leave you hopelessly beguiled. Below we have collected the where-to-go and what-to-do for you to emerge yourself in the breathtaking landscapes while tracing back the history and exploring the culture.

Day or overnight trip to Cuc Phuong National Park in Ninh Binh

Established in 1962 by President Ho Chi Minh as Vietnam’s first National Park in Ninh Binh Province, Cuc Phuong is renowned for both its scenery and exceptional biodiversity including many endangered species. Cuc Phuong National Park is reported to be home to 2234 species of plants, 122 species of reptiles and amphibians, 135 species of mammals and 336 species of bird. On arrival at the Cuc Phuong, take a visit around the interesting Visitors Center and be introduced to some of the park's valuable natural resources and its unique environment. The center aims to increase the conservation awareness of visitors. Spend the rest of the day walking around/cycling through the park following a guided tour which offers a wonderful opportunity to discover the tropical fauna and flora of the national park.

Cuc Phuong National Park is home to some precious yet endangered langurs.

Nestled between the provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa, the most convenient way to travel straight to Cuc Phuong National Park from the city center is by a taxi. Or if you decide that Cuc Phuong will be your first visit when arriving Ninh Binh, you can always choose a drop-off point for your bus/shuttle at Cuc Phuong.

Many people combine their visit to Cuc Phuong in the day time alongside another attractions such as Trang An or Tam Coc, while somes who want to learn about the national park in depth or fancy having truly natural expedition would like to stay overnight in Cuc Phuong. Check it out the standard lodging and restaurants or any other information you need to know about the park on Cuc Phuong Tourism Website

Boating in Tam Coc in Ninh Binh

Tam Coc is a magnificent waterway in Ninh Binh, where most of travelers visit for a day trip from the capital city of Hanoi. Ninh Binh is well-known as “Ha Long Bay on land” thanks to its stunning limestone karsts and the green  or yellow (depending on seasons) rice fields rising from the narrow water.

Doing the bamboo boat (or sampan boat) in Tam Coc is a must-try experience. The skillful boat riders will take you through the calm river and into the caves where you can admire the formations created thousands years ago. This outdoor activity doesn’t require any advanced level of your fitness, all you need to do is just relax and enjoy whatever nature offers to your views.

The calm Ngo Dong River in Tam Coc surrounded by endless rice fields and centuries old karsts forming a wonderful waterway for boat ride.

Tam Coc is about 20m-drive from Ninh Binh city center, which is to say, again, the most convenient means of transport to get there is by a local taxi. Most people combine Tam Coc with a trip to Hoa Lu Ancient Capital – the first capital of Vietnam in 10th century to learn about the Dinh (968-980) and Le (980-1009) Dynasties and about the history of the site. See ancient tombs and the ruins of the once-imposing Citadel.

Boating in Trang An – UNESCO World Heritage located in Ninh Binh

Situated near Tam Coc, Trang An is a nature reserve similar to Tam Coc, however far less visited. This is an ‘eco-tourism’ area, the only interruptions here are the sound of birds and the gentle paddle of the oar upon the crystal-clear river. Trang An Landscape Complex was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014.

Take a relaxing boat ride on a peaceful river passing through a series of caves (one which takes 15-minutes to pass through in darkness). Trang An is a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys, some of which are submerged and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs. As the boat gently slices through the water, notice the enormous limestone karsts jutting out from the green rice fields giving rise to the same nick name as Tam Coc, ‘Ha Long Bay on Land’.

A colorful local festival in Trang An.

Trang An is 15km away from Tam Coc (around 30m drive) and you can always grab a local taxi to transfer from one place to another.

With Trang An tour, you should combine a visit to the nearby Bai Dinh pagoda (15m drive away) - a complex of Buddhist temples on Bai Dinh Mountain, The compound consists of the original old temple and a newly created larger one. It is considered the largest complex of Buddhist center in Vietnam and has become a popular site for Buddhist pilgrimages from across the country.

Pay a visit to Phat Diem Cathedral in Ninh Binh

Phat Diem Cathedral, built in late 19th century, is another highlight of the province. The architecture consists of four roofs and six sets of pillars, surrounded by a complex of ponds, lakes, artifical caves and smaller churches.

Unlike most famous cathedrals and churches in Vietnam, Phat Diem Cathedral was built by a Vietnamese designer with inspiration of Vietnamese traditional elements and styles, which makes it distintive from other European-styled cathedral and churches across the country. Which is to say, besides its religious value, the church is also praised for its architectural and cultural values which is definitely worth your visit no matter what religion you are.

The unique Phat Diem Cathedral - a Catholic church with Vietnamese traditional architectural style. 

The cathedral is off the city center, which takes about 1 hour drive (30km away). So it’s more ideal to take the cathedral as a quick stop if you will be on your way back from Ninh Binh to Hanoi.

With nearly 20 years of experience, Threeland Travel prides ourselves as a leading local DMC in Indochina and in Vietnam particularly providing clients will best tailored options for their once-in-a-lifetime experience in our home destinations. We offer a wide range of Vietnam Package Tours including visit to Ha Long Bay and Ninh Binh that are hassle-free and fit every taste and budget. 

Fancy to explore Ninh Binh with something more personalized to satiate your timing and budget request? Do not hesitate to email us right away at [email protected] and our travel guru will be in touch immediately to give you best available advice in town and turn your whatever inquiry into a dream-like Vietnam travel packages.