Nihn Binh is a small Northern Vietnamese province in the Red River Delta region. The capital is also called Ninh Binh and the town is about 100 kilometers south west from Hanoi. The province covers an area of 1,382 square kilometers and has a population of about 900,000 people.
The province is renowned for having some of the country’s most beautiful natural sites. Striking limestone caves and mountains dot the province’s topography. Nihn Binh is also home to Cuc Phuong National Park, the country’s first and largest nature reserve as well as one of the country’s most important sites for biodiversity. Over 300 species of birds, 97 species of mammals and 2,000 species of plants are featured in the park.
The province is home to Hoa Lu, Vietnam’s former capital from 968 to 1010 A.D. Here, visitors will see a historical town containing a palace and citadel hidden within the mountains and Hoang Long River.
Several other religious and historical sites are located in the province. One such site is the Temple of Dinh Tien Hoang. He was the emperor and founder of the Dinh Dynasty (Vietnam’s second dynasty) as well as a significant figure in the restoration of Vietnamese independence in the tenth century. Besides its unique I-shaped architecture and beautiful relics, the past emperor’s tomb rests here. Visitors must ascend 150 rock steps to reach it.
Phat Diem Cathedral is another site worth visiting while in Ninh Binh Province. Built in the late 19th century, it consists of four roofs and six sets of wooden pillars. In addition, there is a network of ponds, lakes and artificial caves. The cathedral itself is surrounded by four smaller churches. Unlike other churches and cathedrals in Vietnam, this one was designed by a Vietnamese known as Father Sau. He incorporated certain Vietnamese elements (such as multi-tiered curling roofs and dragons) into the church’s design, distinguishing it from European style churches in the country.
The province’s main highlight is Tam Coc. It is a beautiful scene of limestone karsts and simple countryside landscape. Vast cliffs rise out of the rice paddies making the scenery similar to Halong Bay (in fact, Tam Coc is sometimes known as Halong Bay on land). After visiting the area’s numerous limestone formations, it is highly recommended to visit Bich Dong, a 15th century hillside stupa. This pagoda, with its finely decorated bell tower, is highly regarded by the Vietnamese and houses several Buddha statues. Visitors can also enjoy Bich Dong’s magnificent view of the area.
Ninh Binh is a province rich in history and natural beauty. Discover the province on two wheels with our Biking in Ninh Binh and Tam Coc – Hanoi adventure day trip. Start from the former capital and bike your way to the province’s temples, tranquil villages and numerous limestone karsts. See Exotissimo’s suggested Vietnam tours or Vietnam day trips pages for other great vacation ideas into this magnificent country. Feel free to contact us for any questions or if you are looking to tweak or combine our tours.
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