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3 Days in Ninh Binh and the Lifetime Experience

By: Dylan Hillion - 21 April 2016

Ninh Binh is, for me, one of the most beautiful place in the world by many aspects. First of all, we can talk about its beautiful and unique landscape but also talk about the chance Ninh Binh offer to interact with local people and to try cultural activities. During my 3 days in Ninh Binh, I discover a lovely aspect of Vietnam that everyone should discover at least once in their life.

What Made Me Fall in Love during 3 Days in Ninh Binh?

First of all, my trip began by 3 hours of road trip to go to Ninh Binh from Hanoi. 3 hours when you cross all the vietnamese rurals parts between those 2 cities. Then, I began my “real” trip in Ninh Binh by a trekking in the national park called Cuc Phuong. Being in this very big national park (85.71 mi²) is the perfect moment to enjoy and to be connected with the nature. It’s only you, the nature and the sun ! During my trekking in the oldest national park in Vietnam, I could admire multitude kind of plants, plants that does not exist in my country or even in Europe, exploring some prehistoric cave that aren’t damaged by Human actions, and be lucky to see a thousand years old tree that was at it last years. We spend 3 hours to walk on the forest but it seems like I just walked 30 mins because of the beauty of this place. 

 
Then, after driving few kilometers, we took the first boat trip in Van Long, a nature reserve. This boat trip was the first but also my favorite. First, I loved the boat, traditional one made by cement and wood. In addition, the landscape was perfectly natural and peaceful. We visited caves that were interesting and where you could think about the power of Mother Nature.
 
 
To continue, the owner of the boat make us discover the crabs fishing. That moment was my favorite one. To explain briefly, they put a cage in the water that trap crabs if they go inside. We could check cages to see if somes crabs were trap, and lucky for us, we could see one trap crabs. A great sharing  moment with the owner where I also discover a part of Vietnamese habits. 
 
 
Our first incredible day finish by a traditional and delicious cuisine of Ninh Binh and Vietnamese beer. 
 
 
For our second day, we visited a temple called Bich Dong. This temple is very special because it was made on the mountain and have 3 parts in 3 differents “floors”. An amazing temple where you can also have an incredible view of the landscape around it. Then,  we continue by an other boat trip in Thung Nang, an other boat trip in a peaceful area. During this trip, I could discover a new typical vietnamese fishing technique where people, inside the water, with a battery floating behind them, shock fishes with the electricity. It was also a great time to observe local people working on the field or to watch kids playing on the boats.
 
 
We also explore caves and enjoy an incredible landscape. After this trip, we took a new one, that maybe the most famous, Tam Coc. The difference between the both previous boat trip was the number of people enjoying the trip. This made the area less peaceful but not less beautiful. In Tam Coc, it also a perfect trip to watch local people to row with theirs legs. A techniques than impress me because I guess that it must be very hard and painful after the all day of rowing. Tam Coc is also the place where some scenes of the the famous movie King Kong were made. A great place to discover with beautiful landscape and caves.
 
 
After enjoying a new Vietnamese lunch, we went to Phat Diem Cathedral, a unique cathedral made by French. The architecture is very special, because it was built with westerners materials but with the respect of the traditional vietnamese design. The mix of it make the cathedral being a unique place in Vietnam. A great moment to also enjoy the design inside the cathedral, made with a lot of détails, and often made to celebrate the Virgin Mary.
 
 
Finally, we focus on Kim Son Village, the place where few Vietnamese people made sedge handicraft. A hard hand work to product a beautiful piece of happiness than Vietnamese people often offer in wedding and put on their bed. However, because of its hardness, only few people continue to make it by a traditional way. A perfect experience to interact and to know more about vietnamese culture. We finished this day like the first one by a perfect vietnamese meal with beers of course. 
 
 
Thirdly, we started our last day with a visit of Thung Nham know for its birds park. Our visit began by a visit of a cave where we had an incredible view of the park after climbing 439 stairs.
 
 
Then, we continue by a small boat trip to explore a new caves and also observe many bats. Next, we walked into the forest to go to the point to observe the birds park.  A perfect park, where we can observe than the plants make the forms of a heart and also observe special kinds of birds. Enjoying Thung Nham took us all the morning, but it was a relaxing time for the body, the mind and the eyes.
 
 
After our lunch, we started our last boat trip in Trang An. A place more knowing by Vietnamese travellers. One of the reason is the temples situated on the way between the differents caves. Those temples are not like others, they are special places to pray on special occasions.
 
 
During the 3 hours trips, we visited plenty caves and admire many amazing landscapes. Even if the place was crowded and a bit noisy, the area is very awesome especially because of its beauty. 
 
 
Finally, we finish our trip by visiting Hoa Lu Ancient Capital with Dinh and Le temples, 2 temples made by 2 Vietnamese kings Dinh Tien Hoang and his successor Le Dai Hanh from 2 differents dynasties. Those temple are a perfect representation of the unique architecture and design of vietnamese temples. It’s also a great place to admire the landscape. In fact, the temples are surrounding by the mountains offering a mix of Human and Mother Nature creations. One more unique place in the world!
 
 
To conclude, Ninh Binh is often called Halong Bay on land, and it’s right that the landscape can be compared but, in my opinion, I think that Ninh Binh are very unique and can’t be compared. To continue, Ninh Binh is a perfect place to relax, to see amazing landscape, to be in the contact of the nature or also to interact with local people and try their authentics activities. Even with a high number of travelers, Ninh Binh keep its authenticity and it’s one of the rare place in the world offering such a divers activities and experiences. In conclusion and in my opinion, Ninh Binh can, during the next years, welcome more foreigns travelers and become one of the famous destinations in Asia such as Phuket. The paradise is in Vietnam!

3 Days in Ninh Binh - What an Ideal Itinerary for Discovery Here

► Copyright: Brian Vu

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