If stunning scenery and a laid-back vibe where you cap off a day by drinking beer with the locals is what you’re after then the city Ninh Binh may be the destination just for you. It’s approximately 100km south of Hanoi and features hundreds of limestone cliffs scattered across swaths of rice fields, therefore gaining the nickname “Halong Bay on land.”
Apart from its beautiful karst scenery, Ninh Binh is a great opportunity to get a peek into the rural way of living. If visiting Ninh Binh, be sure to check out the UNESCO World Heritage site Trang-An Scenic Landscape Complex which houses Tam Coc-Bich Dong. It is a major travel destination where you rent a small boat to explore lush paddy fields, limestone fields, and karst rock formations while making your way to the interesting Bich Dong Pagoda. If you can’t get enough of nature, you could make a 45km journey northwest to the Cuc Phuong National Park which features a diverse ecosystem. For history and culture, you could check out the Phat Diem Cathedral with its design and build considered rare and unique and the Bai Dinh Pagoda, the largest pagoda in Southeast Asia.
Top dishes to try in Ninh Binh are Scorched Rice, Eel Noodle, To Nhu Noodle and Nho Quan Steamed Sticky Rice.