Ninh Binh - Unreal Beauty for Family Holidays

By Lang Thang.

Vietnam is getting more known as a popular tourist destination nowadays; travel to Vietnam is safe and fairly easy for the independent travelers as well as for those in group travel. For those who make their Vietnam holidays with a big family or with kids, then it is necessary to have good trip planning before departure...

For every detail of a family vacation, then a local travel agent or tour operator in Vietnam would surely be able to help you out; in this article, I will only make a recommendation of an attraction that your family may benefit more on your tour through the country. The gem I wanted to tell you more about here is Ninh Binh Province, a backwater separated from the hustle and bustle of urban life by stretches of limestone mountains, by vast stretches of rice paddies, by series of ponds and lakes and rivers... This sounds like a far-flung place in Vietnam, but it is only a 2-hour drive from Hanoi. Definitely, there are more compelling reasons than just the convenient location, that your family should travel to this backwater...

 Located in the Red River Delta, Ninh Binh possesses the rice fields stretching to the horizon. Amid the sea of rice at Ninh Binh, there are myriads outcrops and limestone mountains which create a system of enclosed valleys. The heavenly natural landscape of Ninh Binh is more like an ancient painting than for real...

Tam Coc Ninh Binh
The rice field at Tam Coc, near the Thai Vi Temple, Ninh Binh

Ninh Binh is especially stunning in spring (March, April), in autumn (August-November) and when the rice fields turn into golden colors (late May-June, October-November). Travel to Ninh Binh in spring time, you will see the misty and endless green rice fields with imposing limestone mountains in the background, and dotted in the beauty are white conical hats of local farmers tilling their fields... Lots of Vietnamese photographers would make their trips to Ninh Binh at this time of the year.

Trang An Ninh Binh
Trang An Ninh Binh

In autumn time, Ninh Binh is more like a painting with somewhat melancholy... The sky is blue, while the mountains and trees are starting to show the withered colors. It is foggy and chilly in the morning and in late afternoon; down the rivers, fishing boats drift lazily along the current... Life seems to come to still in Ninh Binh in autumn, which makes it the favorite time for local artists and poets to hang around...

Van Long Nature Reserve in Ninh Binh, Vietnam
Van Long Nature Reserve in Gia Vien, Ninh Binh

 If you tour around Ninh Binh during the time the rice turns into golden colors, then you will find yourselves surrounded amid the sea of gold... Climbing to the top of some mountains with your camera and you will surely be rewarded with unforgettable moments and photos...

Cuc Phuong National Park
Cuc Phuong National Park, Ninh Binh

 Your family will not find it bored in Ninh Binh, as there are a number of activities for you to choose, depending on the number and the range of ages of the family members. The countryside is so quiet, fresh,  and traffic-free; there should be no difficulties for you to move around. You can go on rowing boat trips through the heavenly limestone mountains, or go hiking to the top of some mountains, or go cycling through the breezy rice fields, or go exploring the limestone caves, or just have a stroll amid the vast paddy fields...

If you have more time, then there are Cuc Phuong National Park and Van Long Nature Reserve for you to  approach wild life and dense forests in Vietnam. At Cuc Phuong, you can even go trekking or hiking, bird-watching or even embark on a night safari...

There are sites at Hoa Lu and Trang An that you not only can adore the sublime natural landscapes, but also can learn about a very important period of the Vietnamese history... The local people are just friendly and mild, there should be a lot of interesting encounters if you are willing to...There is a handicraft village at Tam Coc that you can learn how to embroider intricate paintings, table cloths...

In Ninh Binh, there are so many rivers feeding abundant water year round to the system of lakes, ponds and flooded fields constantly; this helps the area with plenty of fish and water species like snails, eels, turtles, oysters, shrimps...The half-wild goats which climb the limestone mountains also offer a source of good food, too. There are plenty of good dishes on the menus of local restaurants in Ninh Binh. Prices are very reasonable for your family, then.

When you feel tired from so many activities, then there are luxury hotels and resorts with pool amid  fresh air and tranquility for you to relax and to rejuvenate; again, the room and other service rates are affordable, especially for families with long stays. There are many family-run hotels surrounded by rice paddies and fresh nature if this should suit you better.

Vietnam is a country of amazing destinations and people, most travelers would find it to overwhelmed to take all into one trip. Families, who plan to travel through Vietnam, would normally find it not convenient and quite expensive; given the number of attractions and the distances from one to another, the activities and the transport costs... If you have difficulties working out a good itinerary to Vietnam for your family, then Ninh Binh may be a good choice.