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When traveling the 700 kilometer (435 mile) distance between Hoi An and Ninh Binh, you have one transportation option: a cozy sleeper bus that will take you to Ninh Binh in 14 to 16 hours.
The bus departs in the evening and arrives in Ninh Binh early in the morning. This is a great option if you want to save money on accommodation. Once you arrive in Ninh Binh, you’re set to explore the temples, town streets, and surrounding nature.
For a chance to admire the natural beauty of this area, the best time to visit is during May and June. At this time of the year, the harvest season is at its peak, with gorgeous golden fields, and lotus flowers in Tam Coc and Bich Dong. If you want to explore nearby caves and mountains, this time of the year has the perfect weather conditions for that.
You’ll be traveling on a sleeper bus from Hoi An to Ninh Binh, and there won’t be much to see outside of your window during your journey. This is a great time to rest and catch up on your sleep so that you arrive in Ninh Binh energized and ready for adventure.
However, if you can’t sleep on a moving bus, you can always read a book, finish a bit of your work, write a blog post about your stay in Hoi An, or just organize your photos. The night is long, and the opportunities are endless!
Once you arrive in Ninh Binh, you’ll probably be hungry from the overnight trip. The local delicacy in this area are snails, and you can get a portion of them in many restaurants around the town. They’re usually prepared with hot chillies and aromatic lemongrass.
If you think that snails are a bit exotic for your taste, you can head straight to the Cho Bop Market where you’ll find several cafes, and street food joints that sell tasty noodle soups, fried treats, and more. The town is also known for its bia hoi, a local draft beer, which is a perfect addition to a tasty and crunchy street food meal.
Ninh Binh is not only the name of the town you’re probably staying in, but the name of the entire area, and most of the attractions are scattered outside of the town. Many travelers usually consider Ninh Binh as the base of their trips to other nearby attractions.
The spot you shouldn’t miss out on is Tam Coc, a scenic area with limestone hills dotted next to emerald green rice paddies. And the best thing is that this place is still slightly off the tourist radar. You can also hop on a boat tour and explore Tam Coc from the water. While you’re here, you can also visit the small village Van Lan, which is famous for its handicrafts.
These are only some of the attractions worth mentioning, and Ninh Binh has many more of them. All of these spots are scattered around this area, and you can spend days exploring them. If you’re looking to explore local religious centers, take a trip to Phat Diem Cathedral, Bich Dong Pagoda, or the Buddhist complex Chua Bai Dinh.
Those who want to continue exploring the marvelous nature of this area can go on and visit Van Long Nature Reserve, Cuc Phuong National Park, and Mua Cave. Many travelers skip visiting Hoa Lu, but this is an ancient capital of Vietnam in the 10th century, and it has a large old town with several beautiful temples.
Taking a bus
When traveling between Hoi An and Ninh Binh, taking a bus is a convenient and affordable option. The journey between the two places is 14 to 16 hours long, and all buses are sleeper buses.
Buses depart in the evening and arrive in Ninh Binh early in the morning. Buses don’t have toilets on board, but they do make frequent stops for food and restrooms. Bus cabins have A/C, reclining seats, and blankets.