I want to show you Nin Binh through my eyes… I want my readers to get a feel of the place, the vibrancy of the ancient hill, share the thrill of the adventures while climbing the hill and all the spots where you can click those amazeballs insta worthy pictures.
2 hours in a car from Hanoi and you will be transported to Nin Binh. A city, that offers tons of touristy things to do. Lakshman and I did a day trip and man ohh man, how we regret the decision of not staying overnight. We had time to only visit 3 spots. Mua caves, Trang An Grottoes and Hoa Lu. Alternatively, you can also visit Tam Coc which is a boat ride through paddy field, Cuc Phuong National Park, Bich Dong Pagoda, Thung Nang, Thung Nham Bird Park or the Bird Sanctuary in Nin Binh.
Spot 1: Hang Mua Peak, Mua Cave and the Lotus Pond
Hang Mua Peak offers the daring tourists spectacular 360 views of the entire region. You just have to be brave and conquer the 450-500 steps to enjoy it. Beware of the jagged rocks and the slippery steps.
The path leading to Hang Mua Peak is dotted with such cute photo spots and I promise, there would be a minimum of 250+ plus pictures on your phone. Don’t forget to visit the cave that’s under the summit. Sit on a couple of swings and admire the nature around. I just couldn’t stop talking about the lotus pond and I enjoyed the most here. They have created a path on the lotus lake, which is in the shape of a lotus. (Duh, it’s evident in the picture).
Tip 1: I strongly urge you to consider doing a private tour as you will need more than 1 hour to climb and spend some quality time to take in all the scenes. After all you did climb those 500 steps and not having the reward of taking in the scenes is a criminal waste of time, energy and money. Unfortunately, most of the group tour itineraries I reviewed, gives you just that one hour give or take 15-30 mins extra which is not sufficient. I even remember reading somewhere how one of the tour operators almost left a woman back as she did not return on time. For the private tour you can hire the services of the tour operators, which are dime a dozen in Hanoi especially in the old quarter area. We made the arrangements after we reached Hanoi, which turned out to be a good idea as we were able to scout out a couple of the tour operators and decided on the one that gave us competitive pricing.
Tip 2: If you are traveling with children, prepare them for the climb as the steps can be pretty steep and towards the end, there are only hints of them and things can get pretty rough when you reach the summit.
Tip 3: Finally, inquire when the blooming season is, from my photos, it’s evident that I dint and that is why there are only a couple of blooms in my pics.
Stop 2: Trang An Grottoes
It’s a beautiful paddleboat ride that takes you through a series of caves under huge mountains. These caves can be a bit tight so watch your head and be amazed to see some beautiful ecological formations. If you think you have seen such formations in other countries and this doesn’t interest you, let me just stop you. Have you ever done it on a boat ride?. Picture this, you and hubby on a paddleboat, wading through crystal clear green water under the shadow of gigantic jungle covered karsts and you are gliding underneath the grottoes whlist stopping to admire the temples. Isn’t it just what the doctor ordered? Unplug and surrender yourself to this serene experience.
Tip 1: Since this trip was an anniversary celebration, we rented the whole paddleboat. The capacity of the boat is usually 4 pax. But, we paid for the whole boat and loved the teeny tiny bit of privacy that was rewarded. I successfully haggled my better half to pose with me and click numerous selfies and hold hands with unabashed love and all this without having fellow tourists sneering/staring at you. More importantly, by hiring the whole boat you can control where you want to stop and look around the temples.
Tip 2: Make sure they take the rout 1 as it goes through 9 caves and takes around 3 hours. The other 2 routes are shorter and does not cover all the caves, as I mentioned earlier, there are few temples that can be visited on the boat ride. You simply need to request them to make a stop. Always read the instructions mentioned on the tickets. They will not stop until you request, though they are obligated to do so.
Tip 3: Remember to bring along a water bottle and some snack along for the boat ride.
Tip 4: They always expect a tip, we gave 2 USD per person. This is totally your prerogative. I mentioned the amount so that you get a fair idea on how much is fair.
Stop 3: Hoa Lu
Our final stop was Hoa Lu. It is the ancient capital of Vietnam. We only had time to visit two temples and learn a tad bit of history of the place. Fun Fact: The temples in Vietnam have no deities (Statue of God/Godesses) rather, they are built to commemorate their famous kings.
Tip 1: Most of the vacation that my family takes are well researched and booked by me; this gives me a chance to learn about the place, people and culture of the city that we are visiting. I suggest you do the same irrespective of whether you are booking it yourself or through travel agencies as it will save you from committing a cultural fax paux. Do follow the dressing etiquettes when visiting the pagodas and Temples. The picture below illustrates the same and
My finial Tip: Trip advisor travel community can be your best friend when you need advice, ideas and tips on any country you are planning a visit. I also heavily rely on my fellow friends/neighbors/acquaintance/co-workers who recently travelled to the same destination.
Give me a shout out on your Facebook/Instapage if my tips were of help and don’t forget to write and share your adventures with me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I hope your armed with enough information to enjoy a hassle free holiday in Nin Binh
PS: There is a plethora of information on the internet about transportation, accommodation, restaurants and climate and hence did not write much about the same. However, if you need my personalized views on the above feel free to drop a line on any of my social media accounts.