Ninh Binh (pronounced Neeng Beeng) is the capital city of Ninh Binh Province in North Vietnam, famous for the nearby Karst scenery and the village of Tam Coc. There is nothing to do in Ninh Binh itself aside from drinking beer with the locals; the town is more useful as a base for the surrounding countryside.
Taxis from Hanoi costs US$70 Taxis from Noi Bai international airport cost $85 usd , 2 hours journey
There are regular buses from Hanoi's southern bus terminal (Giap Bat) that leave every 15 min (or whenever full). Journey time for the 90km is 1.5-2.5 hr traffic depending. Buy a ticket in the ticket hall or you will likely have to pay more than 60,000 or be removed from the bus.the service is slow but relaxed and comfortable using one of the very common Hyundai 20-odd seat buses.
Open tour buses will drop passengers off upon request (Ninh Binh is not a regular stop). Most open tour buses from Hanoi will arrive at 9:30PM. Tour buses from Hue arrive at a rather early 4AM.
From Cat Ba island you can book a bus-boat-bus-bus ticket. Leaves at 9am and takes about 5h. Seems to be the easiest and cheapest way. The first bus takes you the harbour where you transfer onto a boat (and at times from that boat to another boat) to Haiphong's Ben Binh harbour. The second bus takes you to a bus station called Bến xe Niệm Nghĩa which is quite far from the harbour and turns out not that convenient on a DAY trip. From there, you wait for the bus to leave at 12pm. Seats are tiny even for small westerners. Drops you at Ninh Binh bus stations, walking distance from hotels and hostels. All the above uses local transports so expect locals boarding at various places.
Alternative busses including tourist ones leave from Haiphong a few times a day.
Ninh Binh is a regular station for the Reunification Express, with trains coming from both North and South. It is usually a quick stop, with few people getting off, especially at night, so get off quick or miss the stop. Hard Seat 35-45,000 depending on train number 2-2.5 hours.
A motorbike is the best way to view Ninh Binh and the surrounding areas. Most hotels can arrange for a motorbike driver/guide. Hire a motorbike (commonly Honda 110cc). These take 3 litres of fuel costing 50,000 which will last a day of exploring.The local roads are bad, the local driving ranges from nuts to insane.
Cycling is a good option for visiting nearby sights. Finding a bicycle for rental is easy.
The actual town of Ninh Binh is quite small and walkable. Most of the interesting sights are located 10-20 km away.
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