Sunday, 11 January 2015

Ninh Binh Vietnam

Ninh Binh Province Is A Vietnamese Local Secret

Boats at Sunrise, Limestone Mountain Scenery, Tam Coc, Ninh Binh, South of Hanoi, North Vietnam
A dream vacation for me includes fantastic photographic opportunities, wonderful culinary and cultural experiences, as well as something to keep the children engaged. That will generally involve some form of water or beach activity. I was watching a cooking show the other night presented by a locally well-known Vietnamese chef and restaurant owner who came to Australia as a baby with his family as a boat person in the 1970's. Luke Nguyen present's Vietnamese cooking in a way which demystifies the techniques and makes it look delicious and simple. He sets up in the street, on boats and high up on rock walls. This particular episode blew me away with the stunning beauty of Ninh Binh Province and lodged it firmly in number one position of places I would love to spend a vacation.

Boats at Sunrise, Limestone Mountain Scenery, Tam Coc, Ninh Binh, South of Hanoi, North Vietnam
Christian Kober
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Ninh Binh - Why Does It Appeal To Me?

A Vacation In Vietnam

Ninh Binh, Vietnam
Vietnam is a holiday destination that has been slowly creeping up on me in terms of appealing to my travel curiosity. I have visited other South East Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Bali (Indonesia) and India and what I love most about all of these countries is the colour and simplicity. It is often easy to become overwhelmed by the crowds and the noise, but then be immediately rewarded by open friendliness and helpfulness from someone who leads a very simple life.

My perception of Ninh Binh is of towering rock pinnacles surrounded by lush green rice fields. I can imagine gliding along the Ngo Dong river as I soak up the wonders of Tam Coc (“three caves”) being rowed in a small boat by one of the locals.

Image used under a Creative Commons licence from Wikipedia


Boating through the Tam Coc

A Tranquil and Peaceful Way To Spend An Afternoon

So Where Is Ninh Binh?

Northern Vietnam

Ninh Binh is both the name of a city in Vietnam and the province in which it is located in The Red River Delta of Northern Vietnam. The city itself has approximately 130,000 people. It is barely 100 kilometres from Hanoi and can be easily reached by bus. Apparently, a regular public bus travels between Ninh Binh and Hanoi almost hourly and takes around 2 1/2 hours. There are also tour buses which only cost about $4 USD and get there a little quicker.

Choose A Good Guide Book To Vietnam

Make The Most Of Your Visit To Vietnam

If I am going to undertake this journey I will definitely get a really good guide book. Internet resources are fantastic for travellers now but I still really like a good guide book that I can flip through, highlight, make notes in and bookmark with a real bookmark (or dog-ear!). I have usually leaned towards the Lonely Planet guides personally as I find the voice they are written in is really user-friendly but I have also used DK guides as well and find they are superior for the detailed illustrations of monuments. Other travellers have their own preferences and these are some of the more popular ones available.

Would I Do Anything Else In Vietnam?

If I am to make this trip I think I would like to allow myself a reasonable amount of time to see what else Vietnam has to offer, after all I may not get an opportunity to return. From what I have read so far and the small amount of research I have done I think a trip along the coast from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City would be an excellent trip offering a good mix of culture, history and food experiences combined with ready access to the sea for downtime and leisure activities. I would love to visit Hue and Nha Trang as well as Hoi An.

Vietnam seems to be the kind of destination where you can make up your itinerary as you go along which means if I want to stay longer in one place or move on from another I can do so easily.

For this dream vacation I will allow four weeks. So now it is time to find a flight!

When Should I Go?

Best Time Of Year To Visit Vietnam

Beach at Nha Trang, Vietnam
At first glance it looks like Vietnam is a pretty wet country but it seems that there is a chance of less rain over the winter months from November to April so that seems like the best time to go. Hopefully the further south we go the warmer it will get and there’ll still be a good chance of some swimming weather.

This image of Nha Trang beach is used under a Creative Commons licence from Wikimedia Commons

Organise A Vietnam Tour

Self discovery tours are great but they aren’t for everyone. If you would like to visit Vietnam on an organised tour visit these Vietnam Tours

Would You Like To Join Me On My Dream Vacation?

Do you have any other suggestions for things we could do?

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