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The most popular image of Ninh Binh is probably a sampan boat ride through limestone karsts and golden rice fields. Imagine yourself on that boat, immersed in the breathtaking serenity of nature. How enjoyable and relaxing it would be!
Fortunately, Ninh Binh is only about 1.5 hours away from Hanoi, making it a great destination to visit after exploring Hanoi.
There are several transportation options from Hanoi to Ninh Binh, including buses, trains, private cars, guided tours, and motorbikes.
I have been to Ninh Binh hundreds of times (yup, because it’s my dad’s hometown), and I know exactly the easiest and cheapest way to travel from Hanoi to Ninh Binh.
If you are curious about this, read this post until the end to get the answer.
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The distance from Hanoi to Ninh Binh is about 100 kilometers (equivalent to 62.1 miles). The journey would take about 1.5-2 hours by bus or train.
The most famous attractions in Ninh Binh are Tam Coc, Trang An, and Mua Cave. It’s easy to travel from one place to another as they are quite close to each other (within a 10-minute drive). If you stay overnight in Ninh Binh, make sure to book accommodation near these attractions.
2. From Hanoi to Ninh Binh by Bus
There are two options for traveling from Hanoi to Ninh Binh by bus: limousine or local bus.
Local buses mainly serve the locals. To take a local bus to Ninh Binh, you need to go to Giap Bat Bus Terminal (a 20-minute drive from Hanoi Old Quarter). Upon reaching the terminal, you can purchase bus tickets at one of the ticket counters. Then show the bus driver the location of your homestay, and they will drop you off at the nearest point possible.
Meanwhile, limousines are primarily provided for tourists, making them more convenient in terms of pick-up and drop-off points, as well as comfort. Of course, the tickets are more expensive.
Therefore, I highly recommend limousines because of their convenience. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to travel from Hanoi to Ninh Binh by limousine.
Step 1: Buy the tickets
The Hanoi-Ninh Binh limousine tickets cost about 250,000 VND/way. You can purchase them online via this link or buy them from a travel agent or your hotel tour desk.
I would suggest buying tickets online as you can see reviews and know exactly what to expect from the ride.
Regarding the schedule, as Hanoi to Ninh Binh is a popular route, many limousines or buses depart daily. But if you travel during holidays, make sure to buy them at least a week in advance.
Step 2: Go to the Pick-up Point and Start the journey
Many limousine companies have a pick-up location inside or near Hanoi Old Quarter, which is very convenient for foreign tourists.
Some of them drop you off at your hotel in Ninh Binh as well (if it’s located near the major attractions).
However, bear in mind that you will have to change about 3 vehicles during the trip. The journey would take roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes if there is no traffic jam.
You can consider Group Tours company as it offers a hotel drop-off service (Click here to buy tickets).
Step 3: Take Grab/Taxi to Your Hotel
If the limousine doesn’t drop you off at your hotel, the driver will drop you somewhere nearby, so that you can take a Grab/taxi to your hotel. It should be within a 15-minute drive.
- Vietnamese drivers drive pretty fast, and the majority of them don’t speak English.
- Expect that there might be a lot of honking during the trip.
- If you travel with your friends or family, consider renting a private car charter, which is only about 3 USD more expensive than a limousine if you share the cost. Check out this link to see the price today (enter code DL6KGF to get 5 USD OFF).
3. From Hanoi to Ninh Binh by Train
Step 1: Buy the Train Tickets
There are 5-8 trains departing daily from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. The timing is different every day. You can check the train schedule via this link.
If you travel during the holidays, you should buy tickets a few weeks in advance. If you go on a normal day, it’s possible to buy them at the last minute (but bear the risk of tickets being sold out).
Step 2: Go to Hanoi Railway Station
The Hanoi Railway Station is pretty near the Hanoi Old Quarter. If your hotel is nearby, you can even walk there. If not, you can book a Grab car to reach there (Click to download the Grab app).
The train departing from Hanoi Railway Station is pretty punctual most of the time, so don’t be late.
Step 3: Board the Train
There will be an LED display showing which platform your train is at.
Besides, you should keep your tickets (e-ticket or paper ticket) all the way because the staff might check them on the train. They will also check your tickets before you board to make sure you are on the correct train.
Step 4: Go to your hotel in Ninh Binh
After a 2-hour journey, you reach the Ninh Binh Railway Station.
From there, it takes about 10-15 minutes to reach popular attractions such as Mua Cave, Tam Coc, and Trang An by car. Remember to use Grab or reliable taxi brands such as Mai Linh, Group Taxi, etc. to avoid taxi scams.
- Hanoi Railway Station: 120 Le Duan St, Van Mieu, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
- Ninh Binh Railway Station: 1/41 Hoang Hoa Tham St, Nam Binh, Ninh Binh City
- There are foods and drinks offered on the train. Prices are a little higher than outside.
- You can walk freely across the train.
- Traveling by train gives you a chance to enjoy lush green rice fields along the way.
- Some trains are pretty old and dirty.
- It’s very safe to travel by train, and you also don’t need to worry about the traffic conditions.
- The train is pretty loud.
4. Other ways to travel to Ninh Binh from Hanoi
There are many day tours and multi-day tours operating daily from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. If you plan to visit Ninh Binh for only a day, I think a day tour is the best option.
You can find great tours provided by reliable companies via this link.
Here are some highly-rated tours which cost only about 35 USD/person:
- Hoa Lu, Trang An and Hang Mua Cave Day Tour from Hanoi
- Hoa Lu – Tam Coc Day Trip
- Ninh Binh Day Tour from Ha Noi: Hoa Lu, Trang An, Tam Coc, Hang Mua
💡 Discount code: enter code DL6KGF to get 5 USD OFF
By Car Charter
This is the most hassle-free option because you don’t have to worry about where you will be picked up or dropped off.
A same-day return trip for a 4-seater car costs about 1,750,000 VND. If you share it with 3 people, each of you pays less than 300,000 VND/way, which is just a little more expensive than the limousine or train option (not to mention you have to pay for transportation to the pick-up point or the train station).
I highly recommend booking a car via this link – this website provides great service at a reasonable price. And remember to enter code DL6KGF to get 5 USD OFF.
Additionally, you can rent a motorbike in Hanoi and ride it to Ninh Binh via QL1A. The journey takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
5. From Noi Bai Airport to Ninh Binh
For trips departing from Noi Bai Airport, you have 2 options to go to Ninh Binh:
- By Limousine: Some companies provide routes from Noi Bai Airport to Ninh Binh. However, expect multiple vehicle changes during the trip. The ticket costs about 450,000 VND/way, and you can purchase it via this link.
- By a private car charter: A one-way trip from Noi Bai Airport to Ninh Binh costs about 900,000 VND for a 4-seater car. If you share it with 3 people, each of you pays only around 300,000 VND/way. So, if you travel in a group, this is a great option. You can check out today’s price via this link.
6. How to get around in Ninh Binh?
Below are common ways to travel around Ninh Binh:
- By Motorbike: This is the most common option to get around Ninh Binh. You can rent a motorbike from your hotel or homestay at a cost of about 150,000 – 200,000 VND/day. The famous attractions are pretty close to each other, taking about 15 minutes to travel from one to another by motorbike. Besides, if you travel alone, you can use the Grab bike service on Grab. It’s pretty cheap and very convenient.
- By Taxi or Grab Car: If you travel in a group, consider getting around by taxi or Grab car. It should be affordable if you share the cost.
In conclusion, the cheapest way to travel from Hanoi to Ninh Binh is by train, which costs only about 200,000 VND/person/way, including a taxi ride to the Hanoi train station and to your Ninh Binh hotel.
Besides, if you are traveling with friends or family, renting a charter car for a day trip is also quite an affordable and easy option.
Alright, above is my review of the best way to travel from Hanoi to Ninh Binh based on my experience of multiple trips between these two destinations. After reading this post, which mode of transportation would you use to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh? Share your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!