Welcome to the rainforest: just an hour from Ninh Binh is Cuc Phuong National Park, a rainforest housing an endangered primates rescue centre, a botanical garden and a turtle center. Visitors may motorbike, drive, cycle or walk through the 12 miles of jungle trails, where they can see an incredible amount of flora and fauna, including thousands of butterflies.
Once the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries, this ancient capital holds an annual festival in the streets to celebrate its rich history. But anytime of year is a good time to explore this city - a short bike ride from Ninh Binh - and visit its temples: Dinh Tien Hoang, Nhat Tru Temple and Le Dai Hanh.
Standing majestically behind King Dinh Tien Hoang Temple is Ma Yen Mountain, a two-peaked mountain that is said to represent King Dinh Bo Linh sitting and looking down upon the country. Visitors can climb a stairway up this mountain, leading to a stunning panorama of Tam Coc and the surrounding area.
For architecture gurus, a visit to Phat Diem Cathedral is a must. Mixing a number of architectural styles and incorporating Buddhist influence, this Catholic cathedral is designed as a main church with four smaller churches and gardens surrounding it, creating an impressive, tranquil estate.
A must-see during your time in Ninh Binh is Tam Coc, a marvelous site of limestone cliffs, rising majestically out of rice paddies. On a hired boat, visitors navigate their way down the river, marvelling at the expense of rice paddies on either side of them, shadowed by the incredible cliffs.
Similar to Tam Coc, a visit to Trang An Grottoes will have visitors navigating in their hired boat by expansive cliffs, but also through a series of natural caves of all different sizes, many of which give way to secret green and blue grottos.