How to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh

Chances are, if you’re visiting Vietnam, you won’t just want a single base for the duration of your trip. Rather, you’ll want to mix up your experiences to take in cities and villages, ancient man-made marvels and natural wonders, and a whole lot more besides. With that in mind, read on to find out how to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh.

How to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh 

Heading to Vietnam's capital? You’ll want to consider taking (at least) a day trip to Ninh Binh. It’s a pretty short trip, with the journey serving stunning scenery along the way.

When it comes to deciding how to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh, you have a number of options to consider. 

  • By train: a popular way, with around six daily services.
  • By bus: with a few operators running daily services, the bus is an affordable way, though not the fastest.
  • By taxi: convenient, and not too costly considering you get a swift door-to-door-service.
  • By motorbike: a fun way for experienced riders get between the two cities.
  • By organised tour: full-day tours include stop-offs at attractions en route, making them an easy way to see the best of Ninh Binh and its environs.

Inspired to visit Hanoi and Ninh Binh? Contact our Vietnam travel experts  to save yourself the trouble of mapping out an itinerary and planning.

Incense sticks drying outdoor in Hanoi, Vietnam © Shutterstock

Incense sticks, Hanoi, Vietnam © Shutterstock

How far is Ninh Binh from Hanoi? 

With a mere 100km between the cities, it’s easy to see why visiting Ninh Binh from Hanoi is such a popular day trip. 

It’s also the perfect place to move to as a new base after you’ve explored the Vietnamese capital.

Planning a trip to Vietnam? We've got you covered. Our Vietnam itineraries are specially designed to provide you with a carefree trip full of unforgettable experiences.

One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam © Shutterstock

Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam © Shutterstock

What's the quickest way to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh? 

The quickest way to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh is by car (self-drive or by taxi). This will take a maximum of 2 hours. 

Another popular way is by motorbike. You can do the trip in around 2 hours 20 minutes. That said, you might want to opt for a more winding route that includes detours at attractions between the two cities.

The train takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes and delivers extraordinary scenery along the way. Meanwhile, travelling by bus takes 2.5—3 hours.

Want to see a stack of top attractions in a single visit? Our Wonders of Vietnam itinerary delivers exactly that.

Rice field and river, NinhBinh, vietnam landscapes © Shutterstock

Rice field and river, Ninh Binh, Vietnam © Shutterstock

By train

Duration: 2 hours 15 mins| Cost: from $12

With both cities on Vietnam's North-South railway line, taking a train is a great way to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. And, with around 6 services running each day — from early morning through to around 8pm — you’re sure to find a service to suit your schedule. 

The journey takes around 2 hours 15 minutes. So, travelling by train is fast, while also offering time to soak up stunning scenery along the way.

Ticket prices vary, depending on the class of seat and time of year. They start from $12.

Love epic train journeys? Check out our Vietnam and Cambodia by rail trip.

Hanoi Train street, Vietnam © Shutterstock

Taking a train is a popular way to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh © Shutterstock

By bus

Duration: 2.5—3 hours | Cost: from $4

With the longest journey time — up to 3 hours on the road — buses are the cheapest way to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh, with prices starting from $4.

Several companies offer a daily service between Hanoi and Ninh Binh, and most buses are air-conditioned, with comfortable seats. Some also have Wi-Fi.

Be sure to arrive at the bus station early to ensure you get a seat, And, if you’re not travelling light, check if there are any luggage restrictions, or additional fees for luggage.

First-timer to Vietnam? Read our rundown of Vietnamese cities to have on your travel radar.

Make sure to add Ninh Binh to your Vietnam itinerary

Ninh Binh, Vietnam © Shutterstock

By taxi

Duration: 2 hours | Cost: from $60

Costing around $60, taking a taxi is the most expensive way to get from Hanoi to Ninh Binh, but it’s also the quickest and most convenient if you want a smooth door-to-door service. 

Of course, if you’re travelling as a couple, or with a couple of mates, the cost can be shared.



Vietnam is a feast for all the senses © Shutterstock

By motorbike

Duration: 2 hours, 20 mins | Cost: from $5 daily rental

Exploring Ninh Binh by motorbike is a pretty popular choice with experiened bike-riding travellers as it offers the freedom to make stops along the way. 

The quickest route by motorbike is National Road 1A (QL1A). This takes around 2 hours and 20 minutes. 

Want to do it alone? Read up on backpacking Vietnam, and how to get off the tourist trail in Vietnam.

Thung Hang Ca in Trang An in Ninh Binh, Vietnam © Shutterstock

Trang An, Ninh Binh, Vietnam © Shutterstock 

By organised tour

Duration: full-day | Cost: from $50

Taking an organised tour from Hanoi to Ninh Binh is ideal for travellers who are based in the capital and looking for an easy way to see a stack of attractions at one fell swoop.

Most day trips to Ninh Binh include visiting Tam Coc — a miniature landlocked version of Ha Long Bay — and the ancient capital of Hoa Lu.

You’ll most likely also get to see Trang An’s towering limestone karst formations aboard a traditional boat, and visit Bai Dinh Pagoda — Vietnam's largest complex of Buddhist temples. Other highlights include taking in epic mountain scenery from the Mua Cave viewpoint.

Railway Hai Van Pass, Vietnam © Shutterstock

Vietnam isn't short of epic scenery © Shutterstock

Is Ninh Binh worth a day trip from Hanoi?

In a word, yes! The provincial capital of Ninh Binh is surrounded by tonnes of terrific natural and cultural attractions, all within a couple of hours from the capital.

In addition to the attractions outlined above, we also recommend visiting Hoa Lu. Back in the 10th century, this was the capital of the independent Vietnamese Kingdom of Dai Co Viet.

Today you can see the archaeological remains of royal palaces, along with the seventeenth-century dynastic temples that remain in a valley surrounded by limestone hills.

Trang An ( Ninh Binh, Vietnam)- the world heritage site © AdobeStock

Trang An, Ninh Binh, Vietnam © AdobeStock

Planning your trip to Ninh Binh from Hanoi

Set on visiting Vietnam? Before planning your trip, find out things you need to know before visiting Vietnam, and get The Rough Guide to Vietnam.

Alternatively, forget planning and browse our customisable Vietnam itineraries, with a local Vietnam travel expert on hand to advise and take care of booking an unforgettable tailor-made trip.

Joanne Owen

written by Joanne Owen

updated 24.10.2023

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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