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Toby Keps

Travelled to 12 countries / regions

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Visited Hanoi and Ninh Binh in 2020

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Asia > Vietnam > Ninh Binh > Useful Info
Submitted on Mar 25, 2020 Useful Info

Best way to get to Ninh Binh from Hanoi, Vietnam

Summary:

  • Ninh Binh is located about 90km south of Hanoi. Ninh Binh is a fairly popular travel destination so it's very easy to get there from Hanoi. Travel time ranges from 1.5-3 hours depending on which option you use. More details below

  • Basically, there are two ways to get to Ninh Binh from Hanoi: 1) by train and 2) by bus. I personally recommend going by train because it's the cheapest way to travel and much more reliable in my opinion. Some vans are faster than train, but not by much. More details on it below


Details:

  • Option 1) By Train:
  • Train is how I traveled to Ninh Binh on my trip, and I recommend it because it's very cheap and relatively fast. The trains are air conditioned which is very nice. But, the toilets on the train are pretty disgusting so avoid using them if at all possibleUser submitted photo of Ninh Binh
  • Travel time: 2h15min-2h30min
  • Schedule: there are six daily trains from Hanoi departing at 6:00am, 8:50am, 2:25pm, 7:25pm, 8:00pm, 10:15pm. In the other direction from Ninh Binh to Hanoi, there are four daily trains at 3:21am, 9:26am, 1:37pm, and 4:56pm
  • Fare: the ticket prices can be as low as 76,000VND ($3.2USD) for a seat. You can basically choose a seat, or a berth (bed). The cost of the ticket varies by class, and there are two classes of seats and two classes of berths. Here's the fare on this route for each class:
  • Hard seat: 76,000VND ($3.2USD)
  • Soft seat: 101,000VND ($4.25USD)
  • 6-berth room: 127,000-166,000VND ($5.35-$7USD)
  • 4-berth room: 168,000-179,000VND ($7.1-$7.6USD)
  • How to buy tickets: you can buy tickets at the train station directly (with your passport and cash), or you can book online from the official railway booking site https://dsvn.vn. This site is not the most user-friendly, so you may want to 3rd party online booking agencies (like 12Go). I believe you can book train tickets up to 30 days before your trip. I would suggest booking ahead of time to avoid tickets potentially running out
  • Departure station in Hanoi: Hanoi Railway Station. It's quite centrally located not too far from the Old Quarter. You can taxi or motortaxi there for no more than a few USD
  • Arrival station in Ninh Binh: Ninh Binh Railway Station, located less than a mile from the city center. There are plenty of taxis at the railway station to take you into the city. They're not metered but you can negotiate the rates. You should be able to get into town for 100,000VND ($4.2USD)
  • In terms of onboard amenities, they sell food but it didn't look appetizing. I recommend just getting your own snacks in the city. It's a short trip anyway. There is NO onboard wifi, and there are no power outlets (well, at least there wasn't any outlets in the soft seat class that I booked, I'm not sure if they have it in the sleeper class; they definitely don't have any outlets in the the hard seat class)


  • Option 2) By coach bus or van:
  • There are lots of coach buses and vans running between Hanoi and Ninh Binh. They're all operated by different companies and they all depart from different spots in the city. Your bus company will tell you where and how to board the bus/van after you buy your ticket. Most of them board in or around the Old Quarter
  • I think if you book the 1.5-hour van then it's worth taking it, but I honestly don't see any point in taking the 3-hour bus, which takes longer than the train and more expensive
  • Bus/van fares: cost varies by company but the coach buses are priced around $8USD and vans are around $12USD. So this is more expensive than taking the train
  • Travel time: varies by operator, but some are as short as 1h30min, and some are as long as 3 hours
  • Some bus/van operators on this route:
  • Sapa Dragon Express: Tripadvisor reviews
  • Truly Ha Giang: website, Tripadvisor reviews
  • Hoang Long: they changed their name to Hoan Hao I think, this is their Tripadvisor page. Extremely terrible reviews so avoid if possible
  • How to book buses/vans: most of the bus operators don't have their own websites, so you have to book them through 3rd party booking agencies/websites. There are several major transportation booking sites you can use for Vietnam. I personally used 12Go but when I was researching I came across a bunch of others too. They all have very good user interfaces and you can pay with credit card
  • 12Go: https://12go.asia <---- I used this one
  • Baolau: https://www.baolau.com
  • BusBud: https://www.busbud.com
  • EasyBook: https://www.easybook.com