Van Long Nature Reserve In Ninh Binh: Full Guide in 2024

Van Long Nature Reserve

Van Long Nature Reserve is the largest inland wetland in Northern Vietnam. This place is famous for its scenery and ecosystem, suitable for those who love to explore nature.

If you plan to travel to Ninh Binh and explore Van Long Nature Reserve, this is the article for you. In this article, will show you a complete travel guide for a memorable trip.


Located in the South of the Northern Delta, Van Long Nature Reserve is a wetland nature reserve in Gia Van Commune, Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province. With an area of 3,500 hectares, this is the largest reservation in northern Vietnam.

Van Long Nature Reserve was formed from the construction of a dike in 1960. Today, the reservation is honored as a ‘waveless bay’, with beautiful natural landscapes, including limestone mountains surrounding large lagoons.

Ticket Fee

Sightseeing tickets:

  • Adult: 20,000 VND/ person
  • Children under 1m tall: 10,000 VND/ person
  • Elderly people (from 60 years old and above): 10,000 VND/ person

Boat tickets:

  • Adult: 50,000 VND/ trip
  • Children under 1m tall: 25,000 VND/ trip
  • Elderly people (from 60 years old and above): 25,000 VND/ trip

How To Get There

About 80 kilometers from Ha Noi, travelers can go to Van Long Nature Reserve by transportation options, including:

By bus

  • Ticket fee: 80,000 VND – 140,000 VND/ person

If travelers depart from neighboring provinces less than 100 kilometers from Ninh Binh, the bus is the suitable transportation. To catch the bus, travelers can go to Giap Bat Bus Station or My Dinh Bus Station (Hanoi) to get to Ninh Binh Bus Station.

When arriving in Ninh Binh, travelers continue to take bus numbers 01, and 09. The distance between Ninh Binh Bus Station and Van Long Nature Reserve is about 20 km, it takes about 30 minutes to go.

By car

From Hanoi, travelers can travel by car following the direction of the Phap Van – Cau Gie – Ninh Binh Expressway.

When arriving in Ninh Binh, travelers continue to drive following the route: National 1A towards Ninh Binh/ Ha Noi – Gian Khau intersection – Van Long Market – Road 447 – Van Long Nature Reserve.

By motorbike

If going to Ninh Binh by motorbike, travelers can go by the route: Hanoi city center – Old National Highway 1A heading through Ha Nam – Ninh Binh – National Highway 1A – Gian Khau Junction. After that, you turn left and go straight along Nho Quan Street to reach Van Long Nature Reserve.

Best Time To Visit Van Long Nature Reserve

Each season, Van Long Nature Reserve has its unique beauty. If you want to admire the scenery of lotus flowers blooming on the lagoon, you can go to Van Long Nature Reserve from May to August.

From November to April is the time when water birds fly here to breed. If you want to see the scenery of birds flying in the sky, you can come to Van Long Nature Reserve at that time.

What To Expect

Boat ride on Van Long Lake 

Van Long Nature Reserve is called ‘waveless bay’, with the water surface as calm as a sheet of paper. Sitting on a boat down the river is an experience that you should try if you have the opportunity to come here.

van long Boat

During the journey, travelers will see the majestic natural scenery, listen to the waves crashing on the boat, and the chirping of birds, and breathe the fresh air.

If you love to listen to fairy tales or local anecdotes, you can talk with the boatmen. Most of the boatmen/ boatwomen at Van Long Natural Reserve are local people. They are very friendly, and always ready to tell you interesting stories during the trip.

Discover the ecosystem in Van Long Nature Reserve

Van Long Nature Reserve possesses a diverse ecosystem. This is home to 39 animal species, 722 rare plant species, including the mountain langur, and 8 species listed in the Vietnam Red Book.

Van Long Nature Reserve

The bird population at Van Long Nature Reserve is exceptional, with more than 100 species, including Chinese pond herons, cattle herons, and white storks. If you are lucky, you will be able to see the rare white-rumped langur.

Take a trip to caves in Van Long Nature Reserve

Van Long Nature Reserve has many large natural caves in Northern Vietnam, and the Bong Cave, Ca Cave, and Rua Cave are caves that attract a large number of travelers.

Van Long Nature Reserve

Besides sightseeing, you will have the chance to explore the limestone cave when taking a boat down Van Long Lagoon. The boat will go through the cave, allowing travelers to see the diverse stalactite system.

Trek limestone mountains

Van Long Nature Reserve owns a system of limestone mountains. Among them, Meo Cao Mountain, Mam Xoi Mountain, Da Ban Mountain, and Hom Sach Mountain are four places that attract the most travelers.

Van Long Nature Reserve

If you love trekking, you can try climbing limestone mountains and enjoy the panoramic view of the lagoon from above.

Do sightseeing temples and pagodas

Visiting pagodas and temples gives you a chance to learn more about the spiritual life of local people. Most of the pagodas and temples are located halfway up the mountain, with ancient architecture, bearing the mark of ancient Vietnamese architecture.

Van Long Nature Reserve

During the trip, you can visit Buddha pagodas and temples, such as Dich Long Pagoda, Thanh Mau Temple, especially Thanh Son Pagoda – the pagoda with the 600-years-old Dinospyros Decandra tree.

Bike as local people

Biking around is the way to help you understand more about local people’s lifestyles. You can rent a bicycle to cycle around.
Van Long Nature Reserve

Ninh Binh people are very friendly. You can talk to them or visit the traditional hand embroidery workshop, and learn embroidery with local artisans.

Or you can visit Thung La Pagoda, one of the oldest in Ninh Binh. This is a pagoda that was built during the reign of King Dinh Tien Hoang.

Enjoy local foods

Ninh Binh cuisine is mainly dishes made from goat meat and fish, suitable for the culinary culture of Indian guests.

Van Long Nature Reserve
Grilled snakehead fish

During the Van Long Nature Reserve trip, you can enjoy special dishes, including Ninh Binh fried rice, goat meat, mountain snails, Kim Son River mudfish salad, grilled snakehead fish in Van Long Lagoon, etc.

Attractions Nearby

  • Trang An Landscapes: This is a mixed heritage and the first dual-word heritage in Asia; has diverse terrain, including limestone mountains, caves, lakes
  • Tam Coc: Honored as ‘Nam Thien’s second cave’, Tam Coc is a system of three caves, which are built up by the Ngo Dong River and straight through the mountain.
  • Hoa Lu Capital: One of the four core areas of Trang An Complex, recognized by UNESCO as the first and only dual cultural heritage in Southeast Asia.
  • Mua Cave: Located at the foot of Mua Mountain, with a panoramic view of Ninh Binh from above.

Tips When Visiting Van Long Nature Reserve

  • If taking a boat to visit Van Long Nature Reserve, you should prepare cash
  • Keep the environment clean. Do not litter, pick trees or flowers, or affect wild animals
  • Prepare hats, sunscreen scream, an umbrella, and eyeglasses to cover the sunshine
  • Wearing comfortable clothes, sneakers, or sandals
  • If visiting pagodas and temples, you need to wear polite clothes.
  • Do not joke loudly, speak profanely, or destroy landscape or workshop statues

In this article, we have reviewed the experiences and guide you to have a memorable trip in Van Long Nature Reserve. Through this article, we hope that you can easily make a plan and have a journey to explore Van Long Nature Reserve.

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