Nam Dinh is a province in northern Vietnam, about 90 km from Hanoi. It is known for its rich history, culture, and nature. Nam Dinh has many attractions that reflect its ancient and modern features, such as temples, pagodas, museums, markets, and craft villages. Nam Dinh is also famous for its specialty foods such as pho (noodle soup), banh gai (black sesame cake), or banh cuon (rolled rice pancake). Here are some tips and suggestions to help you plan your trip to Nam Dinh based on the ideas you provided.
Nam Dinh's popular attractions
Nam Dinh has many attractions that showcase its history, culture, and beauty. Some of the most popular ones are:
This is a temple complex that honors the Tran Dynasty, which ruled Vietnam from 1225 to 1400. The temple consists of several buildings, such as Thien Truong Temple, Co Trach Temple, Pho Minh Pagoda, and Tran Royal Tombs. You can see the statues, altars, steles, and relics that commemorate the Tran kings and heroes. You can also join the Tran Temple Festival, which is held annually from the 14th to the 16th of the first lunar month.
Co Le Pagoda
This is a pagoda that was built in the 10th century and renovated in the 19th century. It is famous for its unique architecture and exquisite carvings. The pagoda has a three-story tower with eight roofs and a bronze bell. The pagoda also has a statue of Quan Am (the Goddess of Mercy) that is made of red copper and weighs 10 tons.
Xuan Thuy National Park
This is a national park that covers an area of about 12,000 hectares. It is a wetland ecosystem that hosts a variety of flora and fauna, especially migratory birds. You can see more than 200 species of birds, such as spoonbills, pelicans, storks, or cranes. You can also visit some of the islands, such as Con Lu, Con Ngan, or Con Xanh, to see the mangroves, salt marshes, or sand dunes.
Vi Khe Bonsai Village
This is a village that is famous for its bonsai art. You can see hundreds of bonsai trees with different shapes and sizes that are grown by local artisans. You can also buy some bonsai trees or souvenirs from their shops or workshops.
Nam Dinh offers many activities for travelers who want to experience its culture, nature, or adventure. Some of the activities you can try are:
Go on a bike tour
This is a great way to explore Nam Dinh's countryside and villages. You can rent a bike from some of the hotels or tour operators in Nam Dinh city or Pho Hien town. You can cycle along the roads or paths that pass through rice fields, orchards, canals, and bridges. You can stop at some of the attractions or craft villages along the way to learn more about their history and culture.
Watch a water puppet show
This is a traditional art form that originated in northern Vietnam more than 1000 years ago. It involves wooden puppets that are controlled by hidden puppeteers in a pool of water. The puppets perform scenes from Vietnamese folklore, legends, and rural life accompanied by live music and singing. You can watch a water puppet show at Thanh Ha Water Puppet Theatre or Pho Hien Water Puppet Theatre near Pho Hien town.
Take a cooking class
This is a fun way to learn about Nam Dinh's cuisine and culture. You can join a cooking class that will teach you how to prepare some of the most delicious dishes in Nam Dinh such as pho (noodle soup), banh gai (black sesame cake), banh te (steamed rice cake with meat or bean filling), or banh cuon (rolled rice pancake with pork and mushroom filling). You can also visit a local market to buy fresh ingredients and learn about their uses and meanings.
Visit a fruit garden
Nam Dinh is famous for its fruits, especially longan and persimmon. You can visit a fruit garden to see how they grow and harvest these fruits. You can also taste some of the fresh and juicy fruits or buy some as souvenirs or gifts. You can find some of the fruit gardens in Nam Dinh city or Pho Hien town, such as Long Longan Garden, Thanh Ha Persimmon Garden, or Hoa Binh Fruit Garden.
Best places to stay in Nam Dinh
Nam Dinh has a range of accommodation options for different budgets and preferences. Some of the best places to stay in Nam Dinh are:
Nam Dinh city
This is the administrative and economic center of Nam Dinh province and a modern and lively area. You can find some of the best hotels and resorts in Nam Dinh in this area such as Nam Dinh Plaza Hotel, Nam Dinh Eco Resort, Nam Dinh Pearl Hotel, or Nam Dinh Royal Hotel.
Xuan Thuy National Park
This is a national park that covers an area of about 12,000 hectares. It is a wetland ecosystem that hosts a variety of flora and fauna, especially migratory birds. You can also find some of the best resorts and villas in Nam Dinh in this area such as Xuan Thuy Resort, Xuan Thuy Villa, Xuan Thuy Garden Villa, or Xuan Thuy Lake View Villa.
Nam Dinh best local foods
Nam Dinh is a paradise for food lovers as it offers a variety of dishes that are delicious, diverse, and affordable. Some of the best local foods to try in Nam Dinh are:
This is the most famous dish in Vietnam and a must-try in Nam Dinh. It is a noodle soup with beef or chicken broth, rice noodles, herbs, and spices. You can find pho everywhere in Nam Dinh from street stalls to restaurants. Some of the best places to try pho are Pho Thin, Pho Gia Truyen, Pho Bat Dan, or Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su.
This is a sticky rice cake with a black sesame filling. The cake is wrapped in gai leaves (a type of plant) that give it a dark color and a distinctive flavor. The cake is steamed and then cut into slices. The cake has a sweet and nutty taste and is usually eaten with sugar or honey.
This is a steamed rice cake with a meat or bean filling. The cake is wrapped in banana leaves and has a soft and chewy texture. The cake can be eaten with fish sauce or soy sauce and is usually served with pickled vegetables or herbs.
This is a rolled rice pancake with a pork and mushroom filling. The pancake is made from rice flour batter that is spread thinly on a steaming cloth. The pancake is then filled with minced pork, wood ear mushrooms, shallots, and seasonings. The pancake is rolled up and cut into pieces. The pancake is eaten with fish sauce, fried shallots, cilantro, and cha lua (Vietnamese ham).
Best time to visit Nam Dinh
Nam Dinh has four seasons: spring (February to April), summer (May to August), autumn (September to November), and winter (December to January). The best time to visit Nam Dinh depends on your preferences and activities.
This is a good time to visit Nam Dinh as the weather is mild and pleasant with moderate temperatures and humidity. The flowers are blooming and the fruits are ripening. This is also the time when Nam Dinh celebrates many festivals such as Tran Temple Festival, Long Longan Festival, or Rang Bua Cake Festival.
This is a hot and humid time to visit Nam Dinh as the temperatures can reach up to 40°C and the rainfall is high. The city can be uncomfortable and prone to flooding during this season. However, this is also a good time to enjoy some of the summer fruits such as longan, persimmon, or mango, or to escape to some of the cooler destinations nearby such as Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh, or Sapa.
This is the best time to visit Nam Dinh as the weather is cool and dry with clear skies and gentle breezes. The city is also at its most beautiful with golden leaves, red flowers, and romantic sunsets. This is a great time to explore the city on foot or by bike, take photos, or join some of the cultural events such as Mid-Autumn Festival or Nam Dinh Trade Fair.
This is a cold and foggy time to visit Nam Dinh as the temperatures can drop to below 10°C and the humidity is high. The city can be gloomy and gray during this season. However, this is also a good time to experience some of the winter activities such as hot pot, tea drinking, or coffee by the fireplace, or to celebrate some of the holidays such as Christmas, New Year, or Tet (Lunar New Year).
How to get to Nam Dinh from Hanoi?
There are many ways to get to Nam Dinh from Hanoi such as buses, trains, cars, or motorbikes. The cheapest option is buses. The most convenient option is cars which offer pick up and drop off services within Hanoi or Nam Dinh city. The most adventurous option is motorbikes which are fast and flexible but also risky and noisy. The most scenic option is trains which offer a view of the countryside along the way.
What are some of the dos and don'ts in Nam Dinh?
Here are some of the dos and don'ts in Nam Dinh that will help you respect the local culture and avoid any trouble.
Do try some of the local food in Nam Dinh but make sure it is fresh and cooked in front of you. Avoid tap water and ice cubes unless they are from filtered sources.
Do learn some basic Vietnamese words and phrases such as hello (xin chao), thank you (cam on), sorry (xin loi), how much (bao nhieu), or delicious (ngon).
Don't take photos of people without their permission or of military or government buildings as these may cause offense or trouble.