Bai Dinh is a large complex of buddhist palaces and pagodas in Ninh Binh.
- This Buddhist complex is one of the top places to visit for every tourist who comes to Ninh Binh. It’s really very large, very impressive, a short walk from the Trang An complex and therefore relatively easy to get to. Bai Dinh Temple Complex (or also the cultural and spiritual site of Bai Dinh) is a top tourist spot, so you have to expect that there may be larger crowds of tourists here. But, it can vary of course and it just depends when you come there. Personally, I visited this place in the afternoon and there weren’t any big crowds of tourists.
- Bai Dinh Pagoda (Chùa Bái Đính) is a historical site near the Bai Dinh Mountain, the year of its foundation is 1136 and over time other smaller palaces, pagodas or various statues were built here. Bai Dinh is marked as a new complex in one part and an old original – ancient pagoda in the other. The new Bai Dinh Complex covers an area of about 550 hectares and is spread over the Ba Rau hills, was completed in 2010 and includes various monuments, shrines, hundreds of statues, etc. The original ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda is located on Bai Dinh Mountain 800 meters from the new temple. The whole complex is huge and I recommend you set aside at least 3-4 hours for visit and give your leg muscles a good massage, because you’ll be walking here 🙂
Beautiful views, monuments, but also cultural and spiritual events + festivals.
- The whole Bai Dinh complex offers a number of pagodas, shrines and writing about each of them is probably pointless. However, of the most interesting ones I will of course choose the Bai Dinh Pagoda, the large statue above the complex – Maitreya (Tượng Phật Di Lặc), the high stupa of Báo Thiên, the temple of the Buddha of the Three Worlds (Tam Thế Phật Điện) or the bell tower of Lầu Chuông and 500 hundred Arhat Statues at the entrance to the complex from the north side.
- Not only does the temple offer breathtaking views of the surrounding area, but you can also enjoy various events and activities or festivals during your visit if you are lucky enough to find them. On the sixth day of the Lunar New Year, the temple hosts a vibrant festival during spring, usually from January to March. You can also watch or even participate in interesting folk games, including tug-of-war and wrestling, and sample authentic local snacks at the stalls.
- The Bai Dinh Pagoda and temple complex is walkable, you can be transported to the entrance on the north side by a small electric vehicle / car or just walk from the entrance on the south side. So there are different options and I will point out that it cannot be ruled out that these options will change over time. I chose to take an electric small car from the entrance to the complex to the north gate of the complex and walked all the way back from there. And I was pretty fed up with the heat, but it was definitely worth it. On the way back, it’s again a bit of a hike to transport that little car to the entrance on the south side. I would recommend – take an electric car to the north gate and then take a walk back across the Bai Dinh complex.
▶ Bai Dinh Pagoda ( Chùa Bái Đính ) – in the heart of the complex
▶ Maitreya Statue (Tượng Phật Di Lặc) – great view from here
▶ Báo Thiên Stupa – the most visible building of the Bai Dinh complex
How to get and travel from Hanoi or Ninh Binh to Bai Dinh Pagoda?
- The Bai Dinh Buddhist complex is located about 20 km west of Ninh Binh town (Gia Viễn district) if you drive through the Trang An complex. Many tourists come here by private transfers as part of various group tours, e.g. also from Hanoi. I personally came here by motorbike from the Trang An complex near Ninh Binh. Unfortunately, I have no idea if there is any local public bus from the city. The motorbike can be parked in the paid parking lot outside the entrance to the complex by the ticket office. Of course there is also the option to use e.g. taxi or mototaxi / Grab from Trang An or Ninh Binh. Expect a little less chaos or delays at the ticket offices when there are more visitors.
- Ninh Binh is about 100 km south of Hanoi, accessible by bus, minivan, train or taxi and there is no airport. If you would like to go straight from Hanoi (or even straight from Noi Bai airport) to the Bai Dinh complex, you can use one of the private minivans (e.g. Binh Minh Limousine) that run on this route. The minivan ride from Hanoi to the Bai Dinh complex can take 2.5-3 hours and tickets cost about 10 USD/person, see the article in the link above for more info. If you will be staying in the Ninh Binh area, I would recommend to include this place in your itinerary, e.g. for half a day and simply arrive here by motorbike. The complex is large and definitely don’t come here 2 hours before closing time.
When to go to Bai Dinh Buddhist complex? What are the opening hours?
- You can visit the Bai Dinh Pagoda and temple complex all year round. I recommend choosing a less hot day, as walking here in the heat can be very challenging and by the time you climb the hill/mountain of Bai Dinh (Núi Chùa Bái Đính), you will really have had enough. So a good time might be autumn for example, like other places around Ninh Binh, or then winter time. The opening hours of the Bai Dinh complex are from 6am – 6pm and all week long. Although the entrance fee to Bai Dinh is free, some individual tickets can be purchased simply on the spot and there is no need to book anything in advance. I recommend to stay here at least 4 hours if you don’t want to run in this site. Travel slowly and soak up the atmosphere of this place
Where and how to buy tickets to Bai Dinh Pagoda and temple complex?
- As written, tickets to Bai Dinh Pagoda and temple compelx can be bought on the spot. The ticket office and entrance to the site is a short walk from the car park, everything is signposted and you can’t miss anything. You can also buy an organised guided tour. So you can buy a ticket to take an electric car to the North Gate for 30,000 VND + 30,000 VND back and enter the high stupa of Báo Thiên (Tháp Báo Thiên) for 50,000 VND.
- A guided tour to the new Bai Dinh Pagoda complex costs about 300,000 VND, both pagodas (new + old) cost about 550,000 VND with a guide. All other sights, smaller palaces and temples are free. There is also a toilet in this complex. However, please note that all this information is subject to change in the future. A lot of tourists come here as part of various day trips, including from Hanoi and Ninh Binh.
▶ Opening hours of Bai Dinh are from 6 am to 6 pm. (time may vary).
▶ Suitable time to visit Bai Dinh – choose a cool day.
▶ Entrance to the complex is free, car transport + stupa is charged.
Is it possible to stay in the Bai Dinh area? What are the options?
- Yes, it’s possible, and right in the Bai Dinh complex is the very well rated Bai Dinh Hotel – a stylish, modern, retro-style resort (it’s not a classic prefab hotel). There are also various accommodations in and around the Gia Sinh village and around the complex and prices are not high at all, they can start as low as 10 – 20 USD per room or homestay. But there are also some luxury resorts or homestays. There are also restaurants, shops and other services in the surrounding village. Another option is to stay in Trang An or Tam Coc in the beautiful countryside and just come here for example on a motorbike trip, it is only a few kilometres from Trang An.
icon-home Accommodation in the Bai Dinh area:
FAQ + Travel Tips – Bai Dinh Pagoda and temple complex:
1️⃣ Where is Bai Dinh Pagoda / Buddhist palace complex located?
- Bai Din Pagoda (Chùa Bái Đính) or also a buddhist palace complex is located in the village of Gia Sinh (Gia Vien district) about 20 km west of the city center of Ninh Binh in northern Vietnam.
2️⃣ How to get to Bai Dinh Pagoda and temple complex?
- From Hanoi to Bai Dinh: you can take a private minivan directly from Hanoi (+Noi Bai Airport) to the Bai Dinh temple complex. This trip takes about 3 hours and tickets cost about 10-12 USD per person. You can read more information in this article: How to go from Hanoi to Ninh Binh?
- From Ninh Binh to Bai Dinh: travel by private taxi/car, motorbike or mototaxi / Grab.
3️⃣ Is Bai Dinh Pagoda a popular tourist attraction?
- Yes, Bai Dinh Pagoda and temple compelx is a famous historical and memorial site in Vietnam and is visited by many tourists. However, in some seasons it may not be so much visited, such as autumn. It is also very popular during various cultural and spiritual ceremonies (TET, January – March).
4️⃣ How to buy tickets to Bai Dinh Pagoda and temple complex?
- Tickets to the Bai Dinh Pagoda and temple complex, if you want to take an electric car and visit the Báo Thiên stupa (Tháp Báo Thiên) can be bought on the spot, a short walk from the parking lot in the southern part of the complex.
5️⃣ What is the entrance fee, tickets price to Bai Dinh Pagoda?
- The Bai Dinh complex is free to enter, but has some restrictions. For example, you can’t take an electric car or you can’t go to the stupa Báo Thiên (Tháp Báo Thiên) for free. An electric car ride costs about 30 000 VND (60 000 VND including the return trip) and entry to the stupa costs about 50 000 VND. Organized guided tours cost from 300 000 – 550 000 VND, depending on the type of choice (old ancient pagoda, or old + new pagoda). This information is subject to change over time.
6️⃣ How big is the Bai Dinh Buddhist palace complex?
- The area of the Bai Dinh Palace complex is around 550 hectares in total. The complex is large, it is definitely not a 1 hour visit, allow at least 3-4 hours in total if you want to see everything and don’t come here 2 hours before closing time. Slow travel in this site is a good idea.
7️⃣ Is it possible to buy food on site at Bai Dinh complex?
- There are some restaurants in front of the Bai Dinh complex in the vicinity, but not directly in the complex.
8️⃣ When to visit Bai Dinh Palace Complex? What is the best time?
- In theory, you can come throughout the year. I recommend choosing a slightly cool day, as walking in the heat can be difficult for some people. The opening hours of the Bai Dinh complex are from 6am – 6pm. Autumn can be a good choice for visit.
9️⃣ What to see in Bai Dinh Pagoda and temple complex?
- The whole Bai Dinh complex includes several interesting places and many more such as small shrines, palaces or even caves near the Bai Dinh mountain. The most interesting is of course the Bai Dinh Pagoda, Báo Thiên Stupa, Maitreya Statue, 500 Arhats statues, Bell Tower, Mount Bai Dinh, caves and other places.
🔟 Where is the old ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda located?
- The original ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda (Bai Dinh Ancient Pagoda) is located on Bai Dinh Mountain behind the complex and there is also a cave. It can be reached by a marked trail, and you will probably go here as the last place, as it is the direction from the exit of this complex.
➡️ How to dress to Bai Dinh Pagoda and temple complex?
- I guess I would say this – with respect and reason. This is a spiritual and religious place, so definitely don’t come here in a swimsuit or half undressed. Personally, I had a short-sleeved shirt, below-the-knee length shorts and boots and was fine. And don’t take naked pictures 🙂
Map of travel route from Ninh Binh to Bai Dinh Pagoda:
(The Bai Dinh Buddhist complex is located about 20 km from the centre of Ninh Binh, the route via Trang An is suitable)