Nam Dinh is 90 km from Hanoi, has convenient transportation, and is suitable for weekend trips.
What season is beautiful in Nam Dinh?
Like many other provinces in the Northern Delta, Nam Dinh has four distinct seasons. In addition to the summer suitable for swimming, the best time to visit this place is on the full moon of January. This period is the time to place the Khai An festival in Tran Temple, attracting tens of thousands of tourists to visit before and during the primary ceremony night.
How to move to Nam Dinh
From Hanoi, visitors can easily reach Nam Dinh by road and rail. Every day, 3-4 trains depart from Hanoi, going through Nam Dinh. Ticket price from 90,000 VND one way.
If you choose to go by road, you can go by bus, private car, taxi or motorbike. The distance is flat and easy to move. It takes about 2-2.5 hours to arrive. Bus tickets from 60,000 VND per person, depending on the bus operator.
Nam Dinh does not have a civil airport. Tourists from further away fly to Hanoi and move.
Nam Dinh city center is the first place visitors stop. From here, you can visit famous places in the city.
Tran Temple is a temple complex located on Tran Thua street, Loc Vuong Ward, on the city’s outskirts. This place is to worship Tran kings and mandarins who have meritorious services. Today, this is a place of worship for pilgrims and tourists from all over the country. The full moon of January is the most crowded time to visit this place because of the famous Opening Ceremony. This event takes place from the night of the 14th lunar month, with the ritual of the incense offering, the procession of palanquin with the ceremony of opening the seal being the most important—the procession to Thien Truong Temple on time of the Rat (23h).
This rite began in 1239. At Thien Truong Palace, King Tran held a banquet to entertain and ordained military officers with meritorious services, praying for peace and prosperity for everyone in the family. However, many people have misunderstood that applying for a seal is to be promoted.
A few hundred meters away is Pho Minh Pagoda (Temple of the Tower), the only structure belonging to the old Thien Truong Hanh Palace that still exists almost intact. According to the Nam Dinh Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, the pagoda dates back to the Ly dynasty, expanded in 1262, and served the Buddha’s worship needs of the Thai emperor, the noble princes of the Tran dynasty. In addition to worshiping Buddha, the pagoda has a statue of Buddha Emperor Tran Nhan Tong and Dharma Master Huyen Quang and Pho Loa – the founders of the Truc Lam school.
Phu Day is a complex of traditional religious architecture spread on the large scale of Kim Thai commune, Vu Ban district, near national highways 10, 37B, and 38B. Phu Day Festival is held annually on the 3rd day of the third lunar month to express gratitude to Mother Lieu Hanh. At this time, Lord Lieu Hanh was also worshiped at many other festivals in Vietnam. Still, the Phu Day festival is one of the most solemn and famous events in the country, attracting the participation of a large number of people and visitors.
There are three most important rituals in the festival: the procession of the Mother of Mercy, the parade of the Torch at the Government Palace, and the ceremony of drawing Chinese characters.
It would be remiss to mention Nam Dinh and ignore Cho Vieng. This session is the first market meeting of the year, on the night of the 7th and 8th of the lunar calendar, to “buying luck, selling bad luck.” The most famous is Cho Vieng held in Vu Ban and Nam Truc districts.
Nam Dinh Textile Museum, located on Tran Dang Ninh Street, is also a destination for tourists who love to explore history. Here, you have a journey back in time to learn about the lives of Textile factory workers during the resistance war against the French through hundreds of memorabilia still preserved to this day.
Other places you can visit in the city are Vi Xuyen Lake, wandering the central streets like Hang Sat, Hang Dong, Hang Tien, and Hang Level to see the remaining old houses.
Vi Khe bonsai village is located in Dien Xa commune, Nam Truc district, about 5 km southeast of Nam Dinh city. The village has a history of more than 700 years and is often jokingly called a “billionaire village” by tourists. The bonsai artisans here continue their careers in a hereditary fashion.
According to Mr. Van, an artisan of the village, many trees are planted for 2 to 3 generations in his garden. Only in his life did he form a masterpiece by the original idea. In addition, there are many other ornamental plants that he started to plant, and it will take until the life of his children and grandchildren to finish. Each tree is cared for and cherished like a child with the artisans in the village.
Located in Binh Di village, Giao Thinh commune, Giao Thuy district, and 45 km from Nam Dinh city are the first Country Museum in Vietnam. This private museum is more than 5,000 m2 expansive and is a place to reproduce the images of working life and activities of people in the Northern Delta from the past to the present.
Coming here, you will be able to visit the old model houses with tiled houses and earthen walls and visit gardens and fish ponds. This feature is also a place highly appreciated by tourists, suitable for families with young children. You can order lunch at the museum and enjoy Nam Dinh land’s rustic and country dishes such as black glutinous cake, sticky rice, boiled chicken, and boiled meat with soy sauce. The entrance fee is 5,000 VND per person.
Visitors can take a tour of famous churches and make European-style photosets. Destinations include Bishop Bui Chu Palace; Kien Lao holy temple; Trung Linh Church Empress Phu Nhai Basilica; Holy Name Parish; Cathedral in the city, and Khoai Dong church. Most of the above places are located in the Xuan Truong district.
In addition, visitors can visit Hai Thinh beach (Thinh Long beach) and Quat Lam in the summer.
Guests can spend the night at hotels in the city center like Vi Hoang or in the suburbs like Nam Cuong and Eco-host Homestay in Hai Hau district. Besides, Nam Dinh has many budget hotels, cheap and beautiful.
What to eat?
Referring to Nam Dinh refers to the famous beef noodle soup. “Quo Pho” is located in Giao Cu village, Dong Son commune, Nam Truc district, 14 km from Nam Dinh city. This is a village making Pho for a long time. The raw material is the rice of the previous crop; to remove the plastic, grind it with a stone mill, and then thinly coat it on a charcoal fan. The Pho here is white, chewy, and fragrant. Pho broth is made from beef bones, delicious fish sauce, sasung worm, and dried shallot.
Pho is also a suggestion worth trying. Xiu is an abbreviated reading of char siu in Chinese cuisine. The pork part is surrounded by a thin layer of fat, marinated with basil, five flavors, cinnamon apricot wine, and cashew oil fry.
The char siu is brown with cockroach wings. The fat part is yellow, the aroma of basil is fragrant when sliced, the inner loin is light pink, and the meat is soft and sweet. The noodle broth is also simmered with beef and pork bones in a specific ratio. The tiny piece is sliced like cooked beef. At first, glance, if you ignore the red color of the meat, many people will probably think that this is a bowl of cooked beef noodle soup.
The most delicious in Nam Dinh is the street food sold at markets and sidewalk shops; one of them is sticky rice, concentrated in a few small, perennial shops. The famous tacky rice restaurant, most popular with diners, is located on Hang Sat Street. In addition to sticky rice, the shop also serves cakes and mixed tea fruits.
Do Quan bridge bread is also loved by locals, located at the foot of Do Quan bridge, priced from 10,000 VND each, including crispy bread, pate, and shrimp paste. You can also order more fillings, such as an omelet with pate and pork belly. You can eat right at the restaurant and drink more soy milk.
Banh Xiu pao has long followed the Chinese to Nam Dinh. The cake is simple. It looks like a fried dumpling, but the filling is like a cake, and the outside is like Soc Trang pia cake. The ingredients for the cake are mainly flour, meat, eggs, flour, lard, and some typical spices depending on the heirloom method. To make the cake delicious, people often marinate pork loin with minced garlic, five spices, oyster sauce, and honey and then fry it until it turns the color of cockroach wings and smells delicious. The char siu meat is diced and mixed with wood ear, lard, and half a boiled egg as the filling. When baking, the cake is coated with a layer of oil and egg to cook evenly and not burn. The cake maker must also be very picky and have the technique to make the cake create thin layers.
Giao Thuy spring rolls: The maker must choose delicious pork without tendons and fat to have delightful spring rolls in the right style. After buying it, it is dipped in boiling water to cook until it is rare to keep its sweetness. Hearing standards are not too burnt, and they are a beautiful yellow color. Pork skin is shaved, boiled, and ironed as small as noodles. After having the necessary ingredients, people mix the meat, skin, and hearing with delicious fish sauce, garlic, pepper, and chili, squeeze them to blend well, roll them into a ball and wrap it. No need to put it in the fridge. It can also last a few days. When eating spring rolls, take the right amount, and pack into small pieces to fit the mouth, sandwiched with fig leaves and cloves.
Banh cuon in Kenh village: Kenh villagers still pass on the experience of making delicious cakes to their descendants. Rice cake is a flexible type, and the dough should not be soaked for too long because the cake will be sour and pasty. When coated, apply a thin but even layer of flour. If you want the cake to be tough, light, and crispy, to keep the cake from being hard for a long time, add a small amount of flour when making the cake. Today, when eating, people often add a few slices of fragrant cinnamon rolls to enhance the flavor.
Perch sticky rice is a rustic breakfast gift, a harmonious perch, and a sticky rice combination. According to folk experience, perch meat is delicious, healthy, and full of eggs in the rainy season, very suitable for processing specialty perch sticky rice. At this time, people often go to the fields, looking for canals, fields, and ditches to trap and catch fish.
Hai Hau longan cake makes many people think it is made from longan, but it is not. Because of its round shape, the golden color is as delicious as longan, so the local people creatively named it like that. As a popular snack and snack, longan cake is made from glutinous rice flour, chicken eggs, sugar, and lard. After mixing with chicken eggs, Glutinous flour is rolled into balls and fried in a pan filled with fat. Melted white sugar, put in the fried flour so that the sugar coats the outside very well. How delicious and sweet the cake is depending on this layer of sugar.
In addition, diners can visit Ngong Ngang market, near Thien Truong stadium, to enjoy other famous dishes such as vermicelli, noodle soup, banh beo, and banh cuon. The price of each dish starts from 10,000 VND. Nail snail spring rolls in Giao Thuy are also a dish visitors should try.
Nam Dinh city has many beautiful coffee shops. One of the most popular meeting spots among young people is SKY18 Coffee & Tea, the tallest cafe in the city, located on the 26th floor. With a broad and open view, diners coming here can enjoy the panoramic view of the city. The restaurant’s menu is rich, with more than 70 types of drinks, priced at 30,000-50,000 VND per dish. The most popular are the eye-catching decorative fruit tea set, detox effect, and delicious taste.