Teaching in Ninh Binh
My favorite thing about Ninh Binh has to be the peaceful life it offers. You are on the doorstep of beautiful places such as Trang An and Tam Coc which means on your days off or before work you can relax at a pool in between the mountains, visit a home stay and have a coffee by the lakes or simply go for a drive! I have been here since June 2017 and I am still awestruck by the beauty Ninh Binh has to offer.
The city has many shops, cafes, swimming pools, gyms and restaurants. It is much quieter than Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh however it is still busy enough to always have something to do. I learnt how to ride a motorbike here as it is quieter than the major cities, however Hanoi is a short ride away (1 ½ hours) if I need a busy city break.
Chookies, Tam Coc: This is the western restaurant which offers burgers, pizza, cocktails, champagne, imported wine and the best chips in the city! Tam Coc has a beer garden in front of the mountains where all the travelers visit so you always feel like your on holiday! It offers vegetarian and vegan options as well!
Coffee Phong, Ninh Binh Center: This is the local coffee shop where all the teachers get together to catch up and relax on our days off. Due to the city being so small, teachers from all companies visit here regularly and we are all very close! The owner, Hoa, always makes you feel welcome and will help you with anything (motorbikes, buses to Hanoi ect...). They serve a range of Vietnamese and Western food for an
excellent price and they also serve the best smoothies and pizzas!
Admiral Benbow, Ninh Binh: This is another place all the Teachers meet to relax due to the lovely food, great price and amazing family. They also do great pizza (yes, I do love pizza haha), spring rolls and fried rice. They also play the premier league football and are playing the world cup.
There are tons of cafes here to explore, however all the Teachers in Ninh Binh meet up every Friday at Dream Coffee in Ninh Binh center. They do the best coconut coffees and they have a lovely outdoor seating area to relax on sunny days. La Vista is also a new cafe we have found which grows their own vegetables, has sofa areas, an outdoor area and is super quiet and peaceful. There isn’t nightlife in terms of nightclubs, however there are regular meet ups at the places mentioned above and our APAX center
occasionally hosts Karaoke parties (and Vietnamese absolutely love Karaoke!)
On Mondays when the weather is sunny and hot a typical day is to have Bun Cha for breakfast (25000 VND), relax at Eco Homestay in Trang An boasting a swimming pool next to the mountains and then visit Chookies in Tam Coc for food. There is so much to do here whether that be exploring, visiting a new home stay, going for a ride and taking pictures, going to the gym, relaxing at a local coffee shop or visiting any of the major tourist attractions, there is always something to do!
Are there any places that is a must see, any major tourist attractions?
Mount Quyet is a mountain in the city with a beautiful pagoda on the top.
Where is the center located in the city (e.g. near residential area, near business area, easy to get to etc.)?
Bah Dinh Pagoda:
Bai Dinh Pagoda is a religious complex covering a total area of 539 acres, with both the ancient and the newly renovated Bai Dinh pagoda, parks, car parking and lake system. It has wonderful views, beautiful architecture and a religious cave.
Although the cave is not much to look at, there is a walk up the mountain you can take which offers breathtaking and panoramic views of Tam Coc. A stone staircase is beside the cave entrance and zigzags through the karst (beware the goat droppings) and it’s almost 500 steps to a simple altar to Quan Am (the Goddess of Mercy). Look west for the Ngo Dong River winding through Tam
Coc.Trang An Boat Tours:
Known as the Ha Long Bay of the land, the boat tours are a must-see! The ladies row the boat with thier feet as you go through caves, stop off at temples and experience the beauty of Ninh Binh as if it was in a different era!
Driving in Ninh Binh is fairly easy and although you have to still remember its Vietnam (people drive without many rules) it is a lot less chaotic than the major cities. I highly recommend driving or owning a bicycle to get around Ninh Binh as there is no Uber or Grab here, only normal Taxis.
We have a brilliant center that are all very close with each other. We have a fantastic relationship with the BM, JOM and even the sales team. We regularly go for hot pot, BBQ’s or trips away (we recently went to Mai Chau) and we all love Karaoke! We all work well together as a team, communicate effectively and try and give the best possible teaching experience to our students.
What’s the Vietnamese population like; do you have any Vietnamese friends, ever hang out with them or socialize?
Everyone is extremely friendly in Ninh Binh and they love foreigners! You are regularly asked to go for coffee with Vietnamese people and people wave and smile as you walk past. There is also a fairly good level of English with Vietnamese people and therefore they are willing to try and speak with you.
I first lived in Ho Chi Minh city for 6 months before coming to live in a small town and I much prefer it to living in a major city. Life is extremely relaxing here and I have time to focus on things I enjoy. There are so many beautiful places to see here, people to meet and it offers a slow-paced life. If I need a city fix (different foods, nightlife ect...) Hanoi is only a short drive away, however I tend to have everything I need here.
Written by Jack & Jodie