Kim Son's entrance gate
Kim Son’s entrance gate

The southeast district of Kim Sơn in Ninh Binh is the only district in Ninh Binh with direct access to the coast. However, do not think beach parties as it is limited to 18kms of tidal flats on the edge of the Tonkin Sea.

It also has a higher concentration of Catholics than any other district and cathedrals abound. The topology is also different as the pinnacles of Trang An and west Ninh Binh recede into the distance. Kim Son Province is relatively flat with large alluvial plains abutting the short but wide coastal strip.

Like much of Ninh Binh, Kim Son experiences the full four seasons, with cool but rarely freezing winters and hot humid summers. Typhoon are known to occur during the summer months from June to September each year and can be quite devastating but for the rest of the year is a reasonably moderate sub-tropical climate.

Phat Diem Cathedral

Phát Diệm Cathedral
Phát Diệm Cathedral at Kim Son

In terms of tourism, Phát Diệm Cathedral is Kim Son’s the primary attraction. World renowned, its 18th-century wood and stonework showcases an astonishing mix of French and Vietnamese architecture. Well-maintained and still in use, it is one of the most famous cathedrals not only in Vietnam, but across Asia. Bus and taxi services are readily available for the hour-long (30km) drive from Ninh Binh city to Phát Diệm, the district capital, and the Cathedral is just a short distance from town.

The “floating” island of Con Noi and the surrounding area off the coast are near the southern aquaculture town of Binh Minh. The entire bay area was recognized by UNESCO as part of the World Biosphere Reserve of the Red River Delta in 2004. It is an important habitat of some 200 bird species including more than 50 types of water fowl and nearly 60 migratory birds. The area also encompasses thousands of hectares of prime marine breeding grounds among the mangrove forests, alluvial plains and coastal estuaries.

The ancient tile bridge - Cầu Ngói is the Kim Son people's emblem.
The ancient tile bridge, Cầu Ngói at Phát Diệm is the Kim Son Province emblem.

The Kim Son coastal area is still in the tourism development planning phase. There is hope for the development of a marine and ecotourism showcase, with Con Noi the center piece and hosting a world class research center into coastal delta environments.

A relatively new district, Kim Son is more industrialized than most other Ninh Binh districts. It is also home to several famous Ninh Binh delicacies such as Nhech raw fish salad (Goi ca nhech) and the ever popular Kim Son Stick Rice Wine.

Discover Ninh Binh