Bear Sanctuary Ninh Bình: the place to explore the stories of rescued bears

Ninh Bình is a small province in northern Vietnam which is famous for its magnificent natural landscapes. Moreover, this is also home to the first bear sanctuary in Vietnam.

When you come to the Bear Sanctuary Ninh Bình (Cơ Sở Bảo Tồn Gấu Ninh Bình), you not only have a chance to observe the black bears living in their natural habitats but can also hear about the touching stories of their rescue.

It is home to rescued bears

Bears playing in the enclosure
The rescued bears playing in the enclosure
Image credit: Phuonganna Bui

Just about 2 hours south of Hanoi, you will reach The Bear Sanctuary Ninh Bình, where you can find many black bears. In fact, this is currently home to 48 black and brown bears rescued from private keeping and bile farming across Vietnam.

Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh Map
The map of the sanctuary complex
Image credit: Diễn Nguyễn

Established in 2017, this sanctuary was an initiative by Four Paws, a worldwide non-governmental organization dedicated to protecting bears. The whole complex covers an area of 3.6 hectares and is divided into large outdoor enclosures, bear houses, and clinics. The enclosures are right in the Cúc Phương National Park, so the bears can enjoy themselves in a real natural environment.

You can watch them on a skywalk

Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh - Skywalk
The skywalk is designed to keep both you and the bears safe.
Image credit: Bear Sanctuary Ninh Bình

In 2019, the Bear Sanctuary Ninh Bình opened for tourists to visit with more facilities added to the complex such as a restaurant, a bear portrait gallery, and a skywalk.

The skywalk is 300 meters long with a moderate height to give you an ideal vantage point to observe the bears playing below. The skywalk is fenced to keep you safe during your visit as well as to not affect the bears’ lives. At the end of this skywalk, you will come to the interactive gallery where pictures of the bears are exhibited.

Interactive Exhibition about bears
Children visiting the interactive exhibition space
Image credit: Bear Sanctuary Ninh Bình

If you book a guided tour, you can listen to many interesting facts and anecdotes about these bears. The most memorable stories are those about bear rescue missions, which are usually touching and sometimes, frightening. Also in this guided tour, you can go through the kitchen to discover the typical diet of the bears living here.

You can donate to help the bears here

Guided Tour about bears
Opening the sanctuary to the public is a way to raise the public awareness about protecting bears
Image credit: The Bear Sanctuary Ninh Bình

Although Four Paws are running many bear sanctuaries around the world, the one in Ninh Bình is the only one open to visitors. As the sanctuary may receive more bears in the future, Four Paws are considering expanding the area of this sanctuary, which may finally include up to 100 rescued bears of different kinds.

Preparing food for bears
In the guided tour, you will see the caretakers preparing meals for the bears
Image credit: Hào Nguyễn Hoàng

Besides the ticket and service fees, you can also offer your own donation to help maintain the sanctuary and support further rescue missions by Four Paws. You can either donate money or help the sanctuary buy food for the bears and working aids for the caretakers. The wishlist of items in need is updated regularly on the sanctuary’s official website.

The Bear Sanctuary Ninh Bình

At The Bear Sanctuary Ninh Bình, you can come to observe the bears in their natural habitats. When coming here, you can understand more about a bear’s life and the current status of bears farmed for bile in Vietnam.

You can also help maintain the sanctuary and support rescue missions by making some donations in different ways.

The Bear Sanctuary Ninh Bình (Cơ Sở Bảo Tồn Gấu Ninh Bình)
Address: Cúc Phương – Bái Đính Street, Kỳ Phú Commune, Nho Quan District, Ninh Bình Province
Opening hours: 9AM-5PM
Telephone: 0229 3666 388
Service fees:
Skywalk experience: VND30,000 (~USD1.31) for children aged 5 to 10; VND50,000 (~USD1.81) for the older.
Guided tour (including a kitchen visit): VND100,000 (~USD4.36) for children aged 6 to 12; VND150,000 (~USD6.53) for the older.
Each visit lasts about 40 to 45 minutes.
The Bear Sanctuary Ninh Bình’s website, Facebook, and Instagram

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Cover image adapted from Phuonganna Bui, Bear Sanctuary Ninh Bình, and Hào Nguyễn Hoàng  

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