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Ninh Binh Travel Guide

Ninh Binh Travel Guide

Plan Ninh Binh Tour

Ninh Binh is a province in Red river delta. It is far about 90 kilometers from Hanoi with convenient transportation system. Nature blesses this land many fascinating landscape, famous cavessuch as Tam Coc - Bich Dong, Trang An cave, Phat Diem cathedral, Van Long natural reserve, Kim Son...

Ninh Binh is a province in Red river delta. It shares border with Hoa Binh and Nam Dinh in the north, Ha Nam in Northeast, Thanh Hoa in the south and west. Ninh Binh also has a very short coastline abutting the Gulf of Tonkin. The population is 915.727 people and the total area is 1.329,4 square kilometers.

Ninh Binh is far about 90 kilometers from Hanoi with convenient transportation system. It is outside the National Highway 1 A, North-South railway, a system of seaports, river, ocean which is convenient for economic cooperation with other provinces in the country as well as international trade.

Ninh Binh is located in tropical monsoon climate: in the summer: hot and rainy from May to October; in the winter: from November to April next year. The average rainfall: 1700-1800 mm, average temperature 230C.

In terms of orest resources, Ninh Binh has 19033 hectares including 13.633,2 hectares of natural forests, 5.387 hectares of plantations. Besides, Ninh Binh has a coastline about 17 kilometers and limestone resources with an area of 12,000 hectares. This is an important resource for developing the industry of construction materials like cement, bricks, tiles…

Ninh Binh is an important point of intersection from the North to the South. There includes 3 ways to Ninh Binh: by road, railway or waterways. Ninh Binh has much rich potential tourism destinations. Nature blesses this land many fascinating landscape, famous caves. In addition, tourists coming here also have opportunities to travel, and enjoy many other famous places such as Tam Coc-Bich Dong, Phat Diem cathedral, Van Long natural reserve, Kim Son… in which Tam Coc-Bich Dong is praised as "Nam thien de nhi dong" or "Halong on Land" with the destinations such as: Tam Coc, Thai Vi temple, Bich Dong pagoda, Tien pagoda, Linh Coc Pagoda… Especially, Cuc Phuong National Park is an old growth forest with the area of 22.000 hectares, and many species of flora and fauna. Recently, Ninh Binh becomes an attractive tourist resort of thousands of domestic and foreign tourists.

 Moreover, Ninh Binh was once the ancient capital of Dai Co Viet from 968 to 1010. Therefore, this area has many historic relics such as the Hoa Lu ancient capital, Phat Diem cathedral, Non Nuoc pagoda… All relics and scenic spots have become attractive destination for tourists.

According to datas collected in December 31st 2005, the province has 125 relics that have been ranked the national scale. Ninh Binh has been completed dossier to UNESCO to recognize: Historic relic Hoa Lu ancient capital as the world culture heritage and Cuc Phuong natural park, Trang An caves as the world natural heritage. Ecotourism with form of homestay help visitors understand daily life, production of local communities. This is the reason for Ninh Binh to revive the traditional craft villages, cultural heritage to provide tourism. Especially, Ninh Binh has Trang An eco-tourism area in the process of finalizing the dossiers to submit UNESCO for recognizing it as the world natural heritage. Spiritual tourism is one of the strongest of Ninh Binh, the advantages are the capital of three feudal dynasty associated with major shifts in the history of the nation; the convergence many religions especially Buddhism and Christianity and other religious structures- valuable cultural architecture.

The special dishes in Ninh Binh include dishes of goat meat, Kim Son wine, Ninh Binh'eel vermicelli and burned rice. The most famous and unique dishes in Ninh Binh is goat meat. Goat meat is a nutritious and delicious dish since it is served with many precious fine herbs which are very good for people’s health.

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Hoa Lu ancient capital was the first capital of feudal state of Vietnam, Truong Yen Commune, Hoa Lu Distric, Ninh Binh Province. It is far 100 kilometer from Hanoi to the south. Since 968, Dinh Bo Linh throne in Hoa Lu, the Hoa Lu Capital has existed 41years (968-1009) in which 12 years is dynasty of Dinh and the next 29 years is dynasty of Le. Over thousands of years ago, Hoa Lu is magnificent capital. The mountains surrounded the capital as the painted veil, Hoang Long River is meander and Nho Quan, Gia Vien field has many deep trenches that are advantageous for military.

Hoa Lu ancient capital is 300 hectares width, including outside area and inside area, surrounded by a series of rocky arc mountains, spectacular scenery.

Outside area has 140 hectares width, belonging to Yen Thanh village, Truong Yen Commune. This is the main palace area with Dinh, Le Temple is the center and this is where Dinh Tien Hoang built the nation. Before the palace, there has Ma Yen Mountain.

Inside area belongs to Chi Phong Village, Truong Yen Commune which reared children and maids in the palace.

The South (to the south, opposite and connect with outside area) is surrounded by high mountains and is guarded the back, from here, it can quickly withdraw by the water.

In 1010, Ly Thai To moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long. Hoa Lu capital becomes ancient capital. The reign of Le Hoan, he built many magnificent palaces: Bach Thao Thien Tue palace, Phong Luu palace, Bong Lai palace, Cuc Lac palace, Hoa Van palace, Truong Xuan palace, Long Loc palace which has silver roof.

Through rain and sunshine more than 10 years, the historic relics in the Hoa Lu ancient capital are almost destroyed. Currently, it remains temple of Dinh and Le built in the 17th century.

Dinh Temple was built on the background of the ancient palaces with “Ngo Mon”, lotus lake, Gia Mountain, flower garden… There has “Long Sang” made by monolithic stone is very beautiful. Next is the place that worships people who established the nation. The inner place, there has statue of Dinh Tien Hoang and his son. The carved images in stone, wood are dragon, clouds, fairies, flowers… They are sophisticatedly decorated.

Le Temple is far about 500meters from Dinh Temple. Le Temple has small scale but there has three areas: Bai Duong, worship of Pham Cu Luong- people helped Le Hoan throne, the main area: in the middle: Le Dai Hanh, on the right: Le Ngoa Trieu and on the left: Duong Van Nga. Le temple still retains many vestiges of ancient architecture with sophisticated decoration. Here, people found background of ancient palace and some ancient ceramics. They were kept at room on the left of the temple. Hoa Lu relic has some beautiful temple such as: Ngan Xuyen, Nhat Tru… which attracts a number of tourists to visit. Coming to Hoa Lu, tourist will have opportunity to sight the architecture, the majestic beauty of the whole relic.

Entrance fee: 10.000vnd/people

Kenh Ga Hot Spring

Kenh Ga hot spring belongs to Kenh Ga Village, Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh province. It is far about 1 kilometer from Van Trinh cave. From the Gian Khau (Gia Vien), go over 10 kilometers, tourists will come to Kenh Ga hot spring (Kenh Ga village, Gia Thinh). The water flowed from the mountain never stop. Is has existed for a long time until 1940s, the French knew and began to study them, named Kenh Ga hot spring.

From 1960s to 1964s, people came here to get water from spring on treatment; they worshiped it as a spring god, water god. The hot spring is similar to the mineral water of Wies Baden (Germany), mineral water of Capcaza. Water composition has much sodium chloride, potassium chloride, calcium. Water has no color, stabilized temperature about 530C. In the winter, viewed from a distance, tourists can see the dense fog from the spring. Up to now, Kenh Ga hot spring becomes more famous which many tourists come here and enjoy hot spring.

Kenh Ga hot spring flows from Hang Ca Mountain. This is a natural hot spring of our country. Especially, it has valuable because of mineral resources that nature blesses for land and people in Ninh Binh.

Coming to Kenh Ga hot spring resort, boating on the Hoang Long River, the vast waves, mountains, river, peaceful scenic identity… tourists will feel very relaxed. Kenh Ga hot spring is an ideal destination awaiting visitors.

Kenh Ga mineral spring- water flows from inside a limestone mountain without drilling the ground, the water temperature is about 500C, especially for mineral water here is that water has high salinity. Using this water to bath would have been handled from the disease: arthritis, neuritis, skin diseases and gynecological... Drinking Kenh Ga spring in a long time would have been cured chronic stomach… besides, drinking this water will stimulate the activities of liver, bile. Using mineral water in Kenh Ga can cure many diseases

Van Long Natural Reserve

Van LongVan Long natural reserve is located in Gia Vien district, Ninh Binh province. It is far about 90 kilometers from Hanoi to the south. Van Long is not only a natural reserve of wetlands but also the cultural relics. Van Long is a legendary land, a beautiful area and the largest natural reserve of wetlands. Here, guests will be seated on the boat to visit Van Long. A large space with spectacular mountain ranges creates a natural wall surrounded a vast expanse of water.

With an area of 3000 hectares, Van Long natural reserve has 32 beautiful grotto such as: Ca Grotto, Bong Grotto, Rua Grotto, Chanh Grotto, each grotto has an unique beauty. The most beautiful grotto is Ca grotto in the Hoang Quyen Mountain. It has 250 meters length, 8 meters height and 10 meters width, the ceiling is stalactites with strange shapes like animal, fish… Especially, there has many catfish, tilapia… According to legend, ancient people caught a fish with 45 kilograms weight so that it named “Ca grotto”.

Among the grottos in Van Long, Thung Doi is the highest grotto with 210 meters height above ground; the largest grotto is Bong grotto (16 meter). There have mountains’ strange name such as: Nghien Mountain, Hom Sach Mountain, Da Ban Mountain, Meo Cao Mountain, Tien Co Mountain, Voi Dung Mountain, Canh Cong Mountain, Mo Coi Mountain…

In the Van Long forest, there has 457species of higher plants. In particular, it has 8 species recorded in Vietnam Red list. Animals have 39 species, 12 species of rare animals such as white shorts langur accounted largest number in Vietnam, chamois, Bengal slow Loris, Asian black bear, stump-tailed macaque… In the 9 species recorded in Vietnam List such as: king cobra, water monitor, oriental Rat snake, lizards…

In the dry season, Van Long is the wintering place of migratory birds from the North. There has dozens of pheasants, grey heron, teal and hundreds of white stork, night herons… Coming to Van Long natural reserve, tourists can’t help visiting “Thi tree”-600 years old, Chi Le Temple, Mai Trung Temple, Dich Long cave, historic relic of Dinh Tien Hoang…

Not only is the nature reserve, Van Long wetland is a place with attractive landscape. Van Long is known as “the bay without wave” because when going on a boat, visitors will see a flat surface like a big mirror. Watercolor painting is reflected by the strong sculpt of limestone: Meo Cao Mountain, Mam Xoi Mountain, Hom Sach Mountain, Da Ban Mountain, Nghien Mountain, Mo Coi Mountain, Co Tien Mountain…

Price for hiring boat: 55.000vnd/people (2people/boat)

Cuc Phuong National Park

Cuc Phuong National Park belongs to Nho Quan District, Ninh Binh province, is bounded between three provinces of Ninh Binh, Hoa Binh and Thanh Hoa province. It is far about 100 kilometers from Hanoi to the southwest. Cuc Phuong national park is the first national park in Vietnam, established in July 1962. Cuc Phuong National Park has a population of abundant flora and fauna.

Cuc Phuong has the area of 22.000 hectares, of which three quarters are limestone with height from 300 meters to 600 meters above sea level. Here, there has May Bac mount with 648.2 meters. The climate in Cuc Phuong is kind of tropical monsoon climate, average annual temperature about 24.70C. Especially, there have many caves, beautiful landscape and historical natural remnants such as: Trang Khuyet Cave, Chua Cave, Thuy Tien Cave, Nguoi Xua, Cave, Con Moong grotto, San Ho Cave…

In the Park, there has hot spring 380C. The flora is various with 1.944 species. Diverse fauna includes 71 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 33 reptiles and 16 amphibians. Besides, there has many animals such as: bears, horses, boars, tigers, leopards, ferrets, squirrels, monkeys… The half natural breeding area has deer, yellow monkey, Delacour's langur and flying squirrel… which serves the research of scientists and tourists can have opportunity to see animals as in the nature. Cuc Phuong is also the home of hundreds of birds, beautiful and strange butterflies.

Currently, Cuc Phuong National Park has become a center providing rare plant species have high economic value for serving forestation programs in the region and the nation-wide. This place has the national breeding for the species. In the future, Cuc Phuong will built and expand experimental basis to provide more varieties of medicinal plants, rare plants to areas.

The best time to explore Cuc Phuong National Park is in the dry season, from December to April. The way lead to Cuc Phuong National Park is very convenient. An old-growth forest with tropical forest ecosystem diversity are protected, it also located on the route of many attractions such as: Bich Dong, the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, Sam Son beach… attract many tourists and scientists coming to visit and research. In the Park, there have a number of programs such as hiking, adventurous travel, climbing…

Entrance fee for adult: 30.000vnd/people

Entrance fee for children: 10.000vnd/people

Tourists can use camera and take photo.

Trang An Eco Tourism Complex

Trang An Eco-Tourism Complex is a complex beauty - landscapes called as an 'outdoor geological museum' with numerous caves, mountains, valley water, trees and the historic relic. Trang An cave ecosystem almost belongings to Hoa Lu District and a part of northwest city of Ninh Binh province.

According to statistics, Trang An eco-tourism complex has over 310 species of higher plants, many algae and fungi. In particular, there have some rare woods and amount of valuable trees using for food, medicine. In addition, there has about 30 species of mammals, 50 species of birds, dozens of species of reptiles and some rare animals such as: chamois, leopard, phoenix…

Trang An cave has thousands of hectares belongings to Truong yen, Ninh Xuan, Gia Sinh, Gia Hai commune with more than 100 caves, tourists can go from this cave to other cave. Run longer than 20 kilometers next to the cave is connected valleys. It is said that this place is the rear of the reign of Dinh Tien Hoang over a thousand years ago. Bai Dinh pagoda is located in Trang An eco-tourism belonging to Gia Sinh commune, Gia Vien district including a population of Tam The Temple, Phap Chu pagoda, La Han, Bell tower… Tourists can visit Trang An by boat. Trang An has 31 valleys, 48 caves and it has some cave with 2000 meters length such as: Dia Linh Cave, Sinh Duong Cave, May Cave…

Trang An has limestone system and natural various caves. Hoa Lu limestone mountain-Ninh Binh is also known as “Halong Bay on land”. This feature creates a beautiful landscape with limestone mountains, surrounding the valley is many lakes.

Coming to Trang An eco-tourism complex, tourists can enjoy the grandeur of the mountains, explore majestic caves and have a pure of relaxation with the spiritual culture of Bai Dinh Pagoda.

Entrance fee: 100.000vnd/people

4 people/boat

Tourists can use camera.

Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh pagoda is a large population known as many records such as: the largest pagoda of Vietnam, the biggest gold - plated copper of Asia and the longest lobby in Asia. The pagoda is located at the western of the ancient capital Hoa Lu, belonging to Gia Sinh commune, Ninh Binh. It is far about 15 kilometers from Ninh Binh province and 95 kilometers from Hanoi. Bai Dinh Pagoda population has the area of 539 hectares including 27 hectares of ancient Bai Dinh pagoda, 80 hectares of new Bai Dinh area.

More than 1000 years ago, in Ninh Binh, there have 3 dynasties: Dinh, Tien Le, Ly. Three dynasties are very interested in Buddhism and Buddhism and used Buddhism as the state religion so that in Ninh Binh, there has many ancient pagodas, including Bai Dinh pagoda in the Dinh Mountain.

The population of Bai Dinh pagoda includes ancient pagoda area and a new pagoda area. New pagoda has monumental architecture but having traditional identity consistent with Vietnam today. Therefore, this place became a popular destination in Vietnam. New Bai Dinh pagoda is honored as the largest pagoda in Southeast Asia.

Ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda is far about 800 meters from Tam The temple alongside Dinh Mountain. This pagoda is located near the top of a quiet forest area, including Buddhist cave, the temple of God Cao Son, and the temple of Nguyen. The pagoda was recognized as historical-cultural of the nation. There are many architectural details and antiques marked of reign of Ly.

The new pagoda’s architecture highlights with large cubes marked architectural Vietnamese. The most difference in Bai Dinh Pagoda architectural is in dark roof of phoenix shape, it is not the same the pagoda in China. Especiyally, the detail also carries the famous traditional handicraft villages of Vietnam.

Bai Dinh Pagoda is a famous temple for its Asian and the region record. The records of Bai Dinh Pagoda are established:

Gilt bronze statues of Asia's largest: 100 ton statue in the French electricity Owner

Largest bronze Buddha in Southeast Asian: 100 ton statue outside.

The largest bell Vietnam: Great bell weighs 36 tons in the Bell Tower.

Largest pagoda in Vietnam: total 539 ha (27 ha own ancient temples, pagodas new 80 hectares.

Pagoda is the longest corridor Asian Horn: Horn corridor approximately 3 kilometers.

Park has many statues Arhat Temple in Vietnam: 500 the blue stone about 2m high.

Area wells jade pagoda in Vietnam.

Area Bodhi temple of most Vietnam: 100 is extracted from the Bodhi Bodhi India

Entrance fee: Free

Tam Coc Bich Dong

Tam Coc

Tam Grotto - Bich Cave is a famous ancient spot, belonging to Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh province; it is far about 100 kilometers from the South. It retains the natural creation with many cave, grottos, and historic relic such as: Thai Vi Temple, Tam grotto, Bich Cave pagoda, Tien Cave, Linh Coc pagoda…

Located on the Ngu Nhac Son Mountain, belongs to Dam Khe village, Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh Province.

The zone is featured with a tropical climate, with 2 seasons. The cold and rainy season lasts from May to October, and the dry and hot season from Novermber to April. Its annual average temperature is 23.5oC. As situated at the base side of the Red River Delta Triangle, it is a half-mountain half-plain area, with a coastline of 18 kilometers.

Landscape of Bich Cave was dubbed “The Nam Thien II” (the second beautiful cave in Vietnam). In 1773, Mr. Nguyen Nghiem (the father of a celebrated Vietnamese poet-Nguyen Du) visited the cave. Sighting view of mountains, rivers, water, rice fields…with blue color so that he named the cave with a beautiful and poetic name “Bich Cave”. Here, visitors can visit the temple; a small boat will take visitors to explore the magical cave. Bich Cave is one of the most famous scenic spots of Ninh Binh, located in Ngu Nhac Son Mountains, belonging to Dam Khe village, Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district. Bich Dong means “Green Grotto” or “Pearl Grotto”, which reveals its magnificient natural beauties. Colors, shapes, and sounds of the shining stalactites converges in such a captivating miracle that no one could refuse to touch, knock and contemplate them in deed.

From Bich Cave, tourists can continued use boat to visit Tam Coc. Tam Coc means three grottos: Ca grotto, Hai grotto and Ba grotto. When the boat comes into three grottos, tourists will feel cool. Stalactites from the ceiling like iridescent pearls. This grotto is adorned with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites of different shapes and colours that sparkle like gemstones. Now when drifting along the gentle Ngo Dong River under the Grotto, you can feel the deeply pure atmosphere with special smell of fresh rivers water and cool air from karst mountains when reaching each of the 3 caves in turns.

Tourists visit Tam grotto by only single path on the water and take about 2 hours. The small boats will take visitors to discover Ca grotto-the biggest grotto in three grottos with 127 meters length. It is under a big mountain which across the Ngo Dong river. Tourists will feel fresh and cool air. Continuing the journey, visitors can sight Hai grotto and Ba grotto. Two grottos are shorter than Ca grotto. The adventurous tourists can continue explore Tien stream and join adventurous journey with climbing into Noi Lam Temple.

Phat Diem Cathedral

Phat Diem CathedralePhat Diem Cathedral is located in Kim Son District of Ninh Binh Province. It has oriental architecture. This cathedral is far about 120 kilometers from Hanoi to the south, built in 1875s to 1898s. 'Phat Diem' means generating beauty, named by Nguyen Cong Tru. The church was built during the 24 consecutive years.

With the technical level and traffic conditions of the late 19th century, the method to transfer thousands of tons of stone, hundreds of ironwood trees to Phat Diem in order to build the cathedral is very difficult. Kim Son is the new land, before, it is very muddy. So as to solve subsidence of this area before building, people moved a small mountain to Phat Diem. Visitors can see So Mountain; it is a part of the mountain which had been moved to Phat Diem.

This is an Eastern architectural ensemble including Lake, Phuong Dinh, cathedral with 4 churches on the sides, 3 man-made grottos, stone churches.

Phuong Dinh is the first area in the architectural planning of Phat Diem. This architecture has 25 meters height, 17 meters width, 24 meters length consisting of three floors built of boulder. With the craft, local workers assembled thousands of boulders along with a high degree of accuracy. In the middle of Phuong Dinh, it has a monolithic table; outside and inside, there has the bas-relief carved images of Jesu with elegant lines. The second floor of Phuong Dinh, it hangs a big drum. The third floor hung a bell with 1.4 meters height, 1.1 meters in diameter and 2000 kilograms weight.  This big bell was casted in 1890. Phuong Dinh’s roof has five arches; the highest arch is in the middle of the third floor. Roof of Phuong Dinh in Phat Diem cathedral is not soaring as the other churches; it has ancient roof and same the roof of temple, pagoda.

Cathedral: Cathedral is the main church built in 1891. It has 5 entrances and carved arch. The cathedral has 74 meters length, 21 meters width, 15 meters height and 4 roofs. Inside the church there includes 6 monolithic ironwood columns; two rows of columns with 11 meters height, 2.35 meters in circumference, 10 tons weight in each column. Besides, it has a large altar was made by a monolithic boulder with 3 meters length, 0.9 meters width, 0.8 meters height and 20 tons weight. In the front of the boulder, it was carved with flowers of the four seasons. Two sides of the cathedral are 4 churches with the unique architectural.

Stone Church: stone church is called the church dedicated to Our Lady. Called the stone church because everything in the church is made of stone: walls, columns… Inside, there have a number of bas-reliefs.

Artificial grotto: in the northern of Phat Diem cathedral has 3 grottos created by rocks with different sizes, Lo Thien Grotto is the most beautiful.

Phat Diem Cathedral is a unique architecture in Vietnam. The magnificent structure but harmony with the natural scenery with the style of oriental architecture, the cathedral will bring you exciting time and unforgettable impression.

Entrance fee: Free

Tourists can use camera

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