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Ninh Binh - Hoa Lu - Tam Coc

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Ninh Binh City

Ninh Binh is about 90 km away from Ha Noi to the south. Ninh Binh is located on Red river delta with geographical co-ordinate from 19050' to 20027' at Northern latitude and from 105032' to 106033' at Eastern longitude. Ninh Binh shares the administrative border with Ha Nam in the North, Nam Dinh in the East, the East Sea in the Southeast, Thanh Hoa in the West and Southwest, and Hoa Binh in the Northwest.

With over 1,400km2 of natural area, Ninh Binh has forests, sea and a diverse system of fauna and flora. Ninh Binh topography encompasses plains and the mountains of the Vietnam northwest mountain range. Ninh Binh also keeps a strategic position for military security and social development. Here, troops were usually rallied on their way to the north or south of Vietnam, creating famous victories in Vietnamese national history.

Ninh Binh is endowed with many places of particular interest which have been well-known inside and outside Vietnam such as Tam Coc, Bich Dong, Cuc Phuong National Park, Trang An Grottoes and Van Long Nature Reserves. There are also many historical relics, for instances Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, Bich Dong Pagoda, Thai Vi Temple, Phat Diem Stone Cathedral, Tam Diep Defense Line.... All of them are attractive to both Vietnamese and foreign tourists. Ninh Binh is the charming land of myth and unique landscapes.

Ninh binh's topography comprises three different types of landscapes: wetlands, coastal delta, hills and mountains. With such a variety of landscapes, Ninh Binh offers many tourist attractions as primitive rain forest, mountains, hills, river delta and the coastal delta. Furthermore, Ninh Binh is endowed with numerous historical relics dating back to the Dinh, Early Le, Ly and Tran dynasties from the 10th-13th century. Annually, Ninh Binh has many traditional festivals reflecting the cultural identities of Red river delta villages. With a deeply rooted history and cultural tradition, the people of Ninh Binh are traditionally very industrious, hard working, studious, kind, patriotic and particularly hospitable. Most tourist attractions are situated within a radius of 50km from the provincial city of Ninh Binh and the linking with all major transport systems as the national highway No 1A and the South - North railway.... Therefore, long distance busses and trains from Hanoi to Hue, Ho Chi Minh city and vice versa stop here making Ninh Binh an ideal place to spend several days relaxing.


Located in Khe Dau Ha hamlet, Ninh Xuan commune, Hoa Lu district, Hang Mua resort was built at a peaceful valley surrounded by rice fields and hamlet. The resort is named according to the Hang Mua cave. The cave has an area of 800 square meters situated inside a mountain in the shaped of a bell, and it is both accessible by boat from Tam Coc and by road from Ninh Thang commune. The Hang Mua resort is designed and built as version of Van Ly Truong Thanh - Great Wall of China. Tourists can see a long wall rising from the floor to the peak of mountain from far distance, and enjoy a panoramic view and impressive scenery of Tam Coc, the so called Ha Long Bay on land after climbing up 486 stone steps. Hang Mua is one of the first resorts of Ninh Binh invested by Nguyen Phan Co Ltd., as an eco tourist site with the local culture and nature based tourism types: water puppet, folk songs performance, rock climbing, souvenir shop, weekend vacations and other entertainment. Nguyen Saint temple (or Nguyen Minh Khong) is located in the two communes of Gia Thang and Gia Tien, Gia Vien district, Ninh Binh province. It is 20 km North-West of Ninh Binh City.

Nguyen Saint Temple

Around the year 1121, Nguyen Minh Khong returned his homeland Dam Xa and constructed a small Buddhist pagoda of Vien Quang Tu into his temple. The temple has experienced some restorations to be in the present appearance. Another name of the temple is Nguyen Saint temple. The temple has four palaces in the style of Tien Nhat, Hau Cong that means the first palace (the front) was built in the old Sino-Vietnamese character Nhat the second was the character Cong. Tien Bai (First kowtow palace) has 5 apartments with 4 rows of pillars, truss was made in the style of Thuong Giuong Ha Ke. The roof is curved, covered with Vietnamese round headed tiles without hook above the flat tiles. Every coner of the roof was constructed in sword-curved head. The middle palace has a Chinese 4 sculptured characters board Thien Khai Thanh Sinh (the Saint was born by God). The praying instruments are kept inside, particularly a very valuable and rare drum is 1.4m in diameter.

Finally, the main palace (Chinh Tam) consists of five compartments dedicated to Nguyen Minh Khong Monk and his parent. Next to the back of the main palace is the 2 floors bell tower with 8 roofs was made of iron wood that hang an 2 ton bzone bell with 1.6m high.

Kenh ga Hotspring

From Ninh Binh city, head North 10km, then drive left at Gian's three ways intersection for Me township and turn left from the town and proceed to a typical tourist attraction of Ninh Binh, about 2km away, arriving at Dong Chua pier where visitors are hosted and take motor boat going along Hoang Long river to Kenh Ga resort.

Kenh Ga is not noly an eco-cultural tourist site with remarkable scenery but also an ideal resort for tourist. It has unique hot salty water with a stable temperature of 530C, KCl, NaCl, Calcium and Bicarbonate that help medical treatments. Vietnamese scientists have confirmed the good quality of this mineral water spring that is similar to the quality of convalescent areas of Germany and Russia. Today, the main branches of the spring have been built to channel water into some pools for swimming and soaking. If tourists do not want to have a bath, they can get water from the spring to drink; The water is excellent for skin ailments such as scabies and vitiligo and curing a variety of stomach ailments and obesity. After soaking in hot water swimming pools, having a sauna or traditional massage, tourists can go by boat to visit Kenh Ga floating village, Catholic Church and then explore typical river life of local people. The villagers seem to spend most of their lives floating on water. Visitors will find nowhere as stunning as a mountain at Kenh Ga. Another attractive beauty spot of this site is Van Trinh cave which can be accessed in 30 minutes by boat.

Kinh Le Temple:

Together with King Dinh Temple, the King Le Dai Hanh temple is majestically placed on the grounds of the Hoa Lu Ancient Palace. It is a remaining evidence of the golden age of the land that three feudal dynasties of Vietnam originated from. The temple is located in Truong Yen Ha Village, Truong Yen Commune, Hoa Lu District. It is 300m from King Dinh Temple to the north, the temple backs up against Den Mountain. The features of architecture, art and devotional statues are similar to those of King Dinh Temple. The temple still keeps its original architectural beauty. The temple is also built in the "noi cong ngoai quoc" style (国) but its main entrance is in the east. The constructions here do not have stone-doorsteps and stones for propping the pillar as King Dinh Temple. Hence, we can contemplate the temple with adequate example of the architecture and sculpture of Post-Le Dynasty period. In the Bai Duong of the King Le Temple, the gate is placed at the second row of pillar and encompassed by the wall, therefore it is a bit dark in the temple. There are many huge Chinese-word boards and they are carefully red-lacquered and trimmed with gold that gives tourists a sense of magnificence. The wood-carving art here surpasses the wood - carved articles in King Dinh temple and it concentrates in buc con, diem (edging), xa (beam) and bay (lever), elements. Six of beams have the image of the rising-of six dragons created by the folk artists. The clever arrangement placing the dragon's head near the beam have created the theme of the tiger-dragon meeting. Four dragons' heads with bristly hair behind was carved on four of dau du, expressing the rising-of four dragons out of the clouds. This makes the vi keo details (beam and pillar details). By means of that, folk artists experienced in combining the folk stories with the sculpture art, making it lively and spirited. The "Chinh Cung" part of King Le Temple comprises five compartments. The middle compartment has statue of King Le Dai Hanh sitting on his throne, wearing a Binh Thien Hat and his face is very hale and hearty. The statue is placed on a pedestal. There is also a statue of Queen Duong Van Nga in the temple. This proves that the local residents have sympathy with the woman who was the queen of these two kings. Her statue is put on the left side of King Le Statue. The statue of Queen Mother Duong Van Nga is a beautiful one with a plump and charming face, ruddy skin and many features of Vietnamese women. Her outside robe is sculpted with supple creases, be loosened to reveal the inside blouse with many noble-patterns. Her statue displays feminine virtues and youthful qualities as people wanted to build an image of a enthusiastic, talented, keen and beautiful woman. The statue of Le Long Dinh- the fifth son of Le Dai Hanh and also the fifth King of Pre-Le dynasty- was placed in the right-hand compartment of Chinh Cung. As Le Long Dinh was a King, he wore a dragon-embroidered robe but he was ineligible to wear a Binh Thien Hat. All statues in King Le Temple, including the statue of King Le Dai Hanh, are made of jackfruit tree wood and they are all red-lacquered and trimmed with gold. Visiting King Le Temple, tourists will be able to contemplate a real palace of Le Dynasty. It is a short dynasty but it was a glorious one with the merit of the first King of Le Dynasty Le Dai Hanh.

King Dinh Temple;

King Dinh Tien Hoang temple serves as an evidence of long ago days. Atmosphere in the temple is evocative of the heyday of the royal citadel with palaces; pavilions and temples which existed thousands of years ago. The Temple is located in Truong Yen Thuong village, Truong Yen Commune, Hoa Lu district. Hoa Lu people built this temple to worship King Dinh Tien Hoang. Born into a peasant family, he became the leader of a revolt against twelve feudal lords. He unified the country and founded the first centralized feudal dynasty in Vietnam. The temple is located on the ground of the former main palace of the royal citadel. It is easy to note that the location is in the Tien Thuy Hau son style incorporating feng shui (A river at the front and a mountain at the back). The temple was designed in the Noi cong ngoai quoc style (internal attack with outside support). The three main parts of the temple are Bai Duong, Thieu Huong and Chinh Cung with a floor plan reminiscent of the Chinese word "Cong" [工] (the offensive); the surrounding wall of temple has floor plan of Chinese word "Quoc"  means "the country "

The main gate (Ngo mon quan) is in the north of the temple, a little bit askew from the fa?ade. Above the gate, there is a Chinese-word- board "Bac mon toa thuoc" that means Sheltering from the northern wind. There is an inside board on the gate with Chinese-words of Tien trieu phuong cac"(or the phoenix gate of the previous dynasty). Bai Duong is a construction that has the most special architecture on the grounds. Having five compartments, Bai Duong's gate is placed at the second row of pillars making Bai Duong larger. The carving art is skilful, the wood-carving in intaglio were combined by folk artists brining a spirit and liveliness to the carved wood. Bai Duong's eave has twelve iron-wood pillars. They are stable, sizable and 0.5 meters in diameter; and they are all placed on big slender-waist stones. On entering to Bai Duong, tourists seem to be entering a world of gold mansion and they will be dazzled by big iron-wood pillars, wood-carving, red-lacquered parallel sentences and sublime offerings. On the roof of middle compartment, there is a nice pair of goose-neck beams for propping the roof.

Chinh Cung is the final construction on the temple grounds and there are also five compartments. The middle compartment is dedicated to the statue of King Dinh Tien Hoang that was made of bronze and red-lacquer trimmed with gold. The King wears a Binh Thien Hat and "Long Con" coat (a royal tunic). He sits on a throne placed on a stone royal-bed. On two edges of the seat, there are also carvings of two stone-dragons. Carved under the stomach of the left-hand dragon is the image of a carp suckled by the dragon. Carved under the stomach of the right-hand dragon is the image of an amour catching a shrimp. These two dragons have been put indoors, as a result they are less weathered and its carved details are still preserved.  The left compartment is dedicated to the statue of Dinh Lien who was the eldest son of King Dinh. The right compartment is dedicated to statues of Dinh Hang Lang (the outside) wearing a kylin-embroidered coat and Dinh Toan wearing a dragon-embroidered coat. These are two younger children of King Dinh. King Dinh Temple is an attractive cultural-historical tourist site where tourists not only can relax but also collect useful knowledge of Vietnamese history.




  • Model: sight seeing place introduction