Ninh Binh, where culture, history and unique nature meet

11:14 | 15/11/2018 Travel

(VEN) - Located 93km from the capital - Hanoi, the northern province of Ninh Binh is famous for a high density of natural and cultural attractions. These include the Cuc Phuong and Van Long national parks, the grotto caves and rivers of Trang An, Tam Coc-Bich Dong and Mua Caves, historic monuments in the Hoa Lu ancient capital, Vietnam’s largest Buddhist worshiping complex (Bai Dinh Temple), and the Phat Diem Cathedral with its eclectic architectural style. Being close to Hanoi, day trips from the capital are easily manageable.

ninh binh where culture history and unique nature meet
Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival

Ninh Binh City:

Ninh Binh City is the political, economic, social and cultural center of Ninh Binh Province. The city is home to many historical and cultural relic sites, as well as scenic landscapes, including the Van River, Thuy Mountain, Truong Han Sieu Temple, and Ngoc My Nhan Mountain. Most of the province’s larger hotels and entertainment centers are located in the city.

Trang An Landscape Complex:

The 12,000-hectare-plus Trang An Landscape Complex (Trang An) includes three protected areas; the Hoa Lu ancient capital, the Trang An-Tam Coc-Bich Dong grottos and caves, and the Hoa Lu special-use forest. The property covers 6,226ha within the Trang An limestone massif, and is surrounded by a buffer zone of 6,026ha, mostly rural land with rice paddy fields. There are about 14,000 residents, the majority of whom are families involved in subsistence agriculture, but much of the property is uninhabited. Trang An was recognized as a world cultural and natural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2014.

Hoa Lu ancient capital:

Hoa Lu was the capital of Dai Co Viet, as Vietnam was then known, in the 10th and 11th centuries under the Dinh and Le dynasties. During the time it served as the capital, Hoa Lu’s defenses were never actually tested by an enemy army. In 972, the king of Champa sent a fleet against Hoa Lu, but it was devastated by a storm as it tried to enter the river system from the sea and was forced to withdraw. In 981, two Chinese armies of the Song Dynasty invaded the Dai Co Viet with the aim of eventually working their way south and taking the capital, but they were stopped and defeated in the north. Spread out over 13.87 square kilometers, the ancient capital’s ruins are especially appealing to history buffs.

Trang An Eco-Tourism Complex:

Nature has endowed Ninh Binh Province with magnificent green mountains and blue water. The Trang An eco-tourism site is part of the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, dubbed an “outdoor geological museum”. Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to the site to explore its unique cave and grotto system on boats, by bicycle and on foot.

Tam Coc-Bich Dong tourist site:

The Tam Coc-Bich Dong tourist site is located 120km from Hanoi. It is part of the Hoa Lu limestone mountain range. For hundreds of years, the place has preserved the primitive beauty that has attracted countless visitors.

Bai Dinh Pagoda:

Bai Dinh Pagoda is a religious complex covering a total area of 700ha, with both ancient and newly renovated Bai Dinh Pagodas, parks, car parking and lake system. Without a doubt, Bai Dinh is masterpiece of both nature and men and it is the pride of Vietnamese people in terms of unique architecture, culture and historical value.

Van Long Nature Reserve:

Located about 82km from Hanoi, the Van Long Nature Reserve in Ninh Binh Province’s Gia Vien District offers visitors rich flora and fauna within the most bio-diversified wetland in Vietnam. The nature reserve is one of the favorite weekend holiday spots for Hanoi residents and tourists.

Cuc Phuong National Park:

The Cuc Phuong National Park is the first national park and the first nature reserve in Vietnam. Cuc Phuong boasts an engaging cultural and wildlife heritage and enchanting scenery. Magnificent limestone mountains rise up majestically from the green rice-terraces and traditional stilt houses of the Muong hill tribe. Covered in a dense forest, this landscape forms the habitat for some of Asia’s rarest animal and plant species, it draws researchers, naturalists, enthusiasts and conservationists from Vietnam and abroad.

Phat Diem Stone Cathedral:

The Phat Diem Stone Cathedral is one of the most famous and beautiful churches in Vietnam with special architecture: an elegant combination between Western church architectural style and Vietnamese religious buildings. The cathedral is a complex comprising of a lake, a cathedral, a stone church, a bell house and three artificial grottoes.

Traditional festivals:

Ninh Binh features many unique traditional festivals. Among them are the Dinh Long Pagoda Festival in Gia Vien District’s Gia Thanh Commune, Non Khe Festival in Yen Mo District’s Non Khe Village, Nguyen Cong Tru Temple Festival in Kim Son District’s Quang Thien Commune, Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival in Sinh Duoc Village of Gia Vien District’s Gia Sinh Commune, Thai Vi Temple Festival in Van Lam Village of Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district, and the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital Festival in Hoa Lu District’s Truong Yen Commune.

Famous specialties:

Fried rice, goat meat, Yen Mac fermented pork roll, Van Lam embroideries, and Kim Son sedge products, among others.

Tran Quynh