Vietnam developing longest spiritual tourism route

11:03 | 04/03/2019 Travel

(VEN) - Located about 90km south of Hanoi, the Red River Delta province of Ninh Binh has a diverse landscape and is home to the Trang An ecotourism complex boasting mountains, caves and lakes.

vietnam developing longest spiritual tourism route

UNESCO recognition

The Trang An Landscape Complex covers 6,172ha in the districts of Hoa Lu, Gia Vien, Nho Quan, Tam Diep Town and Ninh Binh City. The complex is surrounded by a buffer zone of 6,079ha, mostly comprising paddy fields and villages. As a mixed cultural and natural property, the Trang An Landscape Complex contains three protected areas, including Hoa Lu Ancient Capital; Trang An-Tam Coc-Bich Dong Scenic Landscape; and Hoa Lu Special-Use Forest.

In 2014, the World Heritage Committee of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized the Trang An Landscape Complex as the World Cultural and Natural Heritage site based on three criteria: Culture, aestheticism, and geology-geomorphology.

Trang An is one of the few places that has not been affected by human activities. The blend of towering mountains draped in natural rain forest, with large internal basins and narrow cave passages containing quietly flowing waters, creates an extraordinarily beautiful and tranquil landscape.

Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda is located between the immense valleys of the lake and the rocky mountains carrying the huge, monumental architecture but still being imbued with the national traditional identity.

The massive newly renovated Bai Dinh Pagoda rises up majestically from the mountain side. It is comprised of the Tam The Temple, Phap Chu Temple, Quan Am Temple, bell tower, and stupa called Bao Thap. Other special features include the Ngoc Well, the nine-storey Bodhi tower, and the garden of Buddha stone statues.

The pagoda has become a popular spiritual destination, setting many records such as being the largest pagoda in Vietnam (539ha), with the longest corridor of Arhat statues (nearly three kilometers) and greatest number of Arhat statues in Vietnam (500 monolithic stone Arhat statues carved in different forms). It is also said to have the largest water well in Vietnam, largest number of Bodhi trees in Vietnam (100 trees), largest gilt bronze statue in Asia (100 tonnes), largest bronze Buddha statue in Southeast Asia (100 tonnes), and largest bell in Vietnam (36 tonnes).

An inland Ha Long Bay

In May 2018, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved the development of the Tam Chuc National Tourism Area, together with its adjacent tourism clusters. The site in the Red River Delta province of Ha Nam is surrounded by a mountain landscape with spectacular views that are sometimes called “an inland Ha Long Bay”.

The site covers an area of more than 5,000ha, including a reservoir area, a 36-hole golf course, greenery and lakeside service area, relics and natural landscapes.

The highlight of the Tam Chuc National Tourism Area is the spiritual cultural area, which is planned on an area of 147ha on the western mountain side. Once completed, the Tam Chuc Pagoda is expected to be biggest in the world.

The site has a special position as a link between the Huong Pagoda, Van Long Natural Reserve, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Trang An, and Tam Coc, forming a complex of ecotourism areas.

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and the provinces of Ha Nam and Ninh Binh have planned the development of a spiritual tourism corridor between Tam Chuc Pagoda and Bai Dinh Pagoda, making it the longest spiritual tourism route in Vietnam.

Thu Huong