One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi has been recognized by the Asian Records Organization as one of the most uniquely designed temples in Asia. Alongside the “Literature Temple,” it is a longstanding historical and cultural monument, symbolizing the thousand-year-old capital. With its distinctive architecture and profound human, historical values, this temple is a must-visit destination for Buddhist enthusiasts when traveling to Hanoi. Here, you will not only be amazed by this impressive masterpiece but also find relaxation in the peaceful surroundings under the lush green foliage and explore many other fascinating attractions nearby.
Useful Information about One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi
Where exactly is One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi located?
One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi is known by various names such as Mat Pagoda, Dien Huu Tu Pagoda, and Lotus Blossom Temple (due to its appearance resembling a lotus flower rising from a pond). This temple was built during the reign of King Ly Thai Tong and has since become an iconic symbol whenever Hanoi is mentioned.
During the time of King Ly, the One Pillar Pagoda was situated in the Thanh Bao village of Quang Duc district, west of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel. Today, the temple is located in the park behind Ong Ich Khiem Street, right next to the Ba Dinh Square complex – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, in Ba Dinh District, Hanoi.
Significance and Legend of One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi
More than just an ordinary temple, One Pillar Pagoda holds a special significance as it represents the lotus flower that King Thai Tong dreamt of being offered by Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva. It was also the chosen place for the king to conduct religious ceremonies on full moon days and the first day of every lunar month, praying for the nation’s peace and prosperity.
Legend has it that King Ly Thai Tong was a devout Buddhist and follower of the Vajrayana sect. During his reign, Buddhism was flourishing, and he constructed 95 new temples and renovated all the Buddha statues. Particularly, during major Buddhist festivals, the king exempted taxes for the entire population.
One night in 1049, King Ly Thai Tong dreamt of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva gifting him a shining lotus flower. Upon awakening, he recounted the dream to his court officials. Subsequently, he, along with the Zen monk Thien Tue, who had guided him, decided to build a temple to honor Avalokiteshvara, which is the present-day One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi.
History of the Formation of One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi
In 1049, King Ly Thai Tong ordered the construction of One Pillar Pagoda. During the reign of King Ly Nhan Tong, it was refurbished, and the Linh Chieu Pond was added to the complex. Additionally, a gilded copper lotus was placed atop the column. Within the lotus, there is a purple-painted shrine with a sculpted divine bird on the roof, housing a gilded statue of Avalokiteshvara.
Over the centuries, the temple underwent numerous renovations and restorations during the Tran, Later Le, and Nguyen dynasties. In 1954, before the French forces withdrew from Hanoi, they planted explosives to destroy the temple. In 1955, the Ministry of Culture undertook the temple’s reconstruction based on the design by the renowned architect Nguyen Ba Lang, but on a smaller scale.
One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi stands out as unlike any other Buddhist stupa, and though not large in size, it carries a profound humanistic philosophy. Its beauty combines the aura of ancient reverence with the grace and delicacy of Buddhism. The temple, with its square shape, is entirely constructed from wood and tiled with ceramic tiles. Each side measures 3 meters, and it sits atop a stone pillar with a diameter of 1.2 meters, rising to a height of 4 meters (excluding the submerged portion under the water) – the most distinctive feature of the temple. The upper part of the pillar features eight wooden petals resembling the blooming of a lotus flower. The temple’s roof has a fiery crescent moon face with a dragon’s head embracing the moon.
The Three-Gate Entrance of One Pillar Pagoda
According to the Hanoi travel experience, when visiting One Pillar Pagoda, you must pass through the Three-Gate Entrance. In reality, this is a relatively recent expansion constructed in the past few years to accommodate the needs of visitors and worshippers during festivals and holidays. The Three-Gate Entrance consists of two levels with three pathways, with the central door being the largest and serving as the main entrance. At a glance, it resembles the architectural style of traditional Vietnamese communal houses and temples.
The Staircase Leading to the Main Shrine of One Pillar Pagoda
From the courtyard to the main Liên Hoa Đài shrine for chanting and worship, visitors must ascend 13 steps, each approximately 1.4 meters wide. These stairs date back to the time of the Ly dynasty and still retain the ancient charm of the architectural style of that era. Additionally, on both sides of the staircase, there are brick walls adorned with stone tablets that introduce the history of the temple.
The Altar of Quan The Am Bodhisattva
The altar of Quan The Am Bodhisattva is placed in the central position within the Liên Hoa Đài shrine. The seated statue is positioned at the highest point, sitting on a golden-painted wooden lotus, surrounded by flower vases, bronze vessels, and offerings.
The Bodhi Tree in One Pillar Pagoda’s Courtyard
Not only is One Pillar Pagoda one of the 25 most famous temples in Hanoi, but it also bears witness to numerous historical events and diplomatic relations between Vietnam and other countries. When visiting the temple, you will notice a tall Bodhi tree in the courtyard. This tree was a gift personally given by the President of India to President Ho Chi Minh during a visit in February 1958. The Bodhi tree is where Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment. The presence of these old, shading trees further enhances the temple’s tranquility and mystical atmosphere.
If you are looking for international Noi Bai Airport transfer services in Hanoi, book a private car service from Noi Bai Airport to the city center with DanangPrivateCar.com’s. With the private car service, a driver will greet you at the airport with a sign bearing your name and quickly take you to your hotel.
Exploring One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi: One Pillar Pagoda Travel Tips
What are the opening hours of Hanoi, and is there an entrance fee?
As One Pillar Pagoda is located within the vicinity of Ba Dinh Square and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, its opening hours depend on this area. To visit this unique temple, tourists can enter from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The duration of the visit typically ranges from 1 to 3 hours.
Regarding the entrance fee, if you are a Vietnamese citizen, admission to the temple is free. However, for foreign tourists, the fee is 25,000 VND per person.
Directions to One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi
There are several ways to reach One Pillar Pagoda; you can go by car, motorcycle, or bus. Some bus routes that can take you to the temple include bus numbers 09, 16, 22, and 34. If you’re traveling on your own, head north to the Hanoi Post Office. At this point, take the first exit at the roundabout onto Dinh Tien Hoang Street. Continue left at DC Gallery onto Hang Gai, and as you pass Hang Bong, you will come across Authentic Battrang – Ceramic shop. Then, proceed straight across Xoi Cam and turn onto Dien Bien Phu Street. The road intersects with Hung Vuong and Ong Ich Khiem, and right next to it is the destination you’re looking for.
Additionally, if you are traveling with family and friends or international guests who want to explore One Pillar Pagoda and many other attractions in Hanoi, you can choose to rent a private car with a driver in Hanoi from DanangPrivateCar.com’s. With the private car service in Hanoi, you will be picked up from your hotel, and there will be no extra waiting charges while you explore. The professional and experienced team of drivers will ensure you have a safe and comfortable journey.
What to Eat and Where to Eat When Visiting One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi?
When you come to visit One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi, you don’t need to worry about what to eat because this destination is located in the city center, just a few kilometers from the central streets. Therefore, there are plenty of dining options in the vicinity. Tourists can explore the street food at the Night Market in the Walking Street area, Japanese and Vietnamese restaurants on Cao Ba Quat Street, Le Hong Phong Street, and many more. You can enjoy a variety of delicious dishes, from savory food to ice cream, coffee, and desserts.
While there are many grand religious architectural complexes throughout the country, One Pillar Pagoda remains a familiar destination that tourists visiting Hanoi never forget to visit. For the residents of the capital city, it’s a tranquil place to escape their everyday worries.
Located in the ancient capital region, nestled in a strategic location, Trang An tourism complex is an extremely beautiful eco-tourism destination loved by many people. Below are detailed travel experiences in Trang An, Ninh Binh, that you can refer to!
Where is Trang An Tourism Complex in Ninh Binh Located?
This place boasts a system of limestone karst mountains that are 250 million years old. After hundreds of millions of years of cultural evolution and transformation, Trang An today carries a captivating beauty, very much Vietnamese, with a series of valleys, lakes, caves, flooded forests, or beautiful limestone mountain forests.
When visiting Ninh Binh, tourists can explore the entire scenic area, which includes Trang An, Tam Coc, Bich Dong, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, and the specialized forest of Hoa Lu. Among them, the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is situated in the north, Tam Coc – Bich Dong is in the south, and the Trang An ecotourism complex is located in the central area.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Trang An?
The most beautiful time to visit Trang An, Ninh Binh, is from around January to March in the lunar calendar. This is the spring season when the weather is pleasant, and it’s also when locals come here to pray for luck. It can be said that this is the most suitable time for tourists to combine sightseeing with springtime excursions.
If you want to participate in the traditional festivals of the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, such as the Co Lau Festival, you should visit during the 8th to 10th days of the third lunar month. And if you want to experience the feeling of sitting on a boat on the river to admire the beautiful ripe rice fields or the fragrant lotus ponds, you should visit Trang An from June to August.
Transportation and Directions to Trang An, Ninh Binh.
The distance from Hanoi to Trang An is not too far, only 90 kilometers. Therefore, you can travel to Trang An by public bus, train, or personal vehicles like cars or motorcycles. The travel time is approximately 2-3 hours.
Travel Experience to Trang An by Public Bus:
From My Dinh Bus Station or Giap Bat Bus Station, you can take a public bus to Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh to reach Ninh Binh City. The bus ticket prices can range from 50,000 to 80,000 VND. From Ninh Binh City, you can then hire a motorbike taxi or a taxi to get to the Trang An tourism complex.
Travel Experience to Trang An on Your Own with Personal Vehicles:
Due to the relatively short distance from Hanoi to Ninh Binh, you can use your own personal vehicles to travel to Trang An.
If using a motorcycle: From the center of Hanoi, head towards Van Dien – Thuong Tin direction, and follow National Highway 1A to reach Ninh Binh City.
If using a car: You can take the Phap Van – Cau Gie Expressway, then enter National Highway 1A and proceed to Ninh Binh City. After reaching Ninh Binh City, pay attention to the signs leading to Trang An on your right. Once you turn onto this road, continue for another 6-7 kilometers to reach Trang An.
Traveling by Private Vehicle with a Driver:
In addition to the above options, you can choose to rent a private vehicle with a driver in Hanoi through DanangPrivateCar.com’s service. With this private car service, the driver will pick you up anywhere in Hanoi and take you to Trang An quickly. After visiting Trang An, the driver can drop you off at your hotel in Ninh Binh or return you to Hanoi. With our private car service, you can also visit other attractions in addition to Trang An, such as Bai Dinh Pagoda, Hoa Lu, Tam Coc Ninh Binh,… To book a private trip from Hanoi to Ninh Binhtoday.
Which Route Is the Most Beautiful to Take in Trang An?
Trang An is primarily a landscape of rivers and waterways. Therefore, during your visit to Trang An, your primary mode of transportation will be by boat.
Which boat route should you take in Trang An? There are 3 routes for you to choose from when traveling by boat in Trang An:
Route 1: Boat Station – Trinh Temple – Dark Cave – Bright Cave – Liquor Making Cave – Tran Temple – Ba Giọt Cave – Seo Cave – Son Duong Cave – Phu Khong Cave – Bao Hieu Pagoda – Khong Cave – Tran Cave – Quy Hau Cave – return to the boat station (duration: 3.5 hours)
Route 2: Boat Station – Lâm Cave – Vang Cave – Holy Slide Cave – Suoi Tien Temple – Dai Cave – Vũ Lâm Palace – return to the boat station (duration: 2.5 hours)
Route 3: Boat Station – Trinh Temple – Cloud Cave – Suoi Tien Temple – Earth Spirit Cave – Dai Cave – Vũ Lâm Palace – return to the boat station (duration: 3 hours).
Ticket Prices for Trang An in 2023
The entrance ticket to the Trang An tourist area includes the boat ride ticket.
Children under 1 meter tall: Free of charge.
Children from 1 meter to 1.3 meters tall: 40,000 VND.
Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex can be considered a “wonder” of extraordinary beauty in Vietnam. When you visit here, you’ll have the opportunity to sit on a boat, gently gliding through the labyrinth of rivers and waterways. The boat will take you to explore all the marvelous wonders at the Trang An scenic area. What could be more magnificent than sitting on a boat and passing through 12 mystical caves while admiring the majestic landscapes of Ninh Binh’s mountains and hills, leaving you in awe?
Explore Cultural Sites
When visiting Trang An, it’s essential to visit the spiritual and cultural sites that hold significant cultural values. These include temples and shrines located within the ecotourism complex, such as Trinh Temple, Tran Temple in Ninh Binh, Tu Tru Temple, Cao Son Temple, Suoi Tien Temple, Vũ Lâm Palace, Phu Khong Temple, and more.
Trinh Temple is a place of worship for the four guardian spirits of the Đinh dynasty. These guardian spirits were entrusted with safeguarding the royal treasures and precious metals of the king’s house. Legend has it that after King Đinh Tiên Hoàng’s victory over the Băng Hà rebellion, these four guardians concealed Đinh Toàn here to evade pursuit by Lê Hoàn. It was only when King Lê Hoàn ascended to the throne that these guardians met their fate for not yielding to his rule. Trinh Temple exhibits the architectural characteristics of Vietnamese temples, and in front of the temple are two bronze sacred birds guarding over the fragrant incense.
Tran Temple in Ninh Binh
Tran Temple is dedicated to the deity Quý Minh, a guardian spirit protecting the southern gate of the Hoa Lu Quadrangle. The temple was originally founded by King Đinh Tiên Hoàng. However, during the reign of King Trần Thái Tông, he renovated the temple and renamed it Tran Temple.
Tu Tru Temple
Tu Tru Temple is dedicated to four great generals of the Đinh dynasty: Nguyễn Bắc, Lưu Cơ, Đinh Điền, and Trịnh Tú. These four generals were close and contemporary to King Đinh Tiên Hoàng and played crucial roles in helping the king defeat the 12 lords, thus establishing the Đại Cồ Việt nation.
Phu Khong Temple
Phu Khong is situated in an exceptionally favorable location, with its back against the “empty cave” and a beautiful valley with crystal-clear water and a backdrop of mountains and skies. This is where the spirits of seven high-ranking officials during the Đinh dynasty are worshipped.
Legend has it that when King Đinh vanquished the rebellion, these seven officials buried the wealth and treasures in various directions to keep the secret of the king’s real tomb hidden. Touched by the loyalty of these seven officials, a general guarding the southern gate of Hoa Lu Quadrangle built an altar with eight incense holders to honor them. Later, the people established a temple here for worship. At the temple, you can see a thousand-year-old tree with two types of fruit: one round and one oblong.
Vũ Lâm Palace
Vũ Lâm Palace is a site located deep in the heart of the Trang An scenic area. The palace’s architecture features the distinctive style of Vietnamese temples and stands majestically amidst a land of mountains and water. It can be said that this is a must-visit and picture-worthy location that tourists should not miss when visiting Trang An.
Exploring the Mysterious Caves
Earth Spirit Cave
With a length of approximately 1500 meters, Earth Spirit Cave offers visitors a glimpse into intriguing mysteries. As the boat ventures deeper into the cave, you’ll witness fascinating formations of stalactites and stalagmites, resembling a treasure trove of sparkling wonders.
Liquor Making Cave
Within this cave lies an underground river with a depth of over 10 meters. The cave also features numerous limestone formations that resemble liquor jars, created by the sedimentation of the underground river over time.
The entrance to Oracle Cave is narrow and leads to a dark and densely covered passage where sunlight cannot penetrate. Oracle Cave was discovered in 2002, and during its exploration, researchers found a wealth of animal bones, fossils, and notably, some prehistoric artifacts, including traces left by ancient people belonging to the Hoabinh culture dating back approximately ten thousand years.
Bright Cave – Dark Cave
Similar to Ha Long Bay, Trang An also boasts its own Bright Cave and Dark Cave. Bright Cave is adorned with peculiarly shining limestone formations that sparkle when illuminated by light. On the other hand, Dark Cave features a vast cavern within, which remains shrouded in darkness until the boat reaches the cave’s exit. When you emerge from the cave, the breathtaking scenery of the picturesque Trang An landscape with its waterways and mountains bathed in sunlight will leave an unforgettable impression on you.
What to Eat When Traveling to Trang An, Ninh Binh?
When it comes to local delicacies, Ninh Binh in general, and Trang An in particular, offer a wide range of delicious treats that every visitor should not miss during their trip.
Cơm Cháy Ninh Bình (Ninh Binh Crispy Rice): This is a must-try when you visit Ninh Binh. The crispy rice is served with flavorful shredded pork, creating a delightful combination. As a well-known local specialty, you can find cơm cháy available at various places in Trang An. Don’t forget to buy some to take home as a memorable souvenir from your Trang An journey!
Thịt Dê Núi (Mountain Goat Meat): Mountain goat meat is one of the specialties that you cannot miss when visiting Ninh Binh. These goats roam freely in the rocky mountains of Ninh Binh, resulting in tender and flavorful meat. Mountain goat meat can be prepared in various dishes such as nem dê (goat spring rolls), grilled goat, steamed goat, goat with sesame sauce, goat hotpot, or goat served with lime, and each dish is exceptionally delicious.
Xôi Trứng Kiến (Ant Egg Sticky Rice): Xôi trứng kiến is another must-try local delicacy in Trang An. The kiến eggs used here are brown ants’ eggs. After being cleaned, they are sautéed with dry shallots and chicken fat, then mixed into hot sticky rice. The rich, creamy taste of ant eggs combined with the fragrant, soft sticky rice creates a unique and enticing dish that you won’t forget.
Miến Lươn (Eel Vermicelli): Miến lươn is a noodle dish that’s prepared differently in Ninh Binh, with a special flavor that sets it apart. The vermicelli is served in a flavorful broth with eel, fresh herbs, and sliced banana flower. The dish is known for its eye-catching presentation, rich taste, and the fresh ingredients used.
Ốc Núi Ninh Bình (Mountain Snails): Mountain snails in Ninh Binh are unlike regular snails; they live in the mountains and feed on various wild herbs, including some medicinal plants. These snails have high nutritional value and are even used in traditional medicine for conditions like joint pain or arthritis. In addition to their medicinal use, mountain snails are also transformed into delicious dishes like boiled snails, grilled snails, stir-fried snails with tamarind sauce, or ginger-steamed snails.
These are just a few of the delectable dishes you can savor when traveling to Trang An, Ninh Binh, offering a unique taste of the region’s culinary treasures. Enjoy your culinary exploration!
Accommodation Tips When Traveling to Trang An, Ninh Binh.
When visiting Trang An, there are numerous lodging options where you can rest after your tiring exploration. Nowadays, Ninh Binh offers a wide range of accommodation choices, including homestays. Here are some beautiful and budget-friendly homestay options for your reference:
Quốc Khánh Bamboo Homestay
Address: 479B, Trường Yên, Hoa Lư, Ninh Bình.
Price Range: 750,000 VND for 2 people per night.
Phone: 098 805 1291.
Tam Coc Westlake Homestay
Address: Thôn Trường An, xã Trường Yên, Hoa Lư, Ninh Bình.
Price Range: 675,000 VND for 2 people per night.
Phone: 096 720 3962.
Trang An Farm Stay
Address: Tràng An, xã Trường Yên, Hoa Lư, Ninh Bình.
Price Range: 600,000 VND for 2 people per night.
Phone: 0123 775 8888.
Hoalu Ecolodge Homestay
Address: Tràng An, Trường Yên, Hoa Lư, Ninh Bình.
Price Range: 370,000 – 400,000 VND per room.
Phone: 091 567 4679.
Ninh Bình Panorama Homestay
Address: Ninh Xuân, Hoa Lư, Ninh Bình.
Price Range: 450,000 VND for 2 people per room per night.
Phone: 094 844 3616.
These homestays offer comfortable and affordable options for travelers to enjoy their stay in Trang An, Ninh Binh. Make sure to contact them directly for the most up-to-date pricing and availability.
Convenient transportation and its proximity to Hanoi make Trang An a worthy destination for every traveler on their journey to explore Vietnam, wouldn’t you agree? For international travelers, all you need to do is book a flight to Hanoi, then use a private car from DanangPrivateCar.com’s to travel just over 90km to reach Trang An. It’s not too difficult, so let’s hit the road!
Trang An – Bai Dinh are two frequently visited destinations together on a journey to Ninh Binh. While Trang An Ecotourism Area boasts majestic rivers, mountains, and timeless beauty that momentarily helps travelers forget their daily worries and the hustle and bustle of urban life, Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh offers a sense of peace, tranquility, and serenity, typical of Buddhist land. This article provides an overview of the attractions of Bai Dinh Pagoda and shares experiences, tips, and considerations for visiting the temple.
Introduction to Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh.
History of Bai Dinh Pagoda.
Introduction to Bai Dinh Pagoda – Over 1,000 years ago, the cultural and spiritual tourism area of Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh was a temporary residence of the Dinh Dynasty. During the Ly Dynasty, the National Teacher Nguyen Minh Khong built the temple for meditation and as a place to provide healing remedies, especially for curing diseases of King Ly Than Tong.
Since ancient times, the temple has been a center for Buddhism (worshiping Buddha), Taoism (worshiping the Cao Son deity), and the Mother Goddess belief (worshiping Mau Lieu Hanh). To this day, various temples and shrines have been restored, including 21 main items, with two temples: the ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda and the new Bai Dinh Pagoda.
Who is the abbot of Bai Dinh Pagoda?
The abbot of the temple is Venerable Thich Thanh Nhieu, the Deputy Permanent Chairman of the Council of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, and he is also the abbot of Tam Chuc Pagoda (Ha Nam).
The deputy abbot of the temple is Most Venerable Thich Minh Quang, Deputy Head of the Central Office of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha in Hanoi, and he is also the deputy abbot of Tam Chuc Pagoda (Ha Nam).
Where is Bai Dinh Pagoda located?
Address: Located in Gia Sinh commune, Gia Vien district, Ninh Binh province.
The cultural and spiritual tourism area of Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh is part of the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, located in Gia Sinh commune, Gia Vien district, Ninh Binh province, 7 km from the ancient capital of Hoa Lu and 15 km from Ninh Binh city.
Bai Dinh Mountain is the starting point of the Hoa Lu limestone karst formation in the northwest and is also the foothill of the Himalayan range, where Buddhism originated. The mountains in the karst formation have an average height ranging from 70-170 meters.
With a height of 187 meters, Bai Dinh Mountain is the tallest peak in the region and is also known as the “master mountain” or “lord mountain” of the Hoa Lu limestone karst formation. Bai Dinh Mountain, according to popular interpretation, means “mountain with a worship ceremony on the summit.”
Area of Bai Dinh Pagoda.
The spiritual tourism area of Bai Dinh Pagoda covers a total of 539 hectares (the ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda occupies 27 hectares, while the new Bai Dinh Pagoda covers 80 hectares).
What are the suitable means of transportation to reach Bai Dinh Pagoda?
Located approximately 96 kilometers south of Hanoi’s city center, you can easily travel to Bai Dinh Pagoda using various means of transportation, including buses, motorcycles, or trains.
Visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda by Car
Currently, from Giap Bat Bus Station or My Dinh Bus Station in Hanoi, you can take buses heading to Ninh Binh to reach Bai Dinh Pagoda. The ticket prices for each trip range from 70,000 VND to 80,000 VND per person. After arriving at Ninh Binh Bus Station, you can continue your journey by taxi or bus to reach Bai Dinh Pagoda.
Alternatively, if you’re traveling in a group or with family, you can book a private car with a driver in Hanoi. With DanangPrivateCar.com’s private car service, you will enjoy comfort, safety, and the basic English-speaking skills of our professional drivers. They will pick you up anywhere in Hanoi, and since it’s a private car, your itinerary can be tailored to your preferences. You can stop wherever you like along the way. Book a private car from Hanoi to Ninh Binh today to explore Bai Dinh Pagoda.
If you want to save on transportation costs and have more flexibility with your travel schedule, a motorcycle is the perfect choice for you. When traveling by motorcycle, you can take National Highway 1A to the central area of Ninh Binh City, and then follow the signs to reach the pagoda.
Trains are an excellent choice for your Ninh Binh exploration journey if you have more time to spare. You can catch a train at Hanoi Railway Station and arrive at Ninh Binh Railway Station. From there, you can take a bus or a taxi to reach Bai Dinh Pagoda. The ticket prices for a train journey vary, with seats costing around 120,000 VND depending on the seating class.
Bai Dinh Pagoda Map.
To reach and visit Bai Dinh Pagoda, you can use Google Maps to find directions. This is a very famous spiritual tourism area, so the roads are very convenient, and the information is clear. The local residents are all familiar with it, so you have multiple ways to find your way to the temple.
Map of Bai Dinh Pagoda Tour
Ticket Prices for Electric Cars and Sightseeing at Bai Dinh Pagoda.
Tickets to visit the Stupa
Tour guide ticket price
Electric Car Ticket: 60,000 VND per person.
Bao Thap Sightseeing Ticket: 50,000 VND per person.
Tour Guide Fee: 300,000 VND per tour.
Bai Dinh Festival.
Every year on the 6th day of the lunar calendar (the 6th day of Tet Nguyen Dan), Bai Dinh Pagoda holds a festival known as the Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival was not held in 2020 and 2021.
Tips for Visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda.
When is the best time to visit Bai Dinh Pagoda Trang An?
If you want to enjoy the festive atmosphere and the lively crowd of people traveling for the Lunar New Year, you can choose to visit the pagoda from January to March of the lunar calendar.
This is also a time when the spring weather is warm and pleasant, making it a beautiful time for pilgrimages and New Year’s celebrations at Bai Dinh Trang An. You can combine sightseeing, temple visits for blessings, and participation in festivals in Trang An and Bai Dinh.
If the Trang An Festival takes place from the 17th to the 21st day of the lunar calendar, the Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival is held on the first day of the Lunar New Year, the 6th day of the first lunar month.
With experience visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda, I would advise you to note that this is a peak festival tourism season, so there can be large crowds and sometimes overcrowding.
Therefore, if you want to enjoy tranquility, you can visit the pagoda and Trang An at other times of the year. Each season brings its unique beauty to Bai Dinh – Trang An, but the most charming atmosphere is often during the autumn season.
What to Prepare and Consider When Visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda?
When visiting and sightseeing at the temple, please wear modest and respectful attire. Avoid lighting too many incense sticks and dispose of trash in designated areas. During the New Year period, when pilgrims are numerous, take proactive measures to safeguard your personal belongings and avoid losing them.
Regarding clothing: The temple grounds are extensive, and visitors may need to walk and climb hills. Therefore, it’s advisable to wear comfortable sports shoes with flat rubber soles rather than high heels to protect your feet and facilitate movement.
Clothing for temple visits should be modest and respectful. If you wear outfits for taking photos or check-ins, make sure to cover up with fabric or Buddhist attire before entering the temple.
During the early spring, there may be light drizzles, so it’s a good idea to bring an umbrella. In the summer, you should have sun protection accessories like long-sleeved shirts, hats, sunglasses, and water. In the winter, dress warmly.
Remember to carry small denominations of money if you wish to make merit or donate to the temple. Avoid placing money on Buddha statues as it disrupts the temple’s aesthetic; instead, use donation boxes.
Regarding offerings: Temple rituals are about sincerity and practical kindness in daily life. Therefore, prepare temple offerings thoughtfully, neatly, without extravagance. Special attention should be paid to vegetarian offerings such as fruits, cakes, water, and incense.
Accommodation at Bai Dinh Guesthouse.
Bai Dinh Guesthouse is situated within the temple grounds and is constructed with ancient and elegant architecture, exuding a distinctive classical Eastern charm.
Nestled amidst the tranquil and majestic natural surroundings of mountains and hills, Bai Dinh Guesthouse is an ideal place for international travelers to relax, hold meetings, and visit Bai Dinh Pagoda.
Bai Dinh Guesthouse is designed with earthy-toned materials, evoking a sense of serenity, and its interior is crafted from rare and precious woods. Stepping into this place feels like entering a world of tranquility and absolute relaxation.
Staying here, you will feel the weariness and troubles of modern life dissipate in an instant, immersing yourself in the pure beauty of nature, occasionally hearing the echoing sound of temple bells.
If you prefer not to venture far from other tourist destinations in Ninh Binh province, you can consider staying in some homestays near Trang An or in the city center of Ninh Binh.
The quickest way is to book a room on Agoda, where you have numerous options to choose from, including hotels, homestays, resorts, Bai Dinh Guesthouse, and more.
Bai Dinh Ancient Pagoda.
The Jade Well.
The Jade Well covers an area of about 6,000 square meters with a diameter of 30 meters and a depth of 10 meters. The water level is around 6-7 meters, and the well is surrounded by four octagonal tiers. The water in the well has a beautiful jade-green color, and the natural spring has never run dry despite its high elevation location.
The Three-Gate Entrance of Bai Dinh Pagoda.
During your journey to Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh, you will pass through the Three-Gate Entrance, which is inscribed with four Chinese characters that read “Minh đỉnh danh lam.” According to tradition, these four characters were presented by King Le Thanh Tong (1460-1496) and are part of a four-line poem written in Chinese characters.
“Minh đỉnh danh lam” translates to “This is a very beautiful and valuable Buddhist temple, deserving to be inscribed on the peak for everyone to know.”
The cave dedicated to Lord Buddha
The cave dedicated to Lord Buddha, also known as Hang Sang, is approximately 25m long and 15m wide. This is the temple dedicated to Lord Buddha, established by Venerable Nguyen Minh Khong around the years 1096 – 1106. In front of the cave, there are two Deities: Mr. Khuyen Thien and Mr. Trung Ac. Inside the cave is the main shrine, known as the Three Treasures Hall, which worships the three Buddhas representing the past, the present, and the future. On the right-hand side, there is the Holy Virtuous Deity, and on the left-hand side, there is the Lord Deity.
Currently, all the statues worshipped here are cast from solid bronze and coated with gold. It can be said that this space is both sacred and pure, a place where Buddhists and sentient beings can most clearly feel the holiness and transcendence of the Buddhist realm.
The Shrine of Cao Son Deity.
Moving deeper into the Sang Cave, behind the Buddha altar, you will find the shrine of Cao Son Deity. According to the legend, Cao Son Deity was Lac Vuong Vu Lam, the 17th son of King Lac Long Quan. He was a deity who taught and helped the people with their livelihoods and businesses, which is why a shrine was erected in his honor.
Cao Son Deity, along with Thien Ton Deity and Quy Minh Deity, are three deities guarding the western, eastern, and southern gateways of the ancient capital Hoa Lu. The current shrine of Cao Son Deity has an architecture similar to Thanh Nguyen Shrine, with its back against the mountain and a corridor separating it from the valley in front.
The Medicinal Garden in Front of the Shrine of Cao Son Deity.
It is believed that this is the medicinal garden where the Zen Master Nguyen Minh Khong cultivated medicinal plants for the local people. It was named Sinh Duoc, meaning “the garden of life” or “natural medicinal garden,” in contrast to processed and commercialized medicines.
Later, many traditional medicine practitioners came here to find medicinal plants for treating illnesses and saving lives. The garden covers an area of about 4 hectares and contains valuable medicinal plants such as ginseng, hoai son, sam bo chinh, ngu da bi, don xuong, dang sam, and more.
The Shrine of Saint Nguyen Minh Khong.
This shrine is located in the center of the “arm’s embrace” of Bai Dinh Mountain. On one side, it worships Buddha and Cao Son Deity, while on the other side, it worships the Mother Goddess.
National Teacher Nguyen Minh Khong, also known as Nguyen Chi Thanh, was born in 1066 in Diem Duong village (now Gia Thang commune, Gia Vien district). He entered monastic life at the age of 11 and became blood brothers with Tu Dao Hanh and Nguyen Giac Hai. He is considered a divine healer who used Southern medicine to cure King Ly Thanh Tong of an “incurable” illness. He was one of the first to discover the use of Southern medicine for healing. He passed away in 1141 at the age of 76.
Nguyen Minh Khong is also known as the founder of bronze casting and is credited with creating the famous “four great sacred objects” of the Ly Dynasty: Bao Thien Tower, Quy Dien Bell, Quynh Lam Statue, and Pho Minh Vase.
Today, he is worshipped in many places across Vietnam, and his name is closely associated with the Sinh Duoc Garden in Bai Dinh Mountain. Legends and miracles related to Saint Nguyen Minh Khong are abundant in the Bai Dinh Pagoda area and its surrounding regions.
The Shrine of the Mother Goddess.
This cave is also known as the Dark Cave or the Shrine of the Mother Goddess. Inside the cave, there are seven small interconnected caves. In the middle of the cave, there is a rock formation that hangs down like a pillar, known as the “pillar supporting the heavens.” When struck, it produces enchanting sounds like a musical instrument.
The worship of the Mother Goddess in this cave follows the indigenous beliefs of the Vietnamese people. The Dark Cave is dedicated to the Holy Mother Lieu Hanh, a deity who is both a saint and a human. She is the Mother of the universe, known for her “three births and three transformations.”
Inside the Dark Cave, there is also a “path to heaven” and a “path to the underworld.”
The Fairy Pond.
Inside the cave dedicated to the Mother Goddess, there is a small pond known as the Fairy Pond. This pond is considered a place of gathering blessings because it forms naturally, with water flowing from small rocks year-round, so the Fairy Pond never runs dry.
Bai Dinh New Pagoda.
In 2003, based on the foundation of the old temple, the Xuân Trường Construction Company undertook the restoration and construction of the new Bai Dinh Pagoda. Currently, the pagoda comprises 8 main construction items: the Three-Gate Entrance, the Arhat Corridor, the Bell Tower, the Quan The Am Bodhisattva Temple, the Phap Chu Temple, the Tam The Temple, the Phat Di Lac Statue, and the Bao Thap Pagoda. It holds several records confirmed by the Vietnam Record Center, including:
The largest bronze bell in Vietnam (weighing 36 tons, 18.25 meters tall).
The tallest and heaviest bronze statue of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni in Vietnam (weighing 100 tons, 10 meters tall).
The largest bronze statues of the Three Buddhas in Vietnam (each weighing 50 tons, 7.2 meters tall).
The largest Water Well in Vietnam (with a diameter of 30 meters).
The largest bronze statue of Goddess Quan The Am in Vietnam (weighing 80 tons, 5.4 meters tall).
The largest collection of 500 Arhat statues in Vietnam.
The most Bodhi trees in Vietnam.
The heaviest bronze Eight Precious Statues in Vietnam (each weighing 4 tons, 3.95 meters tall).
The tallest and heaviest bronze statues of Lord Khuyen Thien and Lord Tru Ac in Vietnam (each weighing 20 tons, 5.2 meters tall).
The largest wooden altars in Vietnam.
The largest bronze crane pair in Vietnam.
The largest bronze statue of Phat Di Lac in Southeast Asia (weighing 80 tons, 10 meters tall).
The tallest tower in Asia (the highest Buddhist tower in Asia), standing at 99 meters tall with 13 floors.
In addition, the pagoda continues to build other facilities such as the Cultural Park and the Buddhist Academy, the Dam Thi Lake area, and more.
Bai Dinh Temple Three-Gate Entrance.
The Three-Gate Entrance consists of three doors, following Buddhist teachings: Khong quan, Trung quan, and Gia quan, which also mean emptiness, impermanence, and no-self. The Three-Gate Entrance is entirely constructed from wood, using approximately 550 tons of round timber. It features stacked architecture, standing 16.5 meters tall, 13 meters wide, and 32 meters long.
In front of the Three-Gate Entrance, on both sides, there are two stone lions, symbolizing the strength of wisdom. Placing them in front of the entrance signifies controlling the pilgrims’ minds.
Upon entering the Three-Gate Entrance, you will find the Khuyen Thien deity on the right and the Trung Ac deity on the left.
Above the entrance, there’s a symbol of the wheel of reincarnation, carved in relief, representing the continuous cycle of Buddhist teachings, of heaven and earth.
In the center, there’s the word “Van,” symbolizing the eternal fire of wisdom. “Van” also represents the wisdom and great compassion of the Buddha. The “Van” symbol extends to both sides, signifying the infinite reach of the Buddha’s power, extending in all directions infinitely.
Arhat Corridor (Arhat Avenue).
Along both sides of the Arhat Corridor, there are 500 Arhat statues, crafted from stone by artisans from the Ninh Van stone village (Hoa Lu). That’s why it’s also known as Arhat Avenue.
Arhat Avenue consists of two rows, each with 117 chambers, totaling 526 meters in length.
Arhats are disciples of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni who have not yet attained Buddhahood, hence the term “Arhat.”
On both sides of this path, many jackfruit trees are planted. In Buddhist tradition, jackfruit represents Paramita, which means reaching the shore of enlightenment. The significance of the jackfruit tree is great enlightenment, the highest level of liberation. Therefore, jackfruit is considered sacred and is associated with Buddhism (jackfruit wood is used for temple doors and Buddha statues, while jackfruit leaves are used in Buddhist rituals).
Bell Tower of Bai Dinh Temple.
The bell tower has an octagonal architecture with three curved roofs, standing 18.25 meters tall with a diameter of 17 meters, resembling a lotus flower. The bell inside the bell tower weighs 36 tons and was cast by artisans from Hue. This bell has been confirmed by the Vietnam Record Center as the largest bronze bell in Vietnam.
Quan The Am Bodhisattva Temple.
This structure is entirely made of wood, using approximately 900 cubic meters of round timber. The temple consists of 7 chambers, measuring 14.8 meters in height, 16.8 meters in width, and 40.4 meters in length.
The Quan The Am Bodhisattva statue is 5.4 meters tall, or 9.57 meters including the pedestal, and weighs 80 tons, or around 100 tons including the pedestal.
As we know, Quan The Am represents the Four Immeasurable Minds: loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. Therefore, anywhere Quan The Am is found, it symbolizes compassion and the salvation of all beings.
On both sides of the Quan The Am statue with a thousand eyes and a thousand hands, there are statues representing compassion and wisdom. Both statues are made of wood, each 10 meters tall and weighing 4 tons.
Phap Chu Temple of Bai Dinh Temple.
In front of the Phap Chu Temple, there is a holy pond covering an area of about 5000 square meters, surrounded by numerous Bodhi trees. These trees were planted by various leaders and former heads of state during their visits to the temple.
Additionally, you can learn more about the Bodhi tree (Am Han Viet: Ba-la-mat-da), which signifies enlightenment. The Bodhi tree is a sacred tree associated with Buddhism, carrying elements of enlightenment. Therefore, it is placed outside the temple.
The Phap Chu Temple is constructed with 2 floors and 8 curved roofs, comprising 5 chambers. It is 30 meters in height, 44.7 meters in length, 43.3 meters in width, with a total area of 1945 square meters.
The Phap Chu statue is 10 meters tall, weighs 100 tons, and was cast by artisans from Y Yen, Nam Dinh.
To the right of the temple is the statue of Ananda, measuring 7.2 meters tall and weighing 30 tons of bronze. Ananda was known for his intelligence and wisdom, being one of Buddha’s direct disciples who heard many teachings from him. On the left is the statue of Mahakasyapa, also measuring 7.2 meters tall and weighing 30 tons of bronze. He was the first patriarch of Buddhist monastic discipline.
On both sides of the temple are the Eight Precious Statues, responsible for protecting the Buddhist teachings externally.
Tam The Temple of Bai Dinh Temple.
The Tam The Temple has a three-story curved roof architecture, comprising 7 chambers and 2 wings. It has a total of 66 concrete columns with wooden cladding. The temple stands at 34 meters in height, 59.10 meters in length, 40.50 meters in width, and the inner area covers 2364 square meters.
The stone relief in front of the Tam The Temple measures 10 meters by 10 meters and depicts the Four Dignities: dragon, lion, elephant, and peacock.
Inside the Tam The Temple, there are three bronze statues created by artisans from Y Yen (Nam Dinh). Each statue is 7.20 meters tall, weighs 50 tons, and is placed on a 1.5-meter-high stone pedestal.
Tam The represents the three times: past, present, and future. The significance of these statues is that the Buddhas of the three times continuously succeed each other to enlighten sentient beings.
The central Buddha statue represents the present, also known as the Virtuous Eon. The Buddha statue on the left represents the past, known as the Tranquil Eon. The Buddha statue on the right represents the future, known as the Wondrous Eon.
Phat Di Lac of Bai Dinh Pagoda.
The Phat Di Lac statue, standing 10 meters tall and weighing 80 tons, is located on a hill. Phat Di Lac is an absolute symbol of happiness in feng shui. It is believed that the smile of Phat Di Lac dispels sorrow and anger, bringing happiness to people. Phat Di Lac sometimes carries a lotus symbolizing health and longevity and a staff symbolizing authority.
Bai Dinh Pagoda is one of the spiritual landmarks cherished by many in the land of Ninh Binh. It is not only a place steeped in ancient stories from the early days of Buddhism’s arrival in our country but also home to countless significant structures and magnificent, picturesque scenery. If you have the opportunity to visit Ninh Binh in the early days of the new year, don’t miss the chance to explore Bai Dinh Pagoda.
If you’re planning to explore the northern region of Vietnam and visit the ancient capital of Hoa Lu in Ninh Binh but are unsure about the best season and time to go, this article will provide insights into the ideal times to travel to Ninh Binh, along with recent popular destinations.
With the travel experiences in Ninh Binh independently explored by DanangPrivateCar.com’s, this article will suggest the most ideal times to visit Ninh Binh, along with the latest popular destinations.
When to travel to Ninh Binh, which month? What’s the weather like?
As a province located in the Red River Delta region of Vietnam, Ninh Binh experiences a climate influenced by monsoons, with a subtropical humid climate. It has four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Summers are hot and humid, while winters are dry and cold. However, compared to summer and winter, spring and autumn are less distinct.
The average temperature in Ninh Binh is around 23.5 degrees Celsius, which is ideal, neither too hot nor too cold. The lowest temperature in the year ranges from 5 to 7 degrees Celsius, while the highest temperature can reach 36-39 degrees Celsius, occasionally even 40 degrees Celsius.
Spring in Ninh Binh falls from January to the third lunar month, and the weather is pleasant during this time with cool breezes, making it suitable for sightseeing. Additionally, Ninh Binh hosts numerous festivals during spring, such as the Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival, Tha Vi Temple Festival, and traditional festivals in the ancient capital of Hoa Lu.
Most tourists choose to visit Ninh Binh during the spring, especially during the Lunar New Year, to enjoy both the scenic beauty of temples and landscapes and to seek good luck and peace for their families. Bai Dinh Pagoda, the largest pagoda in Vietnam, is particularly crowded during this time. If you prefer a quieter experience, you can visit at other times of the year.
Traveling to Ninh Binh in the summer – the season of ripe rice:
This can be considered an ideal time as Ninh Binh transitions from spring to summer. The weather in April and May is not too hot, offering comfortable mornings and evenings. Moreover, at the end of May and the beginning of June, you can witness the blooming lotus flowers and ripe rice fields in Tam Coc. During this time, Ninh Binh is covered in the golden glow of ripened rice fields, and you can enjoy panoramic views of Tam Coc from Hang Mua.
Traveling to Ninh Binh in the autumn:
Choosing to travel to Ninh Binh during the autumn months is also an ideal option. Autumn is a time when everything is gentle, and the weather is pleasantly mild. Autumn in Ninh Binh lasts from July to October. The intense heat of summer has passed, replaced by clear skies and gentle early autumn breezes, along with sweet morning sunlight.
Traveling to Ninh Binh in July also provides the opportunity to admire fields of blooming water lilies. Taking a boat ride on the Sao Khe River during this time allows you to explore mysterious cave complexes amidst the beautiful natural scenery, with pure white water lilies adding to the charm of the picturesque landscape.
Traveling to Ninh Binh in winter:
If you choose to visit Ninh Binh in the late months of the year, be prepared for cooler temperatures as it transitions into winter. Experiencing the refreshing cold of northern Vietnam’s winter can be an interesting adventure in itself.
The advantage of Ninh Binh’s winter is that it’s relatively dry compared to the wetter conditions in central Vietnam. During this time, Ninh Binh stands out with its lush green fields, covering the Trang An region, the Hoa Lu ancient capital, and the Bai Dinh Pagoda area.
So, when is the best time to travel to Ninh Binh?
Because Ninh Binh doesn’t experience extreme weather conditions like heavy rain or storms, you can visit at any time of the year, each season offering its unique charm. However, many people prefer to visit in February when the largest festivals of the year take place. If you’re interested in learning about local festivals, culture, and enjoying a festive atmosphere, the beginning of the year is an excellent time to visit.
Additionally, you should consider visiting Ninh Binh at the end of May and the beginning of June to witness the golden rice fields in Tam Coc. During July, you can also enjoy the sight of blooming water lilies. This overview provides insight into each season, but for a more detailed analysis of the best time to visit Ninh Binh, continue reading below.
What is the best time to travel to Ninh Binh?
Traveling to Ninh Binh in January and February can be quite chilly.
If January still retains a bit of the winter cold, February is when the Tet atmosphere, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, fills the streets and alleys of Ninh Binh’s countryside. In Ninh Binh, there’s also Bai Dinh Pagoda, not only the largest pagoda in Vietnam but also the most beautiful and magnificent one. It’s a good idea to visit Ninh Binh in February to experience the New Year blessings.
Traveling to Ninh Binh in April means experiencing festivals.
At the end of March and the beginning of April, Ninh Binh hosts various vibrant festivals such as the Hoa Lu Festival (from the 8th to the 10th day of the third lunar month) and the traditional Trang An Festival on the 18th day of the third lunar month. These festivals are highly cherished by the locals, so they are celebrated on a grand scale, offering both a glimpse into traditional culture and an attraction for tourists.
Traveling to Ninh Binh in June means witnessing the ripening rice fields in Tam Coc.
For young travelers interested in Instagram-worthy moments, June is the ideal time to visit. Ninh Binh is in the midst of summer during this period. It’s not just the golden rice fields in Tam Coc that captivate but also the stunning landscapes of Bich Dong and Trang An. During the summer, the Ngoc Dong River’s water is clear and calm, making it perfect for boat trips to explore the cool limestone caves. On both sides, the rice fields have turned a brilliant golden color.
Traveling to Ninh Binh from July to September means the season of purple gunflowers and lotus flowers.
This is the rainy season in Ninh Binh, which makes some people uncertain about visiting during this time. However, after the rice harvesting season, there’s still the season of purple gunflowers and lotus flowers. If you admire the dreamy purple of gunflowers or the iconic lotus flowers, which symbolize Vietnam, it’s a good idea to plan your trip in July.
Moreover, July and August are also the seasons for snails, particularly edible snails, which appear only during the rainy season on the limestone cliffs. These snails are among the excellent specialties of Ninh Binh. You might also want to try the famous fried perch dish here.
Ninh Binh in October boasts perfect weather for traveling.
With no scorching summer heat or bone-chilling winter cold, October in Ninh Binh is filled with gentle early-season breezes and warm sunlight filtering through the caves, creating an irresistibly charming scenery.
Traveling to Ninh Binh in December offers rare and interesting experiences.
The cold winter is a unique feature of the Northern region, bringing you novel experiences. Visiting Ninh Binh in winter provides a chance to feel the tranquil ancient capital. Moreover, sitting in the chilly weather of winter and enjoying a steaming bowl of goat hotpot or deliciously crispy rice cakes is a special treat.
How many days are suitable for traveling to Ninh Binh?
Partly because Ninh Binh doesn’t have an abundance of entertainment options; it mainly offers scenic destinations. Partly because not everyone has a lot of time to spend in Ninh Binh. Therefore, a 2-day 1-night or a 3-day 2-night trip to Ninh Binh is most suitable. Most famous tourist spots like Trang An, Tam Coc – Bich Dong, Thung Nang, and Bai Dinh Pagoda are scattered around, so you can plan your itinerary accordingly.
With 2-3 days, you can schedule visits to the hottest attractions here. If you have more time, you can explore more distant places. Trang An, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Thien Ha Cave, Tam Coc Bich Dong, Mua Cave, the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, Tuyet Tinh Coc (also known as Am Tien Cave), are places you should prioritize.
Additionally, if you have time, you can visit Thung Nham Bird Garden, Thung Nang, Van Long Lagoon, Cuc Phuong National Park. These places are a bit further from the city center, so make sure to plan accordingly.
The best time to travel to Ninh Binh, which month, and how many days to stay still depend on individual preferences, work schedules, and the specific time of year. However, you should consider visiting during the rice harvest season, the blooming lotus season, or the autumn season to facilitate boat rides and exploration of the mysterious caves in Trang An and Tam Coc. If you want to participate in unique local festivals, consider visiting in the early months of the year, like January or February.
With a system of crystalline stalactites formed by geological processes, both dry and wet caves create a sparkling and enchanting beauty inside Thien Ha Cave in Ninh Binh. This place is often likened to a ‘galaxy within the mountain,’ captivating visitors from their very first encounter. Therefore, it would be a missed opportunity if, in your journey to explore the ancient capital land, you overlook this fascinating destination.
When traveling to Ninh Binh, don’t just think of familiar names like Trang An, Bai Dinh Pagoda, or Bich Dong Cave,… If you are an explorer at heart, try visiting Thien Ha Cave once to admire the masterpiece of nature in one of the most beautiful caves in Ninh Binh.
Thien Ha Cave in Ninh Binh – the beauty of the ‘galaxy within the mountain
Thien Ha Cave in Ninh Binh is a small cave located in Son Ha Commune, Nho Quan District, Ninh Binh Province, approximately 24 kilometers northwest of the city center. Along with Thien Thanh Cave, it becomes two extremely valuable natural heritage sites in the province.
Part of the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, Thien Ha Cave is hidden within the Tuong Mountain range, with an elevation of nearly 200 meters. This mountain is like a natural fortress protecting the ancient capital of Hoa Lu in the 10th century (the time of King Dinh Tien Hoang and King Le Dai Hanh). It is also closely associated with historical and cultural landmarks such as Phat Dau Son Mountain, Nha Le Boat Wharf, and Dau Linh Rice Field.
How to visit Thien Ha Cave in Ninh Binh?
Getting to Thien Ha Cave in Ninh Binh
To reach Thien Ha Cave, you first need to travel to Ninh Binh. There are various transportation options available from Hanoi, such as buses, private cars, trains, or even riding a motorcycle. However, in the experience of traveling to Ninh Binh, the distance is not far, approximately 100 km. With this distance, you can easily opt for a motorcycle ride.
For international tourist groups, families, friends, seniors, or young children, it’s essential to choose a safe and comfortable mode of transportation to Thien Ha Cave. DanangPrivateCar.com’s offers private travel services with professional drivers in Hanoi, serving international tourists for many years. They can provide you with the safest and most cost-effective journey. Book your trip from Hanoi to Ninh Binh by private Car today to explore Thien Ha Cave to the fullest.
After arriving in Ninh Binh, you can use Google Maps to find your way to Muong Tho Ha village in Son Ha Commune. From there, you need to take a boat to Ben Dang River Wharf and then turn into a small canal that is approximately 1 km long. After that, continue walking on a 500-meter stone path along the foot of Tuong Mountain to reach the cave entrance. This shaded path on both sides will make you feel like you’re wandering in a pristine forest.
Does Thien Ha Cave in Ninh Binh sell tickets for admission?
Currently, the ticket prices for visiting Thien Ha Cave in Ninh Binh are 120,000 VND per adult and 40,000 VND per child. The ticket prices are not too high, allowing you to admire the galaxy of sparkling stalactites in various colors and explore the mysteries inside the cave.
Exploring Thien Ha Cave in Ninh Binh – a masterpiece of nature.
As soon as you step into the cave, you will immediately sense the meticulous and intricate craftsmanship of nature. What unfolds before your eyes is an extraordinarily tranquil space. Nature has divided Thien Ha Cave into two distinct areas: a dry cave, 200 meters in length, and a wet cave, 500 meters long, featuring various stunning and unique formations.
The Dry Cave – the golden palace in Thien Ha Cave, Ninh Binh.
As you venture deeper into the dry cave, you will feel like you’ve entered a palace made of crystal and gold, with multicolored stalactites shimmering under the sunlight. These formations take on various captivating shapes, sparking the imagination of visitors. Additionally, this area houses a “stone fortress” associated with folklore tales such as the monkey, the elephant and the tiger, and bears traces of ancient Vietnamese inhabitants (e.g., fishing tools and pottery).
What’s particularly striking is that, almost throughout the cave’s depth, you will encounter radiant clusters of light, known as the “Sky Wells.” These sky wells are spacious and almost 3 meters high. On sunny days, sunlight reflects off the rock formations, creating shimmering rays that bring the cave to life, sometimes appearing golden and other times ethereal.
The Wet Cave – the ‘galaxy within the mountain’ in Thien Ha Cave.
After enjoying the rich scenery in the dry cave, visitors continue their journey by boat along the watercourse to reach the wet cave. This is the focal point, often likened to a ‘galaxy within the mountain.’ The winding river, surrounded by multicolored rock formations with names like Fairy Island, Mother’s Breast, and Dragon Transformation Island, creates the sensation of being in a mythical fairyland.
Drifting along the river and immersing yourself in this space, you may occasionally hear the rustling of the wind entering the cave, the sound of paddles, and the gentle ripple of water, providing an incredibly serene and relaxing experience.
The Thien Ha Cave Ecotourism Area in Ninh Binh consists of two main caves: Thien Thanh Cave and Thien Ha Cave. Therefore, after leaving Thien Ha Cave, visitors can continue their exploration by visiting Thien Thanh Cave. This dry cave is situated on the backside of Tuong Mountain, with a length of just over 50 meters and a cave entrance height of about 3-4 meters. While not very large, it boasts breathtaking landscapes that will leave you captivated and delighted.
Tips for Exploring Thien Ha Cave in Ninh Binh.
The best time to explore the ‘galaxy within the mountain’ at Thien Ha Cave.
Caves are typically located deep within the earth, so the temperature inside can be lower than the actual outside temperature, especially during the winter and rainy seasons. Therefore, for a self-guided Ninh Binh travel experience, it’s advisable to explore Thien Ha Cave during the summer.
During this season, the temperatures are higher, and the climate is pleasant and comfortable. When you venture deep into the cave, you won’t feel cold. Additionally, with the sun’s rays shining, you’ll be able to fully appreciate its dazzling and enchanting beauty.
What to prepare for exploring Thien Ha Cave in Ninh Binh?
Ensure your phone and camera have fully charged batteries to capture the beautiful angles and moments inside the cave; you’ll have many opportunities for stunning photos.
Pack an extra jacket to stay warm if you feel chilly.
You can bring some food and drinks if you plan to explore Thien Ha Cave for an extended period.
Prioritize wearing sports shoes or shoes with good traction for ease of movement and to avoid slipping while exploring.
Tourist Spots to Combine with Exploring Thien Ha Cave in Ninh Binh.
As mentioned, Thien Ha Cave is located within the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex in Ninh Binh, so you can combine your visit with exploring other nearby attractions:
Bai Dinh Pagoda: This is the largest pagoda in Vietnam, nestled at the foot of Dinh Mountain. It features a grand and intricate architectural design, adorned with finely crafted statues and impressive landscapes. The serene atmosphere here provides a sense of tranquility during your visit.
Tam Coc – Bich Dong: Don’t miss the chance to explore the Tam Coc – Bich Dong Scenic Area in Ninh Binh. Here, you can admire the picturesque scenery of mountains, rivers, ripe rice fields, and take a boat ride to explore the caves while gazing at the dazzling limestone formations, creating a surreal experience.
Hoa Lu Ancient Capital: Hoa Lu, located in Ninh Binh, was the first capital of the Dai Co Viet (Great Viet) Dynasty. It boasts numerous historical and architectural landmarks, significant cultural festivals, and is worth exploring for its historical significance.
With its enchanting and resplendent beauty, resembling a palace adorned with gold and silver, Thien Ha Cave in Ninh Binh is truly an unmissable destination. This summer, take some time to visit and appreciate the masterpiece it holds.
In order to conveniently prepare for your visit to Trang An in Ninh Binh, apart from referring to tours related to Trang An, places to eat and stay, and attractions in Ninh Binh… ticket prices are also a matter of concern for travelers. At various attractions, ticket prices for the upcoming year may change compared to the previous year. Therefore, accurately updating the current ticket prices at Trang An is essential information before each journey.
Trang An Opening Hours 2023.
Summer: 6:00 AM – 4:45 PM (subject to weather conditions, seasonal variations in timing).
Winter: 7:00 AM – 4:30 PM (subject to weather conditions, seasonal variations in timing).
Holidays, Tet (Vietnamese New Year): 6:00 AM – 4:45 PM (subject to weather conditions, seasonal variations in timing).
Note: In the event of natural disasters or impacts caused by them, ticket sales may be temporarily suspended at any time.
Trang An Ticket Prices 2023.
Adults above 1.3m: 250,000 VND per person.
Children from 1m – 1.3m: 120,000 VND per child.
Children under 1m: free of charge.
Private boat ticket (for surveys, music videos, filming…): 1,250,000 VND per boat (Boat travels to requested destinations, not following the usual route).
A boat accommodates a maximum of 4-5 people depending on weight (visitors must adhere to the instructions of the boat arrangement staff to ensure traffic safety on the river).
(Ticket prices include both ferry and heritage fees).
People over 1.3m . tall
Children from 1m – 1.3m
Children under 1m tall
Free of charge
1,250,000 VND/ 1 boat
300,000 VND/ 1 route
Furthermore, starting from August 2020, Trang An Eco-Tourism Site offers the additional service of “Exploring the Heart of Heritage” with Kayak boats. This is a sporty and exploratory sightseeing activity that young people find extremely exciting due to its dynamic nature. It allows for discovering the beauty of Trang An according to personal preferences. Below are the ticket prices for Trang An Kayak.
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Trang An Kayak Ticket Prices 2023.
Single Kayak boat ticket for 2 hours: 250,000 VND per boat.
Single Kayak boat ticket for 3 hours: 300,000 VND per boat.
Double Kayak boat ticket for 2 hours: 350,000 VND per boat (2 people/1 boat).
Double Kayak boat ticket for 3 hours: 400,000 VND per boat (2 people/1 boat).
Single 2-hour Kayak ticket
3-hour single kayak ticket
2 hour double kayak ticket
3-hour double kayak ticket
Ticket prices for visiting the ancient capital relic of Hoa Lu.
Adults: 20,000 VND/person Children from 6 to 15 years old: 10,000 VND/person
Elderly individuals (60 years old and above), disabled individuals: 10,000 VND/person
Ticket prices for visiting Vân Long Ecotourism Area (Vân Long lagoon)
Address: Gia Vân commune, Gia Viễn district, Ninh Bình province
Tickets for visiting scenic landscapes.
Adults: 20,000 VND/person
Children under 1 meter tall: 10,000 VND/person
Elderly individuals (60 years old and above): 10,000 VND/person
Adults: 50,000 VND/ride
Children under 1 meter tall: 25,000 VND/ride
Elderly individuals (60 years old and above): 25,000 VND/ride
Ticket prices for Mua Cave Tourist Area.
Address: Ninh Xuan commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province
Adults: 100,000 VND/person/turn.
Children under 10 years old: Free of charge.
Ticket prices for Tam Coc – Bich Dong Tourist Area.
Address: Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province.
Tam Coc Route.
Tickets for visiting scenic landscapes.
Adults: 120,000 VND/person/turn.
Children (height under 1.4m): 60,000 VND/person/turn.
Bich Dong Pagoda in Ninh Binh is a destination not unfamiliar to young travel enthusiasts, and it is also an unmissable stop for any traveler when visiting Ninh Binh. People often mention this location along with the term “Tam Coc – Bich Dong.” Many people mistakenly think of it as a single tourist destination. However, in reality, these two places are completely separate. Bich Dong Pagoda still retains its ancient and pristine charm. The entrance is about 2.5km apart from the journey to Tam Coc. Tourists can rent a bicycle to leisurely explore the area of ripe rice fields of Tam Coc and the majestic limestone mountains. When visiting Ninh Binh, do not miss this attractive destination. Let’s explore this location together with DanangPrivateCar.com’s!
Information about Bich Dong Pagoda.
Bich Dong Pagoda is one of the famous natural landscapes in Ninh Binh and the entire country. It is known as the “Second Most Beautiful Cave Under the Southern Sky,” meaning the second most beautiful cave in the southern region after Huong Tich Cave in Hanoi.
Bich Dong Pagoda is a historical and cultural relic that has been designated as a special national heritage site. It is part of the Trang An scenic complex, which is recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural and natural heritage.
Many tourists wonder why the pagoda is named Bich Dong. The word “Dong” means cave, and “Bich” here means green. But what is green? Is the entire cave green? Bich Dong Pagoda in Ninh Binh is a cluster of pagodas built on the mountainside facing the river. Another part is situated deep inside a cave. The green color here could refer to the vast greenery of the mountains and forests. It is also the green color of the surrounding green stone. Right on the stairs leading to Trung Son Pagoda, you will encounter a massive green stone slab. Inside the cave, there are stalactites that are hundreds of millions of years old. Some areas still have flowing water, and the stalactites continue to develop over time.
People are often curious about the beauty of the pagoda perched on the limestone mountain, partly due to curiosity about the pagoda’s charm atop the rocky terrain and partly driven by the enchanting photos taken by international tourists.
Despite being located in a remote area surrounded by mountains and valleys, Bich Dong Pagoda in Ninh Binh remains a frequent destination for visitors from both near and far. It offers a sense of tranquility, peace, and a touch of serenity amidst the backdrop of the natural landscape, which further enhances its appeal for travelers venturing to the land of Ninh Binh.
Where is Bich Dong Pagoda?
Address: Dam Khe Hamlet, Ninh Hai Commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province
Bich Dong Pagoda is an ancient temple built on the mountainside. Initially, the temple was named Bach Ngoc Thach Son Dong, meaning a beautiful and white temple like a pearl within the mountains and valleys. In 1774, during a visit by Lord Trinh Sam, the temple was renamed Bich Dong Pagoda. This is one of the famous scenic spots of the former imperial city, Cố Đô.
Having existed for nearly 600 years, this place holds many cultural and historical values. It is one of the most sacred temples in Ninh Binh where pilgrims visit every year to pray for luck for their families and loved ones.
History of Bich Dong Pagoda.
In the year 1705, during the reign of King Le Du Tong, there were two monks named Tri Kien and Tri The. One was from Vong Doanh, and the other from Dong Xuyen, Nghia Hung District, Nam Dinh Province. They met and became sworn brothers. Both monks were devoted to Buddhism and together they traveled to spread the teachings of Buddha and built temples.
Upon arriving at Bich Dong Mountain, they found the location to be beautiful and suitable for building temples. The two monks decided to stay, contribute their efforts, and build three new temples: Lower Pagoda, Middle Pagoda, and Upper Pagoda.
In the year 1707 (Dinh Hoi), the two monks, Tri Kien and Tri The, cast a large bell, which is still hanging at the Dark Cave. Two years later, in August, they inscribed a stone stele in Bich Dong Pagoda using Han characters. In the year 1774 (Giap Ngo), Lord Trinh Sam visited this place. Perhaps impressed by the panoramic view of the lush mountains, caves, rivers, fields, and the vibrant greenery of the temple, Lord Trinh Sam named it Bich Dong Pagoda.
How to get to Bich Dong Pagoda?
Located within the Tam Coc – Bich Dong tourist complex, you can combine a visit to both places. First, you’ll go to Tam Coc by boat along the Ngoc Dong River and then continue downstream to Bich Dong. Here are the means of transportation you can use to visit Bich Dong Pagoda in Ninh Binh.
Taxi: Suitable for young travelers in a group. The advantage of taking a taxi is the comfortable space to rest. Plus, the driver will take you directly to your destination, so you won’t need to worry about getting lost.
Bicycle: You can rent a bicycle to travel from Tam Coc to Bich Dong Pagoda. Immerse yourself in the beautiful natural scenery along the way. It’s an enjoyable experience using a bicycle for transportation.
Motorbike: You’ll enjoy the cool breeze and admire the majestic mountains on both sides of the road. You can rent a motorbike at your accommodation or from rental businesses in Ninh Binh.
Walking: While it might take more time, walking is a choice favored by many tourists. With walking, you can get up close to the natural scenery. Stopping for photos and rest is easy along the way.
If you are in the capital city of Hanoi and wish to visit Bich Dong Pagoda in Ninh Binh, you can promptly book a private car journey from Hanoi to Ninh Binh with DanangPrivateCar.com’s. Our door-to-door service and our basic English-speaking drivers will ensure you the safest and most comfortable trip.
Exciting Experience at Bich Dong Pagoda.
Bich Dong Pagoda carries the distinctive architectural style of ancient Vietnamese temples. It consists of three pagodas within three caves, including two dry caves and one water cave. The dry caves are Bich Dong Cave and Dark Cave, while the water cave is Xuyen Thuy Cave located underground.
The Entrance Path to the Pagoda.
The most unique feature of the temple is the “Three-Character” architectural structure in Chinese characters. Unlike temples with a Cong-style structure, where the main hall connects three buildings, here the three pagodas are entirely separate. They are Lower Pagoda, Middle Pagoda, and Upper Pagoda, aligned vertically on the mountainside from the highest level to the lowest.
Upon visiting the pagoda, you’ll cross a stone bridge leading to the Tam Quan Gate. This area exhibits a strong ancient architectural influence, with a three-tiered gate and intricately curved tiled roofs. The Tam Quan Gate is also a favorite spot for tourists to take photos. The scenery here portrays a serene countryside with lotus ponds, rocky mountains, and a sense of tranquility.
Passing through the Tam Quan Gate, you’ll come across a path at the foot of the mountain that stretches about 55 meters. Following this path will lead you to the area of the Lower Pagoda within the Bich Dong Pagoda complex in Ninh Binh. The Lower Pagoda is oriented to the northwest and lies at the base of Bich Dong Mountain.
Similar to other temples, the architectural style of the Lower Pagoda follows a “Dinh” shape. It consists of a horizontal structure as the front hall with five bays and a vertical structure as the upper hall with two bays. There are tall and sturdy wooden columns as well as large stone columns. The roof of the pagoda is curved, consisting of two layers with eight sections. Due to the higher elevation of the temple floor compared to the courtyard, the temple has three stone steps leading up, creating an additional, lower roof that appears as if the pagoda has three tiers.
Upon passing through the temple’s entrance hall, you’ll step into the main courtyard. Above the central bay of the main courtyard hangs a stone stele inscribed with the Han characters “Mao Co Than Thanh,” meaning the appearance of the ancient temple is truly sacred. Inside the worship hall, there are various Buddhist statues and altar items, including incense burners and lanterns.
To reach the Middle Pagoda, you need to turn towards the Lower Pagoda and ascend 90 stone steps on the mountainside, forming a graceful S-shape. The initial impression tourists have of this rocky wall is that it resembles the shape of a dragon.
Upon reaching the Middle Pagoda, the rocky wall opens up like the wide-open mouth of a dragon. The upper jaw forms an arched stone canopy, while the lower jaw is flat and surrounds the temple courtyard.
On the roof of the pagoda is a carved stone stele bearing the inscription “Bich Dong” in Han characters. Next to this inscription are the names “Nguyen Nghiem Phu De” and “Nhat Nam Nguyen Chu But,” referring to Trinh Sam, who was the leader of Japan during that time.
The next important destination not to be missed during your journey to Bich Dong Pagoda in Ninh Binh is the Dark Cave. To reach the Dark Cave, you need to ascend 21 stone steps nestled within dense green forests. Upon entering the Dark Cave, the first sight that greets you is a large bronze bell cast in 1707. This bronze bell serves as a memento to honor the contributions of the two revered monks, Tri Kien and Tri The.
Despite its name, the Dark Cave is illuminated by electric lights. On the right side of the cave entrance is a depiction of three Buddha statues carved in stone. This symbolizes endurance. In the center of the cave is a statue of the Buddha Amitabha. To the right is Van Thu Bo, while to the left are Avalokiteshvara and Longevity.
To reach the Upper Pagoda, you need to climb an additional 40 stone steps along the mountainside. The Upper Pagoda stands atop the mountainside, positioned at the highest point near the summit of Bich Dong Mountain. The pagoda is about 60 meters above the ground-level courtyard. The Upper Pagoda is oriented towards the southeast and is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Quan Am (Avalokiteshvara). There are two shrines on either side of the pagoda, dedicated to the Earth Deity and the Mountain Deity. Adjacent to the pagoda is a water reservoir called Cam Lo Water, dedicated to the Goddess Quan Am.
From the Upper Pagoda, visitors can catch a sight of five separate peaks, each independent and facing Bich Dong Mountain like a blossoming lotus. These are the Ngũ Nhạc Mountains, consisting of Tầm Sặng, Gia Định, Con Lợn, Đầu Cầu, and Hạng Dựa peaks.
Nearby Tourist Destinations around Bich Dong Pagoda.
Tam Coc is a relatively close destination to Bich Dong Pagoda, with a road stretch of 2.5 km. Therefore, when visiting Bich Dong Pagoda, don’t miss out on this spot!
Tam Coc, which means “Three Caves,” consists of Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba caves. All three caves are formed by the Ngo Dong River passing through the mountains. Tam Coc is famous for boat tours and was first developed as part of the Tam Coc Bich Dong tourist area.
Here, you’ll experience a waterway tour by sitting in small boats guided by boatmen. You’ll immerse yourself in the stunning scenery, passing through breathtaking caves and feeling the cool air emanating from the stone formations.
The entire boat tour for tourists takes around 1.5 to 2 hours. The Tam Coc landscape, especially along the Ngo Dong River, can change with the seasons. If you love vibrant yellow landscapes, May is the perfect month to visit as it is the season of ripe rice fields.
Linh Coc Pagoda.
Located less than 1 km from Bich Dong Pagoda, you can take a leisurely walk to Linh Coc Pagoda to explore this site. Nestled within the Moc Mountain, the pagoda faces west, overlooking a water field. Linh Coc has a historical origin dating back to the reign of King Tran Thanh Tong. The pagoda’s courtyard is quite spacious and includes ancestral houses at the foot of the mountain. The pagoda’s design features three bays facing northwest.
Linh Coc Pagoda features statues of the monk A Nan Da and a Western-style sage, characterized by a high nose, coiled hair, and a cap-like hat. The main hall with five bays faces southeast. The temple of the Mother Goddess, on the other hand, turns its back to the mountainside and is built in the shape of the letter “Tam.” It houses the Thanh Mau Thoai, Thanh Mau Lieu Hanh, and Thanh Mau Thoan deities.
Thai Vi Temple.
Located in Van Lam Village, Ninh Hai Commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province, Thai Vi Temple is about 2 km from Tam Coc’s boat dock and a little over 3 km from Bich Dong Pagoda. This place stands as a remarkable cultural landmark in the peaceful northern countryside. Here, visitors can not only make offerings and prayers but also delve into the rich historical and cultural values of the ancient capital.
Thai Vi Temple is a place of worship for Kings Tran Thai Tong, Tran Thanh Tong, and statues of Tran Hung Dao, Tran Quang Khai, and Queen Tran Thi Dung. In the mountainous area of Trang An – Tam Coc, the Tran dynasty kings gathered to build the Vũ Lâm Palace during the resistance against the Mongol invaders.
Notes for Visiting Bich Dong Pagoda.
Bich Dong Pagoda offers free admission to all tourists.
Compared to Tam Coc, Bich Dong Pagoda typically receives fewer tourists. The number of eateries outside serving tourists is also fewer. Ensure that you have all the necessary items for your visit.
Choose to visit Bich Dong Pagoda around April when the weather is relatively dry, making the boat ride to Tam Coc more enjoyable. If you visit during the rainy season, be cautious as the pathways may become slippery.
When going to the temple, opt for appropriate, respectful attire. Additionally, be prepared for walking and climbing quite a few stairs when exploring Bich Dong Pagoda. Comfortable sports shoes or sandals are recommended for easy movement.
Bring some cash with you to contribute to the temple’s charity fund. Maintain mindfulness and safeguard the property of Bich Dong Pagoda during your visit.
Bich Dong Pagoda in Ninh Binh holds great historical and natural landscape values. Undoubtedly, this will be a must-visit tourist destination in Ninh Binh that you shouldn’t miss out on. Exploring the Bich Dong Pagoda site takes only about an hour, and you’ll witness the significance of this temple firsthand. DanangPrivateCar.com’s offers this article to our esteemed readers to provide more insight into this tourist destination as well as other landmarks in Ninh Binh.