As a famous destination in northern Vietnam, where valuable relics dating back thousands of years are preserved, many people still do not know where the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh is located or what interesting things to explore in a few days. Along with the Trang An tourist complex, the ancient capital of Hoa Lu has been recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage. When traveling to Ninh Binh and exploring the land of Hoa Lu, you will have the opportunity to admire historical relics from the Dinh – Le – Ly feudal dynasties.
Introduction to the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh
The ancient capital of Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh, is known as a complex of historical and architectural relics, recognized as one of the four core zones within the World Heritage Site of Trang An. This place has witnessed over 1000 years of the ebb and flow of history, and it still preserves historical relics from various periods, especially from the Dinh and Le dynasties.
Hoa Lu was also the first imperial capital of the feudal dynasties in the Central region. It not only bears the marks of the kings but also gathers many famous landmarks. That is why many tourists, when visiting Ninh Binh, want to spend a day exploring the ancient capital.
The historical site of the ancient capital Hoa Lu encompasses which areas?
Currently, the entire complex of relics in the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh, includes three zones: the special protection zone, the buffer zone, and other significant historical sites. Among these, the special protection zone is the area containing historical relics from various royal dynasties that need to be safeguarded and preserved.
Special Protection Zone
Covering an area of 3 km2, the special zone in Hoa Lu includes all the historical sites within the Hoa Lu citadel, such as the temples of King Dinh, King Le Dai Hanh, Co Am Pagoda, the tombs of King Dinh-Le, Princess Phat Kiem’s shrine, Nhat Tri Pagoda, Kim Ngan Pagoda, Vườn Thiên Palace, and more. It also encompasses part of the Trang An tourist complex.
With an expansive area of over 10 million km2, the buffer zone of the ancient capital Hoa Lu includes the Trang An landscape and scenic areas along both sides of the Sao Khe River.
Directly Related Historical Sites
This category includes historical sites like Bai Dinh Pagoda, Hoa Lu Cave, the East Gate, the South Gate, and some other temples and shrines.
Travel experience in the ancient capital Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh
Where is the ancient capital Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh?
- Location: Truong Yen commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province.
The historical and cultural heritage site of the Ancient Capital Hoa Lu includes the special protection zone, buffer zone, and the Thien Ton Cave site, as well as the Bai Dinh Pagoda, all situated within the limestone mountain system in the Truong Yen commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province. It shares boundaries with Gia Vien and Hoa Lu districts. This location is approximately 100 km south of the capital city, Hanoi.
Guidelines on how to travel from Hanoi to Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh
From Hanoi, it’s easy to rent a motorbike or take a bus to the city of Ninh Binh. Hoa Lu is about 15 km from the city center, and upon reaching Ninh Binh, you can rent a motorbike in Ninh Binh or book a taxi to get to the ancient capital Hoa Lu.
You can choose to ride a motorbike from Hanoi as it provides much more convenience. You can take advantage of a one-day trip to Ninh Binh to explore other attractive destinations such as the Trang An tourist complex or Bai Dinh Pagoda. These locations are in close proximity, only a few dozen kilometers apart, making the motorbike journey relatively comfortable.
Alternatively, you can opt for a private car with a driver in Ha Noi from DanangPrivateCar.com. With our private car service, we will pick you up and take you to your destination without the hassle of searching for public transportation, which can be challenging in Vietnam. Moreover, with a private car service, you can relax and explore many other tourist attractions along the way. Book your private car journey from Hanoi to Ninh Binh today for the best travel experience.
Visiting the ancient capital Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh, at what time?
Ninh Binh is renowned as the land of the ancient capital, especially the area of Hoa Lu, where a series of unique festivals take place annually to commemorate the kings who contributed to the nation’s construction. According to travel experience in the ancient capital Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh, it is recommended to choose one of the following times for the most beautiful experience:
- Traveling to the ancient capital Hoa Lu in early spring: After the Lunar New Year, there are numerous festivals, providing an opportunity to experience the unique festivals of Ninh Binh during this time.
- Traveling to Ninh Binh in May: The period from March to May is the dry season in northern provinces, offering beautiful weather for travel before the onset of the rainy season. Additionally, a piece of good news is that late May is the season of ripe rice in Ninh Binh. Therefore, visiting the ancient capital Hoa Lu combined with other places like Hang Mua, Tam Coc – Bich Dong to explore the enchanting beauty of golden ripening rice fields is highly recommended.
- Traveling to Ninh Binh in March: is the time when the Truong Yen Festival, also known as the Co Lau Festival, takes place. It is a traditional festival in the ancient capital held annually from the 8th to the 10th day of the third lunar month.
Note: It’s advisable to take advantage of the dry season, from around November to March of the following year. It’s recommended to avoid visiting during the flood season, as you may not be able to navigate boats into the caves. Also, be sure that the weather in the summer will be sunnier and cooler compared to winter.
Visiting the ancient capital Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh, which landmarks should you explore?
Impressive King’s temples
Historical sites associated with feudal dynasties always have a significant allure. That’s why, during your one-day trip to Ninh Binh, make sure to visit the most prominent landmarks in the ancient capital of Hoa Lu. You can choose to visit several locations or explore them all if time permits.
Over more than 1000 years of history, the relics in the ancient capital of Hoa Lu may not be completely intact, but some important ones are still preserved to this day. When traveling to Ninh Binh and exploring the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, two remarkable and impressive landmarks that you should visit are the temple of King Dinh Tien Hoang and the temple of King Le Thanh Tong.
The Temple of King Le Dai Hanh.
The Temple of King Le Dai Hanh is located about 500 meters away from the Temple of King Dinh Tien Hoang. Although it is a small temple, it has been built for a long time, bearing the marks of age with moss-covered ancient charm. However, due to its beautiful architecture and historical significance, it has attracted many tourists to visit.
The architectural structure of the Temple of King Le Dai Hanh is similar to that of the Temple of King Dinh, consisting of three main halls: Bai Duong, Thieu Huong, and Chinh Cung. The temple features numerous statues adorned with gold leaf, creating a mystical and luxurious ambiance. A noticeable highlight here is perhaps the main pathway leading to the temple, paved with clean bricks. It leads through the main gate, with a raised rockery on the left and an artificial mountain on the right, standing 3 meters tall and sculpted in the shape of a phoenix. It looks majestic and, on the right side, there is a worship house with a similar rockery. The temple dedicated to King Le can be considered a representative example of the 17th-century architectural and sculptural art
Distance to the ancient temple in Hoa Lu
Apart from the area of the temples dedicated to Kings Dinh and Le, the ancient capital Hoa Lu is also renowned for its ancient communal houses and temples.
- Nhat Tru Pagoda: Reputed as the oldest stone pagoda in Vietnam, Nhat Tru Pagoda, also known as One-Pillar Pagoda, was built during the reign of King Le Dai Hanh. It still seems to preserve the Pillar of Buddha’s teachings, holding significant value in terms of art, culture, and historical meaning.
- Bai Dinh Pagoda: Being the most famous spiritual destination in Ninh Binh, Bai Dinh Pagoda is one of the temples that holds many “firsts” in Vietnam. If you have the chance to visit the pagoda at night, you’ll witness a majestic scene with bright golden lights. During the day, it’s an opportunity to explore a complex of temples over 1000 years old, where historical relics from various dynasties are still present.
In addition to the two famous pagodas, Ninh Binh’s historical and cultural area also preserves many other ancient temples such as Bàn Long Pagoda, Kim Ngan Pagoda, Am Tien Cave Pagoda, Ba Ngo Pagoda, etc., which carry cultural and Buddhist values.
Some famous festivals in the ancient capital Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh: Truong Yen Festival, Tran Temple Festival, Dinh Bo Linh Temple Festival, Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival, Hoa Lu Cave Festival.
What specialties should you enjoy when traveling to the ancient capital Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh?
Crispy Rice in Ninh Binh
Crispy rice, a famous dish in the ancient capital region, has been around for hundreds of years. Originally a dish of the Hoa people, it has been skillfully transformed into a delicious specialty. It leaves a lasting impression with its unique recipe, using fragrant Hai Hau eight-grain rice from Nam Dinh. Only those knowledgeable in the culinary arts can create the delicious flavor of crispy rice. Locals in Ninh Binh often pair crispy rice with mountain goat sauce, made from goat meat with a sweet, aromatic, and rich taste. This combination with crispy rice is highly praised. During your trip to Ninh Binh, you can visit local restaurants to savor this dish and purchase some as gifts for your family.
Mountain Goat Meat in Ninh Binh
When it comes to delicious goat meat, the breed of mountain goats in Ninh Binh is worth mentioning. These goats are famous for their aromatic, lean, and firm meat. While mountain goats are found in many places, those in Ninh Binh have a distinct flavor due to the limestone mountainous areas abundant in various types of grass and herbs, serving as the goats’ food. Connoisseurs often enjoy goat meat with wild vegetables, Kim Son wine, and crispy rice.
Kim Son Wine in Ninh Binh
Kim Son Wine is well-known, with numerous craft villages specializing in wine-making, such as Phat Diem, Hoa Lac, Lai Thanh, and more. The excellence of the wine lies in the meticulous processing and unique secrets passed down through generations. The fermentation process uses a blend of 36 traditional Chinese medicinal herbs, combined with fragrant glutinous rice, resulting in a precious wine with a distinctive aroma that delights the palate of connoisseurs.
Some notes when visiting the Ancient Capital Hoa Lu
- Hoa Lu is a renowned spiritual tourist destination, so it’s advisable to dress modestly and respectfully. When visiting the temples of King Dinh and King Le, maintain a gentle and orderly demeanor to preserve the solemnity and show respect to the kings who contributed to the country.
- Do not litter.
- Adhere to the regulations set by the site management.
- If you’re traveling to Ninh Binh independently, it’s recommended to check the map beforehand for the convenience of your journey.
- If you want to learn more about the cultural and historical aspects of the Hoa Lu region, proactively ask the site management for additional information about this ancient capital.
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