When it comes to Ninh Binh, almost tourists will immediately mention places of interest that are typical for local tourism such as Trang An Complex, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Tam Coc – Bich Dong, Hoa Lu Citadel, Cuc Phuong National Park and so on. However, it is an imperfectness when you go for a trip to Ninh Binh without exploring Kenh Ga Floating Village, an emblematic destination for the charming appearance of this landscape.
- Location: Gia Thinh Commune, Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province
Opening time: 24/24h daily
Best time to visit: June - September
Entrance fee: Free. The entrance fee for an experience in Kenh Ga Hot Spring is 90,000 VND.
I. History of Kenh Ga Floating Village
Not having a mysterious legendary as most of the destinations in Red River Delta, the second largest delta of Vietnam, the name of Kenh Ga Floating Village derives from the activities of daily living of the community settling on the riverbanks. Kenh Ga, which means Chicken Canal, originates from the hot spring in the middle of the village, where water is used for removing chicken’s feather. In another story, according to local inhabitants, from ancient times, the top of the limestone mountain in the village is shaped like a chicken; since then it is called “Kenh Ga”.
The convergence of Boi River, Lang River and Hoang Long River creates a confluence where people live mainly on fishing. Hoang Long River, also known as Dai Hoang River, is the main means of subsistence for the residents in the village. Coming to Kenh Ga Village, it is not difficult to catch the sight of the children who are only four to five years old following their parents sailing, swimming and fishing.
The widest space between the mountain ranges and the Hoang Long River is about 20 meters, the narrow spot is only 8 meters, but each of the residential clusters in Kenh Ga village still lives and gets benefits from floods. To adapt to the life here, people when building houses calculate the floors from two to three meters high to avoid flooding. Every June and July, when the flood season comes, Kenh Ga Village is isolated and all activities of locals are on-boat.
II. Best Time to Visit Kenh Ga Floating Village
Even though the weather in Ninh Binh is quite enjoyable in general, the best time to visit Kenh Ga Floating Village is from June to September, when the weather is more pleasant, the water level is lower and there are less frequent boats on the river. Whenever you pay a visit to Kenh Ga Village, don’t forget to watch the weather forecast to make a good preparation for your trip.
III. Highlights of Kenh Ga Floating Village
Surrounded by massive limestone mountain ranges which day by day quietly send a gleam to Hoang Long River, Kenh Ga Village is like a jewel preserving its beauty through the ages, waiting for visitors to discover. The vast Hoang Long river flows smoothly around the village, winds through the lush green tree lines and embraces the bright red tile-roofed houses. Compared to other places of interest in Ninh Binh, Kenh Ga Floating Village seems to be much less touristy. Therefore, entering the village will give you the feeling as if you are exploring somewhere that is entirely new, as you are absolutely in a different world where the water, the mountain and human meet in harmony.
A journey to Kenh Ga Floating Village is an enchanting experience that you cannot find in any other landscapes in Vietnam with the combination of the dreamy floating village with the splendid mountain background. It is incredibly beautiful and you for sure will be hypnotic by the stunning countryside landscapes, the traditional rural life and the hospitable rural folk as in many villages of Vietnam.
IV. What to See and Do in Kenh Ga Floating Village?
Although Kenh Ga Floating Village welcome relatively few tourists, there are some activities that you should not miss when coming there:
1. Going on Boat along the Village
This is the most intriguing activity for you when coming to Kenh Ga Floating Village. From the wharf, you can hire a motorboat then take an one-hour trip along the village for sightseeing and experiencing the daily life of the villagers. People living in the village seem to spend most of their life on the boat; here you can see the men catching fish, the children coming to school, the housewives going to market and so on; boats are totally necessary for all the activities in the village of Hoang Long river. Although it is not a familiar image to the tourists, the local residents are so accustomed to the floating life that they often tell the joke about their village like “six months walking on foot, six months by hand”.
Not only can you contemplate the peaceful lifestyle in this village but you can also admire the spectacular beauty of the graceful river as a smooth silk curving around the base of the towering limestone mountains covered with lush green trees. The calm boat drifting with the water brings you to the serene scenery of the riverside village and the daily life of the people in the low-lying area. All the things gather in a wonderful harmony of nature and human, creating a unique landscape that is hard to be found anywhere else in Vietnam.
2. Relaxing in Kenh Ga Hot Spring
Originating from a cave next to Kenh Ga Floating Village, Kenh Ga Hot Spring is a must-try place when coming to the village. This is also one of the most well-known hot springs in Ninh Binh as well as in Vietnam. This place is associated with the story of Zen Master Minh Khong, a famous monk in Vietnam feudal history, who came here to take hot mineral water for worshiping Buddha and many other anecdotes.
Kenh Ga Hot Spring is highly appreciated by many visitors because of the high amount of mineral ingredients, the clear and odorless water and the stable temperature at 53 Celsius degrees, which can help you to relax and cure some potential diseases. Coming to Kenh Ga Stream in the morning, you can see the fog enveloping the landscape as if you were lost in a fairy tale. The fresh air along with the beautiful scenery adorned by bird singing will help you to have a refreshing spirit to start a day full of energy.
V. What to Eat When Visiting Kenh Ga Floating Village?
Ninh Binh has long been illustrious for the mouth-watering dishes that everyone coming to this landscape should have a try.
1. Goat meat
Goat meat in Ninh Binh is considered as one of the most delicious dishes in Vietnam. The meat is moderately tender, not too chewy, with a characteristic odor but not as strong as goat meat in other regions. Goat meat is served with a variety of spices such as lemon, ginger, chili, lemongrass, galanga, fig leaves, apricot leaves, green bananas and raw vegetables to reduce the odor and enhance the sweetness of the meat. Ninh Binh mountain goat is used to make up to 20 dishes, but the rare goat meat with lemon is the typical dish that is recommended by most gourmets and local restaurants. The goat meat is steamed then mixed with the juice of lemon, lemongrass, galanga and roasted sesame to retain the meat’s flavor.
2. Scorched burnt rice
The delicious scorched burnt rice is made by experienced people, which is crunchy but not hard, fragrant without burning, soft but still stingy. In most restaurants in Ninh Binh, this specialty is served with goat meat sauce that has an aromatic, viscous and sweet taste of goat meat, leaving a long-lasting impression on the diners. In addition, you can buy scorched burnt rice with salted shredded meat in almost all the groceries as souvenirs of Ninh Binh.
3. Shrimp sauce
Beside goat meat and scorched burnt rice, the most famous specialties of Ninh Binh, when coming to Kenh Ga Floating Village. Shrimp sauce is made from the fresh small shrimp that is available in the local area. After a sophisticated process, the final product has a bright red color, a specific aroma and moderate comparability, which is different from shrimp sauce in other places.
VI. How to Get to Kenh Ga Floating Village?
Ninh Binh is about 93 kilometers from Hanoi center, and you will have 03 options for transportation from Hanoi to Ninh Binh, which are by coach, by train and by motorbike. The ticket fees for coach and trains are quite pocket-friendly, ranging from 80,000 VND to 130,000 VND. Following the Phap Van – Cau Gie Highway, you will reach Gian Khau Junction in Gia Tran Commune, where you turn to Provincial Road No.477 to Me Town. Keep on going to arrive at Dong Chua Wharf, where you can hire a boat going on Hoang Long River to Kenh Ga Floating Village. Departing from Hanoi, after only two hours, you can reach the village and begin your exciting journey here.
VII. Extra Tips on Visiting Kenh Ga Floating Village
There are some useful tips that you should keep in your mind for the journey:
- Remember to bring a hat or umbrella with you in case the weather is too hot.
- Don’t forget to wear a life-preserver when going on a boat because the river can be very deep.
- Beside Kenh Ga Floating Village, you can also visit other famous destinations of Ninh Binh nearby, such as Trang An Complex, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Tam Coc Bich Dong, Cuc Phuong National Park,…
Kenh Ga Floating Village and Ninh Binh always welcome you to explore. What are you waiting for? Make a plan with your friends to come to this pristine landscape and don’t forget to share with us your experience!