Located in the stunning scenery of limestone mountains interleaved with rice fields, lakes, and swamp, Thai Vi Temple has made a fantastic impression on every tourist with its own ancient beauty of architecture and peaceful serene surroundings.
- Location: Van Lam village, Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province
Opening hours: Daily opening
Entrance fee: Free
I. History of Thai Vi Temple
Thai Vi Temple belongs to Vu Lam Palace Complex – An important military base constructed by King Tran Thai Tong in Ninh Binh – Dai Viet’s ancient capital in the fourteenth century to prepare forces for the second resistance war against Nguyen Mong enemy. Besides that, Vu Lam Palace in common and Thai Vi Temple, in particular, are also associated with the event that King Tran Thai Tong ordained to lead a religious life before moving onto Yen Tu mountain.
It is said that the great prosperity period of Buddhism in Vietnam is under the Tran Dynasty, especially from King Tran Thai Tong’s period. It is the reason that tourists can find many ancient pagodas and temples or vestiges of them in Vu Lam Palace Complex. One of them is Thai Vi Temple, one of the few temples almost intact until now.
II. Highlights of Thai Vi Temple
Thai Vi Temple is an ancient temple in Van Lam village, one of four villages where Vu Lam Palace Complex was set, where people worship four Tran kings including King Tran Thai Tong, King Tran Thanh Tong, King Tran Nhan Tong, King Tran Anh Tong, generals Tran Hung Dao, Tran Quang Khai and Queen Thuan Thien, who founded the palace.
Thai Vi Temple belongs to Trang An Complex with the typical terrain of limestone mountains and swamps alternately regarded as Ha Long Bay inland. The temple is located in a quiet space, extremely noble and elegant appearance. According to Feng Shui, Thai Vi Temple is set in a prime location where surroundings are majestic nature with high mountains standing side by side, Ngo Dong River flowing in front of.
Thai Vi Temple is not only a valuable historical relic of dating but also has features of architecture in Tran Dynasty. In hundreds of years, Thai Vi Temple had been suffered from the impact of time and wars; therefore, it could not retain as its original architecture. However, in recent years, the locals have been trying to restore the temple as its original image in the past.
The whole architecture is arranged symmetrically on both sides along the main axis from layouts to details. In front of the gate are two stone horse statues set opposite each other. The area of the temple is quite small compared to other temples in common but extremely beautiful and gives visitors a relaxing feeling. There are two lotus ponds, bell towers, statues and steles of Tran kings set parallelly in the hallway in front of the upper court. It is easy to find patterns used popularly in the Tran Dynasty such as strong dragons, tigers, daisy, lotus, etc in each statue, bell, rafter, house column, door, etc.
III. What to See and Do in Thai Vi Temple?
1. Paying a visit to the temple
Although the ground of the temple is quite small, it contains many vestiges of the Tran Dynasty in artefacts such as bells, statues, stone steles. For anyone who likes to research history or pay a visit to a sacred place with glorious historical stories, Thai Vi Temple will be the best option in route to explore Trang An Complex.
Especially the temple keeper is a knowledgeable person about Tran Dynasty’s history and traditional instruments, thus tourists can come here to hear his explanation about the history related to Thai Vi Temple in particular and Vu Lam Palace in common.
2. Riding a bike surrounding the temple
One of the most exciting experiences almost foreign tourists share is riding a bike to sightsee the surroundings of the temple. Such a quiet peaceful place is where tourists can immerse themselves in surrounding beautiful natural sceneries.
In front of the temple is Ngo Dong river flowing lead to Tam Coc – Bich Dong with the clean blue water in four seasons. Enclosing the temple is a large yellow rice field in the summer and winter and green one in the rest of the year. Far from is high limestone mountains covered by green trees hugging the temple.
IV. How to Get to Thai Vi Temple?
Thai Vi temple is located in Trang An Complex; therefore, on route to visit the complex, tourists can visit the temple by the way. There are two ways to approach Thai Vi Temple, one is by boat and the other is by bike. Each of them offers visitors chances to sightsee the beautiful sceneries surrounding.
First, tourists can row a boat following to the Tam Coc – Bich Dong route. Until the entrance to the shore, stop at the beginning of a small walk to the temple.
Second, from Van Lam pier, turn right and walk along the road parallel to the Ngo Dong river to enter the temple. Tourists can choose to ride a bike instead of walking on foot. This way is more popular with tourists , especially foreign ones since the fantastic feeling it brings back when they ride a bike between a large green field, enjoy fresh air, and see poetic scenery surrounding.
V. Extra Tips
- Bring some change for parking in case you ride a bike to visit the temple and donate to the temple.
- Wear polite clothes covering your knee and shoulder. It is an unspoken rule when visiting any temples, pagodas, sacred places not only in Vietnam
- It does not take a lot of time to visit Thai Vi temple and it is the best