Ninh Binh Province consists of three different types of landscapes including wetlands, coastal delta, and uplands. Furthermore, the province is blessed with many places of particular interest such as Tam Coc – Bich Dong Grotto, Cuc Phuong National Park, and Van Long Nature Reserve, etc. of which the Trang An Complex is a popular option for tourists, especially the foreign one.
- Location: Trang An, Truong Yen, Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh
I. What to See and Do at Trang An?
Stretching a total area of more than 2,168 hectares on 8 communes in Hoa Lu and Gia Vien districts in Ninh Binh City, Trang An is a complex of Hoa Lu Ancient Citadel preserved area – a center area, grottoes, and Bai Dinh Pagoda.
There are 47 grottos and caves, 31 valleys and the hallowed cultural area of Bai Dinh Pagoda inside the Trang An scenic landscape complex. Take a leisurely cruise around the area, tourists can be imagined as kings from ancient times who use the mountains as walls, the rivers as roads and the caves as palaces. When you first arrived at Trang An, you will be deeply impressed on dozens of boats anchoring in lines and waiting for every tourist to start the journey.
1. Natural Karst Tower
One of the most charming and stunning karst sceneries in the world lies in Trang An Eco-tourism complex. There are wide varieties of hat-shaped limestone mountains that can match Halong well for a magnificent sight.
In previous years, Dinh Dynasty chose Trang An as an imperial city of the whole nation. Some of the shapes of the limestone here are said to represent the mighty power of King Dinh Bo Linh over his country. That is also one of the reasons why he decided to move the capital of Vietnam to Hoa Lu (Trang An).
From time to time, many karst towers’ collapsion along with Earth’s crust movements, charming caves are created inside the complex, making it easier for tourists to contemplate on riverboats.
2. Trang An Grottoes
There are 48 caves connecting with 31 wetlands and 2km of waterborne caves like Sinh Duoc, Dia Linh or May Cave in this complex. Each cave features exactly like its own name. For example, Dark Cave has unexpected openings while light cave contains extraordinary stone stalks.
If spending one day visiting the grottoes in Trang An, you will be surprised by what this beautiful natural scenic complex can bring to you.
3. Tropical Forests and Rivers
The karst towers in Trang An are surrounded by golden paddle fields and blooming jungles. Rivers cross each other to create a signature of Trang An and make ways for tourists to travel along. The East of this system is bordered by Chanh River, the North by Hoang Long River, the west by Ben Dang River and the South by He River.
4. Relic Sites
Trang An has a number of historic temples and pagodas, which are constructed solemnly among dark green woods. You will see lots of Vietnamese people coming here in the first month of Lunar New Year so as to pray for a wealthier and happier year.
Of all the pagodas, Bai Dinh is the most special one with unique architecture and long history. It is the largest pagoda in Vietnam today and it keeps so many records of Southeast Asia in general.
5. Tribal Village in Kong
In 2017, tourists were allowed to get into the movie set of Kong. This is one of the most amazing tours in Trang An, Ninh Binh. You will see a stone road surrounded by around 40 huts made of bamboo. In order to attract tourists, local people will dress up and make up like the aborigines in the film while sitting in huts. Sometimes, they will get out of the huts suddenly just to play prank with the tourists.
II. How to Get to Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex?
It is not difficult to get to Trang An, Ninh Binh from Hanoi. If you go by bus, you need to go to one of the bus stations in Hanoi, including My Dinh, Giap Bat or Yen Nghia. There will be buses going from early morning to late at night on a regular basis. And the price is around 150,000 VND.
If you choose a scooter in order to enjoy the open air, the road to Trang An maybe a little longer. However, you can capture lots of vivid sceneries from busy cities to tranquil villages in your mind. The price of a hired motorbike is not expensive, just about 120,000 per day.
III. Best Time to Visit
People go to Trang An Complex at all times of the year, especially in vacations, holidays and festival times. Thus, it will be very crowded during these seasons. In order to enjoy a whole breathtaking landscape for yourself, the ideal time to visit is on normal weekdays in the dry season. Then, you can contemplate picturesque views in such a cool weather without being interrupted by others.
IV. What to Eat in Trang An Complex?
Speaking of cuisine, Ninh Binh is really a must-visit destination for you. It has some unique types of specialties that you can’t find in other places in Vietnam.
1. Rice Crust
Rice crust is one of the most notable specialties in Trang An, Ninh Binh. It is crispy and tasty. People use charcoal to burn the rice at suitable heat. Then, dry in the sun and place in fresh areas to keep its flavor. Next, they will fry slices of steamed rice in a hot oil pan until they see yellow color on the surface of the slices. Then, a mixture of ingredients like mushrooms, carrots, beef and so on are also fried and served with rice crust.
2. Goat Meat
This mountainous area has a lot of goats eating wild grass. Thus, the locals make them into so many different food like under-cooked goat meat with lime, goat hotpot, roasted goat, grilled goat brisket or steam goat meat. And the most delicious dish of them is rare-goat meat.
V. Where to Stay?
There are some highly-recommended hotels and resorts near Trang An Complex that you should know:
1. Tam Coc Garden Resort
- Location: Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province
- Tel: 0378 253 555
2. The Reed Hotel
- Location: Dong Thanh, Ninh Binh
- Tel: 0229 3889 979
3. The Vancouver Hotel Ninh Binh
- Location: Tan Thanh, Ninh Binh
- Tel: 0229 3893 270
VI. Tips on Visiting Trang An Complex
- Avoid rainy days in Trang An because it can cause a lot of inconvenience for your trip here
- It is better to put on long clothes when visiting Trang An as there are lots of temples here and they are all sacred sites to the locals
Trang An Complex in Ninh Binh Province deserves to be called “Halong on land” thanks to its unbelievable beauty of nature. A trip to this region will create an unforgettable experience for you!