Trang An Ninh Binh – A fairyland on earth

When is the best time to visit Trang An Ninh Binh?

Dive into the heart of Vietnam with an exclusive guide to Trang An Ninh Binh. Discover its serene landscapes, historical relics, and the enchanting beauty that earned it the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site. From majestic limestone caves to ancient temples, get ready for an unforgettable journey through time and nature.

Introduction to Trang An Ninh Binh

Introduction to Trang An Ninh Binh
Introduction to Trang An Ninh Binh

Location of Trang An Eco-tourism Site

The Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex covers an area of more than 6,172 hectares, consisting of three interconnected zones: the historic and cultural relic of Hoa Lu ancient capital, the Trang An – Tam Coc – Bich Dong scenic area, and the Hoa Lu special-use primeval forest.

The Trang An Ninh Binh landscape boasts a special beauty, resembling a limestone forest that has been elevated and segmented to form a majestic limestone landscape with vertical angles covered by winding forests, surrounded by narrow valleys and gorges creating an extended network of waterways and flooded plains.

The natural scenery here is breathtakingly beautiful. Just over ten minutes immersing in the space of mountains and rivers, a small boat will take tourists through a narrow river branch enclosed by sharp-peaked mountains, with steep cliffs like rock waterfalls, and crystal-clear water where countless aquatic plants sway beneath, seemingly leading to an exit. The boatman takes tourists further inside to explore a space that continuously changes, where at times the boat is nestled between towering rock walls close by, and at other times, it emerges into a spacious water area with clouds floating marvelously.

Moreover, the Trang An cave area is likened to an outdoor geological museum with terrain enveloped by bow-shaped limestone mountain ranges amidst a flooded area. Atop the limestone mountains, karst terrains and cat’s ear rocks are of great value for geological, climate change, marine transgression, and regression studies. Beneath these limestone mountains lies a rich cave system. Currently, there are 48 surveyed underwater caves, interspersed with 31 narrow valleys, including kilometers-long caves such as Dia Linh, Dark, Light, Wine Brewing, Phi, Son Duong caves, and more.

Along with the cave system, more than 30 flooded valleys are notable highlights. Each valley is a different ink-wash painting of mountains and water, both majestic and romantically picturesque. The diverse and harmonious natural environment between the landscape of mountains, rivers, caves, and dense forests, covered with various birds and rare animals, creates a scenery of green mountains and clear waters, where the natural heritage and humans are closely connected and interact intimately.

The beauty of Trang An, both wondrous and serene, mysterious yet silent, is also because it was the capital of Vietnam’s first feudal state. This place is considered to have a unique natural beauty, rare in the world. With a construction style that takes advantage of natural benefits, using mountains as walls and rivers as moats, connecting limestone ranges with artificial city walls to build a sturdy capital, a unique rock capital that amazes humanity.

Van Long nature reserve - the biggest wetland area in the north of Vietnam
Location of Trang An Eco-tourism Site

Although the ancient capital of Hoa Lu no longer exists, the presence of relics associated with the Dinh, Le, and Ly dynasties, such as the temples of King Dinh Tien Hoang and King Le Dai Hanh, and traces of Dong, North, Den, and South fortresses, are still fairly well preserved, creating a legendary cultural space of Hoa Lu.

Trang An Ninh Binh is often described as “Halong Bay on land” for its majestic and splendid beauty created by a 250-million-year-old karst mountain range reflecting on the clear river waters. The harmony between the rivers and limestone mountains offers a picturesque and charming landscape filled with allure. Additionally, it serves as a conservation area for the precious mangrove forest ecosystem.

In 2014, Trang An Ninh Binh was honored by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its colorful and magnificent natural beauty.

Trang An Ninh Binh Ticket Prices

The entrance fee for Trang An Ecotourism Complex is as follows:

  • Adults: 250,000 VND per person
  • Seniors (60 years old and above with ID): 125,000 VND per person
  • Children from 1m to 1.3m tall: 120,000 VND per person
  • Children under 1m tall: Free
  • Tour guide fee: 300,000 VND per tour

Each boat carries 5 – 6 people and will only depart when full. Therefore, if you are in a group of less than 4 people, you will have to wait additional time to be grouped with other passengers. Alternatively, you can charter a boat for 800,000 – 1,000,000 VND for a journey lasting over 3 hours to freely take amazing virtual living photos.

When is the best time to visit Trang An Ninh Binh?

Generally, Trang An in Ninh Binh is beautiful in every season, but each season has its own unique charm. If you travel to Ninh Binh in the Spring (from January to March), the air will be slightly chilly, with little rain, making it very convenient for sightseeing and photography. Spring is also the festival season, so you can participate in some major festivals such as: Bai Dinh Temple Festival, La Temple Festival, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital Festival.

From April to June is the time for those who love tranquility. During this period, the festivals have gradually lessened, no longer as crowded as in the Spring, so the atmosphere becomes more peaceful. However, this is also the hottest time of the year, so make sure to prepare sun protection before coming to Trang An.

When is the best time to visit Trang An Ninh Binh?
When is the best time to visit Trang An Ninh Binh?

If you love flowers, you should visit Trang An in Ninh Binh from July to September. This is the season when lotus and water lily flowers start to bloom, creating an irresistibly beautiful scenery. However, the weather at this time can be a bit ‘hard to please’ as it often involves widespread rain and storms. Therefore, you should pay attention to the weather forecast to be well prepared.

From October to December is the time many tourists choose to visit the Ancient Capital for “virtual living” (taking photos). However, you should also bring warm clothes as the weather in Ninh Binh during this season can be quite cold.

Which is the most beautiful route to take to Trang An Ninh Binh?

Trang An tourism offers 3 main boat routes, each leading to different attractions, so depending on your preferences, you should consider choosing the suitable route. Moreover, if you have ever been fascinated by the movie Kong: Skull Island, then you should take route 2 or 3 for a chance to visit Kong Island.

Route 1: Trinh Temple – Tran Temple – Khong Phu

Route 1 focuses on exploring caves, karst mountains, and learning about the historical aspects of the Dinh dynasty. Through legends about the Wine Brewing Cave, Trinh Temple, Khong Phu…, you can broaden your historical knowledge. Especially admiring the Tran Temple – the temple considered as the heart of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

Route 2: Saint Cao Son Temple – Vu Lam Royal Step-Over Place

This boat route is popular among young people because it offers many beautiful and poetic landscapes, making it very suitable for filming and photography. Additionally, this route encounters fewer boat jams than the other two routes.

Route 3: Dot Cave – Tien Stream Temple

With this route, you will pass through the longest stalactite cave in Trang An, with a length of up to 1000m. Moreover, the Tien Stream Temple relic will take you back to the origins of Trang An.

Which is the most beautiful route to take to Trang An?
Which is the most beautiful route to take to Trang An?

Whichever boat route you choose, the boatmen are always enthusiastic throughout the journey. Furthermore, if you want to experience a bit of new joy, you can ask the boatmen to let you help rowing the boat.

How to get to Trang An Ecotourism Complex?

To get to the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex from Hanoi, there are several transportation options. The most common way is by road, including taking a taxi, driving a private car, taking a bus, or riding a motorcycle.

If you choose a taxi or private car, the journey from Hanoi to Trang An Ninh Binh takes about 2-3 hours, depending on traffic conditions. National Highway 1A is the most popular route to Ninh Binh City, from where you can continue to the Trang An Ecotourism Complex. The road is well-maintained and easy to navigate, with directional signs along the way.

Additionally, you can take a coach or limousine bus from Hanoi to Ninh Binh, with ticket prices ranging from about 70,000 VND to 150,000 VND. Riding a motorcycle is also an option that offers a more personalized experience. However, remember that traffic in Vietnam can be chaotic, so make sure you are comfortable riding a motorcycle before embarking on this adventure.

If you are traveling from Ho Chi Minh City or other southern provinces, you can fly to Hanoi and use the above transportation options to get to Ninh Binh. It’s worth noting that Ninh Binh does not have an airport. Trains and coaches are other options to get to Ninh Binh.

What to do in Trang An Ninh Binh?

Take a Trang An boat tour

The Trang An tour offers visitors memorable experiences with three different routes. The journey will take you about 3.5 – 4.5 hours, depending on the route you choose. You will immerse yourself in serene nature, passing through stunning limestone mountains and picturesque landscapes. You will also go through the Trang An caves to explore the spectacular limestone formations.

Along the way, the boat will stop at some temples where you can visit and worship. Additionally, the boatmen will share the history and stories about the landscape as they row downstream. You can learn more about the attractions included in the boat trip in the following part of this article.

Kayaking in Trang An Ninh Binh Vietnam

Kayaking is a new and exciting way to explore the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex. There are two kayaking routes for you to choose from. The first route is 8 km long and takes you through famous sites such as Trinh Temple, Tam Quan Gate, Dark Cave, Quy Hau Cave, and Ngoc Mountain. The second route is about 5 km long, passing through Kong Island, Thuy Dinh, and Vu Lam Palace.

Kayaking in Trang An Ninh Binh Vietnam
Kayaking in Trang An Ninh Binh Vietnam

The price for the kayaking service ranges from 250,000 VND to 400,000 VND, depending on the type of kayak and the kayaking duration (2 or 3 hours). You will be instructed on basic kayaking skills before starting. Remember to adhere to safety rules, including wearing life jackets, padding the designated routes, etc.

Trekking to the Peak of Ngoa Long Mountain

Ngoa Long Mountain, standing at about 500 meters above sea level, is one of the popular trekking spots in the Trang An tourist area. From the peak, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the Trang An area and Ninh Binh and take many “virtual living” photos. Klook suggests that you should prepare brightly colored, vibrant outfits to stand out against the backdrop of the vast mountains and forests.

Visiting Historical Temples and Unique Architecture

The Trang An area is home to many historical temples with unique architecture, such as Bai Dinh Temple, Dinh Tien Hoang Temple, Bai Dinh Pagoda, Bai Dong Pagoda, etc. Visitors can learn about the history, culture, and religion of the area.

What to see in Trang An Ninh Binh?

Enchanting caves in Trang An Ninh Binh Vietnam

Trang An is known for its stunning caves that attract tourists from all over the world. Below are the top 4 breathtaking caves in Trang An that you should not miss:

What to see in Trang An Ninh Binh?
What to see in Trang An Ninh Binh?
  • Dia Linh Cave: Located in the heart of the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, Dia Linh Cave impresses visitors with its beautiful stalactites and stone pillars. The cave is also famous for its cool, fresh air, providing a great escape from the outside heat.
  • Nau Rượu Cave: Nau Rượu Cave is known for its unique history of local rice wine fermentation. This cave has a deep well with crystal clear water, famous for producing delicious rice wine.
  • Ba Giot Cave: Ba Giot Cave is one of the most famous caves in Trang An, known for its three natural waterfalls. It’s an ideal destination for those looking to relax and rejuvenate during their journey. The cave also has a legend associated with it, adding a sense of mystery.
  • Sang Cave – Toi Cave: These two caves are adjacent to each other and are often visited together. Sang Cave is named for the natural light that illuminates the entire cave, while Toi Cave is completely dark, requiring visitors to use headlamps to navigate its depths. Both caves offer unique and contrasting experiences for visitors.

Top must-visit cultural and historical sites

Trang An Ninh Binh is not only known for its stunning natural beauty but also for its rich cultural and historical heritage, with many attractive places to explore. Here are some cultural and historical sites in Trang An Vietnam that you should not miss:

  • Vu Lam Palace: This gem is hidden deep within the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex. The palace, designed in the traditional architectural style of Vietnamese temples, stands majestically amidst the natural beauty of mountains and water.
  • Trinh Temple: This temple honors four loyal generals of the Dinh dynasty, tasked with protecting the royal treasury and the king’s precious metals. The temple, built in traditional Vietnamese architectural style, is guarded by two bronze lions at its entrance. Trinh Temple is a popular spiritual destination during festivals and the Lunar New Year, where visitors come to burn incense and pray for good fortune.
  • Phu Khong: Set in a unique landscape, with the Khong Cave behind, a mountain range to the right, and a vast valley in front, Phu Khong worships seven high-ranking officials of the Dinh dynasty.
  • Tran Temple: Dedicated to the deity Quy Minh, believed to be the guardian of the southern gateway of Hoa Lu capital. The Tran Temple Festival is held annually on the 18th day of the 3rd lunar month in Ninh Binh. Visitors to Trang An Vietnam during this time can experience the festive atmosphere at this sacred temple.

Read more: Essence Of Northern Vietnam – 8 Days

What to eat in Trang An Eco-tourism Site?

Mountain Goat Meat

When visiting the Trang An tourist area, you must try the famously delicious mountain goat meat of Ninh Binh. The goats are free-range on the limestone mountains, eating various types of grass and herbs, which makes their meat firm, low in fat, and especially flavorful.

Mountain Goat Meat
Mountain Goat Meat

Mountain Snails

These mountain snails live in rock caves and only come out during the rainy season. Visitors to Trang An from April to August will have the opportunity to enjoy this delicacy. The mountain snail meat is crunchy, sweet, and aromatic with a hint of medicinal herbs, delicious whether steamed, stir-fried with tamarind, mixed in salads, or grilled.

Tong Truong Carp

This type of wild carp lives in the water-filled caves of Tong Truong Yen, now part of the Trang An World Heritage complex. Tong Truong carp has firm, sweet, and fragrant meat, used to prepare dishes like sour soup, braised dry, stir-fried, or fried.

Ant Egg Sticky Rice

Eggs from a type of brown ant collected in the forest are cleaned, sautéed with chicken fat and dried onions, then mixed into hot sticky rice. The creamy ant eggs blend with the fragrant fried onions and the soft, aromatic sticky rice, creating a memorable dish after just one taste.

Things to note when traveling to Trang An?

When traveling to Trang An, there are several important tips and considerations to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip:

  • Clothing and Gear: Wear comfortable, lightweight clothing and sturdy shoes suitable for walking and boat rides. A hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses are recommended to protect against the sun. During the rainy season, bring a waterproof jacket or poncho.
  • Boat Rides: The boat tours are a highlight of Trang An. Each boat can carry a certain number of passengers, so be prepared to wait during peak times or consider sharing a boat with other tourists. Remember to follow the boatman’s instructions for safety.
  • Hydration and Snacks: Bring water and snacks for the trip, especially if you’re planning to take the longer boat routes or go trekking. However, keep the area clean by disposing of trash properly.
Attractions in ninh binh
Things to note when traveling to Trang An Ninh Binh?
  • Photography: Trang An offers breathtaking landscapes that are perfect for photography. Ensure your camera or phone is charged, and consider bringing a waterproof bag for electronics during boat rides.
  • Cultural and Historical Sites: Many temples, pagodas, and historical sites are scattered throughout the area. Showing respect when visiting these places is essential—dress modestly and follow local customs.
  • Health and Safety: Bring a basic first aid kit, insect repellent, and any personal medication. Stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun.
  • Local Regulations: Familiarize yourself with local regulations, especially those related to environmental conservation and visitor behavior in protected areas.
  • Accommodation: During peak tourist seasons, it’s advisable to book your accommodation in advance. Ninh Binh offers a range of options from budget hostels to luxurious resorts.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can enjoy a memorable and respectful visit to Trang An, taking in its natural beauty, cultural richness, and historical depth.

When planning your adventure to the breathtaking landscapes of Trang An Ninh Binh, Vietnam, choosing the right tour service is crucial for an enriching experience. Vietnam Tour 247 stands out as your premier partner, offering an unparalleled gateway to the wonders of Trang An. With our deep local knowledge and a passion for Vietnamese culture, we curate tours that go beyond the conventional, immersing you in the true essence of this historic land. Our professional guides, fluent in multiple languages, ensure you don’t miss any story behind the stunning limestone karsts, serene waterways, and ancient temples. Safety, comfort, and an authentic experience are our top priorities, providing you with well-planned itineraries that cater to your interests, whether you’re an avid historian, a nature lover, or seeking a peaceful retreat from the bustling city life. With Vietnam Tour 247, you’re not just visiting Trang An; you’re connecting with its soul, leaving with stories and memories to cherish for a lifetime. Choose us for your journey to Trang An Ninh Binh, and let us show you the heart of Vietnam.

As we wrap up our introduction to the stunning landscapes and rich heritage of Trang An Ninh Binh, it’s clear that this destination is more than just a scenic getaway; it’s a journey through the heart of Vietnam’s natural beauty and ancient history. Whether you’re gliding through tranquil waterways, exploring vast cave systems, or stepping back in time at historic temples, Trang An offers a mesmerizing experience that stays with you long after your visit. With the blend of cultural richness, historical depth, and natural wonders, Trang An Ninh Binh invites travelers to immerse themselves in its unique allure. So pack your bags, and prepare for an adventure that captures the essence of Vietnam’s spirit, making every moment in Trang An a memory to treasure.

Read more: Is Ninh Binh Worth Visiting? 13+ Attractions In Ninh Binh

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