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Things To Do And See In Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex In Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Not only does Trang An scenic landscape complex serve as the cradle of ancient Vietnamese civilization, but it also hosted the first capital of the Vietnamese feudal and independent state, Hoa Lu, over 1,000 years ago. The enchanting and picturesque landscape of Trang An is a harmonious blend of mountains, valleys, and a network of lakes. Often referred to as the "Halong Bay on land" in Vietnam, this complex promises a worthy experience.If you have the chance to visit Vietnam, especially the northern region, be sure to embark on a journey to Trang An complex to witness its magnificence and allure.

1. About Trang An - The breathtaking beauty of a "Paradise on Earth"

Overview of Trang An
Located within Ninh Binh Province in North Vietnam, near the southern margin of the Red River Delta and 90 kilometers south of Hanoi, the Trang An Landscape Complex (Trang An) is a mixed cultural and natural property, primarily situated within three protected areas: the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, the Trang An-Tam Coc-Bich Dong Scenic Landscape, and the Hoa Lu Special-Use Forest. The property spans 6,226 hectares within the Trang An limestone massif, surrounded by a 6,026-hectare buffer zone, predominantly consisting of rural land with rice paddy fields.
Trang An Vietnam boasts a 250-million-year-old geological system of limestone mountains, housing diverse ecosystems such as flooded forests, limestone mountains, and archaeological and cultural relics. Hoa Lu, the historic capital of Vietnam, was built in this region during the 10th and 11th centuries AD. The area boasts not only temples and pagodas but also picturesque paddy fields and charming small villages.
The spectacular view of Trang An with its many mountains covered in greenery
Renowned for its striking natural beauty, Trang An features towering limestone cliffs, lush forests, and pristine rivers. The combination of towering mountains adorned with natural rainforests, along with expansive internal basins and narrow cave passages with gently flowing waters, creates an extraordinarily beautiful and tranquil landscape. In 2014, Trang An Eco-tourism Complex received recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its natural and cultural significance.
  • Address: Trang An, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh
  • Opening hours: 7:00 AM - 16:30 PM (Daily opening)
  • Entrance fee: 250.000 VND/person (approximately 11 USD) (including children above 1.3 meters in height)(Note: Free of charge for children below 1 meter in height, and 150.000 VND for individuals with a height between 1 meter and 1.3 meters. This entrance fee does not cover additional services)
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2. Top interesting activities to do in Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex

2.1. What to do in Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex?

Boat Tour in Trang An
During your trip, among the many joyful things to do in Trang An scenic landscape complex, taking a boat tour here is recommended for you to admire all its beauty. Embarking on a boat tour in Trang An is a must-do activity during your visit to this scenic landscape complex. It's a delightful experience that allows you to fully appreciate the beauty of the surroundings. The boat tour offers three different routes, each lasting between 3.5 to 4.5 hours, depending on your preference. As you cruise along, you'll be mesmerized by the serene nature, passing by breathtaking limestone karsts and picturesque landscapes. Exploring the caves of Trang An adds an extra element of wonder to the journey. Along the way, you'll have the opportunity to visit several temples, offering insights into Vietnam's rich history and culture, particularly during the Tran Dynasty.
Kayaking in Trang An
For those seeking a more adventurous experience, kayaking in Trang An is an exciting option. With two routes to choose from, spanning around 5 km to 10 km, you'll have the chance to explore notable sites and hidden gems alike. The price for kayaking services varies depending on factors such as kayak type (single or double) and duration (2 or 3 hours), ranging from 250,000 VND to 400,000 VND (approximately 11 to 17 USD). Rest assured, choosing kayaking as your mode of exploration will surely be a rewarding experience in Trang An.

2.2. Visit top attractions in Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its blend of cultural and natural treasures, Trang An is a must-visit destination in Ninh Binh Vietnam. Often likened to Halong Bay on land, Trang An offers a breathtaking landscape of towering limestone mountains, lush rice fields, and winding rivers. What sets it apart is its serene ambiance, almost like time stands still in this tranquil haven.
Here, you won't find bustling cruises or kayaks crowding the waters. Instead, peaceful boats glide along the river, allowing visitors to immerse themselves fully in the stunning scenery. Every moment spent here feels precious, with captivating vistas at every turn.
What to see in Trang An scenic landscape complex? Here are some recommended sites that you should pay a visit to:

2.2.1. Top enchanting caves in Trang An Vietnam

Here are the top enchanting caves in Trang An that you should not miss out on:
Many wine jugs are placed here and there throughout the cave
  • Nau Ruou Cave: This cave is home to a deep well with crystal-clear water, renowned for producing delicious rice wine. In Nau Ruou Cave, there is an underground water pipe more than 10m deep, which is believed to have been brought here by ancestors to collect water to make alcohol for the king. During the research and surveys, numerous pottery, jars, vases, and wine-making tools were discovered, hence the name “Nau Ruou”. Near the cave entrance, many ancient wine jars are displayed.

  • Sinh Cave - Si Cave - Ba Giot Cave: Ba Giot Cave is one of the most popular Trang An caves, known for its three natural waterfalls. It is an ideal destination for those seeking a refreshing break during their journey. Legend has it that there was once a deeply in love couple. When the man brought the bridal gifts to Sinh Cave to propose, the woman had already been promised to a neighboring country. Unable to marry her, he went to Ba Giot Cave to bathe, then sacrificed himself along with all his feelings, to the depth of Si Cave.

  • Bright Cave - Dark Cave (Hang Sang - Hang Toi): These two caves are located next to each other and are often visited together in Trang An scenic landscape complex. Dark Cave is completely dark as its name describes because the cave has a winding terrain, making it difficult for light to penetrate inside. As for Bright Cave, despite its name, the cave is quite dark and requires artificial lighting. The name of the cave reflects the ancient people's aspirations for advancement: from darkness to brightness, from the past to a better future.

  • Boi Cave: The cave is named "Boi", which means "fortune-telling" because it is associated with the legend of Tran dynasty kings who used to cast divinations here. Additionally, many fossilized shells, animal bones, and some stone tools have been discovered here providing evidence of prehistoric human imprints belonging to the Hoabinhian period dating back approximately ten thousand years.

  • Dia Linh Cave: The cave is also known as Treasure Cave because when entering it, visitors will feel like they are entering a world of "treasures" with magnificent stalactites. The stalactites in the cave are still intact, beautiful, and mysterious. With added lighting, they become even more glamorous and sparkling.

2.2.2. Top must-visit cultural and historical sites

Trang An scenic landscape complex is known for not only its stunning natural beauty but also its rich cultural and historical heritage, with a range of fascinating sites to visit. Here are some recommended attractions:
  • Trinh Temple: This temple is dedicated to the four faithful generals of the Dinh Dynasty, entrusted with safeguarding the royal treasury and the king's valuables. According to legend, during the tumultuous period following King Dinh Tien Hoang's passing, these four generals escorted Dinh Toan (the king's son) to this location to ensure his safety. Trinh Temple attracts numerous visitors during holidays and the Lunar New Year, who come to light incense and offer prayers for prosperity and fortune.

Trinh Temple in Trang An

  • Tran Temple: Tran Temple is devoted to Quy Minh, the deity believed to protect the southern entrance of Hoa Lu citadel. The Tran Temple festival is held every year on the 18th day of the third lunar month in Ninh Binh. Travelers visiting Trang An Vietnam during this event have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the celebratory ambiance at this revered temple.

Tran Temple in Trang An
  • Vu Lam Palace: This is the military base of the Tran dynasty and is located in the core area of the Trang An, in Ninh Binh Vietnam. Here, the early kings of the Tran dynasty built a stronghold to reinforce their counter-offensive forces and liberate Dai Viet during the second and third Mongol invasions. Additionally, Vu Lam Palace is closely associated with the events of the Tran dynasty kings entering monastic life and expanding Buddhism.

Vu Lam Palace - A part of Trang An with its glorious history
  • Phu Khong: Built on a beautiful piece of land, nestled against Khong Cave with one side facing a towering rock wall and the other overlooking a vast valley. According to the tale, during the reign of King Dinh Tien Hoang, upon his passing, seven high-ranking officials carried numerous coffins in different directions and took their own lives to safeguard the secret of the true tomb. Thus, the locals established a temple to worship and uphold the honor of the seven officials, overlooking the ancient citadel.

Phu Khong in Trang An

3. Best time to visit Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex

The beauty of Trang An during the ripe rice season
The best time to visit Trang An scenic landscape complex is from January to March in the lunar calendar. During this period, the weather is mild with clear skies and minimal rainfall, making it perfect for leisurely boat rides and exploring the picturesque sights. Additionally, this season coincides with various festivals held in the area, offering visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture and traditions while enjoying the natural beauty.
From July to September, Trang An transforms into a breathtaking landscape of ripe golden rice fields, providing a stunning backdrop for boat excursions. Although June may be slightly hot, the clear blue skies and minimal rainfall make it an ideal time to visit. Moreover, June marks the peak of the lotus season, adding to the charm of the scenery and offering a delightful sightseeing experience for visitors.

4. How to visit Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex

The bus- A common and affordable mode of transportation
To visit Trang An Scenic landscape complex from Hanoi, there are various transportation options at your disposal. The most commonly chosen method is by road, which encompasses taking a taxi, hiring a private car, utilizing passenger buses, or riding a motorbike.
Should you decide on a taxi or private car, the travel time from Hanoi to Trang An Ninh Binh typically ranges from 2 to 3 hours, depending on prevailing traffic conditions. National Road 1A serves as the primary route to Ninh Binh City, from where you can proceed onwards to the Trang An Eco-tourism Complex.

5. Helpful tips

Trang An Ecotourism Area boasts an expansive landscape with a lengthy itinerary. When visiting during the dry season, particularly in the midday sun, remember to carry an umbrella, sunscreen, and a hat for protection against the elements. It's advisable to bring water and snacks as the boat trip extends for approximately 3 hours.
When kayaking in Trang An, ensure that you are in good health, capable of vigorous participation, and have no underlying conditions such as respiratory or cardiovascular diseases. Always wear a life jacket throughout the journey and essential protective gear: a wetsuit, towel, hat, gloves, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Choose appropriate clothing for kayaking on the river: water-resistant shoes, and sweat-absorbent clothing suitable for vigorous activity. Avoid bringing electronic devices, or prepare waterproof covers for protection.
During your exploration of Trang An, should you wish to pause for photography, a simple conversation with the boatman ensures convenient stops for capturing moments. Each boat is equipped with extra paddles, which you're welcome to use if you're interested in rowing.
With its hidden beauty, Trang An scenic landscape complex is hailed as a must-visit destination in Ninh Binh. The harmonious blend of limestone formations, waterways, lush forests, and the sky in Trang An creates a lively and enchanting natural world. This place is also a sanctuary preserving various ecosystems, including flooded forests, limestone mountain forests, archaeological sites, and remarkable cultural-historical relics. If you are still undecided about your travel destination and don't know where to go, don't miss out on the breathtaking Trang An Scenic Complex. To ensure a satisfying experience far beyond your expectations, please CONTACT AUTOUR ASIA, TRAVEL AGENCY VIETNAM now.


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