I have just spent the time to this awesome natural landscape last summer and obtained lots of fantastic photos and memories. Trang An is located in Ninh Binh province, north of Vietnam. Trang An is also called as Halong Bay on land. The best time to travel in Trang An is January to March because it has perfect weather, not too hot or too cold.
In order to go to Trang An, you can catch buses from Hanoi to Ninh Binh that takes you 2 hours to Trang An. Here is the list of magnificent places to visit:
Trang An landscape complex
There are 2 tours that available for you to pick in Trang An. Last time I chose the tour named “Kong island” that you can visit the places that include that “Kong Island” – where Kong: Skull Island movie took place. The ticket for every person is around $10. To visit Trang An, you have to go by the small boat with max 4-5 peoples/boat. It takes you 3 hours to boat around Trang An complex. Next, you will probably be visiting 6 to 9 caves, temples, and “Kong Island”. Note: It is easier for you to take a boat if you do not wear dress:). Bring a hat, sunblock, water.
The boat will take you go inside some caves and temples to explore. Some caves are dark and dangerous. Moreover, the caves were very low as the water level was high after all the flooding so that was a bit scary. Especially, your head should be low if you do not want to hit the ceiling of the caves:). The boatman will also drop you at the temples where you can get down to get some photos and then hop back the boat again.
I really like Kong: Skull Island movie, so I feel excited when I can see the scenery of the films in “real life”. We can view the demo of the ship, aboriginal community that you can take a photo with “native people” – they played a role as native people in Kong movie.
The view from Mua cave
In order to walk to the top of Mua cave to enjoy the fantastic view, you need to walk 500 steps. Because the weather is hot and sunny, I recommend you walk around 3-4:00 PM. The worthy reward you receive at the top of the cave is a wonderful view from Mua cave to Tam Coc – one of another beautiful landscape in Ninh Binh. From that view, the scene looks like a painting. Note: Do not wear flip flops – wear a trekking or hiking shoes instead.
Bai Dinh temple
It is considered the largest complex of Buddhist temples in Vietnam and has become a popular site for Buddhist pilgrimages from across Vietnam. It takes you 2 hours to reach the crucial part of the complex: Tam The Temple. I feel so hot…so tired…but…at the top of the temple, you can capture the whole view of Bai Dinh:).
The local food here is so good that you should order is “Dê núi” means goat meat and “Gà đồi” means chicken meat. You can try them with a local wine and fried rice. They are so delicious:)
A large swathe of land in Ninh Binh province is characterized by stony outcrops not unlike those at Ha Long Bay, though a bit smaller in size and of course without the water—lakes and rivers aside. If you’re there at the right time of the year, when the paddies are full of water, the reflections make the landscape almost as beautiful as Ha Long Bay.
Hoa Lu is the ancient capital of the Dinh and Le dynasties which dates back to the 11th century. Serene and tranquil, it is set in beautiful surroundings beside to Truong Yen village and is easily visited on a day trip from Ninh Binh. However, as beautiful as the surroundings may be, the remains themselves are really non-existent, with the only buildings of interest being some temples which have been built on the old sites. Those still standing include the Dinh Tien Huang, the royal temple which houses a statue of Emperor Dinh Bo Linh and his sons, and the royal temple of the early Le Dynasty.
At Bich Dong, there’s a series of pagodas and a fascinating collection of caves farther up the outcrop. Some of these caves were used by the Viet Minh to hide from the French during the First Indochina War. The caves are full of stalactites that have been carved into Buddhist images, as well as stalactites that are hollow upon which tunes can be played.
We’d done our research on the new Bai Dinh Pagoda before heading there to check it out, and ‘new’ and ‘big’ seemed the most dominant adjectives being used, so we weren’t expecting much. However, we were pleasantly surprised: yes, it is new, and therefore lacking historical interest, and there is no denying it’s big — the biggest pagoda complex in Vietnam — but a visit is one of those fascinating Asian experiences that leaves you with memories just as strong as amazing scenery or an ancient temple.
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