Situated on the Red River Delta, Ninh Binh separates the North and the Central Vietnam by Tam Diep Mountain Range. It is surrounded by Hoa Binh, Ha Nam provinces on the north, Nam Dinh Province on the east and Thanh Hoa on the west and the south.
Ninh Binh is wellknown with the highlights such as Hoa Lu, Tam Coc, Cuc Phuong National Park... ect
The mountains and sea combined to make Hoa Lu's picturesque landscape. Hoa Lu lays in a flat valley surrounded by the Trang An lime stone mountains, which form a natural wall protecting the old citadel. The city's northwest is bordered by the Hoang Long River, the tributaries of which run through the capital, cooling the weather within the city and serving as convenient waterways.
The Royal Court was built in an area of 150 hectares in the eastern part of the capital while the western part served as a site to educate and protect children.
As the capital of the country for 41 years, Hoa Lu has many palaces, pagodas, tombs and pavilions that were built by different dynasties. One of the most popular pieces of architecture is the Bao Thien Tue Palace, which was plated with gold and silver. However many vestiges have been destroyed due to time and weather.
When King Ly Thai To moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long (now Hanoi) in 1010, two temples were built to dedicate to King Dinh Tien Hoang and his successor Le Dai Hanh. These two temples were first built in the 11th century and reconstructed in 1696.
Coming to Hoa Lu visitors can attend traditional cultural festivals here, and the most important and largest of them is the Truong Yen Festival, which is held on the 10th day of the third lunar month. The festival is in memory of the Kings of the Dinh and Le dynasties. The festival lasts for three days with many traditional games and martial arts, reflecting local residents' legends.
Dinh Temple was built in the shape of a Chinese character. Through the first entrance called Ngo Mon, there is a stone royal bed with Nghe (imaginary animals of the old times) standing on both sides. Inside the temple is Khai Thanh in worship of Emperor Dinh's parents.
Dinh & Le Temples
The temple consists of three parts: Bai Duong for the community, Thien Huong in honour of mandarins, and Chinh Cung where Dinh Tien Hoang's statue is located. On his left is the statue of his eldest son Dinh Lien, and on his right are those of Dinh Hang Lang and Dinh Toan. On each side of the altar, there is one stone dragon similar to the ones placed near the royal bed.
Le Temple is almost the same as Dinh Temple in term of architectural design, except for some details. Le Temple also consists of three parts: Bai Duong used for the community, Thien Huong, in memory of the royal mandarins of King Le, and finally, the altar in memory of the King. The Le Hoan Statue is at the centre, on the left is the statue of Queen Duong Van Nga and on his right is that of Le Ngoa Trieu, his fifth son and the third King of the Pre Le Dynasty.
Cuc Phuong National Park
The best time to visit Cuc Phuong National Park is during the dry season, from December to April, when the hard forest rain accounting for 90% of the annual rainfall is over. The park is conveniently located on the route to several tourist attractions, including Bich Dong Pagoda, Hoa Lu, and Sam Son Beach. It was officially opened in 1960 as the first national park in Vietnam.
There are plenty of plants and mammals living in the park. There are an estimated 2,000 different species of flora and the 450 species fauna account for 38% of the national fauna. The vegetation cover is classified into three types. The flora is quite a treasure with a wide variety of 1,944 species, 908 gen-USes and 229 families. Especially it is enjoyable to touch the thousandyearold cho xanh (parashrea stellata) and sau (Dracontomelum Duperranum or Dancorra Edulis) trees, 5070m high. This natural reserve is covered with 2,000 species of plants. Especially orchid flowers are abundant with 50 species, some of which blossom and have aroma all