Interesting experiences to discover everything in Trang An within 1 day
Trang An is an ecotourism area located in the World Heritage Site of Trang An in Ninh Binh province. This is not only one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the North of Vietnam, but it is also the chosen place in blockbuster movies such as "Sword of the Assassin" or "Kong: Skull Island".
What is the best time to come to Trang An?
The period from January to April is the best time to visit Trang An, when the weather is cool, not too hot or too cold with less rain, very suitable to take a boat and enjoy the scenery of Trang An. At the same time, it’s also the festive season here, so you can visit and participate in various activities, sightsee and pray in pagodas.
Beautiful natural scenery in Trang An. Photo: disantrangan.vn
If you want to participate in the traditional festival of Hoa Lu ancient capital (Truong Yen festival/Co Lau festival), you should travel on March 8-10th of lunar calendar (April in solar calendar).
In June, the weather is a bit hot, but the sky is pure blue with less rain, very suitable for sightseeing and admiring the beauty of the lotus. From July to September, it’s the rice season in Trang An, making it an ideal place for those who want to admire the golden rice fields.
The rice season in Trang An. Photo: triip.me
In November and December, the frequent rain will prevent you from exploring this place.
Places to visit in Trang An
It is noted that you have to buy entrance tickets to discover Trang An: the admission fee for adults is VND 200,000/person while for children under 1.4m, it is VND 100,000/person (2020). This ticket includes the service to take a boat going along Sao Khe River. Each boat can accommodate about 4-5 people, and the itinerary will take about 3-4 hours.
Explore relics of Trang An - Ninh Binh. Photo: pinterest.com
It is said that Trang An has many relics associated with historical events of the Dinh Dynasty. When King Dinh Tien Hoang was murdered, his son Dinh Toan became Emperor at the age of 6. As the Emperor was still too young, Queen Duong Van Nga (on behalf of Dinh Toan) immediately abdicated the throne to General Le Hoan. During this time, Dinh Cong and some of the imperial officials disobeyed the new Emperor, so they fought against Le Hoan. After eliminating all rivals, Le Hoan officially ascended to the throne, founded the Tien Le Dynasty and ruled Dai Co Viet for 24 years.
The historical relic of Trinh Temple is the place of worship for two Generals in the Dinh dynasties - Ta Thanh Tru and Huu Thanh Tru - whose responsibility was to oversee the king's gold store. Trinh Temple was the place where the two hid the little king Dinh Toan to avoid the chase of Le Hoan. After that, they committed suicide in this area when learning that the throne was ceded to Le Hoan. The people were so sorry that they constructed a temple on the side of the mountain to commemorate the two men.
Trinh temple in Trang An - The sacred temple. Photo: dulichhoangnguyen.com
Trinh Temple is located at the foot of the mountain and was built according to a good feng shui - the back leans on a mountain while the front faces a river. It is said that this temple was constructed over 1,000 years ago, and it is very sacred in Ninh Binh. Through the ups and downs of history and the erosion of time, Trinh Temple has been restored to be more spacious than it was before.
The name Phu Khong originated from the place where Dinh Cong was imprisoned as he did not support Le Hoan.
There is a giant “thi” tree (Binomial nomenclature: diospyros decandra) in front of Phu Khong. On its roots, there is an altar of 7 loyal officials of the dynasty. They were responsible for burying King Dinh Tien Hoang, but then commited suicide to keep the burial place secret. Dinh Cong, therefore, established an altar here and planted the tree. The tree still exists and has 2 types of fruit: round and flat ones.
Phu Khong is located on a narrow stretch of land with its back resting against the Khong cave; on the right is a steep rocky mountain range, and in front of it is a vast valley of water. This is where Dinh Cong was imprisoned as he did not support Le Hoan. When the armies against Le Hoan lost, Dinh Cong committed suicide, the people then built temples right where he was imprisoned.
Dia Linh cave
This is the first destination in the journey departing from Sao Khe boat station. With a length of 260 meters and many magical stalactites, you will feel lost in the mysterious “treasure trove”. This is also the reason for its other name “Treasure Cave”. When leaving the cave entrance, visitors can admire the “charming picture” of clouds, sky, mountains and rivers.
Dia Linh Cave is as poetic as a water-ink painting. Photo: vietnamdecouverte.com
Wine Cave. Photo: mytour
Inside the cave, there is a 10m-deep underground water system. It is said that in the past, the people came here to get water to make wine as a tribute to the king. Sitting on the boat, you can see your “magical” reflection on the clear blue water here.
Ba Giot Cave
Ba Giot cave has many stalactites with gorgeous colors, but they are not as dry as those in Dia Linh cave. Instead, they are wet and constantly changing into new and unique shapes. There is also a kind of “But" (Vietnamese name) tree that grows back from the ceiling of the cave.
Ba Giot Cave is associated with the legend of love. Photo: foox.vn
Sinh, Si and Ba Giot Cave are associated with a sad love story. In the past, there was a young man who deeply loved the princess, but when he brought his wedding presents to Sinh cave, he received the news that she had been sent to the neighboring country. He immediately went to Ba Giot Cave to have a bath and committed suicide in Si cave. It is said that those who pass through Ba Giot cave and receive three drops of water from the stalactites in the palm of their hand will be lucky in life and happy in love.
Enjoying Trang An cuisine
Scorched rice: this is a specialty of Ninh Binh. The burnt rice will be cooked in a cast iron pot so that the scorched layer will be evenly golden; then press and dry the rice before frying and enjoy with a sweet deep sauce from the viscera and goat meat. Coming to Ninh Binh, remember to bite a piece of crispy burnt rice and enjoy it with some attractive soft sauce.
Mountain goat meat: this is a typical dish of Ninh Binh. The goat meat is firm, low in fat and has a good taste as they are raised on the mountain, which will be even more delicious when eaten with typical mountain vegetables, Kim Son wine, Nho Quan Can wine and scorched rice.
Specialty goat meat in Trang An Ninh Binh. Photo: ruou9chum.com
Mountain snail: This snail only lives in rock caves from April to August. The meat of mountain snails is tough, crunchy, sweet, fragrant with Chinese herbs when it is made into dishes such as grilled snail, snail stir-fried with tamarind, snail steamed with ginger, snail boiled with lemongrass, snails mixed with onion salad and so on. They are all very attractive and appealing to the taste of diners.
Tong Truong perch: This fish was discovered near the flooded cave area of Tong Truong Yen - which is the world heritage site Trang An today. Tong Truong perch has solid, golden, fragrant meat and can be processed into many dishes such as roasted, fried, stewed fish or sour soup.
Tong Truong perch is delicious. Photo: baomoi.com
Vermicelli with eel: The eel of the ancient capital land has an outstanding taste. It is also processed based on a unique recipe to ensure its fragrant, sweet and non-fishy taste. The broth is made from carefully stewed eel bones, so diners will experience the rich taste.
Notices when coming to Trang An
- Discovering everything in Trang An Complex can take a whole day, so you should prepare a hat/sunscreen or an umbrella/raincoat, depending on the weather conditions.
- Bring some water as the whole tour is quite long.
- Always carry a spare power bank and make sure that your means of communication/camera are full of battery before your trip. At each attraction, tell the boat driver if you want to stop to take pictures.
Wild natural beauty in Trang An. Photo: thanhnien.vn
How to travel to Trang An?
Trang An is about 100km south of Hanoi, so the transportation is very convenient. You can have many travel options such as coach, train or private transports.
Coach: You can catch a coach to Ninh Binh from Hanoi at My Dinh or Giap Bat station, or those with the routes of Thanh Hoa, Vinh, Ha Tinh, etc., which frequently run through Ninh Binh city. The ticket price ranges from VND 70,000 - 100,000/person/turn.
Train: From Hanoi, you can easily find trains: SE1 train (19:30) to Ninh Binh at 9:46, SE3 train (22:00) to Ninh Binh at 00:10, train SE5 (9:00) to Ninh Binh at 11:21, SE7 train (06h00) to Ninh Binh at 08h22, etc.
Personal vehicle is also not a bad idea for traveling to Trang An:
Car: From Hanoi, follow the highway Phap Van - Cau Gie - Ninh Binh with a distance of about 90km in about 1 hour to go to the center of Ninh Binh city.
Motorbike: From Hanoi, follow the direction of Van Dien - Thuong Tin, then go straight to National Highway 1A to reach Ninh Binh city in about 2.5 - 3 hours.
Guidance to find hotels and homestay
Chezbeo homestay (Kha Luong village, Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh): there is beautiful natural scenery here surrounded by lotus fields and majestic mountainous scenery with the rate for a double room at VND 360,000/night.
Nguyen Shack: The homestay is constructed from bamboo and rattan walls. The rate for a double room is VND 560,000/night with free services such as tea, coffee, boats and bicycles.
Ninh Binh Valley Homestay (Ninh Thuan commune, Hoa Lu): The homestay is designed in the form of a cottage, surrounded by a wide and poetic lake, with the rate from VND 550,000/night.
Many tourists choose to stay at a homestay when visiting Trang An. Photo: luxstay.com
Bai Dinh Hotel (Bai Dinh Pagoda, Gia Sinh Commune, Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh, Vietnam): is a 3-star quality hotel with affordable prices ranging from $40 - 98/night. Due to its convenient location, it’s very easy to move to Trang An and other famous tourist destinations such as Tam Coc - Bich Dong and Bai Dinh Pagoda.
Queen Hotel Ninh Binh (No. 20, Hoang Hoa Tham Street, Ninh Binh City Center, Ninh Binh, Vietnam) with very reasonable prices in the range of $27 - 50/night. You can easily visit Rong market and Ngoc My Nhan mountain or go to the bustling Ninh Binh city.
Ninh Binh has a lot of hotels for tourists. Photo: Agoda
The Vissai Hotel (No. 848, Tran Hung Dao Street, Ninh Binh City Center, Ninh Binh, Vietnam) has a convenient location - right in the center of Ninh Binh city. The hotel offers many kinds of rates for you to choose from $40 - 97/night.
Trang An has the typical poetic and peaceful beauty of rivers and mountains of Ninh Binh. Coming here, visitors not only can enjoy the beautiful nature as the water-ink painting, but also understand more about the culture - a part of the history of the ancient capital.