Best Things to Do in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is one of the first capital of Vietnam in the 10th century, attracting a number of tourists from all over the world. Visiting Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, you will have a chance to admire charming natural landscapes with cultural-historical values of precious monuments in this ancient land.

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

1. Historical Values of Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Far about 100km from Hanoi to the south, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is a national-level important cultural-historical relics. This is also the first capital of Vietnam with numerous historical landmarks. In 968, the King of Dai Co Viet (an old name of Vietnam) established his capital at Hoa Lu in 42 years (968-980) as a ruler. After that, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital also existed for 29 next years of the Early Le dynasty (980-1009) and the last year of the Ly dynasty (1009-1010). In 1010, Ly Dynasty transferred the capital to Thang Long (Hanoi now). Since then, Hoa Lu is known as the ancient capital.

2. Things to visit in Hoa Lu

Hoa Lu has many palaces, pagodas, tombs and pavilions that were built by different dynasties. Despite going through many centuries, Hoa Lu has been home to many beautiful sites to visit. Visiting here, you will have a chance to understand more about the history of Vietnam and can join many traditional cultural festivals. The ancient capital is a magnificent and majestic palace which is surrounded by rocky mountain, spectacular scenery and numerous calm lakes, which makes Hoa Lu’s picturesque landscape. Accompany Incredible Asia Journeys to find out the best things to do in Hoa Lu!

2.1. Dinh Tien Hoang Emperor Temple (King Dinh Temple)

King Dinh Temple

On the way to King Dinh Temple, you will see Ma Yen Mountain which looks like a saddle. You have to climb up 265 steps getting to the top of the mountain to see King Dinh Temple. 

King Dinh Temple is one best places to visit Ninh Binh with unique architectures in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, worshipping King Dinh Tien Hoang (King of Dai Co Viet Dynasty). Over the centuries, the temple has remained its stunning architectural works. It was built of grey stone and situated on the mountaintop. From here, you can also admire panoramic views of Hoa Lu Ancient Capital. The temple is divided into three shrines: the outer one is Ngo Mon Gate), the middle is called Thien Huong and the inner worship of King Dinh Tien Hoang. After Ngo Mon Gate, there is a stone bed of King with a pair of Nghe (a kind of mythical animal in the ancient time) standing on both sides.

2.2. Le Dai Hanh Emperor Temple (King Le Temple)

King le Temple is located at the foot of Ma Yen Mountain to the south. The temple has the similar architectural design with King Ding Temple, but smaller. It is also divided into 3 parts: front shrine, Thien Huong house and the sanctum worshipping Le King.

Festival in King Le Temple

2.3. One Pillar Pagoda in Ninh Binh (Nhat Tru Pagoda)

Nhat Tru (also known as One Pillar Pagoda) is an ancient pagoda from the 10th century, which is located in the Hoa Lu Complex. The pagoda also preserves many antiquities attached with the history of the ancient capital, especially the stone scripture pillar in front of the pagoda. The pillar was made of stone, has an octagonal body functioning as a prayer book and a stone lotus on the top. Today, Nhat Tru Pagoda is still a spiritual place of the locals and tourists. On January 15 annually, a worship ceremony takes place to pray for the peace of the nation.

Nhat Tru Pagoda

2.4. Tam Coc – Bich Dong (Three Grottos - Green Pearl Grotto)

From Hoa Lu, you can take a short distance to Tam Coc – Bich Dong, a harmonious architectural ensemble attracting tourists all over the world. Tourists to Tam Coc - Bich Dong will actually feel the stretching mountain views, stunning caves, and charming waterways of the rice paddies along the beautiful Ngo Dong River. Tam Coc - Bich Dong is beautiful around 4 seasons, each season has a unique beauty. Summer is considered the most beautiful season of the year with clouds and the green rice fields starting to turn into a sparkling yellow. Tam Coc – Bich Dong has become “a terrestrial Ha Long Bay” and a fascinating and attractive destination in Ninh Binh. Click here to see our Tam Coc Bich Dong Day Tour From Hanoi.

Along the Ngo Dong River

2.5. Annual Festival in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Hoa Lu Festival, the national cultural heritage in the northern Ninh Binh, is taken place on April 5, or the 9th day of the third lunar month of the year and lasts 3 days. During the festival, there will be many other cultural and sports activities, including a requiem, a temple gate-opening ceremony, and displays of colored lanterns and flower garlands, and performances of folk games. It will be an interesting experience for you if you travel to Hoa Lu this time.

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital Festival

Click on the link to see the best trips to visit Hoa Lu Ancient Capital and Ninh Binh: Hoa Lu - Hang Mua – Tam Coc Day TourHoa Lu - Trang An Full Day from HanoiNorth Vietnam 5 Days Group TourDiscover Hoa Lu Tam Coc & Halong Bay, Hoa Lu Tam Coc Day Trip.

3. What to eat in Ninh Binh

Hoa Lu attracts tourists not only by the beauty of the ancient citadel but also by its delicious dishes. Goat Meat is one of the dishes you should not miss by all means. The meat is fresh and delicious to be served with ginger, lemon, chili, citronella, and some other kinds of herbs and spices. This is a great dish and also very healthy. Another special food is Rice Crust which is made from cooked rice and a fried mixture of different spices including fried beef, pork, onion, dried mushrooms and tomatoes. It’s easy for you to find the places selling the rice crust throughout destinations of Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, Bai Dinh Pagoda or Tam Coc – Bich Dong.

Rice Crust in Ninh Binh

4. How to get to Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

4.1. By bus

You can take a bus to Ninh Binh from stations in Hanoi (it can be Giap Bat Station or My Dinh Station). There will be a bus to go to Ninh Binh every 30 minutes from 05.00 AM to 11.00 PM every day. It will take you about 2 hours to get to Hoa Lu. You must pay for your ticket from 100,000 VND to 200,000 VND per person. 

4.2. By car or motorbike

From Hanoi, you will go to Giai Phong St., turn to Phap Van – Cau Gie Highway, the moving to Ninh Binh Province. It will take you 90 minutes to get to Hoa Lu.

4.3.By train

You will go to Giap Bat Railway Station to take a train to Ninh Binh Railway Station. After that, you have to take a taxi to go to Hoa Lu.

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