Hoa Lu Ancient Capital in Ninh Binh: Vietnam Travel Guide

Hoa Lư Ancient Capital in Ninh Binh Province is one of the most popular destinations for history and culture exploration in Northen Vietnam. This is not only a valuable relic site but also a remarkable tourist attraction, offering tourists the chance to appreciate both stunning historical scenery and unique architectural values of a bygone era. Read the article for insightful advice and tips on how to explore this breathtaking location in Ninh Binh.

  • Location: Truong Yen Commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam
  • Entrance Fee: 20,000 VND / Ticket
  • Opening Hours: 7:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

History of Hoa Lu Ancient Capital in Ninh Binh Vietnam:

Being the first capital of Vietnam, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is now very famous for its rich architectural and historical landmarks. In 968, King Dinh Bo Linh of Dai Co Viet (the ancient name of Vietnam) constructed his capital in Hoa Lu and ruled the country until 980.

Afterward, Hoa Lu also endured for almost 31 years through the First Le dynasty (980–1009) and the Ly dynasty (1009 - 1010). In 1010, King Ly Thai To decided to move the capital to Thang Long (Ha Noi nowaday), and Hoa Lu became an old capital with many preserved historic temples and relic locations in Vietnam.

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital Vietnam

The Best Highlights on Hoa Lu Ancient Capital Map?

  • Temple of King Dinh Tien Hoang:

King Dinh Tien Hoang Temple is a unique architecture in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital. Located at the foot of Ma Yen Mountain, King Dinh Temple was a great work of wood and stone carving created by Vietnamese artists in the 17th century. This temple offers an ethereal, timeless beauty that transports us to a millennium-old version of the city.

The complex consists of three shrines: the inner one honors King Dinh Tien Hoang, the middle shrine is called Thien Huong, and the outer shrine is Ngo Mon Gate.

  • Temple of King Le Dai Hanh:

Not far from the Dinh Temple, King Le Dai Hanh Temple was built in the 17th century and included three parts: the front shrine, Thien Huong House, and the Sanctum to worship King Le. In comparison to King Dinh Temple, this temple is smaller and shares the same architectural style.

In front of the main temple are the altar and a giant drum. At the back, there are beautiful images of King Le Dai Hanh, his wife, and his unpopular son - King Le Long Dinh.

  • Nhat Tru Ancient Pagoda:

Nhat Tru (also known as One Pillar Pagoda) is a place of spiritual activities and an indispensable part of the Hoa Lu Ancient Citadel. Constructed in the 10th century, this pagoda preserves various antiquities attached to the history of the former imperial capital.

Covering an area of over 3,000 square meters, this pillar was erected in the Dinh architectural style with five front halls, three upper halls, and a south-facing tiled roof. The front hall was made of wood and decorated with stylized lotus blossoms and twisted foliage from the Nguyen dynasty. The upper hall adopted the truss structure design with regular pillars and corners carved with dragons and swords in the style of the Le Dynasty.

  • Four Sacred Temples of Hoa Lu:

Being the capital of the first fundamental dynasty of Vietnam, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, the cultural center of Ninh Binh, has witnessed many important historical events.

Hoa Lu is famous for its four sacred temples which are built to worship the Gods of the four directions, including Quy Minh Temple in the South, Nguyen Temple in the North, Thien Ton Temple in the East and Cao Son Temple in the West. It is highly suggested to visit those temples and offer incense to commemorate the merits of the gods as well as experience the spiritual life of the locals.

  • Am Tien Cave:

Am Tien Cave, or Tuyet Tinh Coc in Hoa Lu, is not only an imposing natural landscape but also a cultural site with long-lasting values. This is a great combination of lakes, mountains, and temples. No one can deny its charming appearance.

Coming here, you can marvel at the harmonious blend of limestone mountains, a tranquil lake and the diverse ecosystem. Ao Giai Lake is the highlight of this whole site, thanks to its crystal-clear water reflecting the contemplation of the surrounding mountains. Coming here, you can take in the clean air, enjoy the scent of nature, and hear the sounds of life.

When is the Best Time to visit Hoa Lu Ancient Capital?

In fact, you do not need to choose an ideal time to visit Hoa Lu. Each time you visit this location, you will learn something new. But, Vietnamese locals claim that spring is the best time to travel to Hoa Lu since there will be a lot of wonderful festivals taking place after the Lunar Tet holiday.

During the festival months, you can participate in the bustling atmosphere, try traditional foods, and enjoy exciting cultural activities with local people. Otherwise, if you like the peace of Hoa Lu, you can visit it in the remaining months.

How to Get to Hoa Lu Ancient Capital in Ninh Binh?

Hue to Ninh Binh: If you stay in Hue and would like to travel to Hoa Lu, you can take public bus or train from Hue Train Station to Ninh Binh city. Then you can take motorbike or taxi from there to visit Hoa Lu Ancient Capital.

Hanoi to Ninh Binh: Starting from Hanoi, it will take about 2 hours to travel around 110 kilometers to Hoa Lu. You have plenty of transportation options, including taking a bus, train, or car from Hanoi to Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh.

  • By Bus: You can easily find the Ha Noi - Ninh Binh bus route among many bus operators at the Giap Bat or My Dinh Bus Station in Ha Noi. The ticket price is affordable, ranging from 100,000 VND to 150,000 VND per person. Every day from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., there is a bus that runs every 30 minutes.
  • By Car or Motorbike: Departing from Giai Phong Street, you should head to Phap Van - Cau Gie Highway and go straight. Then, you can follow the signposts along the roads until arriving in Ninh Binh Province. Once you have reached Ninh Binh, you can quickly get to Hoa Lu Ancient Capital of Vietnam.
  • By Train: The price of train tickets from Ha Noi Train Station to Ninh Binh varies from 90,000 VND to 200,000 VND, depending on the type of train and seat. Remember to buy your train tickets before the departure time. The train will stop at Ninh Binh Train Station and you will have to pick up a taxi or rent a motorbike to get to Hoa Lu.

Adventure Journey

Recommended Tours to Visit:

  1. Hoa Lu Temple and Tam Coc Daily Group Tours from Hanoi
  2. Hoa Lu - Trang An - Mua Cave Daily Group Tour from Hanoi
  3. Hoa Lu - Tam Coc - Mua Cave: Daily Group Tour from Hanoi
  4. Hoa Lu Temple and Trang An: Private Day Tour from Hanoi

See Also:

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital in Ninh Binh: Vietnam Travel Guide Hoa Lu Ancient Capital in Ninh Binh: Vietnam Travel Guide
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