Mua Cave in Ninh Binh: Hike to the Great Wall of Vietnam

Mua Cave: Ninh Binh is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Vietnam thanks to its wide range of cultural and natural heritages. Among these heritages, Mua Caves (Hang Múa in Vietnamese) or Dancing Cave stands out for its elegant natural beauty, because of which Mua Cave has been regarded as “The Great Wall of Vietnam” or “Tam Coc’s Muse”. This is also considered the most beautiful viewpoint in Ninh Binh, Vietnam. To reach the top we need to climb 486 stone steps is not easy, but it is worth it after you conquer it, you will hike to the Top of Mua Cave and immerse yourself in the beautiful scenery from Viewpoint.

Mua Cave Ninh Binh

  • Location: Khe Dau Ha village, Ninh Xuan commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province
  • Opening Hours: 6.00 am - 7.00 pm (can vary in Vietnamese National holidays)
  • Contact Number: 0229 3619 679
  • Entrance Fee: VND 100.000/ ticket

1. History of the Mua Cave in Ninh Binh:

When referring to Ninh Binh in general and Mua Cave specifically, one thing popping up in the Vietnamese’s minds is that it was once the Capital of Vietnam. Therefore, various Ninh Binh’s destinations may once be restricted for the Royal Family only.

Mua Cave Viewpoint

Legend has it that: during the Vietnam-Mongolia war I, the Royal Family Tran moved from Thang Long (Vietnam’s Capital at that time, now is Hanoi) to Ninh Binh and Mua Cave was chosen as an entertaining place. When the King needed some entertainment, a number of beautiful dancers were supposed to come there and dance. This is the way Mua Cave got its name, which as mentioned above, literally means Dancing Cave.

2. What Things to See & Best Activities to Do in the Mua Cave:

  • Enjoy Stunning View From Mua Caves

As mentioned above, one of the reasons why the Mua Cave complex is a must-try for visitors is its pristine nature. At the very first look, Mua Cave takes people’s breath away by its “green” nature. In the middle of this Complex (which is mostly covered by numerous shade trees, providing people a relaxing atmosphere as well as resting places) lays an artificial pond. The pond has an ancient beauty, which is not only a decoration but also an “air conditioner” for this place.

Mua Cave

After finishing to roam around the complex, you may wonder that you have seen all the most beautiful sides of “Tam Coc’s Muse”. However, only when you reach the Mua mountain’s top can the whole beauty of this destination be observed. Standing on the top of Mua Mountain is an enormous statue of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, whose view is directly toward Mua Cave Complex.

This Buddhist Goddess’ situation has the meaning that the whole Mua Cave Complex is put under her divine protection. Also by looking from this mountain’s top, people can get all the magnificent sides of this area into their eyes: the golden rice paddies, the serene rivers with small boats floating, the pristine nature…., all these scenery are so wonderful that if someone have to describe, he or she would definitely refer to them as various priceless ancient artworks.

  • Hike to “Check-in” Tower:

After climbing to the top of the mountain, turn right if you want a stunning place for checking in (of course you can have a check-in in mostly every place of this destination; however, interestingly, there stands a tower which is (funnily) called the “Check-in Tower”).

This tower’s architecture was made in Buddhist style, which is ubiquitous in countries where Buddhism is popular (such as India, Thailand, Laos,…). The tower’s bottom has the square shape, which represents the Land, the round top reflects the Water, the pointed parts are the symbol of Fire and the roofs over each tower’s floor remind people of the Wind’s power.

On this small tower’s walls carved the image of Nghê, one of the Dragon’s nine sons. Nghê’s appearance takes inspiration from the dog as well as the lion and can be considered as Vietnam’s “local” spirited animal. Different from China”Lân”, which is often the war power’s representation, Nghê is regarded as a peaceful spirited animal, of which the main duty is to protect people or important places.

As this check-in tower is a famous tourist attraction, you will have to line up if you want to have a check-in photo. However, if you do not want to waste time, you can wait until the complex is about to close and most tourists have gone. At that time, you will not have to wait for so long to have a check-in photo.

  • “Hunting” Sunrise and Sunset at Mua Cave:

In part 2. right above, if you turn right after climbing to the mountain’s top, you will reach the Check-in Tower. Then if you turn left, you will reach a perfect destination for observing Mua Cave’s Sunrise and sunset. This “sun observing” point is situated near the highest dragon and has no artificial stone steps, so “sunrise or sunset hunters” will have to stand on some natural ledges. As hunting sunrise and sunset are the two famous activities for Mua Cave’s travellers, there will be a large number of people being there to observe the sun. As a result,  you have to be as careful as possible so that you will not fall.

Though this experience, in some way, may be regarded as quite dangerous, the sunrise and sunset’s beauty here are so “fresh” and pristine that hordes of people just come to Mua Cave to observe them. (Honestly, there is no other word that better describes Mua Cave’s beauty than “pristine”, so, in this blog, this word may be repeated a lot of times.)

3. How to Get to Mua Cave in Ninh Binh Province?

Distance of Mua Cave is about 100 kilometers away from Hanoi Capital City, it is estimated to take people roughly 2 hours to get to Mua Cave if Hanoi is the setting off point. Overall, there are 2 main ways to get there: by coach and by motorbike.

  • By coach: the most convenient and most highly recommended way. Travellers can easily get on a coach to Ninh Binh at My Dinh or Giap Bat Station. However, the coach will only take you to the inner city. From the inner city, tourists will have to take a taxi to Mua Cave. It will take you about 70.000 VND (~$3) for the coach.
  • By motorbike: If you are a backpacker who wants to thoroughly enjoy the natural beauty of the way from Hanoi to Ninh Binh, motorbike is definitely a perfect means of transport that you can take advantage of. Though this means of transport is merely suitable for people having enough health, it will  allow you to enjoy the experience in your very own way. From Hanoi’s inner city, travellers can go on the Old National Highway 1A to Ha Nam, then continue to go to Ninh Binh. After reaching Ninh Binh, you can go on Road 491C to Khe Dau Ha Village, in which the Dancing Cave is located.

On the way to Mua Cave, you will have the opportunity to fully delight in the charming but sacred nature complex such as Trang An, Tam Coc, Bich Dong Cave and Pagoda,…, all of which are famous tourist attractions of Ninh Binh. If you are not in a hurry, visiting these places before going to Mua Cave would not be a bad idea. It will undeniably help you discover the whole fascinating beauty of Ninh Binh.

4. Best Time to Travel to Mua Cave:

The best time to visit Mua Cave in Ninh Binh is from mid-April to early June, as this wil be the rice harvest season of Locals and weater is better with warm temperature. In April the rice fields are quite green and from the end of May to the beginning of June they turn yellow as they mature. But you can also visit Mua Cave Scenic Area all year round and it is always impressive, but try to avoid September because there may be typhoons climate.

5. Travel Tips for Visiting Mua Cave:

After leaving Mua Cave, roaming around the surrounding area to enjoy Vietnamese countryside atmosphere with its special “scent” and scenery is definitely not a bad opinion!

As Mua Cave Complex is a mountainous area, sometimes you will have to go through some dangerous paths with jagged rocks or some really slippery ones. Therefore, flip flops are not recommended as they can result in damages for travellers (or damages for your beloved phone!)

As you will have to climb to the Mua Mountain’s top in order to fully observe this complex’s beauty, sport shoes and clothes would be highly suggested. Moreover, remember to bring water in case you become tired after the “climbing challenge”.

If you visit Mua Cave soon in the morning or late in the afternoon, you can both prevent yourself from being stuck in a crowd of tourists and be able to enjoy the pristine sunrise or sunset scene.

The entrance fee includes a parking fee, so you can go with your means of transport until reaching the complex’s gate. You should not park them before reaching the gate as it will not only waste you money but also take you time to walk to the complex’s gate.

Adventure Journey

Recommended Tours to Visit:

  1. Mua Cave - Hoa Lu - Trang An Daily Group Tour from Hanoi
  2. Mua Cave - Hoa Lu - Tam Coc: Daily Group Tour from Hanoi

See Also:

Mua Cave in Ninh Binh: Hike to the Great Wall of Vietnam Mua Cave in Ninh Binh: Hike to the Great Wall of Vietnam

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