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Ninh BinhTravel Guide

Ninh Binh is located on Red river delta with geographical co-orrdinate from 19050' to 20027' at Northern latitude and from 105032' to 106033' at Eastern longitude. Ninh Binh shares the administative border with Ha Nam in the North, Nam Dinh in the East, the East Sea in the Southeast, Thanh Hoa in the West and Southwest, and Hoa Binh in the Northwest.

Area: 1392.4 km ²

Population: 898,459 people (01/04/2009)

Capital: Ninh Binh City

These districts:

- Town: Tam Diep

- District: Nho Quan, Gia Vien Hoa Lu, Yen Mo, Yen Khanh, Kim Son.

Ethnic groups: Kinh, Muong.

Ninh Binh History

Around 100km south of Hanoi, the province offers a world of opportunity to explore nature, culture and history.

Considered one of the original dia linh (sacred) lands, Ninh Binh has 975 notable sites, of which 80 have been dubbed national heritage sites, and throughout history it has given birth to great talent, including the likes of Dinh Tien Hoang, Duong Van Nga, Nguyen Minh Khong, Truong Han Sieu and Nguyen Cong Tru.

Such vast, unadulterated beauty couldn’t remain secret for long.

Slotted for upcoming development, the Trang An Grottoes Eco-tourism Complex consists of limestone mountain ranges, valleys and rivers which blend harmoniously together in a wash of green.

Located 4km southwest of the Hoa Lu old capital in Truong Yen Commune, the destination is made more alluring by the route there. Tourists can begin their visit at King Dinh Tien Hoang and King Le Dai Hanh temples before boarding a row boat down the Sao Khe river to Xuyen Thuy grotto, past rice fields and villages.

Upon reaching the complex, one encounters a system of caves, some of the more noteworthy being Ba Giot (Three Drops), Dia Linh (Holy Land) and May (Cloud). But for those with different interests, there are numerous historical relics related to architecture, economics and social and military history from the Dinh, Le and Ly dynasties.

The 200m-high Bai Dinh Pagoda Mountain , with its many caves and areas of worship, is part of the larger Trang An Grottoes eco-tourist complex and is slotted for serious improvements.

Ecologically and historically rich, much like the rest of the province, in 1997, the Bai Dinh Pagoda Mountain area was recognized as a cultural and historical heritage site.

A recently undertaken project for the 107ha area will involve the construction of a 100 tones bronze statue of the Great Buddha Sakyamuni, three bronze statues Tam The (50 tones each) and 500 statues of La Han (Arhats) made of Ninh Van stones.

Bai Dinh Pagoda will become the largest religious tourist centre in Viet Nam upon completion in 2010 to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of Hoa Lu-Thang Long-Hanoi capital.

Not far from Ninh Binh City is another must-see attraction: the caves of Tam Coc, the "Halong Bay on Land." A stunning set of three low-hanging caves along the muddy Ngo Dong river, Tam Coc lies at the southern entrance of the dramatic Karst mountain range.

Tam Coc literally means three grottoes, also called the Xuyen Thuy (or Water Tunnel-Caves), named the waterways which centuries of erosion have created.

"Our managing board puts serious focus on environmental protection and security," said Vu Thi Tuyet Nhung, a tour guide at the Tam Coc - Bich Dong tourist site. "So we send out three or four boats to pick up rubbish despite the great number of visitors and the shortage of boats."

"We also hold training courses annually for local rowers in order to raise awareness about tourism and improve service skills."

The truly adventurous can explore a more remote area by visiting the Van Long wetland conservation area, 15km north-west of Ninh Binh City. It is the largest wetland reserve in the north of Vietnam with an area of nearly 3,000ha, located in Gia Vien District.

It possesses rich fauna and flora including conifers, Tibetan bears and king cobras. There have been 457 species of plants and 39 species of mammals identified in the area. Eight and 12, respectively are listed in the Red Data Book of Vietnam. Even a few very rare Delacour langur (Trachypithecus Delacouri) live in the protected area. This species exists only in a very small area in northern Viet Nam. According to estimates, there are only 300 animals left today, of which about 40 live in Van Long.

Still mostly untouched by tourism, the area has a system of 32 caverns each with a distinct shape.

"Some regions have beautiful landscapes, others have great historical relics, but Ninh Binh has both: enchanting scenery and deep history," said rower Do Van Bien. "I’m proud of to be a local.

Ninh Binh has the pace of a large country town – a welcome respite if you’ve just escaped the bustle of Hanoi. Apart from the scrum of guesthouse owners greeting the trains, and the charming chorus of ‘Hello, how are you’ from the local children, you’ll largely be left alone as you wander the quiet streets.

The surrounding countryside is gorgeous, confirming all the postcard fantasies of what Vietnam has to offer – water buffalos, golden-green rice paddies, majestic limestone for­mations and more. There are plenty of sights in the vicinity to justify a stay of several days. The only place of interest in the town itself is a large modern east-meets-west Cathedral (Ð Hoang Hoa Tham) near the train station.

The best of backpacker culture can be experienced here. While not a difficult place to visit, Ninh Binh seems to attract interesting travellers with a zest for new experiences. It’s a great place to make travel buddies.

Ninh Binh Geography and Climate

Geography: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's topography is divided clearly into 3 parts: the mountainous area in the west and northwest; the delta and coastal area in the east and south. Ninh Binh has Day, Van Sang rivers, and Non Nuoc, Canh Dieu mountains. Annual average temperature is 23.4°C

Climate: Ninh Binh lies in the intertropical monsoon zone. There are four seasons, including spring, summer, autumn and winter. It is often cold in the winter because of the influence by coastal climate, forests and mountains with a relatively dry weather by early winter and wet weather in the second half of winter.

The mean annual temperature is about 23 oC with lowest temperature ranging from 13 oC to 15 oC in January and with highest temperature of 28.5 oC in July. The total hours of sunshine are more than 1,100 annually. Ninh Binh’s weather is determined by two monsoons. The winter monsoon lasts from November to March while the summer monsoon starts in May and ends in September

Landmarks

With over 1,400km2 of natural area, Ninh Binh has forests, sea and a diverse system of fauna and flora. Ninh Binh topography encompasses plains and the mountains of the Vietnam northwest mountain range. Ninh Binh also keeps a strategic position for military security and social development. Here, troops were usually rallied on their way to the north or south of Vietnam, creating famous victories in Vietnamese national history.

In Ninh Binh, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital (in Truong Yen Commune, Hoa Lu District now) was chosen as the first capital of Vietnam feudal centralism regime and the Dai Co Viet's political, economic and cultural centre with the name of Kings Dinh Tien Hoang, Le Dai Hanh and Ly Thai To in 10th century. In 1010, King Ly Thai To moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long (Hanoi now), opening a new era for Vietnamese people.

Ninh Binh owns beautiful Tam Coc, Bich Dong, Dich Long, Hoa Son, Tien caves, Van Trinh Grotto and other special landscapes following:

Cuc Phuong National Park is home of varies of strange flora and fauna. Especially it is enjoyable to touch the thousand-year-old cho xanh (parashrea stellata) and sau (Dracontomelum Duperranum or Dancorra Edulis) trees, 50-70m high. The park is also suitable to watch birds, butterflies and orchid flowers.

Phat Diem Cathedral is a solemn and interesting architectural complex, reflecting the skilful and excellent stone carving art of the Vietnamese workers.

Ninh Binh's people have created such famous and traditional products as Kim Son's fine arts, Hoa Lu's high-class embroidery, hanger products and rocky sculpture products for export, Gia Vien's rattan and bamboo knitting products, etc.

Ninh binh’s topography comprises three different types of landscapes: wetlands, coastal delta, hills and mountains. With such a variety of landscapes, Ninh Binh offers many tourist attactions as primitive rain forest, mountains, hills, river delta and the coastal delta. Furthermore, Ninh Binh is endowed with numerous historical relics dating back to the Dinh, Early Le, Ly and Tran dynasties from the 10th-13th century. Anually, Ninh Binh has many traditional festivals reflecting the cultural identites of Red river delta villages.

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