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Why Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is special ?
Hoa Lu ancient capital is 300 hectares width, including outside area and inside area, surrounded by a series of rocky arc mountains, spectacular scenery.
Outside area has 140 hectares width, belonging to Yen Thanh village, Truong Yen Commune. This is the main palace area with Dinh, Le Temple is the center and this is where Dinh Tien Hoang built the nation. Before the palace, there has Ma Yen Mountain.
Inside area belongs to Chi Phong Village, Truong Yen Commune which reared children and maids in the palace.
The South (to the south, opposite and connect with outside area) is surrounded by high mountains and is guarded the back, from here, it can quickly withdraw by the water.
What to explore at Hoa Lu Ancient Capital?
Along with these temples and pagodas, plenty of monuments, tombs, shrines worship many other famous people and Gods are attractive places as well.
The Imperial place lays under the ground for 3m and now become a very interesting place to visit. Tourists will have the chance to see the old items used by the royal family in ancient time. The fortress outside is built based on the natural advantages: the mountain provides good background, the deep valley is a basement, and the rivers supply water for people inside the fortress and would become traps to fight against enemy in any case. On the other hand, inside the fortress is marvelous scenery for photo-taking and sight-seeing. In addition, the ancient town of Hoa Lu can easily captures tourists by its unique aspects.
The last but not least element that impresses visitors to Hoa Lu is the Festival Truong Yen which is held in February and March (Lunar calendar) which includes a chain of events that regain the spirit of the ancients Emperors: the March of Water, the Ritual for Dinh and Le Emperors, the performance of the old times, the Battles of DinhTien Hoang when he was a child, Cheo and Tuong performances, and a beauty contest for Hoa Lu women. This Festival brings back the memories of the old times, and helps the young people to have chance to know more about the traditions of their ancestors.
How to get to Hoa Lu Ancient Capital?
You can easily get a day tour from Hanoi to visit Hoa Lu from most travel agents in Hanoi. Such a tour usually includes a boat ride at Tam Coc as well. The tour begins in the morning and ends at the early part of the afternoon. Hoa Lu is about 110km from Hanoi, and takes 2 hours to reach.
Ninh Binh, Viet Nam
Tips for you
Located in Ninh Binh province, about 110km from Hanoi. The daily shuttle bus of some local travel agency are available from Hanoi Old quarter to Tam Coc, the joint bus tickets is about 10US$/ person/ 1 way. From here, rent a motorbike (5US$/ per day with own fuel fill) for adventurous trip to Hoa Lu Temples easily or the must-see here. The entrance is not free, 1 US$/ adult, the children less than 1,3m is free! Beside the main temples, try to visit Nhat Tru (unique pillar) pagoda, it is quite interesting. There is a lot of traders (who are the old persons and children) try to sell or beg money, do not to donate or buy something, otherwise the other come by mass to do the same thing! Anyway, strongly recommend to visit this temple as it reflect a splendid ancient Vietnamese Kingdom.
Hoa Lu is NOT free to enter like several of the reviews state. I believe we paid 30,000 vnd to enter (so definitely not expensive). A lot of the reviews I read said this place was a waste of time but my friend and I found it very beautiful. We went at 9am and there wasn't really anyone else there... maybe two or three others over the two hours we were there just walking around. There isn't much information about the history of Hoa Lu there so I'd recommend doing a bit of reading before you go. It wasn't as big as I expected but it was very beautiful.