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Ninh Binh travel guide – Part 2

4. Where should you go when coming to Ninh Binh?

  • Tam Coc

Tam Coc, which means “three caves”, consists of Ca cave, Hai and Ba caves. All three caves are created by the Ngo Dong River that pierces through the mountain. Coming to Tam Coc, you can row on Ngo Dong river in between the mountain cliffs, discover mysterious caves, see the lovely golden rice fields … all create a “fairy place” to make visitors fall in love with the landscape.

  • Bich Dong

Bich Dong is located 2 km away from Tam Coc harbor, meaning “Emerald cave”, the name was given by chancellor Nguyen Nghiem, father of the great poet Nguyen Du, in 1773. This is one of the landmarks in the group contemporary people called “The most heavenly cave under the South man’s sky”, specifically Bich Dong was named “The second most heavenly cave of the South”. Bich Dong consists of a dry cave lying on the middle of the mountain and a water cave penetrating the mountain (called Xuyen Thuy Dong). In front of the cave is a branch of Ngo Dong river winding on the mountainside, across the river lies a paddy field.

 

  • Trang An 

Trang An is a UNESCO-recognized world cultural and natural heritage site. With pristine and charming natural scenery created by rivers running across limestone mountains, intermingled with fanciful, mystic caves. Just like Tam Coc – Bich Dong, coming to Trang An, you will have the opportunity to drift the boat through the mountains, witness the beauty of nature, and explore the famous caves here: Bright Cave, Dark Cave, etc. Especially, if visiting Trang An in the autumn, you will be able to admire the water lily blooming on the water, making the space even more poetic and romantic.

 

  • Múa cave:

When you come to Mua Cave, you will be able to challenge your resilience and adaptabilty when climbing 486 stone stairs up the mountain, and from the top of the mountain you can admire the beauty of Tam Coc area with immense, vivid rice fields.

  • The Shooting location of the blockbuster “Kong – Skull Island” – “Aboriginal Village” at the heart of the World Heritage

After just over a month after the movie was premiered in theaters, on April 15, 2017, the Trang An Scenic Area Management Board officially opened this film studio to serve tourists, with the highlight being a village restored to its almost original primitive form. In particular, more than 50 actors who played the role of Indigenous people in the film have been invited to come and disguise to reproduce the lively image, creating a special spotlight for the set. This definitely intrigues visitors as everyone wants to witness these “Hollywood primitive people”; and many of them also want to become the photographer Mason Weaver in the film to be immersed in nature and the adventures here.

  • Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda is a spiritual landscape located in the Bai Dinh – Trang An eco-tourism complex with a history of more than 1000 years attributed to the land of many feudal dynasties from the Dinh, Tien Le to the Ly Dynasty.
There have been 8 Vietnam and Asia records recognized at Bai Dinh Pagoda such as The largest bronze bell in Vietnam, the highest and heaviest Buddha statue in Asia, Tam The statues – the largest gilded bronze statues in Vietnam, the largest bronze Buddha statue in Southeast Asia, etc.
The pagoda is undoubtedly a masterpiece resting on the mountain, making anyone come here overwhelmed!

5. Which dishes should you definitely try when coming to Ninh Binh?
 

  • Mountain goat: The meat of Ninh Binh’s mountain goats is characterized by its firmness, the low level of fat and its aromatic taste due to their growing on mountain cliffs, and eating medicinal leaves. There are nearly 20 different ways to process goat meat such as stir-fry or grill, etc
     
  • Mountain snail: This famous snail species is usually found on the limestone mountains of Tam Diep, Yen Mo, Nho Quan, and Hoa Lu during the rainy season, which is around April to August when the weather is humid. Snails often eat wild grass on the mountain which includes precious medicinal plants. Snail meat is tough, crunchy, sweet, fragrant with herbs and very nutritious.
     
  • Kim Son salmon salad: Enjoy this specialty salad and you will forever remember the aroma of the sticky rice, the sour taste of vinegar blended with the spicy warm taste of ginger and chili.
  • Scorched rice: A rural dish that shows the human’s dexterity, has been kept in many generations for hundreds of years. It has become a specialty of the ancient capital and one of the famous delicacies of Ninh Binh.

 

6.What gifts can you buy for family and friends?
 

  • Yen Mac fermented pork  

This special dish, whether eaten immediately or not, can be removed from the wrapping leaves without getting soggy or lumpy. When eaten with the leaves of guava, fig leaves, and herbs, dipped in lemon fish sauce with crushed garlic, chili, and pepper, the dish will give you the feeling of its sweetness, spiciness, and fragrance spreading throughout the body.
 

  • Kim Son Wine 

Ranked in the top 10 delicious wine specialties of Vietnam, this wine is distilled from glutinous rice, medicinal herbs yeast and processed with Kim Son locals’ secret recipe. Wine is sold in most restaurants and shops in Ninh Binh, however, you should go to Kim Son district to enjoy the true essence of this wine

 

7. Notes for tourists to have a happy and safe trip

  • Trang An eco-tourism area is very large and the trip is often times quite long, so if you go in the dry season, you should bring an umbrella or a hat and sunscreen while sitting on the boat as well as some simple items like a thin coat in case you enter a low-temperature cave. If you go in the rainy season, a raincoat is essential for you to not be bothered
  • When sitting on boat to travel through caves, visitors should pay attention to the instructions of the boatman to avoid hitting the rocks in the cave or sinking the boat and causing accident; You are required to wear a life jacket and follow the regulations of the administering unit.
  • You should wear shoes with soft, flat soles or sports shoes to facilitate climbing and walking. Also, you should not wear clothes that are too thin or too short when visiting temples and pagodas.
  • You should ask carefully the price before eating or buying souvenirs or using any service in Trang An to avoid getting ripped off
    .

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