Exploring Ninh Binh’s Amazing Trang An Landscape Complex within One Day

Trang An Landscape Complex, which is located in Ninh Binh, is charming for its majestic natural beauty, diverse system of limestone mountains, and beautiful caves and attracts many tourists in Vietnam and around the world.

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Located about 90 km southeast of Hanoi, on the southern edge of the Red River Delta, Trang An landscape complex was designated by UNESCO as a world cultural and natural heritage in June 2014. The place has a total area of 6,226 hectares and is made up of limestone ridges that were over 250 million years, mysterious caves, valleys, rivers, and dozens of historical sites.

Photo: Duong Tri
Photo: Duong Tri

With its incredible natural landscape, geology, geomorphology, biodiversity, culture, society, and history, Trang An is proudly considered as “Ha Long Bay on land” and the “Museum of Outdoor Geology.” This place also preserves many relics and vestiges of prehistoric people that used to live here over 5000 – 30000 years ago in ancient caves such as Bui caves, Trong caves, Trung Binh caves, etc.

The vestiges of dynasties, temples, and palaces bearing historical imprints in Trang An scenic complex are also preserved perfectly. Along with a diverse and rich ecosystem with many rare animal species recorded in the Red Book of Vietnam, this place attracts a lot of nature lovers and travel enthusiasts coming to explore and discover.

Photo: Duong Tri
Photo: Duong Tri

Nothing is better than sitting on the small boats floating on the clear blue water, rowed by the strong boatmen to experience the best moments and immerse yourself in the alluring scenery of Trang An.

Le Thi Thu Nhan, a tourist coming from Binh Dinh, said with admiration.

“I really enjoy my trip coming here, as it is very peaceful and ideal for many cool activities. Coming to this place, I feel like I get lost in a fairyland.”

The best time to visit Trang An scenic complex is from January to March, as the spring season here is quite beautiful with a cool, fresh atmosphere. Especially, during New Year’s time, this place has a lot of traditional activities, which bring great experiences to tourists coming here.

While sitting on the boat, you can see the different vantage points – from the water, from the shore, and even from within the mountains themselves. Fields fill many of them and the fertile grounds are perfect for agriculture and settlements.

How to get to Trang An Landscape Complex

Photo: Duong Tri
Photo: Duong Tri

Trang An at Ninh Binh is easy to get to from Hanoi. It takes about 2 or 3 hours from the Hanoi center to Trang An by car. A bus is another option with cheap prices. You can take a public bus from Hanoi at Giap Bat or My Dinh bus station; or the Open Bus like The Sinh tourist, getting to Ninh Binh at 10 – 11 pm. You will spend one night in Ninh Binh, then get to Trang An tomorrow morning.

From the Trang An wharf, visitors can take a boat ride to visit a complex of 51 grottos. There are sections that are submerged underwater, though, and this is claimed as the best way to explore the Trang An landscape complex. While it is possible to cycle, drive – or even walk – around the mountains, most people choose a Trang An boat tour to travel through some of the most scenic parts of the region.

How to visit Trang An Landscape Complex

Photo: Lu hanh Viet Nam
Photo: Lu hanh Viet Nam

There are a total of 3 sightseeing routes at Trang An Scenic Complex. Route number one leads to 3 spiritual sites and 9 caves, passing through Nau Ruou cave, Tran temple, Trinh temple, Phu Khong, etc. Route number two passes through 4 caves, including Lam cave, Vang cave, Thanh Truot cave, Dai cave, and 3 spiritual sites, such as Trinh temple, Suoi Tien temple, and Vu Lam palace. The largest route is the number three which passes through May cave, which is more than 1000 m long with a beautiful system of Stalactite stones.

Autumn is the most ideal time to visit Trang An Complex, as the morning mist clouds the large sky and the comfortable, fresh atmosphere helps people feel very relaxed. Tourists can stay overnight in Ninh Binh, so they will be able to take check-in pictures in the early morning in Trang An.

Photo: Duong Tri
Photo: Duong Tri

From Trang An, visitors can travel to other beautiful destinations in Ninh Binh such as Mua cave, Tam Coc Bich Dong, Bai Dinh temple, Van Long Lagoon, Cuc Phuong National Park, Hoa Lu ancient capital, etc.

You can find a lot of delicious traditional foods in Ninh Binh, but the most famous ones are Hoa Lu grilled goat meat, boiled mountain snails, Tong Truong perch sour soup, Nho Quan ant eggs sticky rice, Gia Vien shrimp paste, Nho Quan can wine, Banh Troi, etc.

Photo: Duong Tri
Photo: Duong Tri
Charlotte Pho