Being known as Ha Long Bay within the land, Trang An Landscape Complex is a spectacular view dominated by towering limestone karsts covered with tropical plants and conjoint by emerald rice fields and sapphire rivers. This natural wonder is Vietnam’s only Mixed Cultural and Natural Heritage Site, recognised by UNESCO in 2014.

Trang An Landscape Complex

Trang An Landscape Complex

Location
Trang An is located near the southern border of the fertile Red River Delta, in the province of Ninh Binh. Tourists can take a bus from Hanoi, in My Dinh or Yen Nghia bus station and travel 90 km southwest. The departure time can be varied within the day, from very early morning to late night, so there is plenty of time options for travellers. For those who enjoy open air and more flexible day trip, a motorbike is also a recommended transportation. Riding from Hanoi, it would take about two hours to get to Trang An. The road can be long, but visitors are kept refreshed by the captivating changes of scenery, from bustling cities to peaceful countryside, from village of houses to inhabited karst mountains and unspoilt lakes and rivers. The price for renting a motorbike is 120,000 VND a day. Upon entering Trang An, tourists are called for a halt at the entrance gate, where each passenger must be charged 150,000 VND per person for entrance fee. The fee also includes a 2.5 hour of boat ride on the rivers, in which four passengers will be guided by an experienced local boat rider.

What to see in Trang An

Spectacular river in Trang An

Spectacular river in Tràng An

Boats lining up on the river of Trang An Landscape

Boats lining up on the river of Trang An Landscape

The whole complex of Trang An covers an area of 6,172 ha, surrounded by a buffer zone of 6,268 ha. A Mixed Cultural and Natural Scenic Complex, Trang An consists of three distinct areas: the historical and cultural area of Hoa Lu Ancient Citadel, the scenic area of Trang An – Tam Coc – Bich Dong and the specially-used primary forest of Hoa Lu.

Karst tower
The towering karst mountains in Trang An can match Ha Long’s for their grandiose and awe-inspiring sight. In ancient time, this place used to be an imperial city of Vietnam under the Dinh Dynasty. According to feng shui masters, some of the limestone shapes resemble the mythical swords and mighty power of the king and his nation – a reason for king Dinh Bo Linh to move his capital to Hoa Lu (Trang An). Some of the karst towers collapses within itself and creates such mysterious caves inside, which are accessible for visitors by river boat.

Hoa Lu - Tam Coc in Ninh Binh

Hoa Lu – Tam Coc in Ninh Binh

Tropical forest and rivers
Immense rain forest, plant and moss cover the landscape, blending with the vast paddy fields below. Rivers cross rivers and rice fields, wrapping themselves around the base of the majestic karst towers. The river system in Trang An is very diverse with the north bordered by Hoang Long river, the east by the Chanh river, the south by the He river and the west by Ben Dang river. Some of the rivers unite in the center of the heritage site, becoming a convenient travelling path for tourists.

Relic sites
Trang An is also the land of spirituality and the home for several historic pagodas and temples. The ancient temples and pagodas rest solemnly upon the karst tower’s top or on one of its side, hiding among dark green woods. This is the reason why Trang An is most crowded in the first month of the Lunar year, when domestic tourists often visit the pagoda to pray for a new year full of fortune.

Bai Dinh pagoda from above

Bai Dinh pagoda from above

When to visit Trang An
Due to its location near Hanoi, Trang An can be quite crowed in holidays, vacations or festival time. However, coming in normal week days, you can have this whole picturesque landscape all for yourself. Embraced in a moist, hot and windy climate pattern, Trang An has developed a system of moss-covered karst peaks and humid hill paths. Due to the need to for easy climbing activities and water boat travel, this destination often has its tour operated in dry season. However, do not let the inconvenience of a trip under rainy weather get into you, for Trang An only appears at its most vivid and lively beauty in the rainy season. Tropical rain paints the immense forests in a fantastic color and the water often becomes so clear it turns to a vibrant hue.