We last went boating at the Tam Coc Bich Dong, or the Three Caves – a beautiful river retreat surrounded by beautiful limestone hills. Where to next? 🙂
Situated just nearby is another popular tourist attraction – the ancient capital of Hoa Lu.
Located in Ninh Binh province, Hoa Lu used to be the capital of ancient Vietnam in the 10th to 11th centuries. Most of the old citadel no longer exists, except for two surviving temples. The place under the Trang An Landscape Complex was declared a heritage site by UNESCO .
Buildings, On the way to Hoa Lu.
Entrance with its gray facade, arches and curving roof.
A crystal clear river flowed through a bridge right in front of the complex entrance. Couple that with beautiful green hills and blue skies, and you have one of the most picturesque places you will ever see.
Inside the pavilion, it was a short walk to the King Dinh Tien Hoang temple. We saw a farmer herding some water buffalo on the pavement.
King Dinh was the ruler of Hoa Lu from its founding, until it was passed to King Le before the fall of the capital. Back then, Vietnam was part of China and with Hoa Lu, King Dinh managed to establish a truly independent monarchy after centuries of Chinese rule. It is no surprise then that the Vietnamese revere his figure and worship him in a temple.
PS: Vietnam is a communist country, therefore they do not have a ‘religion’ per se. Temples are built in honour of historical figures or revered people than for religious purposes.
Interior of temple with a mausoleum area.
It was a short visit, before we hopped onto our bus and headed back to Hanoi. Stopped by for some cold, Vietnamese coffee at a roadside stall. The coffee was black but sweet and frothy on top. No wonder Vietnam is famous for this beverage! 🙂