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Holiday in North Vietnam (Part 4: Ninh Binh)

Our Holiday in North Vietnam (Hanoi, Sapa, Halong Bay and Ninh Binh), 6 – 12 October 2012

This blog is a continuation of my earlier blogs:

6. Day 5: 10 October 2012

Bye, bye Ha Long Bay…

We were on our way to Ninh Binh Province to visit the temples of King Dinh and King Le.



Born into a peasant family in Ninh Binh Province, Dinh Bo Linh became the leader of a revolt against twelve feudal lords. In 968, he ascended to the throne and took the name of King Dinh Tien Hoang. He unified the country under the name of Dai Co Viet and Hoa Lu was its capital for 41 years (968-1009). Dai Co Viet was the native land of 3 royal dynasties: Dinh, Le and Ly.

Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Dai Co Viet.

Le Hoan was an excellent general under King Dinh. After the death of King Dinh, Le Hoan received the support from the King’s wife and other military men took the throne as King Le Dai Hanh and fought courageously, protecting the country from the threat of invasion from the Chinese in the north.

When King Ly Thai To moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long (now Hanoi) in 1010, two temples were built to dedicate to King Dinh Tien Hoang and his successor King Le Dai Hanh. These two temples were first built in the 11th century and reconstructed in 1696.

Dinh Temple worships King Dinh Tien Hoang.

That’s me and Brenda.

Entering the Dinh Temple.

The Dinh Temple.

Dinh Temple was built in the shape of a Chinese character. Through the first entrance called Ngo Mon, there is a stone royal bed with Nghe (imaginary animals of the old times) standing on both sides.

Inside the temple is Khai Thanh in worship of Emperor Dinh’s parents. The temple consists of three parts: Bai Duong for the community, Thien Huong in honour of mandarins, and Chinh Cung where Dinh Tien Hoang’s statue is located. On his left is the statue of his eldest son Dinh Lien, and on his right are those of Dinh Hang Lang and Dinh Toan. On each side of the altar, there is one stone dragon similar to the ones placed near the royal bed.

The dragon yard at Dinh Temple.

What were all looking at?

The stone royal bed.

The Nghe standing on both sides of the royal bed.

I found an ancient rifle inside the temple.

Le Temple worships King Le Dai Hanh. It is almost the same as Dinh Temple in term of architectural design, except for some details. Le Temple also consists of three parts: Bai Duong used for the community, Thien Huong, in memory of the royal mandarins of King Le, and finally, the altar in memory of the King. The Le Hoan Statue is at the centre, on the left is the statue of Queen Duong Van Nga and on his right is that of Le Ngoa Trieu, his fifth son and the third King of the Pre Le Dynasty.

In front of Le Temple. Our tour guide, Dai Thang, telling the story of Le Temple.

We left the two temples for late lunch at Ben Trang An Restaurant…

Our tour guide, Dai Thang, demonstrated how to wrap a rice paper roll.

Next to the restaurant is the Trang An Wharf. From this wharf, tourists can take a boat ride to visit a complex of 50 grottos (caves). These caves are connected by water, creating a majestic landscape. On both side of the river, you will be able to experience the magnificent natural wonder of green mountains and blue water. Nature has endowed Ninh Binh with this Trang An ecotourism area surrounded by mountains of limestones, lakes, caves and a rich ecosystem with hundreds of different species.

The Trang An Wharf in Ninh Binh Province.

Next on our itinerary was a 3-hour boat ride down the Sao Khe River going through a part of the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex.

The fun was about to begin…

Richard and Chan in a team…

Juju and her team…

Janet and her singing team…

The competition begun… Click here to listen to Richard singing “爱拼才云赢(Ai Piah Cia Eh Yia)“.

Juju, what happens?

Magnificent mountain ranges and blue water everywhere…

Entering the first cave…

In the cave… watch your head!

Everyone enjoying the rowing… Click here to listen to Juju singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat“.

Another cave ahead…

The ceiling of the cave is very low.

Out of the second cave…

Total darkness in the third cave…

You can see wonderful stalactites in the cave…

The boat woman was very skillful to oar the boat through the cave making sure we do not hit our heads.

The boat woman was very skillful to oar the boat through the cave making sure we do not hit our heads.

The singing team presenting “阿里山的姑娘 (Ah Li San De Gu Niang)“.

The U-turn point…

Taking a break at this temple.

Richard and James practicing “She Xing Diao Shou”.

The boat women resting…

On our way back to the Wharf…

Tomy and her team finally appeared…

This singing team really sung their hearts out throughout the boat trip. Click here to listen to their last song “甜蜜蜜 (Tian Mi Mi)“.

A laugh is a smile that bursts…

It was fun and laughter for everyone throughout this 3-hour boating trip down Sao Khe River…

Trang An is indeed the “outdoor geological museum” or “Ha Long Bay on Land”.

We boarded our bus and headed for Hanoi…

I will stop here…

In my next and final blog about our holiday in North Vietnam, I will share with you about our fun in Hanoi: Holiday in North Vietnam (Part 5: Hanoi)

Categories: Photo Travel

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Charlie Heng

It's my wish to bring Peace and Smile to everyone who reads my blogs. I love all of you. In every thing, give thanks!

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