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:
- Holiday in North Vietnam (Part 1: Sapa)
- Holiday in North Vietnam (Part 2: Sapa)
- Holiday in North Vietnam (Part 3: Ha Long Bay)
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.
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.
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.
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.
We left the two temples for late lunch at Ben Trang An Restaurant…
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.
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.
It was fun and laughter for everyone throughout this 3-hour boating trip down Sao Khe River…
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)