Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Historical Hoa Lu Vietnam Ancient Kingdom Capital


There are many historical and beautiful nature to visit outside of Hanoi, Vietnam. However, it is not accessible by public transportation thus, you need to join a local tour group. As I had limited travel days in Hanoi, Vietnam, I decided to join one day local tour to Hoa Lu Tam Coc which takes between two to three hours drive from Hanoi city. 

In this one day tour package, we explored Hoa Lu (a historical capital in Vietnam between 10th and 11th centuries) and Tam Coc (an untouched beauty of the famous "Halong Bay in the ricefields" which is surrounded by caves and mountains). Both of these famous attraction sites are located in Ninh Binh Province.

In this first part of my post, I will share some beautiful and interesting pictures which are taken at Hoa Lu capital It is the first attraction site to visit at Ninh Binh Province before heading to lunch. If you are a fan of the Korean variety show called Running Man, you should remember that the Running Man team participated in one of the activities at this marvelous Hoa Lu capital in Vietnam.

Hoa Lu is situated in Ninh Binh province in the Red River Delta region of Vietnam. Hoa Lu was a popular capital during the Dinh, Le and Ly dynasties between the 10th and 11th centuries. The kingdom capital was enclosed by a citadel which provided a good defense for this kingdom against the Chinese.  

To know more about Vietnam tours, this is a recommended and reliable local tour agency that I registered for my trips: http://goasiatravel.com/

** In my upcoming post, I will share some photos and information about Tam Coc in Ninh Binh.**



The front (top) and rear (bottom) views of the main Gateway to King Ðinh Tiên Hoàng Temple at Hoa Lu capital in Vietnam
The front (top) and rear (bottom) views of the main Gateway to King Ðinh Tiên Hoàng Temple at Hoa Lu capital in Vietnam


Ly Cong Uan memorial at Hoa Lu Capital in Vietnam
Ly Cong Uan memorial at Hoa Lu Capital in Vietnam


A panorama of Ly Cong Uan memorial at Hoa Lu capital in Vietnam
A panorama of Ly Cong Uan memorial at Hoa Lu capital in Vietnam


The unique characteristics architecture design at Hoa Lu (the old capital in the 10th & 11th centuries) in Vietnam
The unique characteristics architecture design at Hoa Lu (the old capital in the 10th & 11th centuries) in Vietnam


The main entrance of Đinh Tiên Hoàng at Hoa Lu capital in Vietnam
The main entrance of Đinh Tiên Hoàng at Hoa Lu capital in Vietnam


The surrounding view of King Le Temple at Hoa Lu capital in Vietnam
The surrounding view of King Le Temple at Hoa Lu capital in Vietnam


Chinese Gods statues at the temple of Ðinh Tiên Hoàng at Hoa Lu in Vietnam
Chinese Gods statues at the temple of Ðinh Tiên Hoàng at Hoa Lu in Vietnam


Half-moon Lake in King Đinh Temple at Hoa Lu capital in Vietnam
Half-moon Lake in King Đinh Temple at Hoa Lu capital in Vietnam


A well maintained of the unique structure nearby the lake at King Dinh Lake Temple at Hoa Lu Capital in Vietnam
A well maintained of the unique structure nearby the lake at King Dinh Lake Temple at Hoa Lu Capital in Vietnam


Unique design structure around King Dinh Temple at Hoa Lu capital in Vietnam
Unique design structure around King Dinh Temple at Hoa Lu capital in Vietnam


Greenary paddy field can be seen around Hou Lu capital in Vietnam
Greenary paddy field can be seen around Hou Lu capital in Vietnam


The unique historical Chinese building structure around Hoa Lu capital in Vietnam
The unique historical Chinese building structure around Hoa Lu capital in Vietnam

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Halong Bay & Thien Cung Cave (cruise tour) in Hanoi, Vietnam


When you plan a visit to Hanoi in Vietnam, do not forget to include Halong Bay (or also known as Ha Long Bay) which is the major tourist attraction and must to visit in your itinerary. Ha long Bay is situated in northern Vietnam, 170 km (105 mi) east of Hanoi. 

"Ha Long" means "Bay of Descending Dragons" (Chinese: 下龍灣; Xiàlóngwān,Haa4 Lung4 Waan1) is recognized as one of the unique  UNESCO World Heritage Site attractions as it is famous for its scenic ocean topography. 

Since Halong Bay is located quite a distant from Hanoi city, it is easier to join local tour to Halong Bay. The whole journey takes about 4 hours ride through two lane streets from Hanoi city to Halong Bay or vice versa. There are different kinds of tour packages to Halong Bay which depend on your budget. You can choose to do with one day tour to Halong Bay or staying between 2 days or 3 days on cruise ship at Halong Bay.   

There are many local tour agencies offering Halong Bay packages but there is a cruise company by the name of Alova Cruises.com which ensures the satisfied quality at comfort level by maintaining a small group boarding on Alova Cruise at Halong Bay. I did a lot research and even read the reviews as well. At the end, I booked with Alova Cruises.com through the local tour company called Go Asia Travel.com since I also booked the other tours from Go Asia Travel.com as well. I noticed the Alova Cruise ships were newer and had maintained ships better than other cruise ships that I had seen along Ha long Bay during my trip there.

You would be surprised how strict regulations that the Vietnam Government has regulated to all cruise companies at Halong Bay as it is the most visited tourist attraction site in Vietnam. All visitors are strictly to put on life jackets while riding on the boats. Even, the number of passengers on boats and cruise ships are strictly controlled from being fined by the authorities. There was a forecast weather reported about the storm at night during my trip at Halong Bay thus, all the tourists weren't allowed to stay overnight on the cruise ship. My initial tour was booked as 2 days 1 night with Alova Gold Cruise but in the end, it became a day tour at Halong Bay. The tour company was very reliable and refunded our money for overnight stay at the end of the tour.

It is hectic to take a day tour to Halong Bay since the journey from Hanoi to Halong Bay takes about 4 hours ride thus, it is highly recommended to join 2 days or 3 days trip to Halong Bay in order to enjoy fully the breathtaking view there. It was a day tour instead of 2 days at Halong Bay as we weren't allowed to stay overnight on the cruise ships due to unexpected storm arrival thus, we only visited the beauty with natural formation of limestone cave which is known as Thien Cung Grotto (or also known as Heavenly Cave). 

Thien Cung Grotto is one of the main itineraries to visit if you join one day tour trip at Halong Bay. The limestone cave covers about 3,000 square meters in the cave, has begun formation since 700,000 years ago. Thien Cung Grotto is overly crowded with visitors every day to enjoy looking at stalactites and stalagmites. 

To learn more about the tour package and make the reservation with Alova Cruises.com directly, you can visit this link:   http://alovacruises.com/

Otherwise, you can make tour reservation to Halong Bay and other tours in Vietnam with the local tour agent, Go Asia Travel.com at this link: http://goasiatravel.com/



Halong Bay Wharf Ferry Terminal in Hanoi, Vietnam
Halong Bay Wharf Ferry Terminal in Hanoi, Vietnam


The popular and standard cruise route around Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
The popular and standard cruise route around Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


Getting on the small boat from Halong Bay Wharf Ferry Terminal before heading on to bigger cruise at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
Getting on the small boat from Halong Bay Wharf Ferry Terminal before heading on to bigger cruise ship at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


Looking over Halong Bay from top deck of Alova Cruise along Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
Looking over Halong Bay from top deck of Alova Cruise along Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


A panorama of Halong Bay view in Hanoi, Vietnam
A panorama of Halong Bay view in Hanoi, Vietnam


Getting down at the dock of Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
Getting down at the dock of Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


Walking up the flight of stairs to Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
Walking up the flight of stairs to Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


Colourful lights shining the limestone at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
Colourful lights shining the limestone at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


A close up of limestone at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
A close up of limestone at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


The formation of the stalactites and stalagmites can be seen towards the hole of the grotto at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
The formation of the stalactites and stalagmites can be seen towards the hole of the grotto at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


The water, wind and rock formation of stalactites and stalagmites at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
The water, wind and rock formation of stalactites and stalagmites at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


Blue lights flashing on the limestones through the stalactites and stalagmite at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
Blue lights flashing on the limestones through the stalactites and stalagmite at Thien Cung Grotto at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


A very large crowd of visitors at Thien Cung Grotto which can be seen from the top of the grotto as we were heading out of the exit hole at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
A very large crowd of visitors at Thien Cung Grotto which can be seen from the top of the grotto as we were heading out of the exit hole at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


A panorama of Halong Bay from Thien Cung Grotto in Hanoi, Vietnam
A panorama of Halong Bay from Thien Cung Grotto in Hanoi, Vietnam


A lookalike dog rock statue at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
A lookalike dog rock statue at Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


Cruise ships along scenary Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam
Cruise ships along scenary Halong Bay in Hanoi, Vietnam


Sailing back to Halong Bay Ferry Terminal during sunset in Hanoi, Vietnam
Sailing back to Halong Bay Ferry Terminal during sunset in Hanoi, Vietnam

Friday, January 3, 2014

Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam


If you love and admire at unique architecture or interested to learn about other culture then, you should visit Tran Quoc Pagoda which is also known as Chùa Trấn Quốc. Tran Quoc Pagoda is situated on an island between the two most romantic lakes of Hanoi namely, West Lake and Truc Bach Lake.

Tran Quoc Pagoda was began to build on the bank of Red River in 541 and completed in 545 under the reign of King Ly Nam Dee (544-548). At that time, Tran Quoc Pagoda was known as Khai Quoc (National Founder). Then, Khai Quoc was moved to Kim Ngu (Golden Fish) Islet and was renamed as Tran Quoc Pagoda (National Defence) in the early 17th century, under the reign of King Le Kinh Tong (1600-1618).

Tran Quoc Pagoda is one of the most famous attraction and must to visit in Hanoi city as it is the oldest pagoda which is famous known for the cultural symbol of Vietnamese Buddhism in Hanoi city. You will be mesmerized with the amazing skills and technology used to build the pagoda in early generations.

Tran Quoc Pagoda is not situated right in the middle of busy downtown of Hanoi hence, you need to get there by a taxi (cab). A single journey might take you about 10-15 minutes, depending on the road traffic. Otherwise, you can join the local tour  which includes the trip to Tran Quoc Pagoda.

Tran Quoc Pagoda opens daily with free admission to the public. However, it closes between 11am to 1pm for lunch hours. It is advisable for all visitors to wear decent clothing, by wearing long trousers and covering the shoulder before visiting the government offices, temples and pagodas in Vietnam. 


Crossing the bridge to Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam
Crossing the bridge to Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam


Heading to the oldest pagoda of Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam
Heading to the oldest pagoda of Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam


It's so close seeing the oldest pagoda as I walked toward Budhhist temple at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam
It's so close seeing the oldest pagoda as I walked toward Budhhist temple at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam


Buddhist temple with burning incense and worship statues is situated behind the oldest pagoda at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam
Buddhist temple with burning incense and worship statues is situated behind the oldest pagoda at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam


The side view of Buddhist red temple with Lotus lanterns at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnami, Vietnam
The side view of Buddhist red temple with Lotus lanterns at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam


Worship Buddhist Statues at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam
Worship Buddhist Statues at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam


Enjoying the lake view and lotus lamp stand at the oldest pagoda of Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam
Enjoying the lake view and lotus lamp stand at the oldest pagoda of Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam


It's calming and breezing as I walked along the corridor from Buddhist temple and heading to the oldest pagoda at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam
It's calming and breezing as I walked along the corridor from Buddhist temple and heading to the oldest pagoda at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam


This stupa is built on 11 floors with a height of 15m at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam
This stupa is built on 11 floors with a height of 15m at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam


A statue of Amitabha made of gemstone can be seen on every level of stupa with its vaulted window on the pagoda at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam
A statue of Amitabha made of gemstone can be seen on every level of stupa with its vaulted window on the pagoda at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam

50-year-old Bodhi tree gifted by former Indian President in 1959 explains “The lotus represent Buddha while the Bodhi is a symbol of supreme knowledge” at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam
50-year-old Bodhi tree gifted by former Indian President in 1959 explains “The lotus represent Buddha while the Bodhi is a symbol of supreme knowledge” at Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam


My Older Post:


  • Temple of Literature, Confucius Temple (Văn Miếu) in Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Museum of Ethnology (Vietnamese Ethnic Groups) in Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Hoa Lo Prison (Maison Centrale) in Hanoi, Vietnam
  • One Pillar Pagoda (Lotus) Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Historical Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Hoan Kiem Lake & Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Beautiful Hanoi, Vietnam