The Capital view from above

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is located in Ninh Binh provice, the land has both marvelous mountains and seas with the development of many attractive tourist areas.

Hoa Lu ancient capital, perhaps, makes the province more attractive because it creates the cultural identity of the area and help people understand more about the cultural, architectural and sculptural values associated with the legend about the foundation of Dai Co Viet ( an old name of Viet Nam country).

This place is worth visiting for anyone who wants to explore and learn new things

Let us introduce you special things about Hoa Lu ancient citadel in NinhBinh

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital Introduction

Have a look at:

a bridge come to ancient capital


Hoa Lu was the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries. It’s located in Truong Yen commune, Hoa Lu district, NinhBinh Province, Vietnam. The area is approximately 90 km south of Hanoi. Together with Phat Diem Cathedral, Tam Coc – Bich Dong, Bai Dinh Temple, Trang An, and Cuc Phuong, Hoa Lu Imperial city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in NinhBinh Province.


Hoa Lu capital was chosen to be the first capital of Dai Co Vietduring the period of 3 dynasties of Kings Ding, Le and Ly. Since the King Ly Thai To moved it to Thang Long (Ha Noi today) Hoa Lu became an ancient capital which maintained many ancient temples and relic sites

Nowadays, Hoa Lu ancient capital became a very important architectural and historical complex of Viet Nam. It was recognized as one of the 4 cores forming of the UNESSCO World Heritage Site- Trang An.

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital Ninh Binh

What to visit in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Main tourist attraction for foreigners

King Dinh temple (worship the King Dinh Tien Hoang)

King Dinh Temple is one of the unique architectures in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, worshipping King Dinh Tien Hoang (King of Dai Co Viet Dynasty).

The unique architecture applied to build the temple of King Dinh was the art of wood and stone carving which was made by almost Vietnamese folk artists in the 17th century. The temple offers an ancient and sediment beauty and makes us feel how the city was a millennium ago.

King Dinh Temple

King Dinh temple lies at the foot of Ma Yen mountain, You have to climb up 265 steps getting to the top of the mountain to see King Dinh Temple. From there, you can take a panoramic view of Hoa Lu Imperial city

The temple is divided into three shrines: the outer one is Ngo Mon Gate, the middle is called Thien Huong and the inner one worships King Dinh Tien Hoang

Legend has it that Dinh Bo Linh (DinhTien Hoang’s first name) took his troop to clear away twelve independent feudal warlords

King Le temple

Festival in Dinh Le Temple

Not far from the temples of King Dinh is King Le Temple, worshiping King Le Dai Hanh. King Le temple lies at the foot of Ma Yen mountain to the south.

The temple has the similar architectural design with King Ding Temple, but smaller. It is also divided into 3 parts: front shrine, Thien Huong house and the sanctum worshipping Le King.

Both King Dinh and Le temple are symbols for Vietnamese people’s reverence and gratitude to the two kings who offered sacrifices in the 10th century

Hoa Lu Ancient – Ninh Binh

Ma Yen mountain

The height of Ma Yen mountain is about 200m. People called it Ma Yen, because it looks like a saddles.

This mountain is associated with the legend of Dinh Bo Linh who chose this mountainous region to build the capital.

Ma Yen Mountain in Ninh Binh

When the king passed away, the people buried his body on top of the mountain. Also at the foot of Ma Yen mountain to the souththere is also the tomb of King Le Dai Hanh

If standing on the top of Ma Yen, you can see the panorama of ancient capital of Hoa Lu.

Nhat Tru pagoda

Inside Nhat Tru Pagoda

Nhat Tru Pagoda, also known as One Pillar Pagoda, is an ancient temple from the 10th century in the special preserved area of Hoa Lu ancient relic (Ninh Binh).The pagoda owns a national treasure of the stone pillar carved with Buddhist scriptures. This Pagoda is the place of many unique festivals.

Nhat Tru Pagoda – One Pillar Pagoda

Best time to visit Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Visiting Hoa Lu doesn’t force you to have to determine the time. However in a recommendation of Vietnamese people, spring is usually considered as the most beautiful time in to drop by Hoa Lu Ninh Binh because there will be many stunning festivals after Lunar Tet holiday.

This time is suited for anyone who wants to participate in and experience busy atmospheres, crowds in the festivals. Oppositely if you like a peaceful space, you should visit Hoa Lu Ninh Binh on the other days of the year.

Festivals in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

How to get to Hoa Lu ancient capital Ninh Binh

From Hanoi to Hoa Lu ancient capital

There are two ways highly recommended to travel to Hoa Lu ancient capital from Hanoi city

  • By train: The price of train tickets from Hanoi to Ninh Binh varies from 90.000 VND – to more than 200.000 VND depending on each train and type of seat you choose. Be note that you should not buy a train ticket departing too late (after 8:00 am). This may affect your schedule.
  • By shuttle bus from Hanoi: It’s very easy and convenient for you to find any Travel Agency in Hanoi, the old quarter to buy your own tickets. They will pick you up in the early morning at your hotel in Hanoi center and drop you off at about 7:00pm in Hanoi everyday

>>> You may like to see a Ninh Binh Package Tour Included Hoa Lu Ancient Capital Combine other most interesting destinations

What to eat in Hoa Lu ancient capital

Besides the historical sites, unique landscapes in Hoa Lu Ninh Binh, this attraction is famous for some cuisines attracting tourists from other countries in the world. Here below are special cuisines:

  • Cooked and fired rice: is a famous specialty in Ninh Binh. The rice is crispy, light yellow color, served with special sauce that makes it tasty
  • Goat dish (mountain goats): Not only is it delicious but the dish is extremely nutritious and good for health.
  • Snail dishes (snails living on the mountains): They are crispy and cooked in various ways: steamed with ginger, stir-fried snails, mixed salad …

>>> Read more: TOP 15 Must Try Food in Ninh Binh for Foodies

best local food which you must try when you travel to ninh binh

Tips for your trip in Hoa Lu ancient capital

Hoa Lu Ninh Binh is a spiritual tourist destination, so when you come here:

  • You need to wear your clothes politely.
  • Keep gently while visiting king Dinh- Le temple
  • Must follow the guidance of management of Hoa Luor tour guide
  • No littering
  • If travel by yourself, see the map of Hoa Lu tourist complex first

In Hoa Lu ancient capital, you don’t just spend your time on learning about the historical site of Ninh Binh. Should you come and visit nearby attractions like Tam Coc, Mua Cave, Trang An, Thung Nham bird garden, Cuc Phuong national park…they are all must – to do things in Ninh Binh.

In this guideline, we only show you about one of the most outstanding places in Ninh Binh. If you are planning your trip in Ninh Binh Viet Nam, it’s important for you to read more about all Things To Do in Ninh Binh article.

Or please feel free to contact us with further questions, we are leading in organizing the best short trips in Ninh Binh, Hanoi, Ha Long which means your service quality that you expect is guaranteed.

Don’t hesitate anymore, call us or What’sapp : +84974805797 or send an email to : info@hanoiexploretravel.com

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital review on Tripadvisor

“Very interesting very beautiful. Must see! Although some of it is going under construction, it is an amazing place to visit” – Noa Ella

History alive:
“We were so fortunate to have a guide who is interested and knowledgeable about this attraction. The story is at the heart of the larger Vietnamese story. These are ‘hero’ temples and quite different from buddhist temples. What remains of these temples and the original capital of Vietnam is well preserved. Definitely worth a trip” – Kenneth S

Especially when you arrive in Ninh Binh to visit Hoa Lu ancient capital never miss your chance to take a stroll around for other famous attractions like Tam Coc – Bich Dong, You can read more from our Ninh Binh Tours to know more about the itinerary…

Hoa Lu Citadel – Ninh Binh

To enrich your knowledge and take a lookout of ancient architectures of Viet Nam dynasties, Hoa Lu ancient capital is definitely worth it to visit when you come to Ninh Binh.

From Hoa Lu Ancient Capital you can visit more palce in Ninh Binh such as Tam Coc – Bich Dong. To visit 1 more Pagoda and Explore Tam Coc Boat Tour. It will bring to you a differnt local experience when you travel to Ninh Binh

Also you must read more this article. It show you all travel guide from Transportation, Entrance Fee Ticket, what to eat near and around Hoa Lu Ancient Capital. That’s all useful information you need to know before you go

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