Hoa Lu Ninh Binh – Photos and Travel guides

by Ly Hoang

Hoa Lư was the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries. It was established in 938 AD by Emperor Đinh Tiên Hoàng, who founded the Đinh Dynasty. Later, it became the capital again under the Lý Dynasty from 1010 to 1225. Hoa Lư was strategically located in Ninh Bình Province, which provided natural defenses with limestone karsts and rivers.

The historical significance of Hoa Lư lies in its role as the political, economic, and cultural center of Vietnam during that period. It was a time of consolidation and expansion for the Vietnamese state, with notable victories against Chinese invasions.

Today, Hoa Lư is a popular tourist destination, known for its ancient temples, pagodas, and picturesque landscapes. Visitors can explore the ruins of the ancient capital, including the Dinh and Le Temples, which are dedicated to Emperor Đinh Tiên Hoàng and Emperor Lê Đại Hành, respectively. The area also offers scenic boat tours through the Tràng An landscape complex, showcasing the region’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Hoa Lu Ninh Binh - Gate
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh – Gate

Where is Hoa Lu ?

Location of this historical site:

  • The ancient capital of Hoa Lu is actually located within Trường Yên Thượng village, Hoa Lư District, Ninh Bình Province, Vietnam.
  • This area is about 90 kilometers south of Hanoi, nestled amongst rice fields and limestone mountains.

Hoa Lu ancient capital entrance fee & opening hours

The entrance fee for the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is 20,000 VND / person 

The opening hours of the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital are 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily. This timeframe applies throughout the year, so you can plan your visit at your convenience.

Hoa Lu Ninh Binh - Peaceful place
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh – Gate
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh-Dinh Tien Hoang Temple
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh – The beauty of ancient place

The best time to visit Hoa Lu ancient capital

The “best” time to visit Hoa Lu largely depends on your preferences and priorities. Here’s a breakdown of the different seasons and what they offer:

Spring (February – April): Pleasant weather with comfortable temperatures, vibrant landscapes as rice paddies turn emerald green, chance to witness traditional festivals after Tet holiday. But It can be crowded, especially during festivals, occasional light showers.

Summer (May – July): You can see lush green scenery, and have opportunity to witness the stunning rice harvest season in late May, fewer crowds compared to spring. But it would be hot and humid weather, occasional heavy rain showers.

Autumn (August – October): Autumn has pleasant weather with comfortable temperatures, fewer crowds, clear skies ideal for photography. However, rice paddies have turned brown, some activities like swimming in Tam Coc might be less enjoyable due to lower water levels.

Winter (November – January): This time is lowest crowds, dry season with minimal rain, unique atmosphere with mist over the mountains. But the temperatures would be cooler, some activities like boat tours might be unavailable due to water levels.


  • Perfume Pagoda Festival (mid-February to mid-March): A major Buddhist festival held at the nearby Perfume Pagoda, offering a unique cultural experience.
  • King Dinh Tien Hoang Temple Festival (March 10th lunar  calendar): Celebrates the founder of the Dai Viet kingdom, featuring traditional rituals and performances.
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh- Festival
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh- Festival
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh

Things to do in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Travelers visiting Hoa Lu can immerse themselves in the rich history and stunning scenery of this ancient Vietnamese capital. Here are some exciting activities you can enjoy:

Explore the historical temples

  • Dinh Tien Hoang Temple: Dedicated to the founder of the Dai Viet kingdom, this temple boasts impressive architecture and offers insights into Vietnamese history.
  • Le Dai Hanh Temple: This temple honors the second emperor of the Dai Viet kingdom, featuring serene gardens and intricate carvings.
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh- Dinh Tien Hoang temple
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh- Dinh Tien Hoang temple

Delve into the scenic landscapes

  • Bike through the countryside: Rent a bicycle and explore the charming villages, rice paddies, and limestone mountains surrounding Hoa Lu.
  • Climb Mua Cave viewpoint: Hike up the 500 steps to the Mua Cave viewpoint and be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding area.
  • Take a boat ride through Tam Coc: Embark on a scenic boat trip through the Tam Coc caves, marveling at the towering limestone formations and lush vegetation.
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh

Experience local culture

  • Visit a traditional village: Immerse yourself in the local way of life by visiting a village and interacting with the friendly residents.
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh
Hoa Lu Ninh Binh-tranquil moment

Try Ninh Binh cuisine

Sample local cuisine: Ninh Binh cuisine is a unique and flavorful experience, reflecting the region’s rich history, diverse ingredients, and traditional cooking methods. Here are some of the must-try dishes you’ll find in Ninh Binh:

  • Com Chay (Burnt Rice): This seemingly simple dish is an art form, with fragrant rice carefully scorched over charcoal to create a crispy, caramelized texture and smoky aroma. It’s often served with pork belly, vegetables, and a dipping sauce.
  • Thit De Nướng (Goat Meat BBQ): Ninh Binh is renowned for its mountain goat, known for its lean and flavorful meat. Thit De Nuong is a popular dish where goat meat is marinated in spices and herbs before being grilled to perfection. It’s typically served with rice, vegetables, and a flavorful dipping sauce.
  • Nem Yen Mac (Fermented Pork Roll): This fermented pork dish originates from the Yen Mac village and is a must-try for those who enjoy bolder flavors. Pork belly is marinated in spices and fermented with rice flour, creating a unique savory and slightly sour taste. It’s often served sliced with fresh herbs and dipping sauce.
  • Kim Son Sticky Rice Wine: This local rice wine is a popular accompaniment to meals in Ninh Binh. Made with fermented sticky rice, it has a sweet and slightly sour taste and is enjoyed warm or cold.
culinary in Ninh Binh
Special food in Ninh Binh

Some places near Hoa Lu Ancient Capital


There are several famous places near Hoa Lư that are worth visiting. Here are some notable ones:

  1. Tam Coc: Also known as “Halong Bay on Land,” Tam Coc is a scenic area with limestone karst formations and winding rivers. Visitors can take boat tours through the waterways, passing through caves and surrounded by stunning natural landscapes.
  2. Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is characterized by its karst landscape, rivers, and caves. Similar to Tam Coc, visitors can explore the area by taking boat tours through the waterways, passing by ancient temples and lush vegetation.
  3. Bich Dong Pagoda: Located near Tam Coc, Bich Dong Pagoda is a complex of three temples built into a mountainside. The pagoda offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and is known for its tranquil atmosphere.
  4. Cuc Phuong National Park: Situated approximately 40 kilometers from Hoa Lư, Cuc Phuong National Park is one of Vietnam’s largest nature reserves. It’s home to diverse flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species. Visitors can explore the park through hiking trails, visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Center, and learn about conservation efforts.
  5. Phat Diem Cathedral: This unique cathedral is a blend of Vietnamese and European architectural styles, located around 25 kilometers from Hoa Lư. It features intricate stone carvings, wooden sculptures, and beautiful stained glass windows.
Tam Coc Ninh Binh
Tam Coc Ninh Binh


These are just a few examples of the famous places near Hoa Lư that offer diverse experiences ranging from natural landscapes to cultural and historical sites.


Ly Hoang

Written by Ly Hoang