Viet Nam News
NINH BÌNH — The new boat tour at the tourism hub of Tràng An complex in the northern province of Ninh Bình is adding more prestige to the UNESCO-recognised World Heritage Site while at the same time strengthening the province’s tourism brand.
The new waterway tour, the third of its kind, offers tourists a scenic boat trip of three hours through the Trình and Quý Minh temples and caves of Mây, Địa Linh, Vân and Đại. During the tour, visitors also have chance to stop at the Vũ Lâm Palace and Kong film shooting site then return to the departure point.
With the new waterway route tour, which opened in February with a ticket price of VNĐ200,000 (US$9) per person, Tràng An now has three waterway tours and one road route to serve visitors.
The tours offer the chance to visit up to 11 caves, temples and pagodas including the Trình Temple and picturesque mountainscapes. The river water is clear enough to view aquatic plants living on the river bed. The nature is pristine with forested mountains and green valleys of reeds and bushes.
The new route is not a difficult trek but includes walks to the Trần Temple, the Vũ Lâm worshipping palace of the Trần dynasty and to Kong Village, a recently built model aboriginal community with many simple bamboo huts and friendly local villagers – just like the village you see in the latest Kong film: Kong: Skull Island.
Take a ride: Boats waiting for passengers at Tràng An Wharf. — VNA/VNS Photo Văn Đạt
Nguyễn Văn Dương, a freelance tour guide specialising in Ninh Bình boat tours, told Việt Nam News that like many other tours in the province, including those through Tam Cốc and Bích Động Complex, the new boat tour in Tràng An was obviously attracting visitors to the area.
Dương said along with stops at spiritual and historical vestiges such as the Trình and Qúy Minh temples, the new stop at the Kong film studio on the tour was attracting foreign and international visitors seeking to satisfy their curiosity and admire the natural beauty of the complex.
The Trình Temple has a history of more than 1,000 years while the Quý Minh Temple has been recently restored.
Those interested in history will be attracted to the Vũ Lâm military base, built by the first emperors of the Trần Dynasty (1225-1400) after they defeated Mongol invaders.
Caves, especially Mây Cave with its different stalactites, and Địa Linh Cave, the longest in Tràng An at 2km and featuring a pristine beauty, provide adventure trips for those interested in exploration.
Director of the Ninh Bình Province Tourism Department Bùi Thành Đông told Dân Trí online newspaper that this year the province expected to welcome 7.2 million tourists and gross a turnover of VNĐ2,700 billion (US$117 million).
The new waterway tour is the first step in the province’s plan to increase the number of tourists, particularly those who wanted to follow adventurous tours, Đông said.
Nguyễn Thanh Trang, a business representative from the agency C-Vietnam Travel, said positive signs had been recorded in tourism development since Ninh Bình has attracted more interest thanks to local historical and cultural vestiges as well as well preserved natural beauty and eco-systems.
World-renowned: Part of the Tràng An Complex from above. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Đức
Located about 90km south of Hà Nội, Ninh Bình is known as “Hạ Long Bay on Land”, given its limestone mountains rising out of paddy fields.
The most famous local attraction is the Tràng An Landscape Complex, which has been expanded over recent years and gained popularity for its green fields, mountains, caves and forests.
The province has been listed as one of the 50 best spots to visit in 2018 by US travel site Insider.
Together with other famous sites in the province such as Tam Cốc Grottos and Vân Long Lagoon, the Tràng An Landscape Complex was also used as a location for the movie Kong: Skull Island, one of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters of 2017.
The locations opened to tourists last April.
Ninh Bình welcomed over 7 million visitors last year, up nearly 10 per cent against 2016, of which international visitors were nearly 860,000.
The Tràng An tourism complex has a total of 40 tourism spots of historical, cultural, art and natural vestiges including 20 recognised as national heritages.
In 2014, it was officially recognised as a mixed cultural and natural heritage by UNESCO thanks to its outstandingly natural & cultural values.
In UNESCO’s words, "Tràng An is a resplendent complex of limestone karst peaks which are permeated with valleys, including submerged ones, and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs", nestling on the southern shore of the Red River Delta.
Archaeological traces of human activity dating back thousands of years have been found within the complex.
The Tràng An Complex boasts several nationally recognised sites like the Tràng An ecotourism site and Hoa Lư, Việt Nam’s capital in the 10th and 11th centuries.
The area also has many temples, pagodas, paddy fields, villages and other sacred sites.
It is home to about 500 flora species, 73 species of birds and 41 species of other animals and has a diverse ecosystem. — VNS