Đăng ngày 23 - 02 - 2018

1. Hồ Dynasty Citadel - The unique stone structure in Vietnam

Located in two communes Vĩnh Long and Vĩnh Tiến of Vĩnh Lộc District, Thanh Hóa province, Hồ Dynasty Citadel is an unique stone architecture constructed by Vietnamese People. The Citadel was built in 1397 by Mandarin Hồ Quý Ly who later overthrew Trần Dynasty to start Hồ Reign in Vietnam feudal history and ruled from 1400 - 1407. It was officially named “Tây Đô” (Western Capital) in order to distinguish from Thăng Long – Đông Đô (Eastern Capital in Hà Nội). After completion, Hồ Quý Ly moved the capital from Thăng Long-Đông Đô to Tây Đô.

The Citadel includes three layers: the inner called “Hoàng Thành” built with stone and the outer called “La Thành” built with soil. There was a ditch surrounding the Citadel as an extra layer of protection called “Hào Thành”. “Hoàng Thành” castle is rectangular in shape. Its North-South side is 870.5 m (2,856 ft) in length and its East-West side is 883.5 m (2,899 ft) in length. There are four main gates: one at the South (Fore gate), one at the North (Back gate), one at the East (Left gate), and one at the West (Right gate).

The Fore gate (Southern gate) is the main gate with three doors. The center door is 5.82m wide, 8.5m high; the two side doors are 5.45m wide and 7.8m high. The three other gates contains one door only. Connecting with the Fore gate is Hoa Nhai marble - paved road (Royal road) which is 2.5km long overlooking the Ritual Offerings Platform built in August, 1402.

All the Citadel and 04 Gates were built with huge square stone slabs which are 2.2mx1.5mx1.2m and 10 tonnes heavy on average. According to estimations, about 25,000m3 of stone was used to build the walls of the Citadel. The stone overlap each other without any glue or attaching materials. Time and weather of 600 years can not damage the major stone sections because of the unique construction techniques although the Citadel was said to be built in 03 months.

In 27th June 2011, UNESCO recognized the Citadel of Ho Dynasty as the World Cultural Heritage Sites at the 35th meeting in Paris (France). Presently, local authority are trying their best to protect and preserve this site and identify it as an important site on the tourist map of all travelers.


2. Sam Son beach

Sam Son beach has long been well-known as one of the most famous tourism destinations in Thanh Hoa province. Discovered by the French people more than 100 years ago, currently, Sam Son has been developed to become one of the two cities of Thanh Hoa province.

Sam Son beach is 9 kilometers long from the foot of Truong Le mountain to Quang Cu commune (in Sam Son city) in crescent shape, with flat topography, white and silky smooth sand. Sam Son waves are gentle, and the weather is good all around year: sunny and windy in the summer and cool in the winter. In addition, its sea water has the appropriate salinity and temperature, which is very good for the people’s health. All the conditions help Sam Son beach to be affirmed as the best beach for health recovery.

Sam Son beach also has variety of fresh and rare seafood, particularly the local fish sashimi, which attracts a lot of tourists in and outside provinces.

Not only being famous for its beach, but Sam Son city also is known for lots scenic spots assigned with legendary and fairy tales, such as: Doc Cuoc temple; Co Tien (Fairy) temple; To Hien Thanh temple, and Trong Mai (Cock and Hen Stone).

            * Doc Cuoc temple: worships a one-leg saint, who has merit of protecting his home town against the sea monster. The temple is located in the Co Rua (Turtle Neck) mountain, in the Truong Le mountain ranges.

            * Co Tien (Fairy temple): is built in Dau Voi (Elephant Head) mountain with the magnificent view to the sea. In 1960, the President Ho Chi Minh visited and stayed there.

            * To Hien Thanh temple: worships a mandarin in Ly dynasty in 12th century for his protection of Thanh Hoa coastal people against the rebellion

            * Cock and Hen Stone, with the two large stones facing each other and a number of small stones around, symbolizes a couple and their children who are turned into stone to be together.


3. Ham Rong tourism site

            Ham Rong (Dragon Jaw) tourism site is 4 kilometer from Thanh Hoa city along the National Road 1A. It covers a complex of beautiful mountains and river:

            - Rong (Dragon) mountain runs along the South bank of Ma river, with lots of mountain peaks, so it’s compared and imagined as a legendary dragon.

            - Long Quang cave, is also called Dragon Eye Cave, as the entry of the cave are in two sides.

            - Voi (Elephant) mountain covers lots of caves with beautiful stalactites in various shapes.

            - Nit mountain, (also Gem mountain), is opposite Dragon mountain, and is compared as a fire pillar coming from the ground.

            - Ham Rong bridge, over Ma river, was built in 1904. During the war against forces from the United States, Ham Rong is well-known as a fierce battlefield and its victory.

            - Hoang Long bridge, built in 2000 and close to Ham Rong bridge, is a large and modern bridge for local transportation.


4. Ben En National Park

Ben En National Park is located in the administrative territory of the communes of Xuan Bai, Binh Luong, Xuan Binh and Hoa Quy in two districts of Nhu Xuan and Nhu Thanh, which is 36 kilometers from Thanh Hoa city to the Southwest. It is recognized in the Top 10 most beautiful national parks in Vietnam. The Park has total area of 16,634 hectares, covers 18 sub-regions, a range of Hai Van limestone mountain, the hilly areas and 121 small islands. The Park is surrounded by two rivers named Muc river and Chang river, and by four streams named Han Vi, Tho, Coc and Tam. The national park is compared as “Ha Long bay in miniature”.

Due to natural erosion phenomena, the limestone mountains in Ben En national park has some beautiful caves named Ngoc cave, Can cave (in Xuan Khang commune); Bat cave (in Hoa Quy commune), Suoi Tien cave (in Xuan Phuc commune) with different-shaped and colored stalactites, and small streams gurgling all days. The harmony among mountains, forests and lake creates the cool weather all around the year, very suitable for sightseeing, exploring natural caves and forests or adventurous tourism.

Ben En national park has two typical types of ecosystems: earth mountains and freshwater lake. The study in 2013 shows the flora system has 6 branches, 7 major plant groups, 77 families with 1,417 plant species, belonging to 650 genera and 191 families, including 57 rare species in Vietnam such as: lignum aquilariae, cinamomum camphora nees, erythrophleum fordii (iron-wood), etc; in which, the erythrophleum fordii with diameter of 1.78 meters is very rare today. Fauna with 1,530 species, including 102 species of mammals, 207 species of birds, 66 species of reptiles, 47 species of amphibians, 97 species of fish, 50 species of zooplankton, 163 species of benthos, 728 species of insect; many of them listed in the Red Book of Vietnam – 2007 and the IUCN Red List – 2013 are being endangered species such as: white-cheeked gibbon, Pardofelis temminckii (panther), large and small sloth-monkey, Asiatic black bear, golden turtle, etc.

Ben En national park is a valuable park in terms of biodiversity and landscape, which can develop lots of tourism types and nature research in Thanh Hoa province.


5. Cam Luong holy fish stream

Cam Luong is a mountainous district in Cam Thuy district, home of the Muong ethnic people. The weather here is cool around the year (20-20oC). Cam Luong fish stream is in the territory of Ngoc (Gem) village, Cam Luong commune, 10 kilometers from Cam Thuy district center to the Northwest and 80 kilometers from Thanh Hoa city to the West.

The local people believe that the fish here are the gods of mountains and rivers protecting their lives; they call them the “Holy fish” and never eat them. Gradually, the number of fish now is growing. Thousands of fish weigh from two to eight kilos, swimming around the cave and the stream, and never flowing out to the large rice field outside. The stream water is clean and clear in both dry and rainy season. The pebble in the stream shimmering under the sun creates an amazing image when the fish swim through. The local people often go to the stream, meanwhile, the fish is not afraid of the humans.

There are the temple worshipping Long Vuong (Dragon King) and a very beautiful cave in Truong Sinh mountain close to Cam Luong stream, which are also the spiritual destinations when tourists visit there.


6. Kim Son cave

Kim Son cave is located in Vinh An commune, Vinh Loc district, covering an area of 150 hectares, of which 80 hectares of lakes. The cave tour is done via boat ride through the caves. There are lots of caves, stones and wide lakes inside. The tourists also can see the poem and literature articles carved in the wall of the caves a long time ago. A big cave was the shelter of Tran King during the war against the invaders. During the war against forces from France and the United States, this was also the shelter of local people and place to produce weapons for Vietnamese military.


7. Pu Luong Nature Reserve

Pu Luong nature reserve is established in 1999, and located in the Northwest of the limestone mountain range named Pu Luong – Cuc Phuong – Ngoc Son. It is an important area of limestone ecosystem, the biggest remaining low-land in the North region of Vietnam, and is prioritized for biodiversity conservation. Pu Luong nature reserve has thousands of flora and fauna, many of them being endangered species or listed in the Red book such as Delacour's Langur, smoth-monkey, chamois, different kinds of orchids,

In terms of biodiversity, Pu Luong nature reserve is well-known for 5 typical ecosystem with different forest development in limestone and basalt: tropical lowland rain forest of broadleaf in limestone;   tropical lowland rain forest of broadleaf in slate; tropical rain forest of broadleaf in low limestone mountains; tropical rain forest of coniferous leaves in low limestone mountains and tropical rain forest of broadleaf in low basalt mountains. Pu Luong nature reserve has diversified flora with 1,570 species. The study shows that the nature reserve has 10 species of gymnosperm, in which 7 listed in the Red book of Vietnam due to its sensitiveness with environmental destruction. The forest in Pu Luong also high economic values with different types of wooden trees, medical trees, ornamentals trees, etc. There are 908 species, in which, delacour's langur, gibbon, monkey, etc are the rare and endangered species in the nature.

Pu Luong nature reserve is licensed for eco-tourism business since 2005 with 22 households providing tourism services in 7 most potential hamlets. The beautiful and pristine landscape includes terraced rice fields, waterfalls, old stilt houses, forest-nearby villages and mountains, unique caves and historical relics such as Co Lung stronghold, Pu Luong former airport,… used in Dien Bien Phu campaign in history of Vietnam.

The Son-Ba-Muoi village has cool climate around the year, very favorable for eco-tourism development.


8. Tien Nong Stork Garden

Tien Nong Stork Garden is located in Tien Nong commune, Trieu Son district. Tourists can come here by driving along the National Road No.47, turning left at Thieu bridge and going along the dyke of Hoang Giang river at about 3 kilometers. The stork garden is said to exist in this commune for more than 100 years. It is 3.5 hectare wide, inclusive of 2 hectares of lake and 1.5 hectares of land for bamboo development, which are the habitats of lots of species of birds. According to a recent research, there are 6 branches, 10 families with 17 species of birds in Tien Nong Stork Garden, in which, the most number are the Cinomiiformes branch with 6 species. Some typical species include: camerodius avous, mesnophoyx intermedia, ardeola bacchus, amamonis akool, A.phoenicurus, etc.

The existence of Tien Nong Stork Garden is one of the valuable nature reserves which should be protected and developed into an eco-tourism site and research place for students in Thanh Hoa province.

9. The Ancient Temples of Lam Kinh

The historical heritage of Lam Kinh is located in Xuan Lam and Lam Son townlet of Tho Xuan district, 51km northwest of Thanh Hoa City. It was in the place that the national hero Le Loi led the 10-year insurrection against the Chinese invader, bringing back the independence for the country. After his enthronement, Le Loi constructed Lam Kinh Temples aslo known as Tay Kinh. The temples lean against Dau Mountain to the North overlooking the river to the South. On the right is Phu Lam forest, Huong Mountain is on the left, to the West is Rong Mountain.

The site consists of the tomb of Le Thai To Emperor and Vinh Lang Stele composed by Mandarin Nguyen Trai which says briefly the life of the Emperor. There are tombs of other Le Emperors and the royal family members. All the tombs have the typically architectural features of Le Dynasty.

Coming to Lam Kinh today, visitors not only have a chance to visit many historical heritages but also enjoy the three main Imperial Temples, huge wooden works with long rows of pillars standing on a high ground in the dragon yard.

The complex was ranked in 1962 by Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism as a national historical heritage. After many times of embellishment and restoration, Lam Kinh has now become a center of culture and tourism of the province. Having great values of culture and history with a variety of historical relics together with convenient traffic, Lam Kinh is an attractive tourist destination for foreign and domestic tourists.

10. One day cruising on the Ma river

Learning about Ham Rong bridge, sightseeing Sung Nghiem and Khai Nam pagodas, enjoying local specialties on the speedboatdown to Sam Son beach, arriving at Cang Hoi pierare the unforgettable experiences when cruising on the Ma river in Thanh Hoa province.

Not peaceful as Huong river, nor vigorous as Han river or Sai Gon river, Ma river holds an unique majestic beauty. Previously, fishermen and farmers settled along the river banks for making livelihood; nowadays, tourists find itan interesting destination for river cruises.

Ma river not only reminds tourists and Thanh Hoa local people of a heroic history, but also impress them with the interesting cultural experiences. Along the banks of Ma river, many intangible cultural values are still well reserved, such as folk songs of “cheo van”, “cheo vai”, “ca cong”, festivals at Vom pagoda, Han Son temple,…

The tour starts at Ham Long pier, 200m from Ham Rong bridge. Tourists can comfortably select a good place to get the full view of the poetic landscape, meanwhile listen to the tour guide introduction to understand each historical and cultural sites along Ma river banks.

The boat leaves pier at 8am, passing Truc Lam Buddhist Temple, next to the heroic C4 hill. On the other side of the river, there are Sung Nghiem pagoda (in Yen Vuc village, Tao Xuyen ward), and the Memorial of teachers and students sacrificing their lives toMa river embankment

At around 9.30am, the boat turns back to Cang Hoi pier in Sam Son town. On the peaceful river, there are some floating fishing bamboo boats of locals living along the river.

Not only sightseeing and learning about the attractive cultural and historical sites, but tourists also enjoy the folk songs of Thanh Hoa province and other regions in the North, being overwhelmed in the rhythm of Ma river folk songs which reminds of the heroic old days.

The boat passes through Nguyet Vien bridge, which has just come into operation since 31 January 2015,then arrives at busy Le Mon port where local goods are shipped to other ports in the nation. At around 11am, tourists are served lunch with local specialties such as: river shrimp, vegetables and herbs, goat meat, squid,…

Ma river shrimp is small but thick, turned red after being cooked, very delicious when eaten with local herbs

The wind signaling the boat closely arriving at Cang Hoi pier, 3km from Sam Son beach. Stopping there, tourists can visit the first pier welcoming the Southern rallying people to the North in the period of 1954-1955.

Walking 300m from pier along Ho Xuan Huong street, tourists can visit Ca Lap temple, which is ranked as national historical and cultural relic, and Khai Nam pagoda. After enjoying the peaceful atmosphere in village of Quang Tien ward, Sam Son town, tourists come back to boat to sail to Ham Long pier. The “Ma river day cruises” ends here, leaving each tourist with unforgettable feelings of a peaceful countryside and its rich cultural tradition.

Additional information

The new tour “Ma river day cruises” opens on 4th April at Ham Rong pier. This is one of the highlights in the series of events in the opening week of National tourism year 2015 – Thanh Hoa province

Hoang Long Tourism is the first agent offering this tour with 3 options:

- Option 1: Folk songs on the Ma river (8.00 – 11.00 or 15.00 – 18.00)

- Option 2: Hoang Long pier – Ham Rong bridge – Sung Nghiem pagoda – Nguyet Vien bridge – Le Mon port – Cang Hoi pier (Sam Son town) – Hoang Long pier (day tour)

- Option 3: Hoang Long pier – Ham Rong bridge – Sung Nghiem pagoda – Co Bo temple – Hoang Long pier (day tour)

* Historical relics


1. Ba Trieu (King Trieu) Temple and Tomb

Ba Trieu temple is located in Bo Dien village, Phu Dien commune, Hau Loc district, adjacent to National Road 1A, 17 kilometers from Thanh Hoa city to the North. The temple leans against Gai mountain, with the tomb and tower on Tung mountain. This is the final resting place of a national heroine – King Trieu. The festival worshipping King Trieu takes place in the spring annually and is one among the biggest festivals in Thanh Hoa province. In 2015, Ba Trieu temple is recognized as the Special National Historical Relic.


2. King Le Hoan Temple

 King Le Hoan temple is located in Trung Lap village, Xuan Lap commune, Tho Xuan district. The temple is approx. 4 hectare wide, inclusive of 13 compartments, yard, ancestor-worship house, middle house and back house. In the temple, there are some valuable antiquities such as: bronze drum, porcelain vases, silver cups, etc; a portrait of King Le Dai Hanh drawn by Chinese artist, 14 ordainments of the Le Kings between 1674 and 1887. There are also two steles composed by two mandarins in 1601 and 1626 about the great contribution of Le Kings to the Vietnamese history. The festival worshiping Le Kings takes place in the temple on the 7th and 8th of March annually in the lunar calendar and is one among the biggest festivals in Thanh Hoa province.


3. Ba Dinh historical site

Ba Dinh historical site is located in Ba Dinh commune, Nga Son district, 4 kilometers from district center. It is called “Ba Dinh” due to the combination of three villages of My Khe, Thuong Tho and Mau Thinh. This site is surrounded by the four rivers of Hoat river, Chinh Dai river, Len river and Bao Van river. This is formerly the base of the Can Vuong (Loyalty to the King) movement between 1887 and 1888 against French colonial rule. The fort was built solidly and is a typical relic for the Can Vuong movement in Thanh Hoa province in the late 19th century.



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