Thanh Hoa – the cradle of VN civilization
Presently, the size of the population of Thanh Hoa is third in the population chart, just behind Hanoi and HCMC, with 3,400,239 people. Moreover, the community in this province is diverse with many ethnic groups such as Muong, Thai, Tho, Dao, and Mong. But the Kinh are the majority.
Thanh Hoa tourism is famous for many beautiful landscape and historic sites. You can explore the natural and cultural beauty during a 2-day journey.
The God Fish Stream
The God Fish Stream is a fascinating tourism destination in Cam Luong commune, Cam Thuy district, Thanh Hoa province.
This has been around for a thousand years under the base of Truong Sinh Mountain. The place does not only draw travelers because of the majestically natural scenery with the high mountains, long rivers and a huge forest, but is also known for a special type of fish in the stream.
No one in the immediate area knows exactly what type of fish it is, but it is called The God Fish due to many mystical stories of these special creatures.
The local people believe that the fish can bring misfortune to those who dare to catch and eat them; therefore, they protect the fish carefully and never dare to catch them.
In addition, this area is an interesting destination with many religious and cultural attractions. Besides the temple that local residents construct to worship the God Fish, there is also another pagoda in the area named Snake God Pagoda.
The old stories say that on a specific day during the year, the snakes come to this stream and protect the fish, so the people in this area have built a pagoda for these snakes as well to appreciate their work and also pray for a peaceful life.
The area also has a considerable number of Muong people, which give visitors the chance to understand more about the culture of this ethnic group by participating in their traditional activities such as Pon Pong Dance, brocade textile or pipe wine.
Hai Hoa Sea
Located 2 km of Tinh Gia town, Hai Hoa boasts a peaceful sandy beach with crystal clear sea and rows of green casuarinas.
Hai Hoa looks best when it is at dawn with the image of Me Island and the economic zone of Nghi Son in the distance.
Hai Hoa also offers excellent tourist services with special foods and sea products. The local people are friendly and hospitable of these have made Hai Hoa an attractive destination for visitors.
Ben En National Park
This park is located in Nhu Thanh and Nhu Xuan districts, 36km from Thanh Hoa City. It was first established in 1992, and then expanded to now encompass an area of about 16,634 hectares, including 8,544ha of primary and recovered forest.
This place is not only a protected breeding ground of many rare creatures, but also an attractive destination for ecotourism with its poetic and majestic scenery.
Ben En national Park has a wide and diverse system of lakes, caves, mountains and forest that is utilized to develop ecotourism. The two biggest lakes here are Ben En Lake and Muc Lake.
While Ben En Lake has a tranquil feel with cool and fresh air, Muc Lake is a moreexciting destination for the many types of animals like fish and bird that populate the caves and islets of the lake.
Forests in Ben En are rich with a vast number of valuable woods such as green ironwood and mahogany.
In addition, Ben En has a limestone mountain with a beautiful and diverse system of primary caves. Among the caves, Ngoc cave is the more outstanding with its complex structure and bigger size. The inside of this cave is sparkling with rosin, and there is a giant rosin rock that resembles a pearl.
The cave is named after this rock, as “Ngoc” literally means “pearl” in Vietnamese. Next to Ngoc Cave lies Can Cave, where the visitors can see all of Ben En area from the top.
Ho Dynasty Citadel - World Cultural Heritage
Recognized as a World Cultural Heritage Site at the 35th meeting in Bahrain in June, 2011, the Citadel is not only the pride of Thanh Hoa people, but also the pride of Vietnamese people.
This monument is a rare intact stone citadel in Vietnam, the only one in Southeast Asia and one of the few surviving stone castles in the world. After six centuries, the citadel is still stable with some intact portions of the walls.
It is surprisingly said that Ho Dynasty Citadel had been built in only three months from January to March 1397. This citadel used to be the capital of both Dai Viet nation during the final years of Tran Dynasty and Dai Ngu nation for seven years.
It was officially named “Tay Do” (Western Capital) in order to distinguish from Thang Long – Dong Do Citadel (Eastern Capital). Ho Citadel is the only stone one in Vietnam constructed during a short period of time. It includes two layers: the inner called “Hoang Thanh” built with stone and the outer called “La Thanh” built with soil.
The outstanding feature of Ho Dynasty Citadel is that its stone walls were built to bear earthquakes with an average height of five meters. It is strange that the stones were laid without cement, each of them weighing up to 20 tons.
Besides four gates at Ho citadel, there was a canal surrounding the citadel as an extra layer of protection. Witnessing the ups and downs of over its six-century history, some parts of the citadel are still standing.
Ho Dynasty Citadel was the symbol of power and military fortress. It was also built to represent both royalty and divine powers. It helped to link natural and human space. Time and weather cannot damage the major stone sections because of the citadel’s unique construction techniques.
In addition to visiting the gates, and the wall, you can visit the Museum of the Ho dynasty, the temples to understand the building's history. Peanut candies and Vinh Loc tea are also interesting options for you to enjoy the historic stories about a mysterious dynasty.
If visiting in harvesting season, you can enjoy a great scene with bright yellow paintings inside the 600 year old citadel. The straight path and the ancient wall will give you a memorable photo opportunity. You should eat lunch at Vinh Loc to discover the land in the afternoon.
Traveling to Sam Son beach, tourists not only are strongly impressed by a long coastline of white sandy beach, plentiful scenes, and historical vestiges, but are also welcomed by friendly and hospitable people. Don't miss the chance to enjoy delicious specialties of the northern province of Vietnam here.
This place has been a famous spot for tourism in Vietnam since the beginning of the previous century, when the French begun to build facilities to serve themselves and the courts of the Nguyen regime. In addition to the gifts that nature presents, Sam Son also has many attractions for travelers to explore.
Sam Son has a long and beautiful beach reaching more than 16km in length. The very flat and gentle sandbank, combined with the clean and blue water makes the scenery of Sam Son beach magnificent and attractive.
Visitors will have some unforgettable moments when they wallow in the cool blue sea, listen to songs of the wave and the wind, and take a nap on the sunlight sandbanks or build sand castles. Also, this is a good place to try various local seafood varieties such as shrimp, crabs, and fish and to bring back home some nice souvenirs.
Besides the beaches, Sam Son also has another fascinating destination with many natural attractions and historical relics: the Truong Le Mountain range.
The part that is contiguous to the sea is called Co Giai Islet. On top of this islet, there is a small pagoda named “Doc Cuoc”, which means “One Leg”.
The pagoda is the place for the local people to recall the epic legend of a giant that manages to slay a sea monster and to guard the sea in the past.
Also, there is a special rock name “Trong Mai”, formed with two huge boulders on a flat rock. There is a story that these rocks represent a husband and wife, who love each other passionately even after both were transformed into birds.
Lam Kinh is located in Xuan Lam Commune, Tho Xuan District. Here, tourists have a chance to visit a well-known historic relic related to the life and career of King Le Thai To, a famous king in Vietnamese history, as well aslearn about the uprising of the Lam Son troops in the 15th century.
After ten years of leading the Lam Son uprising to fight against the Northern invaders, Le Loi won and became a king in 1428 with the official name of Le Thai To. He set up the capital in Dong Kinh (Thang Long – present-day Hanoi). Simultaneously, he ordered an imperial city built in his birthplace and called it Lam Kinh or Tay Kinh.
According to historical documents and evidence found in the excavations in the area, the imperial city of Lam Kinh was built on a large-scale with the architectural style of “Noi cong, ngoai quoc” (the internal shape looks like the Chinese character “gong” and the external shape looks like the Chinese character “quo”).
It includes magnificent buildings like a palace, a southern gate, an imperial temple and a dragon yard. The imperial city sits on Dau Mountain in the north and faces towards the Chu River in the south. In front of it is Chua Mountain, on the left is Phu Lam Forest and on the right is Huong Mountain.
After five centuries, most of the structures in Lam Kinh were ruined and now there remain only four imperial tombs of kings from the Le Dynasty and the tomb of Queen Ngo Thi Ngoc Giao, mother of King Le Thanh Tong.
In 1962, Lam Kinh Historical Relic was recognized as a national historic relic by the State. In 1994, the Government approved a project to restore 50 of the structures, including the citadel, the Ngoc River, an ancient well, a triumphal arch, the southern gate, imperial temples, the palace and imperial tombs. With these valuable historical structures, the relic has become a famous tourist destination in Thanh Hoa Province.
To reach the central area of the royal citadel, visitors pass over a stone bridge crossing the Ngoc River. Walking for about 50m, tourists see a green plot of grass and an ancient well with clean and clear water.
Next is the southern gate with a 300-year-old banyan tree covering up the roof of the gate and then a dragon yard. Passing the dragon yard, tourists come to the central palace where kings gave audience and discussed state affairs.
The central palace includes three large wood buildings which had great architectural value in the Le So Dynasty (1428-1527). Behind the central palace are nine imperial temples that were successfully restored.
From the central area of the royal citadel, on the roads paved with red bricks to forests tourists visit the tombs of kings in the Le Dynasty under green leaf canopies or climb up to the windy Dau Mountain and enjoy Tay Lake with its wild and poetic beauty.
Visiting the relics on August 22 of the lunar calendar, tourists not only enjoy a beautiful landscape and learn about the culture, architecture and history of this land but also participate in the Lam Kinh Festival with many traditional folk games. The festival is annually held on King Le Thai To’s death anniversary to commemorate his glorious achievements.
Visiting Nga Son District, you will enjoy discovering magnificent landscapes as well as taste special foods. It will bring you unforgettable memories.
Nga Son District is considered to be a destination with beautiful and stunning sites as well as delicious and unique dishes. There are 250 cultural monuments with 42 monuments which have been rated in Nga Son. Coming to Nga Son, visitors will be surprised at seeing mountain ranges and learning about the legend of sites in this place.
Nga Son is attached to the legend of Mai An Tiem, Ba Dinh revolution and Nga Son mat weaving.
Mai An Tiem pagoda is the most interesting place in Nga Son that you cannot miss. This place is attached to the legendary figure of Hung Vuong.
The pagoda covers 3.5 ha in Nga Son and was designated the national cultural heritage. Annually, the pagoda often takes place the festival from 12nd to 15th of March (Lunar calendar). On the occasion of the festival, there are many activities taking place in this place such as performances, competition of folk games such as tug of war, bag jumping, human chess, cock fighting, rice cooking competition,...
Tu Thuc Cave is another destination in Nga Son that you should spend time visiting and experiencing its amazing beauty. The cave is attached to the legend of "Tu Thuc meets Fairy" and it was rated a national unique landscape by the Ministry of Culture and Information.
Tu Thuc Cave is a colorful and wonderful cave with a lot of stalactites of different shapes and sizes. You will seem to be lost in a paradise when coming to visit Tu Thuc Cave.
Tien pagoda is an interesting place to visit in Nga Son. The pagoda is located in Nga An commune and is surrounded by mountains. The festival of Tien pagoda often happens between 14th and 16th of March (Lunar calender), after festival of Mai An Tiem pagoda. It is also a place of worship and attracts a lot of tourists on the occasion of festival.
Furthermore, Ba Dinh war Zone, Than Phu porch, Le Thi Hoa temple and Van Hoan pagoda are other fantastic destinations that visitors cannot miss on their trip. Let's take advantage of your chance to go to visit Nga Son to know more about this natural and peaceful place.
One more thing that you will have chance to experience in Nga Son is how to make mat weaving. Most people know that Nga Son is famous for making sedge mats. People in this place have their own way to make products from shichito matgrass.
Nga Son is also well - known for special dishes such as Nhech raw fish, fermented pork roll, goat husk compost, mountain snail, glutinous - rice wine.
Pu Luong Nature Reserve
Pu Luong is not only the habitat of plentiful of flora, but the living environment of many species of fauna as well. With an area of 17,662 ha, Pu Luong Nature Reserve is an ideal place for developing Vietnam tourism.
The Nature Reserve is situated along two parallel mountain ridges running from the northwest to the southwest. In the middle of the nature reserve is a valley that separates into two parts. This valley contains the settlements of several local people and a large area of agricultural land.
Pu Luong is the habitat of plentiful of flora. It hasa primary forest, regarded as an evergreen tropical seasonal forest. A diverse flora covers the forest with at least 1,109 vascular plant species. Three primary forest subtypes found at the site also play an important role, including primary lowland forest on limestone and schist/shale, primary coniferous submontane forest on limestone and primary submontane forest on basalt.
Pu Luong is also the living environment of total of 84 mammal species, in which there are 24 bat species, 162 bird species, 55 fish species, 28 reptile species, 13 amphibian species, 158 species of butterfly and 96 species of land snail. Here is an important place for the safeguarding of Delacour's Leaf Monkey.
Thanks to the variety of flora and fauna inside, Pu Luong Nature Reserve should be an ideal destination for tourists in Vietnam travel, especially for those who enjoy eco-tourism and adventure tours.
The most beautiful beaches in Thanh Hoa
Hai Tien beach
Thanh Hoa is famous for beautiful beaches with blue sea water. Every year, Thanh Hoa welcomes a huge quantity of tourists.
One of the most beautiful beach in Thanh Hoa, Sam Son beach is 10km in length and has big wave, gentle water and fine sand. You can also visit famous monuments, landmarks like Gam Temple on Co Giai Mount. Sam Son attracts many tourists from many different regions. Hon Trong Mai is an attraction here. However, you should consider carefully because you might be easily ripped off.
Hai Tien beach, Hoang Hoa district
12km in length, Hai Tien beach has long sandy beaches with fresh air. It still remains purewith few services but coming here, tourists can enjoy peace of nature besides the fishing village. There are huts to look after the oysters at the sea gate, salt fields or green forests.
Hai Hoa beach, Tinh Gia district
Hai Hoa is a new beach in Thanh Hoa which has original and romantic beauty with white sand by the green casuarina groves. There are fishing villages living here so you can see the life of fishermen. The fish market is on the beach so it is easy for you to buy fresh and cheap seafood.
Hai Thanh beach, Tinh Gia district
Hai Thanh beach is 4km in length, stretches from nose of Thoi Toi Mount to the foot of Du Xuyen Mount. Slight wavescaused the peace of fish villages here. The highlight of Hai Thanh beach is Hon Me which is offshore with more than 10 islands.
You can also visit historic sites here like Quang Trung Temple, Doi Tien Pagoda or Ba Lang church…Hai Thanh beach is famous for many fishing villages, Ba Lang fish sauce processing workshop and fresh seafood.
Compiled by Pha Le