Lying in Truong Yen Thuong village, Hoa Lu District, about 12km to the north of Ninh Binh, Hoa Lu used to be the ancient capital of Vietnam under the Dinh and Le Dynasties in the 10th and 11th centuries.
Hoa Lu is well-known for the exquisite Karst scenery; and together with the village of Tam Coc and Cuc Phuong National Park, it is listed among the most popular sightseeing destinations in Ninh Binh. Today, the citadel no longer exists; however, tourists can still visit the temples built in honor of Dinh and Le emperors.
Tam Coc complex, located 9km to the south of the province, is one of Vietnam’s most spectacular sights. It is also known as "Halong Bay on the Rice Paddies” for its giant rock formations jutting out of the paddy fields.
The best way to explore this spot is taking a rowboat on Ngo Dong River in the early morning, when the weather is calm and not too much sunshine. The beautiful boat trip takes about three hours including stops to discover the magnificent Karst caves.
Other popular activities are taking a short biking tour around the neighborhood area or visiting Bich Dong temple built inside the hill with incredible views.