Hoa Lu Ancient Capital: A Comprehensive Guide In 2024

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the North, which impresses travelers with its magnificent beauty. During your trip here, you will have a chance to discover Vietnam’s unique architectural and historical values. Besides that, you can learn more about the culture of the locals.

In this blog, Vietnamtour.in will show you a detailed guide and useful tips to help you prepare for your trip. Let’s start your exploration of Hoa Lu Ancient Citadel with us below!

Brief information

Explore the historical values of Hoa Lu Ancient Capital 

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is the first capital of Vietnam, which was built under King Dinh Bo Linh (around 968 – 980). However, in 1010, King Ly Thai To decided to change the capital position to Thang Long (Hanoi), making Hoa Lu Citadel an old capital – where you can find many historical relics and temples.

In the past, while the eastern part of the Hoa Lu Capital was used for royal activities, the opposite part was a place to educate children. Surrounding the capital, visitors can see the Hoang Long River and the Trang An limestone mountains – breathtaking landscapes in Vietnam.

Detailed guide 

Best time to visit

You can visit Hoa Lu Ancient Capital whenever you have trips to the Northern region of Vietnam. However, we recommend you visit here during the springtime, between January and February. During this time, travelers will have a chance to join a range of great festivals, as well as other traditional activities.

Entrance fee

To visit Hoa Lu temples, you need to pay a Hoa Lu Ancient Capital entrance fee of around 1 USD/pax. Besides that, let’s consider other costs such as a fee to get there or rent a boat to admire the beauty of surrounding nature.

How to get there 

From Hanoi

If you want to visit the Hoa Lu Citadel from Hanoi, there are a lot of transportation options, including:

  • By bus: Take a bus to Ninh Binh from the bus stations at Giap Bat or My Dinh in Hanoi, with a fee of 4 – 6 USD/pax.
  • By train: Book a ticket of .5 – 8 USD/pax to move from Hanoi to Ninh Binh Train Station. Then, let’s pick up a taxi to reach Hoa Lu Ancient Capital.
  • By motorbike: From Giai Phong Street in Hanoi, head to Phap Van – Gau Gie Highway and keep going straight to arrive in Ninh Binh Province. After that, you can easily get to the Hoa Lu Capital.

From Ninh Binh

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is about 12 kilometers distant from the city center of Ninh Binh. Thus, you can ride a rented motorbike there within 15-20 minutes. Or else, if you are good at using navigation tools, let’s catch a taxi to reach this spot.

What to expect during the Hoa Lu Capital journey 

Experience the 17th century’s carved details in Dinh Tien Hoang Temple (Temple of King Dinh)

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Dinh Tien Hoang Temple is one of the outstanding historical highlights of Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, impressing visitors with its unique architecture. The complex includes 3 main shrines with distinctive names. Besides that, you can discover impressive carved details from the famous Vietnamese artists during the 17th century.

Discover the life of King Le in Le Hoan Temple (Temple of King Le)

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Like the Temple of King Dinh, the Le Hoan Temple also has 3 parts: Thien Huong House, the front shrine, and the Sanctum. If you want to discover more about the life of King Le Dai Hanh, visit the back of the main temple, where you can find a lot of ancient images of him and his family.

Immerse the spiritual world of Nhat Tru Pagoda (One-Pillar Pagoda)

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

To experience spiritual activities in the Hoa Lu Citadel, don’t miss Nhat Tru Pagoda. With a huge area of 3,000 square meters, its total architecture is designed in the Dinh Dynasty’s style, together with several swords and dragons carved. Additionally, there are also additional decorations of the Le and Nguyen Dynasty’s traditional style.

Explore 4 Vietnamese Gods’ history in Hoa Lu Tu Tran (Four sacred temples of Hoa Lu)

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Hoa Lu Tu Tran was built to worship the four Gods, each was placed in a distinctive temple. They include Nguyen Temple, Quy Minh Temple, Cao Son Temple, and Thien Ton Temple. When coming here, remember to bring some incense to express your respect with these Gods, and pray for the best wishes for your life.

Experience Impressive Beauty Of Other Attractions Nearby

Hoa Lu District used to be a magnificent capital of Vietnam for nearly three dynasties. Here, you can witness a broad range of wonderful views from historical sites to natural landscapes. Below are some outstanding highlights you should consider during your journey to Hoa Lu Ancient Capital.

  • Tam Coc-Bich Dong (Three Caves – Bich Dong): In this spot, you will first admire the unique beauty of various spectacular caves, as well as surrounding charming waterways. We recommend you join a Hoa Lu Tam Coc day trip for more amazing experiences.
  • Thung Nham Bird Garden: It is a great chance for you to explore the unique biodiversity of various species of birds, karst cliffs, and huge lakes. During your visit time, you can take part in interesting activities such as birdwatching, hiking, or going camping.
  • Am Tien Cave: Am Tien cave lies between Trang An Complex and Hoa Lu Ancient Capital. It is surrounded by limestone karst mountains and the green-crystal lake water. Let’s keep a camera in your hand and take some pictures.
  • Trang An Complex : If you have a plan to visit Hoa Lu temples, don’t forget to drop in the Trang An Complex – a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site in Vietnam. When visiting this complex, travelers will be surely impressed by its huge networks, including plenty of waterways, caves, and limestone karsts.

Useful tips

  • Travelers should wear suitable clothing and footwear during the visit time
  • Carry a water bottle in case you are thirsty during your hiking or climbing
  • Always respect the environment, local communities, and historical relics
  • Visitors should go with a local guide to learn fully about historical values (contact Vietnamtour.in)
  • Recommend travelers to visit Hoa Lu early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the peak heat and crowds
  • Always follow guidelines at the visit areas of the capital


Our blog has just reviewed Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, with several highlights of its beauty, and suggests a full guide for your journey here. To discover more about the local culture and history, let’s refer to our blog of places to visit in Ninh Binh for useful tips.

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