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Guide about An Giang
Guide about Angkor
Guide about Ba be Lake
Guide about Cao Bang
Guide about Chau Doc
Guide about Cuc Phuong
Guide about Da Lat
Guide about Ha Long
Guide about Ha Noi
Guide about Ha Tien
Guide about Hai Phong
Guide about Ho Chi Minh
Guide about Hoa Lu
Guide about HOABINH
Guide about Hoi An
Guide about Hue
Guide about Kenh Ga
Guide about Kon Tum
Guide about Lai Chau
Guide about Lao Cai
Guide about Luang Prabang
Guide about Mekong Delta
Guide about My Son
Guide about Nha Trang
Guide about Ninh Binh
Guide about Perfume Pagoda
Guide about Phan Thiet
Guide about Phnom Penh
Guide about Phu Quoc
Guide about Phu Yen
Guide about Quy Nhon
Guide about Sa Pa
Guide about Siem Riep
Guide about Son La
Guide about Tam Coc
Guide about Tam Duong
Guide about Tay Ninh
Guide about Vientiane
Guide about Vung Tau
Guide about Phat Diem
Cuc Phuong National Park
 
Cuc Phuong, the first National Park of Vietnam which was established in 1962, is 140 km South of Hanoi, 55km from Ninh Binh, roughly 25,000 hectares. The botanical richness of the forest is impressive as it supports a wide variety of flora species and patches of primeval forest, including ancient trees with thick clusters of roots, and parasitic plants and ligneous creepers. Some tree species have been introduced from Burma, India, and Borneo. Clusters of orchards grow near cave entrances, where the moisture conditions and light are ideal. Varieties include thousand-year dracontomelum and parashorea trees which can be visited in a one or two hour hiking, and coral, vanilla, snow-white, and butterfly orchids everywhere. Large mammals inhabit the park including panthers and bears, but rarely appear, so the most popular animals you can see are monkeys, gibbons, flying squirrels and pheasants. There are also over 120 species of birds and many varieties of beetles living here, and April and May arrive swarms of butterflies. At night, million of cicadas create a deafening din, and million of fireflies flicker about.
Lying in a limestone area, Cuc Phuong includes numerous caves. At "Nguoi Xua" (Cave of Early Man), two ancient tombs have been discovered, along with Neolithic remains and evidence of stone implements; there have been similar finds at Trang Khuyet (Crescent Moon), Thanh Minh, and Con Mong Caves. Hang Dan Cave is known for its bat population. Hiking in Cuc Phuong is following some kilometers of trails and passing through old-growth forest with long vines wrapped around strangled trees, visiting the caves, waterfalls and streams in the forest or stopping over at a Muong ethnic's village. Since the location in between three provinces, it's easy to combine a trip to Cuc Phuong with a trip to Hoa Binh or Ninh Binh province, or you can depart from Hanoi, spend the whole day exploring the forest and overnight at the Park's guest house.

Hoa Lu - Tam Coc – Bich Dong
most remarkable sights of Ninh Binh Province
 
Hoa Lu used to be one of the many old capitals of Vietnam before Thang Long – presently Hanoi – take its historical role. From an exciting town and centre of cultural and military activities of the Dai Co Viet Kingdom in 10th century, the area now is more wellknown for its landscape since almost relics of the urban excitement had been collapsed, except in the Temples of King Dinh and King Le. A trip to Hoa Lu should be started from Tam Coc ("three caves"), which takes more than two hours driving from Hanoi, and visitors may say that distance is not a matter after seating in a boat rowed by one or two local persons in Hoang Long river and see the first limestone mountains, which will run along their riverway for several kilometers. The boat will run, sorry, will be rowed, through three caves on the river, all created by wind and water from a legend time, while the sea had occupied this area. The tide-mark is still on the rock about 2m above the water, and in higher mountainwall the erosion have carved some strange shapes that now filled of green grass, delicious foods of the goats that local people breed everywhere. If you are lucky, sometimes you can see mischievous monkeys. The river trip is wonderful for photo hunters, especially when local people come to harvest the water rice planted along the river, or when they transplant some seedling for the next crops. The tourists often compare the place with Guilin – China, or more closely, to the limestone islets of Halong Bay in the Tonkin Gulf for their similar geological structures and shapes. Thus Tam Coc is also called Halong-Bay-On-Land.
 From the wharf of Tam Coc you can go further till reaching Bich Dong Pagoda, a combination of three pagodas on the Lower, Middle and Upper levels of a pretty mountain. You will need to climb a little bit till you get to the top of the Upper pagoda and your eyes catch the overall panorama of the paddy fields between Truong Yen mountain. All the pagodas, or lean upon a cliff, or simply have some statues inside a large grotto, deserve the name "Bich Dong" (emerald-like grotto). A scene of the popular French movie "Indochine" had been completed here in 1991, remarking a rush of the French-speaking tourists to Vietnam, who usually do not skip Halong Bay and Tam Coc-Bich Dong where the leading actress Catherine Deneuve left her footprints.
 
On the way back from Tam Coc – Bich Dong to Hanoi you can pay a visit to the last relics of the ancient capital Hoa Lu – the Temples dedicated to King Dinh and King Le, the two heroes who lived in 10th century and chose Hoa Lu to build the citadel of the capital city. From time to time, archaeologists have excavated buried parts of this citadel with rusty weapons and ceramics. The temples are said to be built on the old foundation of their original palaces in 11-12th centuries and restored in 17th century. Though the temples are not maintained entirely some precious antiques are still preserved well like the whole-stone dragon thrones, wooden bas-relieves and lacquered statues of King Dinh, Kinh Le, Queen Duong Van Nga who in turn got married both of the kings, and the princes of the two dynasties.

Phat Diem
– amazing Catholic Church
 

You may say a church is not your interest in a Far East country and thus you will be missing one of the most remarkable religious architectures in Vietnam. Phat Diem Church, a group of different churches of stone and wood, is the centre of Catholicism in Northern Vietnam and designed in Vietnamese style mixed harmoniously with the European Catholic traditions. There's a grave on the ground of the church of Mr. Tran Luc, a local Catholic lived in late 19th century who designed the whole church without taking any official course of architecture and paintings. Phat Diem Church is divided into two quarters: the churches and the clergy's house, which gradually completed in 1875 (the first Cavern built to test the subsidence of the area foundation), 1889 (the church of Saint Mary's Heart), 1891 (the Big Cathedral and the Belfry), and the Saints' shrines of Giuse, Phero and Rocco, all finished about 1898. The traditional architecture of Vietnam is recognized obviously in each ornament: the Belfry has curly tiled roof-tops with decoration of Vietnamese temples, the shrine of Jesus' Heart is made of jackwood, the Big Cathedral is designed as a grandiose Communal House with sophisticated multi-level rafters, and all the churches are decorated with lotus, lemon flowers, birds, tropical trees like apricot and bamboo, and matched inscriptions in Chinese which are popular in Vietnamese Lunar New Year. The entire structure is admirable not only for the beauty of each fabric but for their amazingly unique co-ordination and is considered a pride of the contemporary folk works.

 
 
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