Northern Vietnam is blessed by mother nature with beautiful blue-green waters, mountains, and majestic landscapes. Ninh Binh province is one example with magnificent views, nature and heritage. It is nicknamed “Ha Long Bay on land” due to its famous landmarks, such as Trang An, Mua cave, Am Tien cave, Bai Dinh pagoda, and Van Long lagoon.
Mua cave and its scenic mountain have been a tourism hotspot for almost two years. Located in the province’s Trang An Landscape Complex, the cave is not as well known as other tourist destinations and therefore not as busy.
Around 800 square meters wide, the cave is located at the foot of Mua mountain and has an up-side-down bell shape. Visitors looking inside often comment they feel like they are contemplating a miniature Great Wall of China. There are 486 stone steps that lead to the peak of the mountain. On either side of the stairs are eye-catching sculptures of dragons and phoenixes created during the Tran reign. According to an old legend, when King Tran went back to Hoa Lu to establish Thai Vi Temple, he came here to listen to his imperial maids singing and dancing. That’s why this place is named Mua cave (“mua” in Vietnamese means “dance”).
The cave is 100km north of Hanoi and it is easy to get there by car, tour bus or motorbike. You take National Highway 1A to Ninh Binh City and on the way to Trang An or Tam Coc you will find directions to the tourist area of Hang Mua. It takes two to three hours to reach the cave. On the way, you’ll pass immense golden rice fields, row upon row of mountains and peaceful villages.
Climbing the 486 steps make a visit to this cave memorable. The view of Tam Coc-Bich Dong from the top of the mountain includes a beautiful large lake. Up here you’ll also see an old Asian-style tower and a statue of Guan Yin, Bodhisattva, that looks down on the ancient capital.
The magnificent landscape view, with ripe rice fields and a calm river, will bring peace to your soul.
If you are on a budget, choose a homestay or a two or three-star hotel to save money. Many online booking sites list affordable places to stay. There are also luxurious options for those with more money to spend.
In Ninh Binh, especially at Mua cave, wear breathable clothing and comfortable shoes. Bring water and a hat. It is important to be in good shape to make the climb up the mountain. Children and the elderly might have a difficult time.
Afterwards, make sure to visit a restaurant nearby specializing in goat meat. Hearty Ninh Binh specialties include goat meat salad with lemon juice or goat stew with herbs. Crunchy Ninh Binh scorched rice with shredded pork is a good gift to bring back for friends and family.
This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt