Trang An

Festival at the temple of Dinh Tien Hoang

The Trang An landscape complex is a visually spectacular mountainous karst area with numerous caves that have provided shelter to humans for 32,000 years.

The site shows a large variety of karst features, with a high quality fengcong landscape of karst towers and which fengcong to fenglin geomorphic sequence is a text book example and the best of its kind in the world. Especially because of its relative small size, Trang An is a readily visible and comprehensible model of karst evolution.

Trang An WHS comprises three protected areas:

- Hoa Lu Ancient Capital: served as a political capital of Vietnam for 42 years during the Dinh Dynasty from CE 968 to CE 1010.

- Trang An-Coc-Bich Dong Scenic Area

- Hoa Lu Special-Use Primary Forest


Community Reviews

Michael Turtle - June 2015

I visited the Trang An Landscape in April of 2015 and really enjoyed the experience. It is a beautiful area that you can spend quite a lot of time exploring.

In order to see it, I did the standard Trang An boat tour which costs 150,000 dong and takes about two hours. While it is quite popular with (local) tourists groups, you are in a boat of just six people so it is not as touristy as it could be. The boat takes you through caves and to little waterscapes you wouldn't be able to access otherwise.

There is no shade on the boat so, a word of warning, make sure to take sun protection and some water!

To get to Trang An you can get a direct train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh and then a taxi from there (about 75,000 dong).

I actually stayed overnight near Ninh Binh (you can get here on a direct train from Hanoi) and enjoyed spending a couple of days cycling around the region and seeing some other natural areas. They may not technically be part of the WHS, but they look the same.

Read more from Michael Turtle here.

Johnson - January 2015

I joined a day tour group from Hanoi to Trang An during my last trip to Vietnam in 2011. The tour mini bus picks up foreign tourists from the hotels in Hanoi in the morning and sets off quite early.

the first stop is to visit the temples. Based on the reconstructed gate, it seems to be the ancient capital city site of Hua Lu during the Dinh and Li Dynasty. the guide was saying the king's tomb was somewhere around in the mountains. The temples and internal settings are quite Chinese with Kings' statues and Chinese couplets. but they are not dating from 10 or 11 AD but more recent reoncstructions.

then the tour moved on to a lunch buffet at a local restaurant which was quite decent local food.

the highlight of the tour is the boat trip to visit the Trang An grottoes. the locals row the boat by foot with 2 to 3 passengers. Along the way, rice fields besides the river and limestone karst mountains not too far away. the river cut through a few mountains, so able to go under it. the rower would ask for tips in the middle or by the end of the tour.

the extra bonus is bicycle riding after this. following the guide, i visited another temple which seems to be more recently built but with a old pagoda and with rice fields all around.

i think the trip would be a nice family outing. there are many local tourists maybe from Hanoi joining the boat trip. In term of unesco value, it may lack quite a bit. i dropped off from the tour in ninh binh and took a local bus to visit the citadel of the Ho Dynasty.

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Site Info

Full name: Trang An Landscape Complex

Site History

  • 2014 - Inscribed

    Reasons for inscription
  • 2014 - Advisory Body overruled

    Bot ICOMOS and IUCN recommended Deferral


The site has 1 locations.

  • Trang An


The site has 14 connections.


  • Wooden architecture two temples of King Dinh and King Le with their traditional wooden architecture (AB ev)


  • Significant Karst Features includes karst towers rising to 187 metres to the north west, to 198 metres at Trang An and up to 162 metres to the south & totally autogenic (rainfed) karst (AB ev)
  • Underground river subterranean rivers (AB ev)


  • River deltas southern edge of the Red River delta (AB ev)

Human Activity

  • Rice cultivation People live within the landscape complex, they undertake agriculture that includes growing rice (AB ev)

Religion and Belief

  • Pagoda Nhat Tru Pagoda with its Buddhist scriptures carved on the temple's stone pillars in the 10th century (AB ev)


  • Late Pleistocene During the Pleistocene and Holocene, the margins of the Trang An massif were invaded and re-worked by the sea many times. AND the way that humans interacted with the natural landscape and adapted to major changes in environment over a time period spanning more than 30,000 years, between about 1,200 BP and 33,100 BP (AB ev)


WHS on Other Lists

World Heritage Process