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Thanh Hoa Travel Guide

Thanh Hoa Travel GuideAs the northernmost province in the Central Vietnam, Thanh Hoa Province is not only famous for its education and talented person but also a prominent tourist destination.

Its capital and largest city is Thanh Hoa City with a population of 176,400. The province has a seaside resort called Sầm Sơn, which is situated about 15 km from the provincial capital. The largest towns are Bỉm Son (pop. 53,000) and Sầm Sơn (pop. 52,000).

About people, Thanh Hoa is the third largest population in Vietnam, with more than 3 million citizens. More, Thanh Hoa is the land of various ethnic minorities like Muong, Thai, Tho, Dao and H’Mong.
About the tourist attractions, the Ho Citadel and Sam Son Beach are the most well-known names. Besides, Ba Trieu Pagoda, Holy Fish Pond and Ben En National Park are also very attractive.

The Ho Citadel was built in the 14th century by Ho Quy Ly. This special 600-year-old citadel was made from giant and sophisticated carving stones. There are three parabolic gates at the entrance with similar height (5.82 with the central gate and 5.75 with the others). The highest wall is in the front gate (more than 10m). In the middle of June, 2012, the Ho Citadel was recognized by the UNESCO as one of the world heritages.

The Holy Fish Pond, also known as Cam Luong Fish Cave, is one of the most interesting and special sites in Thanh Hoa with thousands of fishing. It’s said that the fishes in this pond is holy and people in Thanh Hoa always shows respects to them and fishing is forbidden. More, people built an altar for the fish spirits to pray for rain and a favorable season. Many visitors came here just to see and take photos of these fishes. This will be an indispensable place in your journey in Thanh Hoa.

Ba Trieu Pagoda is a solemn place dedicated to the first female leader of Vietnam.

She was sacrificed herself when her forces were killed by the Northern enemies.

Ben En National Park is 36km from the city of Thanh Hoa to the southwest. Within an area of 16.634 ha of old-growth forests, mountains, rivers and streams, Ben En National Park is the ideal choice for any visitors those want to experience the beauty of nature in Thanh Hoa. Ben En is the home to 462 kinds of plants and animal and many of them are rare species. The caves with stalagmites are also another attraction for tourists.


Thanh Hoa Travel Information

Things to do


Sam Son Beach

Sam Son BeachVisiting Sam Son beach,  tourists are not only strongly impressed by a long coastline of white sand beach, beautiful scenery, and historical relics, but also always welcomed by friendly and generous people here. Here you can have the chance to enjoy the delicious specialties of the northern region of Vietnam.
Sam Son is a long and beautiful beach covering more than 16km in length. Visitors will have some memorable moments when wallowing in the cool blue sea, listening to the sound of the wave and the wind, taking a nap on the sunlight sandbanks, or building sand castles. Besides, this is a good place to try various local seafood assortments such as shrimps, fish, or crabs and also to bring back home some pretty souvenirs. The very smooth and gentle sandbank, combined with clean and azure water makes the scenery of Sam Son beach glorious and gorgeous.

Sam Son also has another captivating destination with many natural attractions and historical vestiges: the Truong Le Mountain range. The part that is adjoining to the sea is called Co Giai Islet. On top of this islet, there is a small pagoda named “Doc Cuoc”, which means “One Leg”. The pagoda reminds local people of a heroic legend of a giant that manages to slay a sea monster and guard the sea. Futhermore, there is a special rock name “Trong Mai”, created with two huge boulders on a flat rock. There is a story that these rocks represent a pair of husband and wife, who love each other so passionately that both have been transformed into birds and lived forever together.

Ham Rong Bridge

Ham Rong Bridge of Thanh Hoa Province, 163km south of Hanoi, was considered to be one of the symbols of the Vietnamese resilience during the war. Ham Rong Bridge was the only bridge across the Ma River ensuring the flow of man-force and war materials by road from North into South Vietnam.

Ho Dynasty Citade

Ho CitadelUNESCO has recognized the Ho Dynasty Citadel in the central province of Thanh Hoa as a World Cultural Heritage Site in an official announcement made at the 35th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Paris on June 27.

The Ho Dynasty Citadel is located in the Vinh Tien and Vinh Long communes of Vinh Loc district. It was once the capital of Vietnam from 1397 to 1407. The citadel includes palaces, bamboo screen hedges and a moat built with huge stone slabs, still in good state despite weathering 600 years of existence.

The Citadel also has altars, marble-paved roads connecting different palaces, ancient villages and mountainous river scenery that have been relatively well preserved.

Ho Dynasty Citadel is under the management of Thanh Hoa Relics and Landscape Management Board. The relics of the Ho citadel have been classified as National relics since 28 April 1962.

Lam Kinh Remains

Lam Kinh RemainsLam Kinh Remains is associated with Le Loi, a national hero as well as the starting point of the revolutionary insurrection in Lam Son. Lam Kinh Remains is place where this hero was born. The remains is situated 50km from the north-west of Thanh Hoa City, Xuan Lam Commune, in Tho Xuan District. In addition, Lam Kinh Remains is also tied with King Ly Thai To. He decided to establish the second largest citadel named Lam Kinh after crowned and moving the capital to Thang Long. The citadel is also known as Tay Kinh Citadel.

The citadel has the structures lie along the south-north axis, on a hilly area. The shape of the citadel is similar to the character “wang”, a character of China. Specially, the 1m-thick wall in the north of the citadel has the shape of an arrow. The citadel is 341 long and 254 wide. There is Mount Dau in the north of the citadel and the Chu River in its southern part. From here go along more 900m, you will see Mount Chua which stands as if it was the front obstruction. Looking to the eastern part of the citadel, we will see the Phu Lam Mountain and Mount Ngoc similar to an arrow. Finally, the tourists will see Mounts Huong and Ham Rong when coming to the west of the citadel.

Nowadays, we can still find many monuments such as Le Thai To Tomb, Vinh Lang stele in Lam Kinh Remains. Although it does not have many relics, it can be assumed to be a very large construction which was established by King Le Loi. In addition, 100m from the front of the citadel, there are vestiges of entrance and foundation. The foundation is 1.8m thick and lies along the bank of Ngoc River which is 20m wide with Tien Loan bridge above. This bridge is carved and has a small house. From Tien Loan bridge, going along for more 50km, we will see an ancient water well which has the shape of a rectangle. After that, on the path leading to Ngo Mon Linings, there is a big yard and along the entrance to the gate, there are two stone unicorn-like animals which stand on platforms shaped in rectangles.

Things to eat

Bitter SoupEach province has one special food that reminds people remembering their liberty. Bitter Soup (Canh Đắng) is that food. At the first time eating, you may not eat it due to it quite bitter. However, eating it for a long time, you might be addicted to it. There is no place in Vietnam except Thanh Hoa has this food. So, Thanh Hoa people who living away the liberty will remember their homeland when seeing it.


Thanh Hoa Transportation

Get in

You can get there both by bus and train from Hanoi capital. The city is just 153km South of Hanoi so it take about 3 hours for travel, bus ticket sold 90,000 - 100,000 dong for a seat on air-con bus, road in good condition.

You can also get in from Xam Nua (Sam Neua), Laos for 180,000 kip (March 2011) via the Na Meo border crossing, takes about 10-12 hours along winding mountain roads in a small bus with padded seats; the aisle will be full of rice bags. Took 8 hours as of Feb 2013, 180,000K. Get the bus in Sam Neua at main bus station in town (not Nathong as you wait for it to arrive from main station). Driver or border guards will change money, but know the exchange rate and bargain them up!

Get around

Best choice in every town in Vietnam to get around is Xe Om as the Vietnamese call a moto-taxi, cheap and convenient, negotiate price before you ride. For a trip of 5km, pay 30,000 - 50,000 dong (~ 5,000 - 7,000 VND/km). Meter taxi are available with the same price throughout the country, call +84-37-858585 or simply 858585 if you use a landline phone in the town.

There are town buses you can use to get to the bus station and other areas around town.

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