A unique riverine procession of floating dragons featuring hundreds of boats opened a week-long tourism event in Ninh Binh.
The Ninh Binh Tourism Week 2019, an annual event aimed to boost the local tourism industry, is being held May 18-25 at the Tam Coc-Bich Dong, part of Trang An Landscape Complex, a heritage site recognized by UNESCO in 2011.
Saturday’s opening ceremony featured a dragon boat procession on the Ngo Dong River in the Tam Coc (Three grottoes) area, which is sometimes referred to as the “Ha Long Bay on land,” for the limestone karst towers rising out of green paddy fields.
Two dragons expertly maneuvered by local oarsmen and women headed the long procession that paraded around the local wharf before moving into the Ngo Dong River.
Hundreds of boats waited at the Van Lam dock to take tourists to the Tam Coc-Bich Dong area. May-June is a great time of the year to visit Ninh Binh, home to the ancient capital of Hoa Lu under the reign of Dinh Dynasty (968-980).
Foreign tourists go on a two-hour boat ride under the scorching summer sun to explore the limestone landscape of Ninh Binh during the ripening rice season.
This year’s tourism week, themed ‘The Golden Colors of Tam Coc-Trang An,’ takes place during the ripening rice season in Tam Coc.
Many prestigious travel magazines around the world have lavished praise on Ninh Binh. In 2018, U.S. travel site Insider chose the province one of the 50 best travel spots not to be missed.
Ninh Binh welcomed 7.3 million visitors in 2018, up 4.6 percent compared to 2017, of whom 876,930 were foreigners, up 2.1 percent. The province earned a tourism turnover of nearly VND3.2 trillion ($132 million), up 19.2 percent, according to Ninh Binh Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The province aims to receive 7.6 million visitors by 2020.
Story and photos by Giang Huy