Resting along Vietnam’s border with Cambodia is the Tay Ninh Province. Located within Southeast Vietnam, the province is famously a part of the Mekong Delta Region and is known for having spectacular mountains, lakes, and river scenery.
Tourism within the province is fueled by the area’s natural beauty, close proximity to Ho Chi Minh City, and the rich local culture. Travelers to Tay Ninh can experience tranquility and transcendence as they journey through this marvelous province.
How to Get to Tay Ninh
Tay Ninh’s location within Southeast Vietnam is in the far north of the region, so three borders of the province meet the international border with Cambodia. The province covers about 4,014 sq km (1,560 sq mi ) and it contains nine sub-divisions. In addition, the smaller size of Vietnam’s Southeast region means that Tay Ninh is still close to the ever-popular destination, HCMC.
Many travelers will also explore the province on their way to or from Cambodia. Those who are coming from Saigon will only have to travel 92 km (57 miles) to the north to reach Tay Ninh. The drive from HCMC to the province can be completed in just over 2 hours. Travelers will have the option of taking a private car or public bus.
Currently, there are no routes by air or rail that go directly to the Tay Ninh Province. People who are flying internationally or domestically to Tay Ninh will have to go to the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City.
Much of Tay Ninh’s history comes from ancient empires ruled by the Cham or Khmer people. Vietnamese culture came to the province in the late 19th century under the rule of Emperor Gia Long. This unification led to the creation of Vietnam’s last ruling dynasty – the Nguyen Dynasty, which was eventually overthrown by French colonists.
The province’s claim to fame, and major historic event, began in 1926 when the Cao Dài religion was created in the provincial capital city, also called Tây Ninh. However, the true power of Caodaism wasn’t seen until after the end of World War II when, in 1947, the religion’s Holy See Temple was completed.
With the Fall of Saigon in 1975, the Cao Dài religion maintained its control over the Tây Ninh Province. Travelers will also find historical treasures from during the war too because the province sat at one end of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which supported democratic efforts in South Vietnam. While South Vietnam’s government ultimately fell, Tây Ninh’s influence continued.
Many tourists eagerly flock to the area to learn about and relive history. Many historical from the war are now open for public tours. Remnants from centuries past can also be found by visiting local sites or interacting with the people. Much of the province’s history is kept alive through the local culture, so homestays have become popular for foreign visitors.
Tây Ninh’s rich history has helped it flourish as a tourist destination, so visitors should expect to come to take home plenty of knowledge from their trip.
- The province’s nickname, “Western Security”, refers to the days of the war when the capital city was an important stronghold for democratic efforts.
• As of 2018, an estimated 1,169,165 people live in the Tay Ninh Province.
• Agriculture is a big industry in Tay Ninh and commonly grown products include rice, cassava, grapefruit, durian, soursop, and mango.
In the same vein as many capitals and provinces in Vietnam, the capital of the Tay Ninh Province is simply known as Tay Ninh City. The city sits somewhat centrally in the province and it is a mere 40 km (25 mi) from the border with Cambodia. Most of the land within the city district is dedicated to the town and surrounding farms.
Industries that are thriving in Tay Ninh City include tourism, agriculture, mineral, metal, and textile productions. From a cultural viewpoint, Tay Ninh is a mashup of various old and new empires. The city was once ruled by ancient Cambodian empires before falling under Vietnamese influence.
However, an attack by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s reshaped Tay Ninh’s relationship with Cambodia. The diverse history of the capital city has made it an intriguing destination for history buffs. Tourism in the city is also alive and well because of Tay Ninh’s prime location in Southeast Vietnam.
Being located so close to both Ho Chi Minh City and the Cambodian border makes Tay Ninh a busy place for short-term travelers. Many people touring around Southeast Asia and Southern Vietnam will find themselves in Tay Ninh at some point along their journey. Highlights in Tay Ninh City include the Black Virgin Mountain, Holy See Temple, and Dau Tieng Lake.
To experience and appreciate the authenticity of this capital city, tourists are encouraged to stay a few days so that they can properly explore Tay Ninh. With a very well-developed tourist sector, visitors in Tay Ninh can choose to stay in either a 5-star accommodation, luxury resort, boutique hotel, or affordable homestay.
Highly rated accommodations in Tay Ninh are the Vinpearl Hotel, Gold City Hotel, and La’s Farmstay. Visitors to Tay Ninh will also have the chance to indulge in the local cuisine. There are many recommended restaurants in Tay Ninh that serve local and international dishes. Popular restaurants in Tay Ninh include Troc’s Pizza, Le Dem Bistro, and Nhà Hàng Sala.
Unique local dishes that are served are the Trang Bàng rice paper and Black Virgin Mountain lizards. Most restaurants in Tay Ninh offer dine-in, take-out, and delivery options.
Famous Towns and Districts in Tay Ninh
In addition to Tay Ninh City, there are a few small towns and districts that have become tourist hotspots. Specifically, the two towns Hoa Thanh and Trang Bang, as well as the Tân Biên District have become especially popular amongst international travelers. Attractions in these destinations include markets, arts, and a national park.
Hoa Thanh is a small town in the Tây Ninh Province that has become famous for being situated on the main trade route between Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Within the town, the Long Hoa Market has caught the eye of many travelers. Selling goods from all over Vietnam and even Southeast Asia, visitors head to the market to experience the local culture and shop for souvenirs.
Tan Bien District
Translated in English as the “New Border”, the Tân Biên District is surrounded by the Cambodian border, Tân Châu, Châu Thành, and Tay Ninh City. As a smaller district, most of Tân Biên is remote. Poverty is high but with strong rubber, sugarcane, and forestry industries, locals are able to make a living.
The remote nature of the district has also helped influence the tourist industry. Thick forests harbor attractions like the Tua Hai war site and Lo Go-Xa Mat National Park. With an off-the-grid attitude, adventurous travelers shouldn’t miss out on visiting the Tân Biên District.
Trang Bàng is renowned for its industry of artisans. Art can be found all over Trang Bàng and in various forms. Though, the most recognized piece of art to come out of the town is the Pulitzer prize-winning photo of the child, Phan Thi Kim Phuc escaping a napalm bombing.
In Trang Bàng, art also comes in the form of cuisine. Bánh canh Trang Bàng is a pork soup served with rice noodles. A staple for the town, many visitors eagerly head to Trang Bàng for a taste of authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
Boasting a mix of urban, remote, historical, and cultural sites, the diversity of main attractions in the Tây Ninh Province is astounding. Travelers will be able to truly enjoy and explore everything that Tây Ninh has to offer. Attractions in Tây Ninh that can be missed are the Holy See Temple, Black Virgin Mountain, and Lò Gò-Xa Mát National Park.
Black Virgin Mountain
Close to Tay Ninh City is the Black Virgin Mountain, which hosts Sunworld Bà Den. Visitors can take a cable car to the top to visit ornate temples and statues. The view from Bà Den is also amazing as it overlooks the city and quiet farmland. Ideal as a day activity, Sunworld Bà Den is one of the top attractions in the entire province and one that is suited for travelers of all ages.
Lo Go-Xa Mat National Park
Host to a diverse array of local flora, Lò Gò-Xa Mát National Park is one of only a handful of protected wetlands in Vietnam. Uncrowded and calm, this national park has become the go-to spot for bird watchers. The main entrance to the park is just minutes from Tay Ninh City and guided tours are offered daily.
A series of multi-functional trails ensure that guests can hike, bike, or drive through the park to visit all of its marvelous features.
Holy See Temple
One major part of Tay Ninh’s identity as a province is its Cao Dài religion. Established in the capital in 1926, the religions Holy See Temple has become a tourist attraction. The temple is just outside of Tay Ninh City and it is open to visitors.
Guests can head to the temple to observe ceremonies and daily prayers. Out of respect, visitors should wear modest clothing and ask permission before taking any photographs.
To promote tourism and to keep the local culture alive, the Tay Ninh Province hosts two special festivals at the Black Virgin Mountain and Holy See Temple.
Every year during the middle of the first lunar month, tourism to the Black Virgin Mountain spikes. This is when temples on the mountain host festivals to honor the spirit of the mountain. A pilgrimage to the mountain also attracts large numbers during the first week of May.
Another festival that is a popular attraction is the Hôi Yên Diêu Trì ceremony at the Holy See Temple. Held on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, this religious ceremony takes place at the same time as Vietnam’s Mid Autumn Festival. The ceremony comprises processions, meals, and prayers.
While the festival is open to visitors, travelers should expect large local crowds as Caodaiists take a pilgrimage to the temple.
Travelers headed to Tay Ninh should plan their trips for the dry season, which runs from November to March. During these months, the temperatures will be lower and there will be less rain so your daily activities can go on uninterrupted.
However, traveling to Tay Ninh from November to March also means traveling with the crowds as it is the most popular time for international visitors. Traveling during the off-season, also known as the rainy season, means combating monsoons, high temperatures, and extreme humidity. Most tourists avoid Tay Ninh from April to October because of the poor weather.
Travelers may be able to catch a lucky break if they travel just before or after the dry months as the weather will still be pleasant and there are less likely to run into large crowds.
With a beautiful landscape and friendly people, the Tay Ninh Province is the getaway that every traveler needs after spending time in the hyperactive HCMC. An overabundance of culture and history, more than guarantees that Tay Ninh will leave its mark as one of the best destinations in Southeastern Vietnam.
Activities near Tay Ninh Province