Once an ancient settlement, Thai Binh City (Thái Bình) has rapidly modernized under the influence of foreign investment and tourism. Expanding to become a Class-2 city in 2004, it’s the capital of the Thai Binh Province.
A central hub for history and culture, the city has become an integral part of Vietnam’s Red River Delta Region. Within its limits, highlights include pagodas, historic sites, and theme parks. Just outside of Thai Binh City, the flat landscape has turned the province into an agricultural powerhouse where Vietnam’s highest quality rice is grown.
Provincial Capital in the Red River Delta Region
Sitting near the province’s southern border, Thai Binh City is inland from the coast and features a remarkably flat landscape. Flowing near the city, there are two rivers: Thai Binh and Tra Ly. Though there isn’t much room for agricultural endeavors in the city, foreign investors have still helped to significantly boost the economy.
Growing from a settlement to a small town, and eventually, a capital city, Thai Binh has become the province’s main destination for business and leisure. Connected by a few highways and railways, the city is about 105km (65 mi) to the southeast of Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. Most travelers will choose to go by car, taxi, or bus because the highways provide the most direct route.
Trains are another option, however, there aren’t any direct services from Hanoi. Instead, travelers can take a train from Hanoi to Nam Dinh City, which is only 21 km (13 mi) to the west of Thai Binh City.
Tracing back to the 10th century, Thai Binh City’s most significant historical records begin with the Tran clan. The clan was founded by settlers who made a life in the Túc Mac Village, which is near what is now My Loc, Nam Dinh. Having settled not too far from modern-day Thai Binh City, the Tran expanded their territory into what is now the city and ruled over the area.
By the 13th century, the Tran clan evolved to become the Trân Dynasty. Dominating Northern Vietnam from 1225 to 1400, Thai Binh became an important settlement to the dynasty. Looking to create a town, Thai Binh was originally developed around the Keo Pagoda beginning in 1061. Since then, it has been slowly developing as a city and province in Vietnam.
It wasn’t until about the late 1990s that development rapidly expanded. Part of the delay in development has to do with French colonialism and American imperialism during the 19th and 20th centuries. Standing against foreign forces and developing a strong revolutionary culture, the people of Thai Binh City are frequently described as being very patriotic.
Moreover, the people of Thai Binh are also known to be hard workers. Determined to produce quality goods, farmers in the Thai Binh Province helped capture the eye of foreign investors, which has led to it being a flouring capital.
- The last recorded census, taken in 2013, estimated that 268,167 people lived in Thai Binh City.
- The name “Thái Bình” is derived from Sino-Vietnamese and translated it means “great peace”.
- The total area of Thai Binh is about 67.7 sq km (26.1 sq mi).
With over 2,200 historical sites in the province, most attractions are easy to access because they are in or just outside of Thai Binh City. Some of the top attractions in the city are Keo Pagoda, Dong Xam Temple, Con Vanh Ecological Site, Bach Thuan Garden Village, and Thai Binh Wonderland.
Founded by a monk in 1061, Keo Pagoda is famous for being an integral part of the old settlement, which was ruled by the Tran clan who became a dynasty. Historians believe that Thai Binh City’s oldest origins can be traced back to the pagoda. Today, it’s become a local and national relic where visitors can tour the gardens, tower, and main temple.
Dong Xam Temple
To the east of the city, Dong Xam Temple and the Silver Carving Village have become some of the most popular tourist attractions. Preserving ancient culture, the village and temple are both open throughout the year. Still used for daily worship, the temple’s ornate tower is an architectural marvel that draws visitors.
In the village, silversmiths practicing a 400-year-old art form can carve intricate designs into thin sheets of metal.
Con Vanh Ecological Site
Outside of the city and on the coast, the Con Canh Ecological Site is one of a few popular beach areas. Often deserted, the beach stretches for a great distance along the coast. Visitors can enjoy viewing rare bird and marine species or visit a few of the small establishments on the beach. Ba Lat Lighthouse is another nearby attraction that provides amazing views of Con Vanh.
Bach Thuan Garden Village
Turning flowers into art, Bach Thuan Garden Village is a beautiful attraction that sits just 20 km (12.4 mi) outside of the city center and is open daily. Growing ornamental plants like orchids and bonsai, there are also various types of fruit throughout the garden. Depending on the time of year, roads to the garden are sometimes flooded, which makes traveling by boat more convenient.
Thai Binh Wonderland
Featuring three outdoor pools, various slides, and a large playground, Thai Binh Wonderland is one of the city’s premier attractions. Fun for all ages and ideal for travelers with kids, the water park is open throughout the hottest months of the year. Moreover, the park has multiple dining establishments to cater to its guests.
There is a fee to visit the park, which includes complimentary parking and showers, but rates are affordable.
Heavily focused on business, Thai Binh City is still developing as a tourist and leisure destination. Travelers will find that there isn’t an overabundance of hotels or resorts, however, there are a few great accommodations that are well-rated by previous guests. Thai Binh’s best hotels are the Khach San Hoang Gia, Golden Thai Binh Hotel, Binh Minh Riverside Hotel, and the White Palace 2.
Khach San Hoang Gia – Situated in the city center, Khach San Hoang Gia is a premier hotel with modern rooms and a beautiful property. Featuring a shared lounge, terrace, 24-hour front desk, and free Wi-Fi, rooms have AC and include a TV and private bathroom. Highly rated for its value, the hotel is steps away from some of the city’s best restaurants and markets.
Golden Thai Binh Hotel – For guests looking for a larger property, Golden Thai Binh Hotel boasts an on-site restaurant, bar, lounge, terrace, and garden. A 24-hour front desk provides round-the-clock security and staff can assist guests with room service, currency exchange, and transportation.
All rooms are air-conditioned and each comes with a fridge, TV, desk, and private bathroom. For tourists traveling in larger groups, family rooms are available.
Binh Minh Riverside Hotel – Outside of the city center, Binh Minh Riverside Hotel is a quieter property where guests can relax in their choice of deluxe, standard, or economy rooms. Each has a private bathroom, AC, TV, and kettle, while a few have access to a private patio. Shared areas include a garden and terrace. For safety, there is a 24-hour front desk and free private parking.
White Palace 2 – Another hotel in the city center that has been well-liked for its clean rooms and spacious property is the White Palace 2. At the hotel, friendly staff, a few of whom speak English, can help with a myriad of requests. Rooms at the White Palace 2 are air-conditioned and have a TV, minibar, and private bathroom.
In Thai Binh City, it’s less common for small hotels to have their own eatery. To experience the city’s top establishments, staying in the center will ensure you have plenty of options. Thai Binh’s best restaurants include Oishi Pizza, Nha Hang 555 Thai Binh, 76 Bistro, and GoGi House.
Oishi Pizza – For a break from traditional Vietnamese food, travelers should head to Oishi Pizza. A small restaurant, Oishi is known for having an excellent menu and good food. Friendly prices make the restaurant a hit amongst budget travelers while locals keep Oishi Pizza busy year-round. Guests can even mix and match slices to taste test the menu.
Nha Hang 555 Thai Binh – Serving traditional Vietnamese dishes like hot pot and pho, Nha Hang 555 Thai Binh is a local favorite that provides dine-in, takeaway, and delivery. With a bright dining room and attentive staff, every dish is cooked to perfection. Prices are very affordable and with generous portions, it’s easy for travelers to split a dish or take leftovers back to their hotel.
76 Bistro – Mixing Western with traditional Vietnamese-style food dishes, 76 Bistro is a unique restaurant where travelers can surprise their tastebuds with fresh and flavorful ingredients. Items on the menu include seaweed salad, grilled pork, pasta, and pizza. Locals rave about the owner and many foreign travelers comment on their friendly attitude and great service.
GoGi House – Located in Thai Binh City’s Vincom Plaza, GoGi House is an upscale restaurant that specializes in Korean BBQ. Cooked on tabletop grills, guests can choose seafood, pork, beef, and poultry options. On the side, steamed vegetables and flavorful sauces enhance the meal. Great for small and large groups, private dining rooms are also available.
Beyond protecting its historical sites, Thai Binh City also preserves its culture by hosting festivals. The city’s biggest celebrations are the Keo Pagoda Festival and the Dong Xam Temple Council.
Tied to the famous Keo Pagoda, there are two annual festivals held at the temple honoring the Zen Master and Buddha. The Spring Festival begins on the 4th day of the Lunar New Year and the Autumn Festival starts on the 13th day of the 9th lunar month. Traditional ceremonies during the festivals include art performances, swimming competitions, and folk games.
At the beginning of April, the Dong Xam Temple Council celebrates the village’s silver carving artists as well as worshipping national heroes like Trieu Da and Nguyen Kim Lau. The festival’s main attractions include boat races, the procession of saints, and cheo singing. Ceremonies take place before most of these events and visitors can head to the temple to participate with the local worshippers.
Tourists in Thai Binh City will likely rely on various methods of transportation to get around. In the city center, walking is the best way to travel between destinations because everything is close together. However, there are also attractions outside of the city and this is when travelers will need to arrange to take a taxi or hire a private car.
Hailing a taxi is easy as they are prevalent throughout the city, but tourists can also inquire at the front desk of their hotel for help arranging their transportation.
Throughout the year, Thai Binh City experiences two main seasons – wet and dry. The wet season is when monsoons bring heavy rain to the area. Mostly accumulating in August, and September, breakthrough showers may begin as early as May and last through October. In addition to being the wettest, the summer months are also the hottest.
With a coastal region and a water park, the city still sees a spike in tourists during these months. The best time to visit is in the dry season, which starts in November and lasts until April. Without the rain, temperatures remain cool, which makes it much more pleasant for travelers.
In addition to better weather, there are plenty of big festivals held from November to April, which also helps boost tourism in Thai Binh City.
A significant cultural and historic city, travelers should consider stopping in Thai Binh as they journey through Northern Vietnam. Still quiet, the influx of foreign investments and tourists is likely to soon change as more developments are being built in the city every year.
For now, Thai Binh City is a place where travelers can escape the hectic streets of Hanoi and relax in the unique landscapes and culture of Vietnam’s Red River Delta Region.
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