Dating back to the Tran and Ho Dynasties, Thanh Hoa (Thanh Hóa) is a modern-day capital city with ancient roots. Serving as a hub for business, leisure, and transportation, many tourists will stay or pass through Thanh Hoa City on their journey through Vietnam’s North Central Coast.
Acting as the capital of Thanh Hoa Province, the city is one of the most populated urban areas in the region. With plenty to see and do in the city, tourists will have the chance to explore Thanh Hoa’s nature, culture, and history.
Historical City on the North Central Coast
Thanh Hoa City sits just inland from the coast, on the bank of the Ma (Sông Mã) River. The landscape throughout is relatively flat as it sits down from the mountains in a large plain. On the fringes of the city, about 8 km (5 mi) from the center, the Ham Rong (Hàm Rồng) Mountain ridge begins.
UNESCO Heritage Site the Citadel of the Ho Dynasty. Photo: manhhai
Well-connected to neighboring provinces, Thanh Hoa’s transportation network includes the North-South Railway, National Route 1A, National Route 47, Le Mon Port, and the Tho Xuan (Tho Xuân) Airport. Centrally located within the province, Thanh Hoa City is about 157 km (98 mi) north of Vietnam’s capital city, Hanoi.
To the south of Thanh Hoa, the popular tourist city of Vinh is about 141 km (88 mi) away. However, with so many routes servicing the city, travelers can easily make the journey to the city by car, taxi, motorbike, public bus, train, or plane.
Throughout the centuries, Thanh Hoa City has been an important stronghold for many of the country’s ruling dynasties. Beginning in 1398 with the Tran (Trần) Dynasty, a citadel was built to serve as the capital. Acting as the dynasty’s capital for only two years, the citadel eventually transferred power to the Ho Dynasty, where it was reinstated as the capital from 1400 to 1407.
In ruins, parts of the Citadel of the Ho (Hồ) Dynasty are still standing in Thanh Hoa City today. More than a century later, in the 1580s, Thanh Hoa was established as a town where the local people heavily favored and supported Le Loi (Lê Lợi), a Vietnamese rebel leader and founder of the Le (Lê) Dynasty.
East Gate of the Citadel of the Ho Dynasty. Photo: Thành viên:Silviculture
With local support, a southern court was created and ruled after the Ming Dynasty had withdrawn from the area. In more modern history, Thanh Hoa City was a stronghold and supporter of the Viet Minh. Turning into a battleground between the North and South during the Vietnam War, Thanh Hoa City was completely destroyed by strategic bombing.
Very little of the town’s original infrastructure remains, and though a now busy capital, Thanh Hoa had to be completely rebuilt after the end of the war. Since then, Thanh Hoa has grown its population and changed its status from a town to a Class-1 city and provincial capital.
- The average annual rainfall in Thanh Hoa City is 68-78 inches.
- As of 2018, an estimated 614,500 people live in Thanh Hoa City.
- The economy of Thanh Hoa City is heavily dependent on three sectors: agricultural, industrial, and service.
Thanh Hoa City’s reputation as a tourist destination is steadily growing. With manageable crowds, visitors can enjoy all the sights in Thanh Hoa without the chaos of long lines. The main attractions in the city include the Le Loi Monument, President Ho Chi Minh Memorial, Thanh Hoa Province Museum, Thanh Quang Park, Sam Son (Sâm Son) Beach, and Shopping Hotspots.
Le Loi Monument
Visit the Le Loi Monument in Thanh Hoa City. Photo: Nguyễn Thanh Quang
One of Thanh Hoa’s central monuments is dedicated to the rebel leader and founder of the Le Dynasty, Le Loi. A tall white statue of the founder stands in a small park in the center of the city. Visitors can head to the memorial and view the surrounding stone carvings, which narrate the city’s past. The Le Loi Monument is a major landmark that tourists can use to navigate the city.
President Ho Chi Minh Memorial
Another monument dedicated to Vietnam’s most famous leader is the President Ho Chi Minh Memorial. A small complex, visitors can tour the memorial by viewing the main temple, courtyard, and gardens. Functioning as a mini-museum, information about Ho Chi Minh is provided to educate guests about Vietnam’s history.
Thanh Hoa Province Museum
For more information about the city and province, tourists should head to the Thanh Hoa Province Museum. Housed in a multi-floor building, the museum features exhibits on the history of Thanh Hoa. Providing information that stretches back to the days of ancient Vietnam, visitors can dive deeper into the country’s dynasties and their effect on Thanh Hoa.
Thanh Quang Park
To enjoy some time in nature, tourists can head to Thanh Quang Park. Well manicured and maintained, the park has a small lake, walking paths, and quiet gardens. Not too busy currently, future projects, like a shopping center, are being built in the area, so tourism is expected to rise. For now, the park is mostly a local hotspot for picnics and walks.
Sam Son Beach
Sam Son Beach. Photo: Nguyễn Thanh Quang
About 16 km (10 mi) outside of the city center, Sam Son is a beach resort that has become a popular tourist destination. A wide, white beach is the perfect playground for visitors can enjoy games, sunbathe, and swim. A well-developed beachfront area ensures that guests receive the best service from the local hotels and restaurants.
Aside from the beach, other attractions near Sam Son include the Co Tien and Truong Le (Truòng Lê) Mountains and the Doc Cuoc Temple.
Shopping in Thanh Hoa City ranges from large malls to small markets. One of the most popular places, Vincom Plaza, features modern amenities and chain businesses. Moreover, tourists can explore the local markets for handmade goods and fresh products. A world apart from the big shopping centers, sometimes the best products are found in the local markets.
Thriving as a major urban area, there are plenty of resorts and hotels in Thanh Hoa City. Options range from luxury resorts to boutique hotels and friendly hostels. The best hotels in Thanh Hoa City are the Vinpearl Hotel Thanh Hoa, Muong Thanh Hotel Grand Thanh Hoa, Bamboo Hotel, Dai Viet Hotel, and the FLC Luxury Resort Sam Son.
Vinpeal Hotel Thanh Hoa. Photo: Vinpearl Hotel Thanh Hoá
Vinpearl Hotel Thanh Hoa – The tallest building in Thanh Hoa City’s skyline, tourists can’t miss the Vinpearl Hotel Thanh Hoa. Part of the famous Vietnamese chain, the Vinpearl boasts a 5-star rating and high-quality facilities. Tourists will have the option to choose between a Deluxe King, Deluxe Twin, Business, or Executive Suite for their stay at the Vinpearl.
Boasting room service, a 24-hour front desk, restaurant, indoor pool, and fitness center, all of your needs will be taken care of when staying at the Vinpeal Hotel Thanh Hoa.
Muong Thanh Hotel Grand Thanh Hoa – Highly rated and luxurious, the Muong Thanh Hotel Grand Thanh Hoa is a 4-star hotel with deluxe rooms and executive suites. Featuring an outdoor pool, garden, fitness center, game room, restaurant, and bar, all rooms at the hotel are equipped with AC, a TV, and a private bathroom. A 24-hour front desk provides room and currency exchange services.
Dai Viet Hotel – Situated on one of the city’s main boulevards, the Dai Viet Hotel is highly rated for its modern features, design, and services. The 24-hour front desk has attentive staff who can assist guests with arranging for room service, currency exchange, or transportation. On-site, guests can enjoy the restaurant, fitness center, sun terrace, and shared lounge.
Dai Viet Hotel. Photo: DAI VIET HOTEL
Rooms at the Dai Viet Hotel all have AC and a private bathroom. Provided with the reservation, guests will have access to bed linens and towels.
Bamboo Hotel – One of the city’s newest accommodations is the Bamboo Hotel. Located in a gated community and boasting a modern design with big windows, the hotel sits on Sam Son’s beachfront. On-site, there is a 24-hour front desk, transportation assistance, an outdoor pool, and a restaurant. Guest rooms at the hotel all have a private bathroom. Family rooms are also available.
FLC Luxury Resort Sam Son – In Sam Son, the FLC Luxury Resort is a 5-star establishment that sits right on the oceanfront. The property boasts an outdoor pool, indoor pool, children’s playground, 2 restaurants, and a fitness room. Guests love the hotel’s location and its amazing views of the sea.
Rooms at the hotel all have access to free WiFi and a TV, private bathroom, and desk are also included. The front desk is open 24 hours and staff are there to assist guests with arranging tours, transportation, and currency exchange.
FLC Sam Son Resort. Photo: FLC Sầm Sơn
While many of the hotels in Thanh Hoa City have their own restaurants, visitors are encouraged to explore local restaurants in the area. With an array of menus, the best places to eat in Thanh Hoa City are the Vincom Plaza, Hutong Thanh Hoa, Tang 34 SkyView Cafe and Bar, and The Pizza Company Nguyen Kim Thanh Hoa.
Vincom Plaza – One place that has many restaurants in one is the Vincom Plaza. Suitable for shopping and dining, many tourists will head to this commercial center for a good meal. Most of the restaurants in the plaza serve Vietnamese food like hotpot and Vietnamese coffee. With affordable prices, the plaza is a great choice for travelers who want a quick meal.
Hutong Thanh Hoa – For some of the best hotpot in Thanh Hoa, tourists should check out Hutong Thanh Hoa. With a bar full of ingredients, guests can choose their meats, vegetables, and broth with ease. With reasonable prices, large portions, and large tables, the restaurant is great for traveling groups. After sharing a hotpot meal, fruit and ice cream are served for dessert.
Tang 34 SkyView Cafe and Bar – Looking out over the city and earning a 5-star rating, Tang 34 SkyView Cafe and Bar is one of the most popular places to head for lunch or dinner. Whether grabbing drinks or a full meal, the restaurant boasts spectacular views. The menu heavily favors Vietnamese and Chinese food, but there is also a limited selection of international dishes too.
The Pizza Company Vietnam. Photo: The Pizza Company Vietnam
The Pizza Company Nguyen Kim Thanh Hoa – Serving more than just pizza, the Pizza Company Nguyen Kim Thanh Hoa has become a favorite among tourists. The pizza is delicious and can be ordered with a variety of toppings. The menu also has pasta, salad, and deep-fried delights.
In a dazzling array of ceremonies, performances, dances, songs, games, and races, Thanh Hoa City celebrates its cultural identity by hosting various festivals throughout the year. Aimed at preserving the local culture and used to promote new tourism, festivals are a great way for travelers to engage and interact with the local people.
Aside from national holidays like Tet (Lunar New Year), popular festivals in Thanh Hoa City include the Cau Ngu Whale Festival, Ho Citadel Heritage Festival, and the Trong Mai Love Festival.
Urban landscape of Thanh Hoa City. Photo: Tim Vo
Looking at a map, Thanh Hoa City doesn’t seem too big, but for most tourists, it’s still too large to be able to walk to every destination. While specific areas of the city are easily walkable with a few attractions or shopping centers, sometimes finding transportation will be necessary.
The easiest way to get around Thanh Hoa City is by using a taxi. Taxis can easily be found throughout Thanh Hoa City and many have affordable rates. Taxis are the fastest way to get across town or to outlying tourist areas like Sam Son Beach.
Thanh Hoa City has a monsoon climate, typical throughout most of the region. During the wet season, temperatures in the area soar, and large amounts of rainfall accumulate. The hottest months are June, July, and August, however, the rainiest and most humid month is September. Although hot, tourism during these months tends to focus on spending time at Sam Son Beach.
For significantly cooler weather and less rain, the best time to visit Thanh Hoa City is from November to April, during the dry season. With better weather, Thanh Hoa City can get rather busy during the months of December and January as people celebrate important holidays like the Lunar New Year.
A long-established capital that has ruled since the days of Vietnam’s dynasties, Thanh Hoa City is a destination that can’t be missed. While many people may head further down the coast to Vinh or Hue, tourists who take a chance and stay in Thanh Hoa City will be pleasantly surprised with the city’s attractions, accommodation, and hospitality.
Boasting a little bit of everything to keep travelers entertained, Thanh Hoa City is quickly moving to become one of the North Central Coast’s best destinations.
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Keyword: Thanh Hoa City, Vietnam