Area: 11,136.3 sq.km.
Population: 3,680.4 thousand habitants (2006)
Capital: Thanh Hoa City.
Administrative divisions:
- Towns: Sam Son, Bim Son.
- Districts: Muong Lat, Quan Hoa, Quan Son, Ba Thuoc, Cam Thuy, Lang Chanh, Thach Thanh, Ngoc Lac, Thuong Xuan, Nhu Xuan, Nhu Thanh, Vinh Loc, Ha Trung, Nga Son, Yen Dinh, Tho Xuan, Hau Loc, Thieu Hoa, Hoang Hoa, Dong Son, Trieu Son, Quang Xuong, Nong Cong, Tinh Gia.
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Muong, Thai, H'Mong, Tho...

 

 
   

 

   

Geography (Click here to see location)
Among of five provinces in North-Central Vietnam, Thanh Hoa Province is surrounded by Son La, Hoa Binh, Ninh Binh provinces on the north, Nghe An Province on the south, East Sea on the east with 102km coastline, and Laos on the west.


Climate

Topography is divided into plain, coastal and mountainous regions. Hilly and mountains account three quarters of the total area. The Western region own abundant resources of forest products, and huge hydroelectric potentials. The plain is the third largest one of Vietnam.
Owing to the cool climate and high rainfall, the province has annual average temperature of 24.5ºC. Rainy season often begins in June and ends in October.

Tourism and Economy
Located 16km from Thanh Hoa City, Sam Son Beach attracts lot of visitors to relax and bath. Beside the beach, Sam Son offers scenic spots such as Trong Mai Rocks, Doc Cuoc Temple and Mount Co Tien.
Tourists also like to discover Ben En National Park in Nhu Thanh, Nhu Xuan districts. The park is a complex of tropical forests, hills, mountains, rivers, springs, and Muc Lake. With natural landscapes and diversified flora and fauna, Ben En is suitable to eco-tourism, sightseeing, and scientific studies.
Cam Luong Fish Spring is another interesting place in Thanh Hoa, The stream contains thousands of fish that no one dares catch it. Fish in the stream have red mouth and fins, and brown scales, resembling carp. Please come to this place to play with fish, visit beautiful caves and grottos, watch dancing performances of Muong people and enjoy traditional lam rice and can wine.
In addition of these, Thanh Hoa is famous of historical vestiges like Ham Rong Bridge, Ho Citadel and Lam Kinh Remains. Lam Son is the birthplace of national hero Le Loi and the starting point of the Lam Son revolutionary insurrection.


Transportation
Thanh Hoa is 153km from Hanoi, 62km from Ninh Binh, and 139km from Vinh (Nghe An). National Highway No.1A and North-South Express Train run through province. There are National Highway No.15 linking to Nghe An and National Highway No.217 connecting to Laos via Na Meo Bordergate.

 

   

 

   
 

 

Ho Citadel

Location: Ho Citadel is situated in Vinh Tien and Vinh Long communes, Vinh Loc District, Thanh Hoa Province, approximately 150 km from Hanoi.
Characteristics: Ho Citadel is also called Tay Do Wall - a rectangle is surrounded by a deep dike

 

 
   

 

   

 

 

The citadel was erected in 1397, during the Ho Dynasty. The stone citadel was built in the shape of a square with a gate on each side. The south wall gate is similar to the South Gate of Thang Long Wall. All four walls are surrounded by deep channels, protecting the Imperial Palace inside. Upon completion of the wall, King Ho Quy Ly moved the capital from Thang Long to Tay Do. The citadel was eventually destroyed and abandoned. Over 6 centuries have passed since the wall was erected, and only ruins of the South Gate remain.
Nowadays, inside the citadel are remains of the foundations of the royal places and two carved stone dragons.

   

 

   
 

 

Ben En National Park

Location: Ben En National Park is situated in Nhu Xuan District, Thanh Hoa Provice.
Characteristics: This landscape is breathtaking, with its hills, mountains, rivers and the lake looks similar to Halong Bay During the 1970s the park was often empty as very few visitors frequented it. However, since it was made into a national park, scientists and tourists alike have frequented the place.

 

 
   

 

   

Its scenery is beautiful. The park covers an area of 16,634 ha. The water surface accounts for 3,000hectares of the park. With 21 big and small islands on its water, the lake looks similar to Halong Bay. Tourists and naturalists are interested in Ben En also because of its large bio-diversity. One can find a great range of plants and animals. Much of the wildlife found here has been categorised as endangered or rare.
Different ethnic groups including the Kinh, Muong, Thai and Tho live within the park. Each group brings its unique cultural features to Ben En, making the place an ideal destination for those interested in cultural ethnographic tourism.
The management of the park has several projects to make it a more attractive tourist centre. The islands are being made into ideal places for rest. Hotels are being built.
Transport is being made more convenient and comfortable. New tourism routes are being opened. Ben En is proving its advantages over several other tourism centres.


 

   

 

   
 

 

Bich Dao Grotto

Location: Bich Dao Grotto is situated in Nga Thien Commune, Nga Son District, Thanh Hoa Province.
Characteristics: Bich Dao Grotto is also called Tu Thuc grotto, where the scholar fell in love with the fairy.

 

 
   

 

   

You only need to travel about six kilometers along the north eastern route from Nga Son's district town before you see the majestic Than Dau Mountain ahead of you, the mountain is in Nga Thien commune. It is famous for the Bich Dao grotto, which is located inside.
Local legend says that this is the place where the scholar Mr. Tu Thuc met a beautiful fairy named Giang Huong. Mr. Thuc fell completely love with Miss. Huong and decided to follow her to her fairyland. He spent his most wonderful days in fairyland, but deep in the back of his mind he always missed his home village. One day he decided to go back to visit his home village, unfortunately, when he returned nobody recognized him. He didn't realize that the time on earth passed much more quickly than time in fairyland. He had been away much longer than he thought and all the people that he knew had long since died. Tu Thuc left his village and has never been seen again since.
In order to reach the grotto, you must cross a large field. When you arrive there, you will see a lot of shady trees nearby. Vines criss-cross to make natural hammocks for you to rest in before you enter the grotto, a stone path leads for some hundred meters from the foot of the mountain to the mouth of the grotto. There you will see two poems inscribed in Chinese script on the rocks outside the mouth. Le Quy Don wrote one of the poems. He was a well-known Vietnamese scholar from the 18th century. However, Le Quy Don did not inscribe the poem himself. A district chief inscribed the poem on the rock in 1905.
Passing through the mouth, you will enter the outer section of the grotto. It looks like a huge upside down bowl. It houses many twinkling colorful stalagmites and stalactites. People have given them different names such as silver store, rice store, salt store and coin store. Some 10 meters further, you will step on a dragon-shaped stalagmite coiling on the ground. In the center of the coil are egg-shaped pebbles. People call this image, "The dragon brooding golden eggs".
The stalactites drop from the roof like leaves. If you beat them with a piece of wood, each one will produce a different sound. They sound very much like traditional musical instruments such as gongs, drums and bells. This area of the grotto is called, "the orchestra."
The middle section of the grotto is not so large, but long. It is almost round with a diameter of 35m and height of 20m. The stalagmites and stalactites here have all sorts of shapes and sizes. One looks like a chessboard. Another looks like shoes. Standing in this area you can see the images of flowery carpets, seals, caps and gowns. These objects make you believe that they must have belonged to the scholar Tu Thuc from the legend.
This section has a path leading upward. The incline is called "the way to heaven." It has another path leading downward which is called "the way to hell." Here there is also a pool of clear and cool water. You can see clearly the pebbles at the bottom. The stalactites hang like a loose curtain, from which water can be heard dripping continuously. This scene makes you think of the bathroom of the beautiful fairy Giang Huong.
The inner section is smaller. It is 12m wide and 8m high. Looking at the bottom of this section, you will see the rock form itself into an altar. The stalagmites look like candles and ancestral tablets. A huge rock in this section represents the grave of Tu Thuc.


 

 

   

 

   
 

 

Sam Son Beach

Location: Sam Son Beach is situated in Sam Son Town, Thanh Hoa Province.
Characteristics: Sam Son Beach is a famous beach with the cool wind, healthy sun, fine sand and clear water all made this a sought out place for rest and relaxation
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Oc-Eo Remains Site was rediscovered when the soil was dug out to build the Ba The Channel. The site has an area of 4,500ha still hold many mysteries to researchers and archaeologists.
Nowadays, the Oc Eo Remains Site not only receives many researchers and archeologists who come to study and investigate but also attracts many local and foreign tourists who come to visit and study about a booming era of the former An Giang.At the turn of the 20th century, people discovered the priceless geographical treasure of Sam Son. In 1907, the French colonial government started to develop Sam Son into a holiday resort for French civil servants and officials based in Thanh Hoa and northern Vietnam. The area has a long history steeped in legend and mysticism.
In 208 BC, Vietnamese King An Duong Vuong was tricked by his Chinese son-in-law Trong Thuy. Trong Thuy had stolen the magic trigger of the King's cross bow. The Golden Tortoise had given the trigger to the King as a gift. The trigger gave the cross bow extraordinary powers. It was able to kill hundreds of people in a single shot. Trong Thuy gave the trigger to his father Trieu Da. Trieu Da led his Chinese army to invade Vietnam. As his cross bow had lost its magic powers, King An Duong Vuong could not win the battle. The King retreated with his daughter My Chau to the south.
 Local legend says that when King An Duong Vuong reached the location which is now Binh Hoa Village Quang Duong District, about 4km from Sam Son Beach, he found himself completely cornered. In front of him was the sea and behind him was the enemy. In despair, he prayed to the Golden Tortoise to help him. The Genie appeared and took the King to the Underwater Palace.
The legend coincides with the geographical development of the area. About 2000 years ago, Binh Hoa Village bordered on the vast sea. At the moment there is still the temple dedicated to King An Duong Vuong and Princess My Chau. No one has ever seen the Golden Tortoise, but the land bears its shape very clearly. Its hind legs are the two stretches of land pushing against the Truong Le Mountain. Its head is another land stretch reaching as far as the Lach Hoi Estuary. The Golden Tortoise is also called the Green Envoy. Probably that is why this area is always green with trees. Some distance from the shore is the Truong Le Mountain. It shields the boats and beach from strong hurricanes. The entire area is known as Sam Son.
 In the early days, Sam Son was only a collection of sun-baked sand dunes rising above long pools of blue water. The name Sam Son did not appear in written documents or verbal language until the beginning of the 20th century. At the foot of the mountains, north of the Truong Le Range, there is Sam Village. It is popularly referred to as Nua Village. This is the oldest village in the area.