Phat Diem is a town in Ninh Binh province, about 120 km from Hanoi. It is famous for its cathedral, which is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phat Diem. The cathedral was built in 1891 by Father Tran Luc, also known as Père Six in French or Cu Sau in Vietnamese. The cathedral is a remarkable example of Vietnamese and European architectural styles, blending traditional Vietnamese elements with Gothic and Romanesque features. It is also a symbol of the history and culture of the Catholic community in Vietnam. In this blog post, we will introduce you to some of the best things to see and do in Phat Diem, as well as some tips and tricks to make your trip unforgettable.
What to See in Phat Diem?
Phat Diem has many attractions to offer for visitors of all ages and interests. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Phat Diem Cathedral: This is the main attraction of Phat Diem, and it is a must-see for anyone who visits the town. The cathedral is a huge complex that consists of a main church, five chapels, three grottoes, a bell tower, a pond, and a memorial house. The cathedral is made of stone and wood, and it has many details that reflect the Vietnamese culture and art. For example, the roof is decorated with dragon and phoenix motifs, the pillars are carved with lotus flowers and bamboo leaves, and the statues are dressed in traditional costumes. The cathedral also has many European influences, such as the rose windows, the domes, and the arches. The cathedral is open daily from 7 am to 5 pm, and there is no entrance fee.
- Father Six’s Tomb: This is the tomb of Father Tran Luc, who was the founder and builder of the Phat Diem Cathedral. He was a priest who devoted his life to serving God and his people. He was also a talented architect who designed and supervised the construction of the cathedral. He died in 1899 and was buried in front of the main church. His tomb is a simple stone structure with a cross on top. It is a place where many people come to pay their respects and pray for his intercession.
- Stone Church: This is one of the five chapels in the Phat Diem complex, and it is located on the left side of the main church. It is also known as the Church of Our Lady of Rosary or Nha Tho Da in Vietnamese. It was built in 1883 and it is made entirely of stone. It has a rectangular shape with two towers on each side. The interior of the church is decorated with stained glass windows, paintings, and statues. The church also has a large organ that was imported from France in 1898.
- Wooden Church: This is another chapel in the Phat Diem complex, and it is located on the right side of the main church. It is also known as the Church of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows or Nha Tho Go in Vietnamese. It was built in 1891 and it is made entirely of wood. It has an octagonal shape with eight pillars supporting the roof. The interior of the church is decorated with carvings, paintings, and statues. The church also has a small museum that displays some relics and artifacts related to Father Six and Phat Diem Cathedral.
What to Do in Phat Diem?
Phat Diem has many activities to offer for visitors who want to have some fun and adventure. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Boating: Phat Diem has a large pond that surrounds the cathedral complex. You can rent a boat and paddle around the pond, enjoying the view of the cathedral and its surroundings. You can also see some fish and water lilies in the pond. The boat rental fee is 10,000 VND per person for 30 minutes.
- Shopping: Phat Diem has a small market that sells some souvenirs and local products. You can buy some handicrafts made of stone or wood, such as crosses, rosaries, statues, or boxes. You can also buy some garlic or onion products, which are specialties of Phat Diem. The market is open daily from 7 am to 5 pm.
- Eating: Phat Diem has some restaurants and cafes that serve some delicious and affordable food and drinks. You can try some local dishes, such as garlic soup, garlic salad, garlic noodles, or garlic ice cream. You can also enjoy some coffee, tea, or juice at a cozy and friendly place.
Tips and Tricks for Visiting Phat Diem
Here are some tips and tricks to help you make the most of your trip to Phat Diem:
- Plan your trip in advance: Phat Diem is a popular destination, especially during the holidays and festivals. It is advisable to book your transportation, accommodation, and tours in advance to avoid disappointment and save money.
- Pack wisely: Phat Diem has a tropical climate, with hot and humid weather all year round. You should pack light and comfortable clothes, such as shorts, t-shirts, hats, and sandals. You should also bring some essentials, such as sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent, and water bottle.
- Respect the environment: Phat Diem is a beautiful place that needs to be protected and preserved. You should respect the environment and the wildlife by not littering, not touching or feeding the animals, not stepping on the plants, and not wasting water or electricity.
- Respect the culture: Phat Diem has a rich and diverse culture that needs to be respected and appreciated. You should respect the local customs and traditions by dressing modestly, especially when visiting the cathedral or other religious sites. You should also learn some basic Vietnamese words and phrases, such as hello (xin chao), thank you (cam on), and goodbye (tam biet).
Phat Diem is a wonderful place that will impress you with its beauty and charm. It is a place where you can experience the best of Vietnam’s nature and culture. If you are looking for a place that is peaceful, spiritual, and historical, you should consider visiting Phat Diem. You will not regret it.