As one of the smallest/poorest provinces all over Vietnam, Ninh Binh wasn't known much. Long ago, after asking where I was from, most of people (Vietnamese ones) stayed speechless for like 30 seconds. Yes, they had no idea where Ninh Binh, my hometown, was!
But somehow magic happened! More and more people now can spend hours telling you about their trips to Ninh Binh if asked, and they aren't just the locals! Isn't it amazing to see how much a province changed in such a short time? Isn't it beautiful when finally people have discovered my hometown's awesomeness?
We grew up hearing people calling the province "Ninh Buồn", implying that the province offered not much entertainment. "How is it even possible? We have so much to offer in the size of such a small province." I kept asking myself that question. We have the reserved parks in Cúc Phương National Park and Van Long, the Halong Bay on Land - Tam Cốc-Bích Động and Mua Caves, historic monuments in the Hoa Lư ancient capital, and the Phát Diệm Stone Cathedral. Or you don’t even need to go to anywhere specific, the scenery along the road is already enough to charm you. Not until later, I realized what we lacked was some tourism boost! And fortunately, the authorities figured it out! With the completion of Bai Dinh, Vietnam's largest buddhist worshiping complex, and also the recognition by UNESCO of Trang An, the gem named Ninh Binh was given a chance to be discovered by more and more people since then! Nowadays, whenever I say I'm a Ninh Binher, people start to tell me how truly beautiful my hometown is, how kind-hearted my townsmen are, how much they love their trip. It's really awesome to see such a change in just a decade. And for those who haven't believed it yet, Ninh Binh is even chosen as the film set for Hollywood blockbusters (Pan, Kong: Skull Island), films, movies, MVs, etc.
I'm happy to see the locals' lives have been much improved along with the tourism development. But I'm also a bit worried that the authorities fail to maintain the province's natural beauty. And also, money comes with greed, it can change people's nature to worse. I hope my Ninh Binh stays peaceful, friendly and honest as it has always done!