Phat Diem in Ninh Binh Province- Vietnam
Phat Diem, sometimes known by its former name Kim Son, is 121 km south of Hanoi and 26 km southeast of Ninh Binh. There are direct buses from Ninh Binh to Phat Diem (one hour), or you can go by bicycle or motorbike. Day trips are easily arranged from Ninh Binh – US$ 10 for a motorcycle and driver, including waiting time.
The Tay Ninh of the north, Phat Diem is the home of a celebrated cathedral (1891), which is remarkable for its vast dimensions and superb Sino-Vietnamese architecture – with a dash of European dressing for good measure.
During the French era this was an important centre of Catholicism and there was a seminary here. In a throwback to the middle ages, Phat Diem’s bishop ruled the area with his own private army until 1951, when they were replaced by French troops. The cathedral featured prominently in Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American. The 1954 division of Vietnam caused Catholics to flee south en masse and the cathedral was closed. It is now functional again, along with several dozen other churches in the district, serving the area’s estimated 120,000 Catholics.
Sights in Ninh Binh
Hoa Lu- Ninh Binh | Tam Coc- Ninh Binh | Cuc Phuong National Park | Van Long Natural Reserve | Kenh Ga (Chicken Canal) Ninh Binh | Phat Diem | Bai Dinh Pagoda