Ninh Binh


Tam Coc - Bich dong - Ha Long Bay On Land

By Custom Vietnam Travel | Updated 1/5/2019

Ninh Binh has one of the most diverse topography in the country with the mountains spreading in the west and northwest, plain in the east and the coastal area in the south. The topography of Ninh Binh is favoured by the Mother Nature with karst topography forested through million years that make the province a Halong Bay inland with countless primitive caves, valleys, and submerged mountains which all offer stunning sceneries. Furthermore, one may see a microcosm of Vietnam within Ninh Binh thanks to its wide variety of forests, mountains, rivers and sea, nature conservation area and national park. In this article, we will illustrate Tam Coc – Bich Dong, one of the must-visted Ninh Binh’s attractions.

The beautiful picture in Tam Coc - Bich Dong - Harvest season

Unique pictures in Tam Coc - Bich Dong

Beautiful pictures in Cuc Phuong National Park 

Tam Coc is charmingly beautiful in any season. In spring, bright green rice fields spread along the river banks, turning into silky yellow beds in the fourth lunar month. In the summer while travelling on the Ngo Dong River, visitors will enjoy an enticing lotus fragrance while listening to the locals recounting legends about each cliff or mountain in the shape of a tortoise or dragon head.

There are particularly interesting rock formations, and schools of fish swimming in crystal clear water, but undoubtedly the most impressive features of Tam Coc are the caves. The beauty of Tam Coc is the beauty of the 3 caves with the Ngo Dong River running through them. The second cave, Hang Giua, which is about 10 minutes from the first cave, has a length of 60 meters and a multitude of flat, horizontal stalactites. The third and final cave, Hang Cuoi, is the smallest. It is about 50 meters in length and is only 100 meters from the second cave. Its geology suggests this place was under the sea millions of years ago. The land emerged gradually over centuries and waves eroded the limestone mountains to form grottoes.

Sailing through the cave in Tam Coc 

In particular, in the journey to discover Tam Coc, tourists should not miss Bich Dong Pagoda. Far about 2 km from Tam Coc Wharf, Bich Dong Pagoda associates with limestones inspired Oriental architectural style. According to the history and epigraphies, the former name of the pagoda and grottoes is Bich Son (Green Grotto or Pearl Grotto). Thanks to the magnificent scenery, the grottoes have dubbed "South second nicest grottoes". The whole pagoda was built under the layout of "Tam Toa" style. Ha (Lower) Pagoda is situated in the foothills which is prominent in the architectural characteristics strongly inspired by Oriental style: the trusses, crossbeams, and spars were made from ironwood. The roof of the pagoda includes 2 curved storeys and 8-roofs. Up to about 120 other bluestone steps, tourists will meet Trung (Middle) Pagoda, a unique pagoda which its half is opencast and the other is attached to the cave. Continue climbing 40 stone steps is Thuong (Upper) Pagoda in the highest position, worshipping Guan Yin Buddha Ba. Both sides of the main pagoda are 2 temples worshipping the God Earth on the right and Saint Son Tran on the left. Standing on the campus of Thuong Pagoda, tourists completely admire Ngu Mon field and cover the panoramic view of Bich Dong Pagoda.

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Duration: 3 Days

Start from Hanoi → Hoa Binh Reservoir (Boat Ride) → Mai Chau Valley (Trekking) → Ninh Binh (Sampan Riding & Bicycling) → End in Hanoi

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Start from: Hanoi → Tam Coc → Bich Dong Pagoda → Hang Mua → Tuyet Tinh Coc → Van Long Nature Reserve → Cuc Phuong National Park → End in: Hanoi

Duration: 4 Days

Start from Hanoi → Mai Chau Valley (Trekking) → Ninh Binh (Tam Coc & Bich Dong) →Halong Bay (Overnight on boat) → End in Hanoi

Duration: 1 Days

Start from Hanoi → Tam Coc (Boat Ride & Bike) → Bich Dong Pagoda → End in Hanoi

Sailing through the cave in Tam Coc 

Not only owning the graceful beauty of the charming landscape, the cultural-art architecture, Tam Coc - Bich Dong is a historical relic of Ninh Binh. It can be said that the wonderful landscapes are the harmonious combination between exotic beauty of the cave, the rugged mountains, the romantic waters and the brilliance of the humans forming an inseparable unity. The view has strongly impressed foreigners like Montie Binotto from Switzerland.

“This is my first time visiting this place, which is known for its cultural and historical tradition. Tam Coc-Bich Dong is favoured by nature with friendly people and charming landscapes. I want to stay here for two or three days to fully explore it. I’m impressed by the smiles of boat drivers who can row the boats with their legs. I don’t think I can see these things anywhere else.”

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