Situated in Ninh Binh province, about 120km from Hanoi capital, Tam Coc – Bich Dong is a part of the Trang An Landscape Complex UNESCO World Heritage site. The complex includes 2 main destinations: Tam Coc, a flooded cave system which consists of 3 natural caves Hang Ca, Hang Hai and Hang Ba; and Bich Dong, which is the home to a series of mountain pagodas.
How to get there
Not far from Hanoi, tourists will have various choice to get to Ninh Binh. You can go by motorbike, car or even catch a train. The most common way is going by car which just takes about 2-2.5 hours. However, if you want to enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful landscape along the road, then a motorbike will be a wise choice for you.
The coolest way to admire the majestic beauty of this complex is through a boat sailing along the Ngo Dong River. The ticket price is quite affordable, just 120 thousand dongs per person and 150 thousand dongs for a boat. Each boat can carry 2 foreigners or 4 Vietnamese people. The travel time is approximate 1.5 to 2 hours
Best time to visit
Like many other destinations, the land has a tropical climate, which divided into 2 major seasons: the cold (or rainy season) and the hot (the dry season). The rainy season lasts from May to October while the dry season runs from November to April. If you travel during the rainy season, be careful because the long and sudden rain may interrupt your trip. Therefore, the best time to visit is in the dry season. Especially, on the last week of May and the first week of June according to the lunar calendar, it is the time when the rice fields along the Ngo Dong River start to change color from green to gorgeous yellow, which create a breathtaking view. This stunning view attracts thousands of visitors and photographers to come and take photos.
To enjoy the marvelous beauty of Tam Coc – Bich Dong, visitors are taken in a small boat along the Ngo Dong River, through various yellow rice fields and hundreds of limestones karsts and caves. Local women and men serve as your paddle and your guide. They will tell you the interesting history about the complex while padding the boat by their feet
The perfect place to have the panoramic view of Tam Coc from the peak above is Hang Mua complex. Hang Mua means “dancing cave” because it is believed to be the place where King Tran comes to enjoy dancing performances. The cave is built according to the model of “The Great Wall” in China. With 486 steps up to the mountain, the way to the peak of Hang Mua is quite dangerous, especially in the rainy season. Therefore, remember to bring an umbrella along
Bich Dong pagoda complex: located 3 km away from Tam Coc, the pagoda was constructed in 1428. As situated nearby Ngu Nhac mountain then it takes more than 2 hours to climb up all the stairs. It included 3 separate pagodas: Thuong, Trung and Ha pagodas. However, the breathtaking view from above will satisfy your desire. The pagoda is free to enter
It will be a big mistake if you skip Ninh Binh’s cuisine on your trip. Not only attract tourists with its beautiful landscapes but Ninh Binh also famous for their dishes. There are many delicious dishes you can choose but the most popular ones are goat dishes, mountain snail boiled with lemongrass and chili, and rice crust. The price for one meal consists of all these dishes is quite reasonable, just from 150 to 170 thousand dongs for one person.
Tam Coc – Bich Dong is an ideal place for a short day trip, or you can stay longer for 2 days and 1 night if you want to explore all the highlights here. Called as “Ha Long Bay on land”, visitors can make a trip to this site at any time of the year. But if you want to see the yellow rice paddle field, then May will be the best time