Tam Coc – Bich Dong In Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Tam Coc - Bich Dong - Culture Pham Travel


Ha Long Bay may be familiar to many; it is one of the world’s seven natural wonders. But Vietnam has one more place, likened to “Ha Long Bay on land,” Tam Coc – Bich Dong, located in the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex. The whole area includes a system of limestone caves and historical sites related to Hanh Cung Vu Lam of the Tran dynasty. Culture Pham Travel will show you all the information about Tam Coc – Bich Dong.

Tam Coc - Bich Dong

Tam Coc – Bich Dong General Information

Tam Coc Bich Dong tourist area currently has a natural area of 350.3 hectares and is located 2 km from National Highway 1A, 7 km from Ninh Binh city, and 9 km from Tam Diep city. The main area is in Ninh Hai commune (Hoa Lu). Therefore, the Tam Coc – Bich Dong tourist area includes many routes for visiting yachts by hiking, cycling, and walking; these routes connect about 20 tourist attractions.

Tam Coc means “three caves,” also known as Xuyen Thuy cave, in Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu. Because in the past, this place used to be the sea, experiencing the waves crashing and water erosion, creating beautiful karst creations like today.

Tam Coc – Bich Dong Ticket Price

  • Tickets: 120,000 VND per person and time
  • Children under 1m4: 60,000 VND per person/time
  • Boat ticket: 150,000 VND per boat and time (4 Vietnamese or two foreign guests).
  • Children under three years old are free of charge.

The Meaning Of The Name Bich Dong

In 1773, Nguyen Nghiem, the father of Nguyen Du, a world cultural celebrity, visited the cave. Looking at the panoramic view of mountains, caves, rivers, fields, and the sky are all covered in a fanciful turquoise color. So he gave the cave a beautiful and dreamy name, “Bich Dong.” The name Bich Dong is still used to call this scenic spot.

How To Get To Ninh Binh Tam Coc From Hanoi?

To be able to get to Tam Coc – Bich Dong, you must first reach Ninh Binh city. Most people will depart from Hanoi for Ninh Binh, and there are many ways for you to get there. Once you have arrived in Ninh Binh city, you need to travel about 7 km more to reach Tam Coc. Culture Pham Travel will show you some ways to plan your trip.

Hanoi To Ninh Binh And Tam Coc By Private Car – Limousine

The first vehicle you should consider is a Hanoi to Ninh Binh private car or Hanoi to Ninh Binh limousine. These two vehicles are very easy to reach; click on them and fill in some necessary information, and we will be ready to pick you up. We support door-to-door service, bringing you to Tam Coc – Bich Dong without going through another transfer vehicle.

Hanoi to Ninh Binh Private Car
Private Car

In addition, we are also flexible in terms of timing. You can decide to start whenever you want. There is no need to wait for a ticket, like a bus or a train. You can be proactive in terms of timing.

Hanoi to Ninh Binh Limousin
Private Limousine

We provide two primary services: private cars and limousines. You can choose one of the two services according to your ability. The difference between these two services is about the car; one is a standard car, and the other will be a high-class limousine with full amenities. So the price will also differ, and you can consider making the right choice.

Hanoi To Ninh Binh By Bus

You can take the public bus to save the most money for your trip. The cost of the bus from Hanoi to Ninh Binh is only about 150,000 VND, equivalent to about 7 USD for a one-way ticket. But you must take a taxi or Grab to go 7 kilometers from Ninh Binh to Tam Coc.

Hanoi To Ninh Binh by bus
Public Bus

In addition, the bus only has specific routes and will depart when it is time to leave. So you need to arrive at the bus station on time to catch the bus. But if you are late, you don’t need to worry too much because every 30 minutes, there will be another bus departing; you need to wait a little longer.

Hanoi To Ninh Binh By Train

Besides the bus, Hanoi to Ninh Binh by train is also an easily accessible form of transportation with a relatively low cost. The fare for a train ticket from Hanoi to Ninh Binh will range from 150,000 to 250,000 VND, depending on the type of seat and train car you choose.

Hanoi to Ninh Binh by train
Train From Hanoi To Ninh Binh

But just like the bus, you must buy a ticket and get to the station on time to board the train before it departs. And at the same time, you also have to spend some money to go from the station to Tam Coc.

From Hanoi, there are trains:

  • SE1 departs at 7:30 pm for Ninh Binh at 9:46 pm.
  • SE3 departs at 10:00 pm for Ninh Binh at 0:10 am.
  • SE5 departs at 9:00 am for Ninh Binh at 11:21 am.
  • SE7 departs at 6:00 am for Ninh Binh at 8:22 am.
  • SE19 departs at 8:05 pm for Ninh Binh at 11:00 pm.

Hanoi To Ninh Binh By Motorbike

Hanoi To By Motorbike

The motorcycle is also a way to get to Ninh Binh from Hanoi; you can rent a motorbike from your hotel in Hanoi to move. In addition, you can also rent in some other shops around Hanoi for about 100,000–150,000 VND a day. If you choose a motorbike, you can move more freely without depending on others. But the disadvantage is that you will have to face external factors alone.

Where To Stay In Tam Coc – Bich Dong?

Besides the problem of moving, there is one thing you need to worry about: the place of residence in Tam Coc. If you do not know where to stay during your travel days in Tam Coc – Bich Dong, we can help you a little. Here are some hotels and resorts in Ninh Binh and Tam Coc for you to consider.

Tam Coc Garden: An Authentic and Natural Resort

  • Address: Hai Nham Hamlet, Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh
  • Phone Number: 0378 253 555

Tam Coc Banana Bungalow

  • Address: Tuan Cao, Ninh Thang, Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh
  • Phone Number: 096 266 33 55

Tam Coc Rice Fields Resort

  • Address: Ninh Hai, Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh
  • Phone Number: 096 477 33 66

Tam Coc Melody Homestay

  • Address: Dam Khe Ngoai, Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh
  • Phone Number: 097 256 14 45

Tourist Attractions In Tam Coc – Bich Dong

Tam Coc will be divided into two sightseeing routes: waterways and terrestrials. Each route will have many different destinations for you to visit. Depending on your needs and abilities, you can make your own choices. If you like floating on calm water, you can choose the Tam Coc – Bich Dong Boat Tour. Or you can choose the Tam Coc – Bich Dong Cycling and Walking Tour if you feel afraid of water.

Boat Tour In Tam Coc – Bich Dong

Tam Coc

Tam Coc Ninh Binh Vietnam

Tam Coc means “three caves,” including Ca Cave, Hai Cave, and Ba Cave. These three caves were created when the Ngo Dong river rammed through the mountains to form caves. This is also the first cruise line operated in the Tam Coc – Bich Dong tourist area.

Hang Ca is the longest cave, 127 m, located underneath a large mountain. The cave is over 20 m wide. Inside the cave, which has a cool climate, you will see many stalactites with various shapes formed by water infiltration and erosion processes.

Located about a kilometer from Hang Ca, you will see Hang Hai, which has a length of 60 m. At the top of the cave ceiling, because of the penetration, there are many stalactites with pointed spikes.

Hang Ba is relatively close to Hang Hai and has the shortest total length of all three caves, only about 50 m long. This cave has a ceiling like a rock dome, lower than the other two.

To visit Tam Coc, you must buy a ticket to the central marina. The boatman will take you on a cruise on the Ngo Dong River, winding through the cliffs, caves, and rice fields. The trip time for both outbound and return trips will be approximately two hours.

Not only can you visit the caves, but when you choose the Tam Coc tourist route by waterway, you can also see other beauties of this place. The most notable are the rice fields on both sides of the Ngo Dong River. The remarkable thing is that they can change according to the rice season, from the green color of the young rice shoots that have just sprouted to the yellow color of the ripe rice, creating a beautiful picture.

Thai Vi Temple

The temple is located on the right along the Ngo Giang line, on the left along Coi Linh Mountain, in Van Lam village, Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province. In front of the temple, the door is a golden well containing Bach Ngoc, and the four seasons are as clear as a mirror.

Tam Coc And Bich Dong In Ninh BInh

Thai Vi Temple is the place to worship Kings Tran Thai Tong and Tran Thanh Tong, Generals Tran Hung Dao and Tran Quang Khai, and Queen Tran Thi Dung.

Tam Coc - Bich Dong
Thai Vi Temple

In the past, the Tam Coc mountain area was the place where the Tran Dynasty came to set up the Hanh Cung Vu Lam during the resistance war against the Mongols. You can walk to Thai Vi Temple from Tam Coc Cruise or by road 2 km from Tam Coc Boat Station.

Thien Huong Cave

On the way from Ngo Dong River to Thai Vi Temple, you will pass Thien Huong Cave, a dry and bright cave halfway up the mountain with an altitude of about 15 m above the ground.

Tam Coc Bich Dong

The cave is about 60 m high, 40 m deep, and 20 m wide; the dome is like a large bell. The top of the cave is hollow, so the cave is also called Troi Cave.

Inside is a shrine dedicated to Tran Thi Dung, wife of King Ly Hue Tong. When she returned to the base of Hanh Cung Vu Lam with the Tran Dynasty against the Yuan Mongols, she taught the people of Ninh Hai the craft of embroidery. Up to now, in this land, embroidery craft has always been maintained and developed.

Bich Dong

Tam Coc - Bich Dong

Bich Dong, located 2 km from Tam Coc wharf and means “green cave,” was given that name by former prime minister Nguyen Nghiem, Nguyen Du’s father, in 1773. It is a dry cave halfway up the mountain, used as a home for many species.

Xuyen Thuy Dong

Xuyen Thuy Cave is a dark and flooded cave located along the length of the Bich Dong massif. It is like a semicircular stone pipe about 350 m long, winding from the east to the west.

The average width of Xuyen Thuy Dong is 6 meters; the widest place is 15 meters. The cave’s ceiling and walls are flat, like stacking large stone slabs to form an arc.

Tam Coc - Bich Dong
Xuyen Thuy Cave

The entrance to Xuyen Thuy Cave is at the back of the mountain, opposite the road to Bich Dong Pagoda. At the end of the journey through the water cave, visitors can climb the mountain to reach the cave and Bich Dong pagoda.

Tien Cave

Located about 1 km from Bich Dong Pagoda, Tien Cave is one of the most beautiful dry caves in Tam Coc, Bich Dong, Vietnam. The interior is divided into three large caves, all of which have the same width and height.

The cave’s ceiling has many stone veins and stalactites drooping with colorful sparkles that look like big tree roots. There are many bats and birds on the ceiling. From the outside, the cave looks like a magnificent castle.

Thanks to the transformations, the tectonics of nature have created rocks with unique shapes, such as lions, eagles, angels, and many others. The exciting thing is that the stone blocks in the cave, when tapped, will create many strange sounds.

Walking Or Cycling Tourism Route In Tam Coc – Bich Dong

Bich Dong Pagoda

The pagoda was initially formed in 1428, with the scale of a small temple on the top of the mountain. In 1705, there were two monks, Tri Kien and Tri The, from the Nghia Hung district, Southern Province. The two monks were devout and wanted to go to many places to spread Buddhism and build temples.

When coming here, Bich Dong Mountain has beautiful terrain and already has a temple. So the two monks decided to stop, repair the old temple by themselves, and donate to rebuild it into three temples: lower, middle, and upper, to practice. In 1707, two monks, Tri Kien and Tri The cast a large bell, which is still hanging in Dark Cave.

This pagoda has gone through three periods with different names: the first period (1428) was named Dong Pagoda. Until 1740, during the reign of King Le Hien Tong, this pagoda was expanded, built more, and was named “Bach Bach” Ngoc Thach Son Dong. In the 19th century, under King Tu Duc, it was named Bich Dong Pagoda.

Ha Pagoda
Tam Coc - Bich Dong Pagoda
Ha Pagoda – Bich Dong Pagoda

The Ha Pagoda has five compartments built on a high platform located at the foot of the mountain inside the pagoda to worship Buddha. The pagoda’s architecture is in the style of Dinh.

The trusses, crossbars, and vertical beams are also made of ironwood; the pagoda’s roof has two curved roofs, including eight. The stone pillars in the lower pagoda are all made of one-piece stone without joints and are more than 4 meters high. Making such stone pillars is a challenging job.

At the top of the shrine is a three-world throne, with three statues representing the three generations of Buddha. Next in the second row, sitting in the middle, is Amitabha; on the right is Guanyin; on the left is Mahasthamaprapta. The third-row seat is Avalokitesvara, and the fourth row is the statue of the Baby Buddha.

Finally, the three people sitting on the left are Chi Kien, Chi The, and Chi Tam – three great masters who had merit in establishing and building the Bich Dong pagoda. Outside, eight generals wearing martial arts standing on the right are Vajrapani, and standing on the left is the representative of The Four Values Gong Cao, Tu Truc Cong Cao.

Trung Pagoda, Dark Cave
Tam Coc - Bich Dong Pagoda
Trung Pagoda – Bich Dong Pagoda

From Ha Pagoda, step up 120 steps along the S-shaped road to the middle of the Ngu Nhac mountain range, where you will find Trung Pagoda. Right in front are the two words “Bich Dong” carved into the cliff. Sitting in this pagoda is unique. Half attached to the cave, half open-air, the pagoda has three rooms to worship Buddha. Regarding decoration in the Central Temple, Siddhartha Gautama is in the middle, the statue sitting outside on the right is Manjushri, and on the left is Samantabhadra. In addition, inside the main palace is a statue of Ananda.

After worshiping the Buddha, step up 21 stone steps to reach the Dark Cave. Right in front of the cave door, an ancient bronze bell with delicate carvings. If you have the opportunity to pass by here, you can ring three bells; the ringing of the bell can erase the tired feeling in your soul. In the cave, there are three stone statues: in the middle is Amitabha, on the right is Manjushri, and on the left is Guanyin.

Thuong Pagoda
Tam Coc - Bich Dong Pagoda
Bich Dong Pagoda – Chua Thuong

Thuong Pagoda, visitors, must step up nearly 40 stone steps along the mountainside; this temple is located in the highest position, near the top of Bich Dong mountain. The Thuong Pagoda, also known as the Eastern Pagoda, worships Quan Am Bodhisattva. Looking out from Thuong Pagoda, five independent mountains face Bich Dong mountain, looking like five lotus petals called Ngu Nhac Son.

Thuong Pagoda has two shrines on both sides: the right is dedicated to Tudigong, and the left is dedicated to Mountain God. Next to the pagoda is a water tank called Cam Lo of Quan Am Bodhisattva. This place is beautiful in landscape and architecture and is also a historical relic of Ninh Binh Province.

Viet Co Village: Co Vien Lau

Tam Coc - Bich Dong - Co Viet Lau
Co Vien Lau Map

Co Vien Lau is one of the tourist attractions located in the buffer zone of the Trang An World Heritage Complex in Ninh Binh. This old-house complex consists of many old houses collected mainly in Ninh Binh and the Northern Delta region.

In 2008, the Co Vien Lau ancient house was added by the Ninh Binh Culture and Tourism Industry to the Tam Coc – Bich Dong tourist area. Co Vien Lau is next to Tam Coc Wharf and on the way to Thai Vi Temple.

Co Vien Lau has an area of about 20,000 m2, displaying 22 ancient houses in many villages in the Northern Delta. Inside the houses were many tools used by the ancients. The old houses in Co Vien Lau are mainly built by the Nguyen Dynasty back here, but they also show traditional Vietnamese architecture’s unique and typical culture.

Thung Nham Bird Garden

Tam Coc Bich Dong - Thung Nham Birid Garden

Thung Nham Bird Garden is an eco-tourist route belonging to Trang An scenic complex newer than Tam Coc. This tourist area is located in Hai Nham village, Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district, about 5 km west of Bich Dong pagoda, with the main attractions being Vai Gioi cave, Tien Ca cave, and Chim valley.

Mua Cave

It is located in Khe Ha village, Ninh Xuan commune. This artificial tourist area has services such as mountain climbing, weekend getaways, and conferences. According to legend, Mua Cave was a place for performing arts, dancing, and singing by the ladies of the Tran Dynasty in the past.

Mua Cave Ninh Binh
Mua Cave Ninh Binh

Mua Cave is connected to Tam Coc by a tourist route: Ben Cay Da – Ben Thanh – Hang Ca – Hang Dance – Hang Hai – Hang Ba – Suoi Tien – Trang An Cave Tourist Area.

What to Eat When Traveling: Tam Coc – Bich Dong

Rice Crust

Ninh Binh Tam Coc BIch Dong

Rice crust is not a traditional dish of the Ninh Binh people but was created and developed by a local. Therefore, it has been handed down for hundreds of years, becoming a specialty of the ancient capital and one of the famous delicacies of Ninh Binh.

Mountain Goat Meat

Tam Coc - Bich Dong

Ninh Binh Mountain Goat meat is characterized by firmness, low fat, and an aromatic taste. It is said that this is because, in Ninh Binh, there are many rocky mountains; goats run and jump a lot, so their muscles are firmer and less fat than goats grazing on hills.

On the other hand, with the typical terrain of flooded limestone mountains, there are many kinds of vegetables, grass, and herbs suitable for goats. Thus creating the quality and delicious taste of goat meat.

Some other local ingredients and specialties also highlight Ninh Binh goat meat dishes. Among them are vegetables served with typical rocky terrain, Kim Son wine, Nho Quan wine, and Ninh Binh elderberry.

Mountain Snails

Ninh Ninh Mountain Snail

This species of Ninh Binh mountain snail is extremely rare because they only live in rock caves; it is not until the rainy season, from April to August, that mountain snails crawl out to find food and reproduce.

Mountain snails are found in most places in Ninh Binh province but are concentrated in the limestone mountains of Tam Diep, Yen Mo, and Nho Quan, Hoa Lu. Mountain snails are difficult to detect; people often have to get up early in the morning when snails crawl out of the cave to find food and catch them.

The meat of mountain snails is tough, crispy, sweet, and fragrant, thanks to their diet consisting mainly of medicinal plants. The chef can make mountain snails into many dishes, such as grilled, fried, or steamed, which are very attractive.

Best Time To Visit Tam Coc – Bich Dong

Tam Coc – Bich Dong has no best time because each season will have different beauties for you to visit. Depending on your plan, you can choose the right time to travel, but there are a few timelines that you can refer to:

Approximately from January to March of the lunar calendar, every year is the Bai Dinh pagoda festival, so in addition to visiting Tam Coc and Bich Dong, you can also participate in the festival. If you want to go to Hoa Lu, remember that every year, March 8–10 of the lunar calendar is the time of the Truong Yen festival.

Tam Coc Bich Dong Ninh Binh

It is possible to go to Tam Coc Bich Dong around April when the weather begins to enter the first days of summer. At this time, this place will be like a brilliant yellow, glowing in nature. The weather at this time is not too dry or sunny, and there has been little rain.

Tam Coc Bich Dong Ninh Binh

The end of May and the beginning of June is the ripe rice season in Tam Coc Bich Dong fields. At that time, the image of green rice fields mixed with ripe yellow rice fields will create a picture with beautiful colors.

Tam Coc Bich Dong Ninh Binh

That is the information we have compiled about Tam Coc and Bich Dong in Ninh Binh, Vietnam, for your reference. Culture Pham Travel thanks you for taking the time to read our blog. We hope the article will be helpful and wish you a wonderful visit to Tam Coc – Bich Dong.

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