Tam Coc in Ninh Binh

Tam Coc is an area in the north of Ninh Binh, where you can get a boat ride that goes through caves and passes rice fields. In the same place and along the Ngo Dong river, Tam Coc Village exists. This entire piece of beauty in the northern regions is comparable only with the amazing experience of going to Halong Bay.

The waters are calm, the people are hospitable, and the wildlife around you is a must-see. This unique experience is not just a boat ride as you can go exploring the area and visiting the Pagodas in the region. If you have time, you should also hike up the Mua Cave or explore the villages around the river.

The name “Tam Coc” is translated as “Three Caves” due to the three caves you see on the boat. This ride is perhaps the first activity you have to try but it is not all, so plan to stay a few days in the homestays or the resorts, prepared for the ever-growing number of tourists.

 

Hop on and Take the Boat Ride

First things first, the one thing you should not miss is hiring a boat. The boats are found near the Tam Coc Village and will take you on an amazing adventure for about 2 hours. This ride will take you through all the three caves or tunnels and past the fields. These rides that are now tourist attractions were once the primary means of transportation, rowing in the river to the temples and other villages. Two people do the rowing and the steering as the other passengers enjoy the view. You can take a group of four to this trip.

One of the unique aspects of this ride is the fact that women do the rowing, and they do it with their feet. They may look easy, but they are quite difficult to push. As you move in the beautiful waters, you can look at the rocks and all the things around the river banks. During certain times of the year, you can watch the people busy with planting or harvesting the fields. The wildlife can also be seen in the woods and the nearby areas. Bring your camera and enjoy the tour!

Hints About Tam Coc Boat Rides

Buying Souvenir

Before you go on this tour, look for boats that do not have people trying to sell something to you! As much as it may sound cool to buy souvenirs, some of the locals will persist on selling as much stuff as possible, which can become annoying.

Bring Your Drinks and Snacks

Bring your drinks and snacks for the ride. Otherwise, the locals will try to sell you their snacks that is somewhat bothersome. If you do not want them to sell anything, reject them firmly and yet politely.

Photography By Hawkers

From time to time, some of these hawkers might take pictures and insist on selling them to you. Do not be alarmed by their persistence, and if you do not like them, simply reject and do not purchase to just make them leave. If you bite, they will try to sell more!

Boat Ride Fee

The boat ride fee is from 200,000 VND to 400,000 VND

Notes

  • You must purchase the ticket at a booth at Pier Van Lam.
  • The price may change depending on the ride and tour, but it revolves around the mentioned price. Always haggle for a better price as it can go cheaper.
Boat Ride in Tam Coc

Photo by © Rod Waddington via Flickr

 

Bich Dong Pagoda Near the River

If you have the time, there are some temples in the nearby areas, the closest of which is Bich Dong Pagoda. This sacred place is only 2km away from the pier to the southwest. This pagoda is actually a large complex of several pagodas, built inside the Ngu Nhac Mountain. They date back to 1428 and as you go deeper, you discover more and more sections of the complex.

Most of the visitors cannot find all the sections included in this site; therefore, it may be best to hire a guide to show you all the best bits. Make sure to check the view from the top and tip the guide if you enjoyed the visit!

Entrance Fee: Free

Note

  • You may not need a ticket to go inside but pay for a guide. The prices are not fixed and negotiable for guides unless you have your own guide.
Bich Dong Pagoda

Photo by © Jean-Paul Navarro via Flickr

 

Explore Some More in Linh Coc Pagoda

There is another temple inside a cave near Bich Dong Pagoda that is about 500 meters away and facing the western side of the mountain, Called Linh Coc Pagoda. This temple is older and the cave has begun to overtake the temples with stalagmites and stalactites.

The entrance and the path inside this grotto can be a little difficult for that reason, but all the same, it is worth the visit. Apart from the beautiful scenery inside the cave and the magnificent Linh Coc Pagoda, the view on the outside is also great.

  • Entrance Fee: Free

Note

  • Again, in this cave, you might want to hire a guide as some of the caves are very difficult to walk into. Some cave entrances do not look like an entrance at all.

 

The Mua Cave

Still around for more? Then go to the west of the river and find The Mua Cave. This trip is more about the journey and less about the destination although it has a spectacular view. For visiting this attraction, you will need to come prepared. There are two stone staircases leading all the way up and need some preparation and appropriate clothing.

It is the perfect place for hiking and enjoying the panoramic views. You can easily fall in love with the beautiful landscape of Vietnam and appreciate the view, but be mindful of the steps. From the top of theses 500 steps, look at Ninh Binh and get some rest. Although it is a difficult trip, this place is among the top attractions we can recommend near the Tam Coc. If you are up to the challenge, be sure to put it in your list of places to visit.

  • Entrance Fee: 100,000 VND
  • Visiting Hours: Always Open

 

How to get to the Tam Coc?

By Bus
The First Option You can take a 3-hour bus ride from Hanoi to Ninh Binh and then take a cab or motorbike to Tam Coc.
The Second Option Finally, you can also use public buses that stop at Tam Coc, but their services are not very comfortable for most travelers, therefore it is best to use the cabs or the buses as the Terminals.
By Train
From Hanoi You can take a train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh (in case you are coming from Hanoi) and then take a taxi to Tam Coc. This means of transportation is faster but also a little bit more expensive.

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