TAM COC — BICH DONG – Tips + Boat Rides

Tourists and visitors in Tam Coc – Bich Dong (Tam Cốc-Bích Động) in Ninh Binh.

ℹ️ Information – Tam Coc
🚶 How to explore Tam Coc
🚍 How to get to Tam Coc
🔍 Interesting Places
📍 Map + Sites of Tam Coc
🎫 Book a Tour to Tam Coc
🎫 Book Your Stay in T.Coc
🎫 Book Tickets to Tam Coc

Tam Coc in Ninh Binh – beautiful and easily accessible place from Hanoi.

What to visit if you are in Hanoi and have more time? You have plenty of choice to stay in Hanoi for longer, such as Ha Long or Cat Ba Island, Ba Vi National Park or other interesting places in the north. There is also another very interesting place about 110 km south of Hanoi and it is the city of Ninh Binh and mainly its surroundings. Very easy and fast to reach by bus or train, in 2.5 hours, you are on site. You will be surprised by this place and this travel quide about Tam Coc (Tam Cốc Bích Động) and detailed Google map below the article will help you.

View from Hang Mua (Mua Caves) to Tam Coc scenic area.

Tam Coc – Bich Dong is one of the Ninh Binh’s most popular tourist places.

Tam Coc – Bich Dong is renowned for its stunning natural scenery and cultural significance. Tam Coc, often referred to as the „Halong Bay on land,“ features a serene landscape of limestone karsts rising from emerald-green rice paddies. Visitors can explore the area on a traditional sampan boat ride along the Ngo Dong River, passing through a series of caves and tunnels that cut through the limestone formations.

Bich Dong, located nearby in Van Lam village, adds to the allure of the area with its ancient pagodas nestled into the cliffs. The Bich Dong Pagoda complex consists of three structures: Ha (Lower), Trung (Middle), and Thuong (Upper) Pagodas, each offering breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

Tam Coc boat wharf is in the center of the village, from this place you can take a boat trip.

The Tam Coc complex includes Tam Coc and Bich Dong in Van Lam village.

Starting your journey from the small pier in Van Lam village, you can embark on a boat ride that takes you through the breathtaking karst scenery of the region. Alternatively, opt for a bike ride to traverse the picturesque landscapes at your own pace, soaking in the tranquility of the surroundings. Throughout the area, hidden sites, temples, and caves await discovery, adding an element of mystery and adventure to your visit. 

These hidden gems provide insights into the rich history and culture of the region, with some sites dating back to the Tran dynasty in the 13th and 14th centuries. Tam Coc in Ninh Binh, also known as Tam Cốc Bích Động, holds a special national heritage status, owing to its remarkable limestone cave system and historical monuments. Often likened to „Ha Long Bay on Earth,“ the landscape features limestone formations jutting out of lush greenery, creating a mesmerizing vista reminiscent of the famous bay.

Whether you’re cruising along the river admiring the natural beauty, exploring hidden caves and temples, or immersing yourself in the history of the Tran dynasty, Tam Coc – Bich Dong promises an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking adventure, culture, and natural wonders in Ninh Binh province.


In Tam Coc you can visit 3 caves on the river.

To reach Tam Coc, you have to board a small boat of local people.

Boat trip in Tam Coc – is necessary if you want to explore and visit this place, because you can ride three caves on the ship. „In Chinese, ‚Tam‘ means three and ‚Coc‘ means cave, so ‚Tam Coc‘ means three caves. In Vietnamese, it is called ‚Ba hang‘. Hang Ca is the first cave, ‚hang Hai‘ is the second cave, and ‚hang Ba‘ is the third cave. It takes about 2.5 hours to visit all three caves and ships depart from Port Van Lam. In Port Van Lam you can buy boat tickets, price range 100 000 – 190 000 viet.dongs (about 18-20 USD/boat).

Boat trips are the most popular tourist activities in Tam Coc – Bich Dong.

What’s the best way to explore Tam Coc? By bicycle or scooter.

The best way to explore Tam Coc largely depends on personal preferences and the experience you seek. Here are several recommended ways to make the most of your visit to Tam Coc:

  1. Boat Ride: Taking a boat ride along the Ngo Dong River is arguably the most popular and iconic way to explore Tam Coc. These sampan boat tours offer a leisurely journey through the picturesque karst landscape, passing through caves and tunnels while enjoying the serenity of the surrounding nature. The boat ride typically lasts around two hours and provides ample opportunities for taking in the scenic beauty and capturing memorable photos.

  2. Cycling Tour: Renting a bicycle or motorbike / scooter and exploring Tam Coc and its surrounding countryside at your own pace is another excellent option. Cycling allows you to venture off the beaten path, discover hidden gems, and immerse yourself in the rural charm of the area. You can cycle through quaint villages, lush rice paddies, and scenic pathways, stopping whenever you please to soak in the views or visit local attractions.

  3. Hiking: For more adventurous travelers, hiking through the karst landscape offers a unique perspective of Tam Coc. There are several trails and pathways that lead to panoramic viewpoints, hidden caves, and ancient pagodas. Hiking allows you to explore the area on foot, giving you the freedom to wander off the main tourist routes and discover lesser-known treasures.

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Other points of interest include Bich Dong Pagoda, Hang Mua, Thai Vi Palace.

Other points of interest in Tam Coc – Ninh Binh area include Bich Dong Pagoda and Hang Mua and Thai Vi Palace. Tam Coc is not just a boat trip. It is very convenient to rent a bicycle or a scooter, but you can move easily on your own. About 2.5 km from Tam Coc’s port, the historic site of Bich Dong Pagoda and its cave is located. The Bich Dong pagoda in Tam Coc was built on a limestone hill in 1428 under King Le Thai To.

Bich Dong Pagoda in Tam Coc is a historical and important place in Ninh Binh.

The former name of the pagoda + grottoes is Bich Son (Green Grotto).

Bich Dong Pagoda, nestled on the mountainside overlooking Tam Coc, is a captivating complex comprised of three pagodas: Ha Pagoda (Lower Pagoda), Trung Pagoda (Middle Pagoda), and Thuong Pagoda (Upper Pagoda). Each pagoda holds its own significance and charm, contributing to the spiritual and cultural richness of the site.

The name „Bich Dong“ translates to „Green Cave“, a fitting moniker bestowed upon the pagoda by Prime Minister Nguyen Nghiem in 1773. Nguyen Nghiem, renowned as the father of the celebrated poet Nguyen Du, was inspired by the verdant surroundings and the presence of nearby caves, which imbued the area with a sense of mystique and natural beauty. Ascending the stone steps leading to Bich Dong Pagoda, visitors are greeted by a tranquil atmosphere and stunning vistas of the surrounding countryside.

Ha Pagoda, the first in the series, sits at the base of the mountain, offering a serene setting for prayer and reflection. As visitors climb higher, they encounter Trung Pagoda, characterized by its intricate architecture and ornate decorations. Finally, at the summit lies Thuong Pagoda, the highest and most revered of the trio, commanding panoramic views of the entire Bich Dong complex and beyond.



Trang An scenic complex, Hoa Lu – the historic city, the Hang Mua outlook.

Other very interesting places in the Tam Coc neighborhood are undoubtedly the scenic Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, where you can also take advantage of boat trips or the nearby historic city of Hoa Lu, formerly the capital of Vietnam. The Hang Mua viewpoint will probably offer you the most beautiful view of the Tam Coc area and Ninh Binh. The whole area was also celebrated in 2017 when the movie Kong-Skull Island was shot here.

Viewpoint in Hang Mua (Mua Caves) in Tam Coc.

🚍 What is the best way how to get from Hanoi to Tam Coc (Ninh Binh)?

The best way how to travel from Hanoi to Tam Coc, is to travel by train or bus to the city of Ninh Binh (about 2,5 hours). Tam Coc is only about 5 km from the city center, so in Ninh Binh you can rent a bike or take a taxi, or you can walk. Train and bus tickets from Hanoi to Ninh Binh you can book and buy easily online. Bus and train tickets in range only about $4-15. The most comfortable option is to travel by private minivan to Tam Coc.

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☀️ When to visit Tam Coc? When is the harvest season in Tam Coc?

You can visit Tam Coc in Ninh Binh all year round. If you can – skip the winter season. The best time to visit Tam Coc is from mid-April to early June – the rice harvest season. In April the rice paddies are evergreen, and from late-May till early-June, they turn yellow as they ripen.

🤔 How long to stay in Tam Coc – Ninh Binh?

A lot of travel agencies offer 1-day tour/trip to Tam Coc or Trang An from Hanoi. Yes it can be a nice trip, but, in my opinion, this area is large and has also another various very interesting historical places, so if you travel on your own, stay in Nin Binh for at least 3 days and rent a motorbike or bicycle.

🔍 Interesting places in Tam Coc – Ninh Binh area:

Bich Dong Pagoda (about 3 km from Tam Coc village)
– Hang Ca, Hang Hai, Hang Ba– caves in Tam Coc (Ngo Dong river) – Hang Ca, Hang Hai, Hang Ba
– Thai Vi Palace
Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex
Mua Caves + viewpoint (Hang Mua)
Thung Nham ecotourism zone (bird sanctuary)
Hoa Lu Ancient Capital (about 15 km from Tam Coc)
– rice fields in this area
Van Long Nature Reserve

📍Ninh Binh / Tam Coc – tourist map:

Thai Vi Palace is about 2 km from Tam Coc village and boat wharf.
Tourists at the cave in Tam Coc.
In Tam Coc you can visit 3 caves on the river.
Tourist boats in Tam Coc.
On the boat you can pass through three caves in Tam Coc area.
Tam Coc area is fascinating – nature, karst sceneries, rivers.
Some hidden spot near Tam Coc area in Ninh Binh.

Questions + Tips – Tam Coc-Bich Dong in Ninh Binh:

1. What is Tam Coc, and why is it famous?

    • Tam Coc, often referred to as „Halong Bay on land,“ is famous for its spectacular limestone karst landscapes, lush rice paddies, and meandering rivers. Visitors explore this enchanting scenery by taking boat rides along the river.

2. How far is Tam Coc from Hanoi, and how can I get there?

    • Tam Coc is approximately 100 kilometers south of Hanoi. You can reach it by car, bus, or train. The journey offers picturesque views of the northern Vietnamese countryside.

3. What are the must-see attractions in Tam Coc?

4. When is the best time to visit Tam Coc?

    • The best time to visit Tam Coc is during the dry season, which typically runs from November to April. During this period, the weather is pleasant and ideal for outdoor activities. The rice paddies are also at their greenest during this time.

5. What are the activities available for tourists in Tam Coc?

    • Apart from the boat rides and sightseeing, you can enjoy cycling through the countryside, hiking to viewpoints, exploring caves, and experiencing local culture through homestays and dining in traditional restaurants.

6. How long should I plan to stay in Tam Coc?

    • A typical visit to Tam Coc can last anywhere from one day to three days, depending on your interests. One day is enough to explore the main attractions, but staying longer allows for a more leisurely experience.

7. Are there homestay options in Tam Coc?

    • Yes, Tam Coc offers various homestay opportunities in nearby villages, allowing you to immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy authentic Vietnamese hospitality.

8. Is there any hiking or trekking available in Tam Coc?

    • While Tam Coc is known for its boat rides, there are opportunities for hiking and trekking, especially around the surrounding limestone hills and caves. Be sure to wear appropriate footwear.

9. Can I rent a bicycle in Tam Coc for exploration?

    • Yes, renting a bicycle is a popular and enjoyable way to explore the countryside surrounding Tam Coc. Many accommodations and local shops offer bicycle rentals.

10. What should I bring when visiting Tam Coc?

    • When visiting Tam Coc, it’s advisable to bring essentials like comfortable clothing, suitable footwear, insect repellent, sunscreen, a hat, a reusable water bottle, a camera to capture the breathtaking scenery, and an adventurous spirit to explore this remarkable part of Vietnam.

11. How to get to Ninh Binh from Noi Bai Airport?

    • Transfer from Noi Bai Airport to Ninh Binh offers a range of transportation options to suit every traveler’s preferences. Whether you opt for the economical convenience of buses, the comfort of private taxis, or the adventurous combination of bus and train travel, your journey promises to be filled with excitement and memorable experiences awaiting you in the stunning landscapes of Ninh Binh.

🎫 Book your tickets / private car from Hanoi to Tam Coc:

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