After Indochine the movie won an Oscars in 1993, Ninh Binh and its beautiful landscapes became more famous with international travelers. And until Kong: Skull island – a blockbuster was filmed in a part of Tam Coc, people starts to feel curios about the place and indeed, the canals, karstic rock formations, rice fields & limestone grottoes spread words even more significantly. So not only Tam Coc, here in this article, I am recommending you a full day excursion so that you can have the insight of the place prior to plan.
Located around 100 kilometers from the center of Hanoi, Tam Coc is easy to reach by car/van in within 2 hours. Using the highway both ways cost you about 250.00 VND for entrance fee but once you book the trip with Indochina Voyages, it never is a detail to worry about.
Once you reach Tam Coc, proceed to the Tam Coc boat pier where a lot of traditional colorful boats are docking by, hearing the sound of the river lapping against the oars. What a tranquil view! The boat trip around the area takes 1 hour 40 minutes, your eyes are widening witness the green rice fields and karstic rocks surround the Ngo Dong River. Tam Coc means three caves in Vietnamese, thus you will get through those caves while paddling and they were created by erosion of rocks.
The interesting of the paddlers here is they are using the oars by their feet, yes you are reading it right. They are using their arms too but with the nearly 2-hour excursion, feet can be the wingman to help and surprisingly, they never miss the track or make you feel unsafe. All is handlled very well! While slowly floating in the greenish water of Ngo Dong River, here and there you will here the singing voices echoing in the air. It is because there some small “floating stages” located along the way where two to three local artists singing the traditional songs
After the boat trip in Tam Coc, Hang Mua in the next spot that will definintely be spoiling you eyes with only approximately 5 km away from the pier. Hang Mua has its meaning as “dancing cave” because this site was previously set up as the place where Tran King used to come to enjoy dancing and singing shows performed in this cave. To conquer the cave, you will start with hard trekking through 500 steps with height difference is pretty significant (very steep) and sometimes, those are uneven. So brace yourself! Once getting on top, the magnificnet paranomic views will let you know that it is worth all of your effort reaching here. With one side to the overview of local temples & houses and the other side is facing the Tam Coc boating area that you have just enjoyed. But with the different angle, you will see how amazing Mother Nature brings this to us.
If you would like to stay overnight in Ninh Binh, there are plenty of local homestays, hotels & resorts. But near to Tam Coc, I would like to suggest a few as below:
- Tam Coc Garden Resort (tamcocgarden.com) – having a true experience of living in the garden or in the authentic village of North Vietnam
- Tam Coc Bungalow (tripadvisor.com.vn/Hotel_Review-g303945-d12179712-Reviews-Tam_Coc_Bungalow-Ninh_Binh_Ninh_Binh_Province.html) – a budgeted option
- Tam Coc Boutique Garden (tamcocboutiquegarden.com/) – also another low cost accommodation with ¾ view from the room is to the garden and located just 1-200 meters from the Tam Coc pier
If you like natural scenery staying away from the city noice and the crowd, you can spend 2-3 days to explore Ninh Binh attractions with rowing sampan trip in Trang An Ecological Site, Van Long nature reserve, trekking in Cuc Phuong national park or to Mua cave, biking along the winding road of the rural villages and mountains or homestaying with local family for authentic local culture and foods. Or join us, Indochina Tours can help you organize a trip that make the most of your time and experience.