Visiting Tam Coc Ninh Binh, you can have a chance to dip into the natural space of the countryside, which is very quiet and peaceful. Throughout the journey, you’ll see the sceneries of harvesting fields, ripening paddy fields, and pictures of farmers on their fields. Especially this wonderland reveals itself in all its glory, inviting you to create cherished memories amidst its breathtaking beauty in June. Get ready to be captivated by the natural wonders and cultural treasures with Indochina Voyages in this hidden paradise.
Where is Tam Coc?
Nestled in the province of Ninh Binh, Tam Coc is a captivating destination located approximately 100 kilometers south of Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city. Surrounded by picturesque rivers, limestone karsts, and lush greenery, Tam Coc offers a serene retreat from the urban hustle.
Often dubbed as the “Halong Bay on land,” its stunning landscape showcases expansive rice paddies and towering limestone cliffs. This idyllic location allows visitors to enjoy the peaceful countryside while being within reach of Vietnam’s cultural and historical treasures.
How to best travel to Tam Coc Ninh Binh?
Only about 100 km from Hanoi, so the best way to travel to Tam Coc Ninh Binh is to arrive at Hanoi and travel thereafter. You can easily take a trip to Tam Coc from Hanoi by using a private car, rented motorbike, bus, or train. When I visit Tam Coc, I prefer using my own motorbike so that I can effectively and actively manage our time and trip.
However, if this is your first time, and you are not that familiar with Vietnam riding, I would recommend using a car or getting on a tour. It takes about 1 hour and thirty minutes when traveling from Hanoi to Tam Coc. If choosing the train, the time will be around 2 hours.
Ideal time to go
The best time to visit Tam Coc is from mid-April to mid-June, when the rice harvest season. In April, the rice paddies are evergreen, and from late May till early June, they turn yellow as they ripen. Shades of green in between shades of yellow rice paddies are breathtaking if you take pictures from above.
However, some people agree that any time could be a good time to visit Tam Coc. If you go there when it is rainy, you will be welcomed with bright green rice paddies. And if you go there when it is dry, golden paddies will be an awe to look at. Try to avoid September, though, because there can be heavy rain threatening.
Things to do
In Tam Coc, there are a plethora of activities to indulge in, such as taking a leisurely boat ride along the Ngo Dong River, exploring the awe-inspiring caves and grottoes, cycling through the scenic countryside, and immersing yourself in the rich cultural heritage by visiting ancient temples and pagodas.
Boat riding is a must-do activity in Tam Coc. From the central station, embark on a delightful journey along the Ngo Dong River, winding through cliffs, caves, and picturesque rice fields. The round trip takes approximately two hours, allowing you to witness the ever-changing scenery of Tam Coc. Depending on the rice season, you may be greeted with vibrant green rice fields, golden yellow hues, or the shimmering silver colors of water. However, the most breathtaking sight awaits during the ripening rice fields season, where the blend of yellow and green along the riverbanks creates a truly enchanting painting.
Tam Coc, meaning “three caves,” encompasses Ca Cave, Hai Cave, and Ba Cave. Carved by the Ngo Dong River, these caves showcase breathtaking natural formations. Ca Cave stretches 127m with an impressive entrance over 20m wide, adorned with captivating stalactites. Hai Cave, located around 1km from Ca Cave, spans 60m and features uniquely curved stalactites hanging from the cave ceiling. Ba Cave, situated near Hai Cave, measures 50m and boasts a rock arch-like ceiling. Exploring these caves is a must-do in Tam Coc, and a boat ride of at least 3 hours is recommended to appreciate their majestic beauty fully.
Cycling and exploring ancient pagodas
Don’t even think of renting a scooter, get a bicycle instead. As soon as we get out of town, you can spot plenty of tiny roads on the small dams between the ponds. Goats are running ahead of you. Quaking ducks rush into a pool as we pass by. Cycling in this village is really fun and adventurous, from town to the Bich Dong pagoda and through the rice fields and huge rock formations. Bich Dong Pagoda is 3 km away from Tam Coc and was built in 1428 on a mountain. It takes at least 2 hours for you to climb up the stairs and explore the complex; we recommend that you go to the very top to see Tam Coc from above as it is absolutely epic.
Climbing up to Mua cave
Would you like to get a panoramic view of Tam Coc? Mua Cave (Dancing Cave) is a great place for trekking activities to conquer the Mua mountains. You will have an impressive overview and beautiful photos of limestone pillars, the Ngo Dong River, and rice fields in Tam Coc and Ninh Binh City. Hang Mua is constructed following the model of the “miniature Great Wall” in China, with nearly 500 steps up to mountains to conquer. It is a hard trek with many of its uneven limestone steps, especially at the top point, but worth your conquering efforts for the impressive panoramic view when you reach the top point of Ngoa Long mountain. Take your leisurely trek up with care due to the steep steps on the way.
Savor Local cuisine
When visiting Tam Coc, be sure to savor the delightful local cuisine that will tantalize your taste buds. This land is very famous for its goat dishes, mountain snails cooked in lemongrass and chili, rice crust, eel vermicelli, etc. Pair your meal with some locally brewed rice wine for a complete culinary experience. Exploring the local cuisine in Tam Coc is a true delight, allowing you to immerse yourself in the flavors and culinary traditions of this charming region.
Visitors come to Tam Coc every weekend when the road is quite easy, which is suitable for short trips, picnics, or simply looking for a place to forget about daily life. It can be accommodated to a 2-day, 1-night trip if you want to make the most of every destination you go to. If you have more time on Vietnam tours, you can consider this Exclusive trip from Pu Luong to Ninh Binh 4 days tour.
Therefore, if you do not want to miss the beautiful scenery like heaven in Tam Coc this season, carry your backpack on the road right away!
Nam Lucas – Travel Specialist