How To Plan A Trip To Tam Coc, Vietnam

Every year, millions of visitors flock to Tam Coc in Ninh Binh, Vietnam. This mystical, natural beauty and sparkling rice paddies are hard to resist. 

In this travel guide, I share useful information about Tam Coc with tips to plan a perfect trip.

Where is Tam Coc?

About 100 km south of Hanoi, Tam Coc is located in Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh, Vietnam. It will not take much effort to fall in love with the spectacular landscapes and natural and cultural values here. The whole area is 350.5 hectares and offers lots of engaging activities for you.

How to get to Tam Coc from Hanoi?

You can get from Hanoi to Tam Coc by bus, taxi, or car via National Route 1A or Cau Gie – Ninh Binh Expressway. The distance between Hanoi and Ninh Binh is 105.5 km, taking about 2 hours of traveling. 

Alternatively, you can also take a day trip to Tam Coc from Hanoi. On this trip, you’ll get to visit both Tam Coc and the ancient capital of Hoa Lu. Learn more about the tour here.

When is the best time to visit Tam Coc?

The rice season, which often begins at the end of May or the beginning of June, is the best time to visit Tam Coc. During this time, you will love the idyllic picture of the countryside in Vietnam with Ngo Dong River winding like a silk strip, crossing the ripe golden rice fields. A boat trip on the river to enjoy the view with breezy weather promises to comfort your heart.

Tam Coc is one of the best things to do in Ninh Binh Vietnam

How many days in Tam Coc is enough?

I recommend spending at least 2-3 days exploring Tam Coc. This is enough time to visit the picturesque scenery and try interesting activities.

Where to stay in Tam Coc?

Tam Coc’s accommodation has greatly improved to satisfy tourists with hotels, homestays in bungalows, and dreamy resorts in the rice fields overlooking serene views, mountains, and greenery.

Tam Coc Holiday Hotel & Villa

Located in Ninh Hai, Hoa Lu, Tam Coc Holiday Hotel has a great location with 6 km from Ninh Binh Station, 3 km from Bich Dong Pagoda on the mountainside, and 7 km from Thung Nham Bird Park. It overlooks the dense mountains and provides a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a garden, and water sports facilities.

Tam Coc Condeluz Boutique Hotel

This hotel is another excellent choice for visitors to Tam Coc. Reputable facilities include a family room, terrace, bar, and 24/7 customer support at an affordable price.

Tam Coc Melody Homestay

Tam Coc Melody Homestay is well-known for its friendly customer service and cozy bungalow design with various flowers in the garden outside. It is located in Dam Khe village, and you can see the top of the mountain from the room door.

Best things to do in Tam Coc

Taking a boat trip

Tam Coc means “the three caves”, which includes “Hang Ca”, “Hang Hai”, and “Hang Ba”. They were formed due to geological changes, seawater, and rainwater that eroded cliffs over millions of years. I recommend taking a 2-hour boat trip through the Ngo Dong river to look closely at the dark and mystery of caves. 

Travel guide to Tam Coc Bich Dong in Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Explore Bich Dong Pagoda

About 2 km from Tam Coc is Bich Dong Pagoda, a small complex of many temples. It was built to integrate with the spectacular natural scenery. The pagoda image hidden among the rows of giant green trees makes this place more ancient and pure. I also love the picturesque scene of the rocky lotus pond. 

The unique feature here is that the pagoda was built in the style of “Tam”. Three pagodas are not adjacent and are divided into three levels along the mountainside from low to high: Lower Pagoda, Trung Pagoda, and Upper Pagoda. The entire pagodas were built of extremely precious ironwood and roofed with finely curving, knotless tile roofs, giving an unforgettable impression of the ancient Vietnamese temple architecture.

Visit Thung Nham Bird Park

Spreading over 334 hectares, Thung Nham Bird Park is a nature reserve in Ninh Binh. It preserves the pristine tropical forests and rivers where dozens of rare bird species reside. Don’t forget to take a boat trip to enjoy the peaceful and poetic picture of the towering limestone mountains silhouetted against the blue water and flocks of birds passing branches. It’ll undoubtedly make you feel like you are in a movie scene.

Autumn is the ideal time for bird-watching. The weather starts to get cold, and the birds will begin finding food or a place to winter. My favorite is to capture every moment when thousands of white storks fly with their tenderness in the sky.

best place to visit in Ninh Binh Vietnam

What to wear when visiting Tam Coc?

Casual and smart clothes will be perfect for the trip with sightseeing and hiking activities. However, get dressed up if you want to take gorgeous pictures of the landscapes here.    

What to pack for Tam Coc?

Preparing too much for a short trip to Tam Coc is unnecessary. You should bring sunscreen, clothes, some snacks, and drinks. Moreover, don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the best moments.

Attractions near Tam Coc

If you have more than two days in Ninh Binh, I recommend visiting other attractions. Whether you like hiking, canoeing through caves, or exploring the culture in the ancient capital, there is little thing for someone.

Trang An

Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex is depicted as a watercolor painting with a system of lagoons, lakes, and caves, such as Bright Cave, Dark Cave, and Com Cave. 

Trang An Ninh Binh Vietnam travel guide

Hoa Lu ancient capital

With a history of more than 1000 years, Hoa Lu is an important historical heritage in Vietnam. You will be amazed when standing in the middle of the mountains and hills surrounding the canal like a solid wall, visiting the meandering Hoang Long river and the vast Nho Quan and Gia Vien fields.

The best thing to do is travel back in time while discovering the ancient grounds or join a guided tour to learn about kings’ and dynasties’ histories in the Ancient Captial of Hoa Lu. 

In addition, I suggest attending the annual festival to commemorate the kings established here during springtime to immerse yourself in fun activities.

Hoa Lu ancient capital Vietnam

Hang Mua cave

About 10km from Ninh Binh, Hang Mua cave is more than just a simple cave. This complex includes attractions, resorts, and entertainment, dubbed the “miniature Great Wall”. Crouching Long Peak on Mua Cave is the highlight, marked by long, steep stairs on the mountain slope, which you need to climb 500 stone steps to conquer. 

From the top of Mua Cave, it offers a panoramic view of the vast fields of Tam Coc – Bich Dong and Ngo Dong river. In the lotus season, you can see a large lotus field near Mua Cave.

Bai Dinh pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda is a spiritual place with a history of more than 1000 years associated with the land of many feudal dynasties.

Bai Dinh pagoda Ninh Binh Vietnam

Cuc Phuong national park

This nature reserve has many diverse and abundant species of animals and plants. Also, you can visit the stunning caves such as Nguoi Xua, Con Moong, or Yen Quang Lake – Pho Ma with countless stalactites. Please check my Cuc Phuong national park guide for more info.


Other tips for visiting Tam Coc

Here are some tips for a short trip to Tam Coc.

  • Flat shoes or sneakers will be more comfortable when moving.
  • If you depart from Hanoi, leave early in the morning to make the most of your day.
  • During summer, remember to bring sunglasses, sunscreen with SPF, an umbrella, hat. A light jacket is also necessary when sailing into the cave.

Frequently asked questions

Why is Tam Coc famous?

Besides its poetic, inspirational natural scenery, Tam Coc offers natural harmony. All of these factors contribute to the reputation of Tam Coc, Ninh Binh.

Is it better to stay in Tam Coc or Ninh Binh?

Staying in Tam Coc is a wiser choice, as it offers cozy homestays and a close distance to many picturesque destinations. 

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