The highlights to visit Tam Coc-Bich Dong in Ninh Binh for your trip

Tam Coc-Bich Dong is an important part of the Trang An scenic complex, recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

visit tam coc bich dong in ninh binh
Visiting Tam Coc-Bich Dong in Ninh Binh is an exciting experience. ©Vu Hung

This destination is located about 7km from Ninh Binh city center and nearly 100km from Hanoi center, so from Ninh Binh city, it is convenient for visitors to visit this landscape.

Many tourists also choose the Tam Coc – Bich Dong day tour from Hanoi. However, long distances and long travel times can create a lot of fatigue and boredom for you. Therefore, you should consider the amount of time and your health to decide on a suitable place to stay when planning to visit this place.

To visit Tam Coc-Bich Dong, you will travel by boat on the beautiful Ngo Dong River to reach the main attractions in a long route.

Tam Coc – Bich Dong ticket price:

The ticket price includes both sightseeing and boat fees.

  • Adults: 250,000 VND/person
  • Children from 1m – 1.3m: 120,000VND/person
  • Children under 1m: free

The boat only departs when there are a maximum of 4 Vietnamese guests or 2 international travelers. Travel time for the 7km 2-way route takes around 3 hours.

The best time to visit Tam Coc-Bich Dong is the ripe rice season, around May and June, every year. You will have the perfect opportunity to see the golden rice color, nestled in the majestic green mountains and forests. When viewed from above, this place truly looks like a charming watercolor painting created by Nature’s famous artist.

The map to Tam Coc-Bich Dong from Hanoi:

Tam Coc is located at Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province.

Origin of the name “Tam Coc-Bich Dong”

tam coc bich dong ninh binh
Beautiful landscape in Tam Coc Bich Dong. ©Vu Hung

The name Tam Coc-Bich Dong comes from the main characteristics that make up this scenic landscape, including:

  • Tam Coc means “three caves” – the main beautiful spots in this sightseeing area. There are Ca Cave 127m long, Hai Cave 60m long, and Ba Cave 50m long.
  • Bich Dong is a “blue cave” with a dry cave located halfway up the mountain, where Bich Dong Pagoda is. Here, the water-through cave is 350m long, winding from East to West along the length of Bich Dong mountain.

There are two different theories about the history of the birth of the name Bich Dong. The first theory is that the name Bich Dong was given to Lord Trinh Sam (1739-1782) when he roamed here. There is other evidence to confirm that in 1773, Grand Chancellor Nguyen Nghiem (1708-1776), father of the great poet Nguyen Du, named “Bich Dong” to this place.

However, regardless of where the name Tam Coc-Bich Dong came from or who named it, it is no longer so important compared to the peaceful feature but the majestic beauty of this landscape.

If possible, let the name only have an identifying and evocative value, and let your attention to the beauty like an incredible watercolor painting that the nature mother has bestowed.

selling snacks and drinks on ngo dong river
A local person sells snacks and drinks on the river. ©Vu Hung

Outstanding experience in Tam Coc – Bich Dong

The beauty that makes Tam Coc-Bich Dong Scenic Landscape famous is not only in the cave system but also in its majestic and charming natural sightseeing, connected with each other closely. All create a series of emotional experiences for your great exploration.

The first experience of tourists on the journey to explore this “beautiful scene like a picture” is traveling on small boats. Simple boats slowly drift gently and smoothly on the water thanks to the natural rowing power of the boatpersons.

boat to visit tam coc bich dong
Use a rowing boat to visit Tam Coc. ©Vu Hung

What’s interesting is that tourists cannot find motorboats here! It is because protecting the environment and the pristine nature of the landscape is always a top priority for people and local authorities.

Thanks to that, during the lovely journey, in addition to the laughter and chatter of tourists, you will be immersed in the fresh and peaceful atmosphere that Mother Nature gives to this region.

beautiful ngo dong river in ninh binh
So beautiful Ngo Dong River. ©Vu Hung

The next one is the Ngo Dong River. The small boats will take tourists gliding gently along the gentle Ngo Dong River. This river has no banks but connects directly to rich rice paddies. In the distance, there are a few peaceful hamlets and natural landscapes still intact, which paint your beautiful journey pictures. Everything nestles in the middle of the stunning mountains as if hugging and comforting the green life and natural people within it.

Occasionally, you can see a few goats roaming on the cliffs. Indigenous people grow these herds of goats in a free-rang way around the mountain. The goats are free to eat forest leaves and wild grass, so the meat is fragrant and sweet, making the specialty dish “Ninh Binh Mountain Goat”.

cliff in tam coc ninh binh
A cliff in Tam Coc. ©Vu Hung

Besides, the cliffs along the river banks create remarkable views, engaging your eyes. In these limestone mountains, the corrosion or natural chemical changes form unique shapes and incredibly ancient looks.

However, the river section from the ferry station to the first cave (Ca Cave) does not have highlights. The most beautiful distance of this place opens after passing through the first cave area.

beautiful tam coc bich dong landscape
A beautiful Tam Coc Bich Dong Landscape. ©Vu Hung

The cave system is considered the core point to create the complete beauty of this scenic spot. Caves here include water caves, such as Ca Cave, Hai Cave, Ba Cave, and Xuyen Thuy Cave, and dry caves, such as Tien Cave and Thien Huong Cave. The system of stalagmites and stalactites in the caves creates thousands of shapes, evoking a rich imagination for each visitor. In water-through grottos, their roofs are low and dark, filled with magic and mystery.

cave in tam coc ninh binh
A cave. ©Vu Hung

However, from the writer’s perspective, if compared in terms of scale and uniqueness with other caves in Vietnam, such as in Ha Long (Quang Ninh Province) or Phong Nha (Quang Binh Province), the caves here are not very special and outstanding. But, the strength that makes Tam Coc-Bich Dong become a famous landscape lies in the harmony of these caves with the overall natural scenery in the region.

stalactites in tam coc bich dong
So nice stalactites. ©Vu Hung

The pristine and tranquil scenery in Tam Coc-Bich Dong, along with the typical simplicity of the Vietnamese countryside, will give you exciting moments of relaxation.

Notes when visiting Tam Coc-Bich Dong

+ If you are a photography enthusiast, Tam Coc-Bich Dong will open up an incredible scene for all creative perspectives. However, a view from above or a flycam is always the best choice to take beautiful photos. Therefore, if you do not own a flycam, talk to the boatman to land at a suitable place for this activity.

+ There is a small floating market selling drinks and snacks near the third cave. It’s also quite interesting to try buying something here. But you need to note that you should only choose bottled/canned drinks or snacks with intact packaging and labels. This note is to ensure food safety and hygiene for yourself.

+ The boatpersons here seem to have hard work. Therefore, giving them a tip is not mandatory, but your tipping can become a small gift that helps them feel happier.

+ Remember to wear the camera strap carefully while traveling on the river. It will help you avoid situations in which you accidentally drop the camera.

+ The boat here is a bit small, so you should not walk, stand, sway, or jump while the boat is moving on the river.

+ Please always wear a life jacket when you sit on the boat, even on hot summer days.

person in tam coc bich dong
A farmer is working beside the Ngo Dong River in Tam Coc. ©Vu Hung

Check useful information about journeys to Ninh Binh:

Visiting Tam Coc-Bich Dong is to admire the beauty of majestic nature: peaceful rivers, majestic mountains, enchanting caves, and eye-catching golden rice fields. Besides, the locals’ peaceful lives and spiritual architectural works contribute to exuding a cultural mark in Ninh Binh that can enrich your journey.

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    The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.