Thung Nham eco-tourism area: a meeting point for nature-loving souls

God has graciously gifted Vietnam with countless surprisingly beautiful natural landscapes. If you still do not agree with this statement, follow us to the Thung Nham eco-tourism area in Ninh Binh to see how beautiful Vietnam is.

thung nham in ninh binh
Thung Nham is a famous tourist destination in Ninh Binh. ©Truong Huy


About 100km south of Hanoi city, the Thung Nham eco-tourism area is located in Hai Nham village, Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province. If starting from Ninh Binh city center, you move about 12km west to reach this famous ecological spot.

This landmark is in the core region of the Trang An scenic cluster and is next to the Tam Coc-Bich Dong tourist destination.

The name Thung Nham includes the meaning of a valley located between cliffs. This typical natural feature has created the beautiful scenery of rivers, mountains, trees, birds, and animals that fascinate people.

General tourist information about Thung Nham

Opening hours:

  • Summer: from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m
  • Winter: from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m

Sightseeing ticket price:

  • Adults and children with a height of 1m3 or more: 150,000 VND/1 person
  • Children from 1m to 1m3: 100,000/1 person
  • Children under 1m or elderly people 80 years and older: free tickets

The above ticket price includes VAT, boat tickets to visit the bird garden, and But Cave. However, tram tickets or bicycle rentals are excluded.

Most suitable time to visit:

Thung Nham is beautiful almost all year round. You can come here in any season of the year.

The best time to visit Thung Nham Bird Garden within a day is in the afternoon. At this time, the whole region will be bustling with thousands of birds and storks looking for their nests.

bird park in thung nham
The afternoon is suitable for seeing birds in Thung Nham. ©Truong Huy

Main activities in Thung Nham

The ticket sales point is at gate 1, more than 1km from the parking lot and checking-ticket entrance. The gate 1 is also about 150m from the road to Vai Gioi cave.

If you would like to visit Vai Gioi cave before coming to the ticket counter, please pay attention to where you stop. Or if you want to skip the cave, you go straight to the ticket staff and buy tickets. Then, you can move a short distance to the parking lot.

Gate number 2, also known as the ticket gate, is also the entrance to the main attractions of the Thung Nham tourist area, located next to the parking lot.

Remember, after going through the checking-ticket point, you still need to keep the ticket. It may be necessary in some situations, such as boarding a boat to the Buddha cave or bird garden.

1. Vai Gioi Cave

About 150m before coming to ticket gate number 1, the path leading to Vai Gioi cave will be on your right-hand side. This largest grotto in Thung Nham has an area of up to 5,000 square meters.

Exploring Vai Gioi Cave is a difficult journey because you have to climb 439 winding stone steps along the mountainside to reach this attraction. The cavern has 3 main areas symbolizing the three levels of life: Earth, Hell, and Heaven.

All three floors stand out with eye-catching stalactite systems. It creates interesting associations about fairies or life phenomena, such as Hell King’s Throne, Death’s Blade, Oil Cauldron, Fairy Statue, Elephant Costume Statue, and Sky Clouds.

In particular, on the Heavenly Floor, there is a path to the outside. From this position, you can see the entire beautiful valley scene below. Inside is a Buddhist altar for locals and tourists to worship and pray for peace.

Legend has it that in the past, this was an area where heavenly worship ceremonies were regularly held to pray for good weather and tranquility for the country and people. For that reason, this site is called Vai Gioi Cave, which means worshiping the sky or heaven.

This cave is beautiful; however, if you do not have too much time or want to save your energy in other places inside the Thung Nham region, you can leave this place for the next journey. Let’s go inside and come to the beautiful pictures of nature opened up!

2. Visit Buddha Cave

This water-through cave is about 500m long, connecting Thung Nham to Thien Ha Cavern. This place is called Buddha Cave because the inside stands out with a 1.5m high, 2m wide stalactite shaped like a sitting Buddha.

You will board small boats rowed by hand by local people to explore this cave. The unique transport will carry you deeper inside to discover the mysterious beauty of the area.

Buddha Cave is still pristine without a lighting system. When visiting it, you can use a flashlight to shine directly on the stalagmites and stalactites to see their beauty.

It is not suitable for taking photos because it’s dark inside. However, the lively stalactite system with hundreds of bats in the dim light from the flashlight can give you exciting and uplifting thoughts.

3. Discover Mermaid Cave

After visiting Buddha Cave, the boat rider takes you back to the wharf to continue moving to the next section.

As soon as you get off the wharf, you can see the impressive gate built and trimmed from green trees with the words “Thung Nham Bird Park”. Through the gate, on your left is the entrance to Tien Ca Cave (Mermaid Cave).

Tien Ca Cave has a length of about 500m and is the most beautiful cave in Thung Nham. Here, you will walk along a bridge made of wooden planks extending throughout the cave and admire the natural beauty.

The stalactite system in Tien Ca cave is incredible and lively. Under the electric light, this space becomes even more sparkling and dreamy as being in the middle of a magnificent aquarium. That is also why this place is called Tien Ca (Mermaid) Cave.

When visiting here, you pay attention to avoid slipping when moving on the wooden bridge. In particular, many sections are low, so you have to bend over. Therefore, it becomes difficult for the elders or others – who have health problems related to bones, joints, and body endurance.

4. Get on a boat to visit the bird garden

bird park thung nham
The bird park is the top destination in Thung Nham. ©Truong Huy

Leaving Tien Ca Cave, you turn right and move to the dining area. You will see a path to another boat station to visit the bird garden. You can stop, rest, take photos, or try a snack at the food court before continuing your journey again.

Right opposite the wharf is the spiritual area, including Goi Dai Temple, Linh Than Temple, and Moving Banyan Tree. Depending on your time, you can visit this place or skip it. The unique feature of this area lies in the more than 1,000-year-old banyan tree that has undergone 3 tree changes and moves. Next to it is the Goi Dai temple, which has the unique combination of worshipping both the Mother Goddess and God beliefs.

The bird garden has become the most highlighted place for almost all tourists on the journey to Thung Nham. This area is the largest natural bird park in the Northern region of Vietnam. The pristine nature preserved well has helped this place become an ideal home for birds to reside, nest, and thrive.

This garden is home to 46 bird species, with about 5,000 nests and thousands of individual birds presenting every day. During the breeding season, which lasts from September to April next year, the number of birds here can reach tens of thousands. In particular, there are also rare bird breeds, such as Hang Hac and Hong Hoang here.

bird gadern thung nham
So interesting to visit the bird gadern in Thung Nham. ©Truong Huy

Traveling to Thung Nham Bird Garden in the afternoon, sitting on a boat, gliding through the trees, surrounded by majestic mountains and forests, you will see firsthand flocks of birds flying. Storks, cranes, etc. carelessly groom their charming feathers on tree branches and cliffs. Intertwined are families of birds gathered together. All create an impressive and attractive scene, like a perfect symphony of nature, rivers, mountains, and peaceful animals.

It’s equally interesting that the birds here are close to humans. The presence of tourists has almost no impact on their lives. Of course, to achieve this is to thank the needs of the continuous efforts from the local government and the awareness of each tourist toward conservation work.

Things to note when visiting Thung Nham Bird Garden:

To join hands in preserving the nature of the bird garden, you should pay attention to:

– Comply with staff instructions and arrangements.

– Do not throw trash indiscriminately and make noise while visiting the bird garden.

– Do not use Flycam without the consent of the management board.

– You need to wear life jackets when boarding the boat to ensure your safety. In particular, when sitting on a boat, you should not play around, row the boat arbitrarily, or put your hands outside the boat’s side.

– Children under 15 years old need to be accompanied by an adult when visiting the bird garden by boat.

– Boats to visit the bird garden only depart when there are at least 3 guests on the boat and no more than 12 guests. Therefore, if your group does not have 3 or more people, please wait and be ready to join with other guests to travel to the bird garden together.

5. Take photos at Thung Nham flower garden or enjoy entertainment services at Thung Nham resort

thung nham flower garden
©The Thung Nham Ecotourism Zone

At the end of the tour, exploring the cave and bird garden, you can move to the flower garden to rest and take photos. Although this is an artificial area, based on the inherent natural foundation of Thung Nham, the flower garden becomes interesting.

Spending the night at Thung Nham Resort is also a good choice to live closer to nature. The services here will help you have time to rest, restore energy, and regenerate your soul after tiring days in the noisy and dusty city.

Thung Nham deserves to be a beautiful destination, which you should not miss when traveling to Northern Vietnam. This eco-region is like an affirmation sent to friends from all over that this S-shaped country is charming.

In Vietnam, the people are friendly, the nature is green, the rivers and mountains are majestic, and you can have lots of lovely memories when traveling to this beautiful natural place.

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    About the author

    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.