About Tam Coc in Vietnam
Tam Coc is a small town located in Ninh Binh Province. The name Tam Coc, literally translates as ‘three caves,’ referring to Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba. It is part of the wider UNESCO World Heritage site of Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex. Stunning rainforest-covered mountains, enormous valleys, waterways, and limestone cliffs are just a few of the incredible things that make this a UNESCO site.
Ha long Bay on land
Tam Coc is often compared to Halong Bay on land. Additionally, there is a unique union between nature and spirituality here seen in the birds skimming the water, against a backdrop of ancient mountain-top temples.
Best Things to do in Tam Coc, Ninh Binh
Tam Coc is the perfect place to base yourself for a few days to explore all the things to do in the Ninh Binh area. Take your days slowly absorbing the beauty of the scenery. Rowing along the river by boat, or cycling along the quiet lanes through the rice paddies, is the perfect way to explore. Whether it’s seeing countless species of wildlife, discovering ancient temples, or faraway floating villages, there are plenty of things to do in Tam Coc.
Bich Dong Pagoda
Visiting the Bich Dong pagoda is easily one of the most memorable things to see in Tam Coc! The pagoda complex build in 1428 has three different cave temples, situated at different levels going up the mountain. These are the Ha Pagoda (lower level), Trung Pagoda (middle level), and Thuong Pagoda (upper level).
The initial view of the pagoda is nothing short of spectacular! The bridge surrounded by floating lotus pads and flowers looks like a scene from a watercolor painting. Once you cross the bridge, enter through the ancient gate, at the foot of the mountain, and begin your ascent.
Because the top cave temple is situated close to the summit of the mountain, it is a steep 160 step hike. However, it is well worth it for the amazing views across the countryside. The unique setting of the pagodas, built into the limestone and surrounded by lush forest, makes you feel as if you’ve discovered a secret oasis. A fairytale experience!
Hang Múa Peak
Climb your way up the snaking path of 500 steps, to reach the top of an awesome cliff viewpoint. Once at the top, you’ll find panoramic views over the deep valley, waterways, and green mountains. It’s good to know that there are two peaks to reach. The path splits halfway and both are worth visiting!
Try to reach the highest peak, where you’ll discover a stone dragon watching over the landscape- an important symbol of Vietnamese culture. Feel a thrill, as you stand at the top of the rock face and feel the wind in your hair. Because it is one of the highest points in the area, it arguably is the best place to watch the sun go down.
Tam Coc Cave Boat Tour
Float down the Ngo Dong river, sandwiched between colorful yellow and green rice fields, overshadowed by limestone karsts. Have your camera at the ready, because around every twist and turn of the river is a new breathtaking scene.
Hang Ca, Hang Hai & Hang Ba
End your journey, floating through the three large caves, with dramatic-looking stalagmites and stalactites. Of the three caves, Ca cave is the largest, which is around 20 meters wide and 127 meters long! The cave tour takes about 3 hours and is the perfect way to enjoy the beauty of Tam Coc.
Best Time to Visit Tam Coc
Generally, temperatures remain warm all year round. However, the most beautiful time of the year to see Tam Coc is at the end of May/ beginning of June. This is when the rice fields start to turn from luscious green to vibrant yellow.
Additionally, the lotus flowers also bloom during June, so the landscape bursts into color. It is also good to know that April-October is the rainy season and can be hot and humid. Despite this, the rain normally only lasts for a few hours and will be followed by sunshine. If you want dry and slightly cooler weather it’s best to visit between the months of November to March.
Best Restaurants in Tam Coc & Ninh Binh
- Trung Tuyet Restaurant (Ninh Binh)
- Chookie’s Beer Garden (Tam Coc)
- The Napoleon Fine Italian Cuisine (Tam Coc)
How to Get to Tam Coc
Tam Coc is located about 3 hours south of Hanoi and is reachable by both bus and train. Both options will take you to the city of Ninh Binh first. Here you will have to change to a taxi for the 20 minutes remainder of the journey.
Tam Coc is a beautiful place to cycle. The roads are generally quiet and flat and you can admire the incredible scenery at your own pace. Another good option is to rent a motorbike if you want to cover longer distances or take a taxi.
Where to Stay in Tam Coc
The gorgeous Tam Coc Garden Resort is a secret garden retreat. Experience charming wooden bungalows, lotus ponds, and gardens filled with organically grown vegetables. The resort prides itself on maintaining the authenticity of the area, so they use traditional materials and methods.
Maison Que is a beautiful private house, belonging to Tam Coc Garden Resort, but set away from the main accommodation. The setting will capture your heart- surrounded by charming gardens and looking out over limestone towers and paddy fields. The house is beautifully decorated using wood and handcrafts, which give the space a calm, rustic feel.