Vietnam Day Tours in 2024

Ninh Binh – Tam Coc

Ninh Binh city is located about 90km south of Hanoi in the Red River Delta and is the capital of Ninh Binh province. Ninh Binh itself is a pretty dull place to be so most visitors choose Tam Coc or Trang An as their base for exploring the area, which is truly breathtaking, with green rice fields in the delta area and famous for its limestone mountain and karst sceneries, best seen during a boat ride.

Tam Coc’s karst mountains resemble the topography at Halong Bay. Biggest difference is that Tam Coc is situated on land and contains rice paddies around. The area supports farmers with stray goats on the karst’s hillsides and fishermen. Their two sanctuaries are built in the 17th century at Hoa Lu. They are dedicated to the Dinh and early Le dynasty in the 10th and 11th centuries.

Another highlight in the area of Tam Coc is a leisurely boat ride along the Ngo Dong river which gently winds its way through breathtaking karst hill scenery. With the boats you’ll pass through three caves (Hang Ca, Hang Hai and Hang Ba). There will be plenty of time for you to relax, breath in the fresh air and be charmed by the warmth of the locals.

Another gem in the area is Bich Dong Pagoda. This charming cluster of cave temples is a couple of kilometers north of Tam Coc. The Lower Pagoda is located at the base, from which 100 steps lead to the Middle Pagoda, where there’s a shorter but steep ascent to the Upper Pagoda. Inside each cave temple, looming statues peer from the haze of burning incense. Outside offers incredible countryside views.

Hang Mua is another place that should be visited. Down a sleepy road between rice paddies, this cave is not terribly impressive, but there are panoramic views from the peak above. A stone staircase beside the cave entrance zigzags through the karst (beware the goat droppings) and it’s almost 500 steps to a simple altar to Quan Am (the Goddess of Mercy). Look west for the Ngo Dong River winding through Tam Coc. The climb is paved but steep in sections, so bring water and allow an hour return. Mua Cave is 5km from Ninh Binh.

Connecting destinations:

For those traveling south and not wanting to return to Hanoi, Ninh Binh is the perfect base to take either overnight busses or more comfortable overnight trains to destinations like Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Hue or even Da Nang and Hoi An.


24 Hang Buom Street, Hoan Kiem District,
Hanoi City, Vietnam


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