The ultimate Tam Coc travel guide

With limestone outcrops amid serene rice paddies, Tam Coc is best appreciated on a languorous rowing-boat ride, with the soundtrack of the river lapping against the oars. This is our super Tam Coc travel guide (Tamcoc Travel Guide, Tam Coc Ninh Binh Travel Guide) from how to get, best time to visit, what to do, where to stay.

Journey to Vietnam’s breathtaking historic countryside on this unforgettable adventure from Hanoi

Tam Coc is well – known for its poetic, peaceful but equally breathtaking scenes that easily captivate people’s hearts. Tam Coc has also some famous names such as “Ha Long Bay on land” or “Nam Thiên Đệ Nhị Động” (the second most beautiful cave in VietNam).

Take in the magical landscapes and caves of Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and more as you cruise down Tam Coc river

Tam Coc – Bich Dong currently has a total area of 350.3 ha, located 7km away from Ninh Binh and about 100 km away from Ha Noi. The whole area is a complex including limestone caves and historic relics that have been retained from the Tran dynasty of Vietnam. It’s location is in Ninh Hai, Hoa Lu and Ninh Binh province. Tam Coc – Bich Dong consists of approximately 20 spectacular sightseeings with exciting activities like yachting, cycling and walking.

Tam Coc, which means “three caves”, consists of Cả cave (the First cave), Hai cave (the Second cave), and Ba cave (the Third cave). All three are created by the Ngo Dong (Ngô Đồng) river that pierces through the mountain. The “Cả” cave is 127m in length, passing through a big mountain with many limestones in various forms; the mouth of cave’s width is over 20m. The second one is nearly 1km away from Ca cave with the length of 60m; and the ceiling of the cave has many strange stalactites. The third is 50m, being quite close to second cave; the ceiling is like a stone arch, and lower than the other two caves.

Enjoy a fun bicycle ride around Hoa Lu and see this historic location like a true local

If you want to see the golden color of ripe-rice fields, you should visit between lately May to early June. At that time, the scenery of rice field is so wonderful with lively colors. Besides, the best travel time is from January to March of the lunar calendar. Since the weather is good for sitting on a boat, visiting Tam Coc and enjoying the spring breeze. There are also many festivals taking place here so that you can combine with travelling or praying in New Year’s Eve.

When Is The Best Time To Travel To Tam Coc?


Must say Tam Coc every season is beautiful, each season brings its own beauty. But if you want to admire the lush, vibrant green rice fields that stretch across the stream, winding like a soft silk strip, giving you a fresh, immersed in the taste of The sky, the river, the nature, the occasion after Tet in January and February is the appropriate time.

If you want to admire a beautiful picture of nature with the mixed touches of yellow ripe rice, blending with the mountain green and far away from the torus by light-drifting boats, then dreamily The range of late May and early June – when the summer season is back is the right occasion to enjoy the beauty of Tam Coc.

Navigate through Tam Coc during a thrilling boat ride!

What Do You Need To Prepare Before Visiting Tam Coc?

A tourist experience in Tam Coc is that you can visit in the day from Hanoi. If you want to save time – start from the early morning and get the early morning air, just have a complete trip. Because Tam Coc is only 110 km away from the center of Hanoi. So it is only a few simple things to bring with you. Such as a thin coat when you go on a boat to a low temperature cave with steam. causes a cold feeling.

You can also bring extra boxes to use while sitting on the river. In addition, it is best to wear flat shoes to facilitate the movement and sightseeing comfort.

Visit Ninh Binh Province in Vietnam and witness the beauty of Tam Coc and Hoa Lu!

How Can You Go To Tam Coc?

The town of Ninh Binh is located about 60 miles south of Hanoi. There are three options to get to Ninh Binh – take a train, a bus, or hire a private driver. Or, of course, you can rent a motorbike and drive yourself (although driving in Vietnam is not for the faint of heart).

Tourist Bus

Tourist buses depart from Hanoi around 8:00am and will pick you up from your hotel if you stay in the Old Quarter. Tickets are typically around 160,000 – 250,000 VND ($7-11) per person depending on how luxurious a bus you want. The bus usually takes around 3 hours and makes one 20 minute stop to grab a snack and use the toilet.

We recommend booking bus tickets through Bookaway – there you can see all the bus and train options along with ratings and reviews.

Local Bus

If you’re feeling adventurous, local buses also depart regularly from Hanoi’s southern bus terminal, Giap Bat, but note that you may end up with less space and more stops than you planned for. If you take a local bus and want to visit Tam Coc, you’ll have to take a taxi from the station in Ninh Binh. (The aforementioned tourist buses stop in Tam Coc so you’ll avoid the extra taxi fare.)


There are 3 trains departing daily from Hanoi Station and include the SE5, SE7, and SE19. The trip takes about 2.5 hours, but keep in mind that trains in Vietnam are often late so don’t be surprised if you have to wait a bit once you arrive at the station.

Be transported from one point to another in a comfortable bus limousine!

What To Eat In Tam Coc

Tam Coc is famous for many specialties. Such as mountain goats, fried rice, eel vermicelli, Yen Mac spring rolls, sour tilapia soup, … If you have come here, you should enjoy those delicious dishes and at the same time can understand more about regions, about diversity in food culture.

A Few Other Small Notes When Traveling To Tam Coc

To admire and immerse yourself in the beauty of Tam Coc. You only have one option to do boat trip. And if you are a person who likes taking photos, wanting to retain memorable moments, lovely scenes, then talk and ask the help of boatmen. Their experience and mastery of terrain will help you to record commemorative photos.

Another note is that you should take the time to complete the trip. Because the boat time when traveling to Tam Coc also accounts for nearly 3 hours, avoiding having to sit in the boat at noon when there is a big sun, or too late at night when the sun has set.

And surely it would be great if you find an ideal seat to watch the sun set here, the sunset filled the fields, the rivers like the story, will divide by self course with the people here. Coming to Tam Coc you will definitely have wonderful and memorable moments of relaxation.

Enjoy a bike adventure through the scenic rice fields and villages

Currency in Vietnam

The currency of Vietnam is the Dong (VND) and at the time of writing, the exchange rate was approximately 23,215 VND to $1 USD. So if we say that something costs 50,000 VND, that’s just about $2.

There are several ATMs around but they are outside of the main area of Tam Coc. Several markets in Tam Coc advertise ATMs but they will simply charge your card, add a 3% fee, and then give you cash. The closest ATM to Tam Coc is on the left hand side of the road when you head east on DT491C.

Getting Around Tam Coc and Ninh Binh

Most of the homestays in Tam Coc have bicycles and motorbikes available to rent. While it’s nice to cruise around on a bicycle, a few of the highlights are outside of town so you’ll have a long ride ahead of you. A motorbike will run you about 120,000 – 150,000 VND/day but you’ll have to fill up the gas tank (~80,000 VND for a full tank).

Explore the outskirts of Vietnam through a bicycle ride for a truly local experience

For many visitors to Ninh Binh and Tam Coc, a favorite activity is simply roaming around the back roads on a bicycle or motorbike soaking in the beautiful landscape and views of daily life in rural Vietnam.

If you are staying in Tam Coc and are only interested in visiting Bich Dong Pagoda and taking a Tam Coc boat ride you will be fine with just a bicycle. However, if you want to visit any of the other sites (such as Hang Mu, Trang An, or Hoa Lu) you’ll be much happier on a motorbike as these sites are several miles away from each other.

Bich Dong Pagoda

It’s also rather easy to get lost on the winding back roads of Tam Coc. We always recommend buying a Vietnamese SIM card as soon as you land in the country. Having internet on your cell phone allows you to utilize Google Maps to help with navigation. If you don’t have a local SIM card you can download an offline map of Ninh Binh and Tam Coc in Google Maps.

Where to Eat in Tam Coc

Hoa Luan Restaurant has a large menu filled with Vietnamese classics and a few dishes that you probably haven’t seen before. The fresh spring rolls are delicious and unique – the vegetables inside are cooked and seasoned to perfection!

If you’re tired of eating so much Vietnamese food, how about a little Indian cuisine? Aroma Ninh Binh has a large menu of delectable Indian favorites at reasonable prices. Be sure to try the Aroma Special Naan!

Bamboo Bar and Restaurant and Hai Linh Restaurant are two good choices in Tam Coc proper that offer delicious and affordable Vietnamese fare. Both have outstanding papaya salads and savory meat options including the region specialty, goat.

End the day with great food, drinks, and company during a fun sunset party

Things to do in Tam Coc

Boat rides on traditional sampans are the highlight in Tam Coc, meandering through dumpling-shaped karst hills in a flooded landscape where the river and rice paddies merge serenely into one; keep an eye open for mountain goats high on the cliffs, and bright, darting kingfishers. Journey’s end is Tam Coc, three long, dark tunnel-caves (Hang Ca, Hang Giua and Hang Cuoi) eroded through the limestone hills with barely sufficient clearance for the sampan after heavy rains. On the way back, you can ask to stop at Thai Vi Temple, a short walk from the river. Dating from the thirteenth century and dedicated to the founder of the Tran Dynasty, it’s a peaceful, atmospheric spot.

Take a relaxing sampan boat ride to see picturesque caves, villages, and more

Be mindful when choosing your boat to stay clear of those with boxes, as these usually mean that your rower will haggle you endlessly until you have purchased something from them – it can ruin your relaxing ride if you do not wish to buy something. Also be aware that hawkers will sometimes convince you to buy a drink for your guide/rower, however, your oarsmen or women will quickly sell this back to them for half the price once you have left.


Hire a Bike

The landscape here is flat so bike riding through the rice fields is recommended and makes you feel like you are in a movie scene. Ride at ease whilst taking in the breathtaking views and lush green colours.

Bich Dong

If you have time after the boat trip, follow the road leading southwest from the boat dock for about 2km to visit the cave-pagoda of Bich Dong, or “Jade Grotto”. Stone-cut steps, entangled by the thick roots of banyan trees, lead up a cliff face peppered with shrines to the cave entrance, believed to have been discovered by two monks in the early fifteenth century. On the rock face above, two giant characters declare “Bich Dong”. The story goes that they were engraved in the eighteenth century by the father of Nguyen Du (author of the classic Tale of Kieu), who was entrusted with the construction of the complex. The cave walls are now scrawled with graffiti but the three Buddhas sit unperturbed on their lotus thrones beside a head-shaped rock which purportedly bestows longevity if touched. Walk through the cave to emerge higher up the cliff, from where steps continue to the third and final temple and viewpoint over the waterlogged scene.


Should you Stay in Ninh Binh or Tam Coc?

There are several small towns in the Ninh Binh region of Vietnam so don’t feel like you need to stay in Ninh Binh town proper. Tam Coc is the most popular town as there are plenty of comfy homestays and many delicious restaurants. Trang An is another area that has a few homestays but less dining options. If you stay in the heart of Ninh Binh town you’ll probably find it to be a bit underwhelming.

We would recommend staying in Tam Coc where you’ll be surrounded by the beautiful countryside but still have plenty of eating and drinking venues right nearby.

If you are looking for Tam Coc Accommodation, Tam Coc Homestay, Tam Coc Hotel, Tam Coc Hostel, plz refer to:

Little Tam Coc – Leisure Villa & Vietnamese Cuisine

Address: Tam Coc Road, Ninh Hai Commune, Ninh Binh
Tel: +84-965-622-888
Email: booking.littletamcoc@gmail.com
Url: littletamcoc.com
Instagram: @littletamcoc_
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3PWtVkcRBkJfrm6tPkZuog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/littletamcoc/

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