Tam Coc (Tam Coc – Bich Dong) in Ninh Binh is one of the most popular tourist destinations in northern Vietnam. It is after Trang An the most popular attraction in the province. The most popular attraction here is a boat tour on the Tam Coc river, but you can also explore this beautiful area by bike.
- Tam Coc boat tour
- Things to do in Tam Coc
- Best time to see Tam Coc
- How do you get there?
- Getting around
- Accommodation in Tam Coc
Tam Coc boat tour
With limestone mountains, vast rice fields and small rivers that run between them, Tam Coc can best be experienced with a quiet rowing boat trip. The boats are rowed by women and men who often use their legs and feet to row. They taught themselves this technique because they spend long days rowing and this way they can rest their arms. A boat trip takes you past rice fields and between huge limestone mountains with three small caves (Hang Ca, Hang Hai and Hang Ba) that you sail through.
Unfortunately you have to be prepared for a number of persistent sellers. The boys you photograph ask for money for photos, and overpriced drinks and snacks are sold during and especially at the end of the river. Bring some water and food yourself and say clearly and politely “no” and show that you are not interested.
Location: Van Lam, Tam Coc, Ninh Binh (Google Maps)
Tam Coc boat tour price: You can buy tickets at the port of Van Lam at the main entrance. You have two costs: entrance per person plus the costs for the boat.
- By boat: 150,000 VND
- Adults: 120,000 VND per person.
- Children (up to 1.40 meters): 60,000 VND per child. Children up to 3 years old are free.
Duration: 1.5 – 2 hours
Opening hours: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Number of people per boat: Maximum two people per boat.
What to bring: Drinks and snacks. Protect yourself well against the weather. Take something with you on sunny days to protect yourself against the sun and something against the rain on rainy days.
Things to do in Tam Coc
Tam Coc is more than just a boat trip on the river. There are a host of other places of interest nearby or rent a bike to explore the area with high limestone mountains and rice fields.
Bich Dong Pagoda
About 2 km from the port you will find the Bich Dong Pagoda. Through the iconic bridge you enter the small complex with a number of temples and a cave that you can visit. Admission is free but you pay a small fee to park your motorcycle or bicycle.
Mua Cave is no longer a hidden place, but now a tourist highlight in Ninh Binh. Nevertheless, this viewpoint is definitely worth a visit, because the views you have here are amazing! Mua Cave is approximately 4 km from the port of Tam Coc.
Thung Nham Bird Park
The Thung Nham Bird Garden is about 7 km from Tam Coc harbor. In this park you will find limestone mountains, many valleys and you can visit a number of caves, but the real highlight is the storks that fly back to their nests in the late afternoon.
Thai Vi Temple
Thai Vi Temple is an ancient temple from the 13th century and is located directly in the same village as the harbor for the boat trip (Van Lam).
Best time to see Tam Coc
The best time to visit Tam Coc is from mid-April to early June, during the rice harvest season. In April the rice fields are green and from the end of May to the beginning of June they turn yellow as they mature. But you can visit Tam Coc all year round and it is always impressive, but try to avoid September because there may be typhoons.
How to get there?
There are various 1-day and multi-day tours from Hanoi to Tam Coc. You will be picked up at your hotel in the old center of Hanoi and via a new highway you will be in Ninh Binh in 1.5 hours. You can also travel to Tam Coc yourself. With a tourist bus to Ninh Binh from Hanoi, Phong Nha or Halong Bay (Cat Ba), transportation is usually included to your accommodation in Ninh Binh city or Tam Coc. Ninh Binh also has a train station with connections to Hanoi, Dong Hoi (Phong Nha), Hue and Da Nang.
From Ninh Binh
If you travel with a local bus or train to Ninh Binh you have to travel from the city to Tam Coc. From Ninh Binh city to Tam Coc is about 7 km and it is best to take a taxi for this. When you stay in Ninh Binh city or somewhere in the countryside you can also visit Tam Coc by bike or scooter.
The landscape here is flat, so cycling through the rice fields is very nice. Drive at your leisure while enjoying the breathtaking view and the lush green colors. Bicycles can often be borrowed for free at your homestay or hotel and otherwise very cheap to rent. You can also rent a scooter or motorcycle to visit different places. Renting a scooter costs around 5 to 6 euros per day. The most comfortable option, especially if you want to travel a little further than Tam Coc, is to rent a car with driver for a day or go by taxi to the different sights in Tam Coc and beyond.
Accommodation in Tam Coc
The accommodations in Tam Coc have been greatly improved in recent years to cater to tourists. You have a choice of regular hotels, homestays, bungalows and dreamy resorts among the rice fields with a great view. Tips for best accommodation in Tam Coc are:
- Tam Coc Rice Fields Homestay – From $ 14
- Tam Coc Westlake Homestay – From $ 19
- Tam Coc Melody Homestay – From $ 13
- Tam Coc Craft Homestay – From $ 15
- Tam Coc Tropical Homestay – From $ 16
- Gia Bao homestay – From $ 13
- Tam Coc Sunshine Homestay – From $ 19
- Tam Coc Nature – From $ 40
- Tam Coc Horizon Bungalow – From $ 40
- Ninh Binh Hidden Charm Hotel & Resort – From $ 80
Alternatively you can also find a hotel or homestay in Ninh Binh city, Trang An or in the countryside between the rice fields.