Renowned as the ‘second most beautiful cave in the south,’ Tam Coc Bich Dong boasts serene countryside scenery and impressive limestone mountain caves. Part of the Trang An scenic complex, Tam Coc Bich Dong is a perfect destination for those seeking to fully explore the beauty of nature. Today, let’s take a journey around Tam Coc Bich Dong with Vietnampeace.com.
As part of the Trang An scenic complex, Tam Coc Bich Dong in Ninh Binh province is located in Hoa Lu district, about 100km south of Hanoi. Covering an expansive area of 350.3ha, this scenic spot comprises a complex of limestone mountain caves amidst tranquil countryside scenery. This tourist site is also home to Bich Dong Pagoda, characterized by traditional architectural styles and historical relics associated with the Vu Lam Palace of the Tran dynasty.
According to Vietnampeace’s independent travel experience in Ninh Binh, the best time to visit Tam Coc Bich Dong is from January to March in the lunar calendar. During this period, the weather in Ninh Binh is relatively pleasant, cool, and with less rainfall, ideal for thoroughly enjoying the journey to explore Tam Coc Bich Dong.
Moreover, during the early days of the lunar new year, the Trang An scenic complex, in general, and Tam Coc Bich Dong, in particular, host fascinating spring festivals, such as the Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival. Exploring Ninh Binh during this time allows you to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the festival while still preserving its inherent solemnity.
If you can visit Tam Coc Bich Dong in late May or early June, you will be mesmerized by the vibrant scenery of endless rice fields along the journey. During this time, the lush greenery of the young rice fields harmonizes with the bright yellow of ripening rice, creating a perfect picture of the natural landscape that captivates everyone.
Located approximately 7km from the center of Ninh Binh city, there are various transportation options to reach Tam Coc Bich Dong. The most common are motorbikes, buses, and trains. If traveling by motorbike, you can follow the route from Hanoi to Highway 1A, then head towards Ninh Binh. Note that you should take the direction towards Ninh Binh – Thanh Hoa to avoid mistakenly heading towards Nam Dinh – Thai Binh.
Additionally, you can travel from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City to Ninh Binh by train if you have ample time. You can catch trains from Hanoi SE1, SE3, SE5, SE7, or SE19. From Ho Chi Minh City, train SE8 will take you to the ancient capital region.
The Tam Coc scenic complex features three natural caves: Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba. All three caves are carved by the Ngo Dong River, penetrating straight through the mountains. When visiting Tam Coc, you’ll journey by boat along the Ngo Dong River, weaving through mountain cliffs, water caves, and rice fields before reaching the entrance of Hang Ca.
In the past, the Trang An – Tam Coc mountainous region was chosen by the Tran dynasty kings to build the Vu Lam Palace to strengthen their forces during the second resistance war against the Yuan-Mongol invaders. Today, the Thai Vi Temple is a place of worship for kings like Tran Thai Tong and Tran Thanh Tong, as well as generals like Tran Hung Dao, Tran Quang Khai, and Queen Tran Thi Dung.
Nestled peacefully amidst the Dong Vo mountain range, Thien Huong Cave is one of the most beloved attractions in Ninh Binh. With a height of nearly 60m, a length of 40m, and a width of 20m, the cave’s ceiling resembles a large bell.
Thien Huong Cave’s broad peak has earned it the nickname “Sky Cave.” Nowadays, if you visit Thien Huong Cave, you’ll find a shrine dedicated to Queen Tran Thi Dung, the wife of King Ly Hue Tong in ancient times. She introduced the craft of lace embroidery to the people of Ninh Hai village, so they built a shrine to express gratitude, where incense burns year-round in her honor.
Situated about 2km from Tam Coc pier, Bich Dong is a dry cave on the mountainside, with the Xuyen Thuy Cave – a water cave – in front of it. Bich Dong was named by the famous general Nguyen Khiem, father of the great poet Nguyen Du, in 1773. It was bestowed as ‘Second most beautiful cave in the south,’ only behind Huong Tich Cave in Huong Son.
Located about 2km from Tam Coc pier, Bich Dong was named by the famous general Nguyen Khiem, father of the great poet Nguyen Du, during his visit in 1773. In the past, Bich Dong was affectionately called the ‘Second most beautiful cave in the south,’ ranking just below Huong Tich Cave in Huong Son.
As part of the Tam Coc Bich Dong complex, Bich Dong Pagoda is an ancient pagoda built on the Truong Yen limestone mountains in 1428, during the early years of the Later Le Dynasty. Today, the pagoda still houses a large bell cast during the reign of King Le Thai To, along with tombs of the monks who contributed to its construction. During the reign of King Le Hien Tong, the pagoda underwent renovation and expansion, with three separate pagodas – Lower, Middle, and Upper – spread across the three mountain levels.
Part of the Tam Coc Bich Dong complex, Tien Cave is a system of three large caves with countless stalactites and stalagmites resembling various shapes such as fairies, rice bundles, fairies, elephants, lions, tigers, ky da (mythical animal), dragons, eagles, and multicolored clouds.
No one knows when Linh Coc Pagoda appeared in the Trang An scenic complex, but it’s often said to date back to the reign of King Tran Thanh Tong. Nestled tranquility within the Moc mountain, Linh Coc Pagoda faces west, with water fields in front.
The pagoda is designed with three chambers, housing statues of the venerable monk A Nan Da and the Indian monk, with high noses, curly hair, and beards. The pagoda’s sanctuary honors the Three Holy Mothers, including Upper Forest Mother, Relief Mother, and Willow Mother.
As one of the destinations within the buffer zone of the Trang An scenic complex, Co Vien Lau is a cluster of ancient houses primarily collected from Ninh Binh and the North Delta region. Visitors can find exhibits like ceremonial tables, wooden beds, tea cabinets, and more inside these houses. Most houses were built during the Nguyen dynasty but still distinctly showcase ancient architectural features.
In conclusion, Tam Coc Bich Dong in Ninh Binh province is a treasure trove of natural wonders and cultural gems to be explored. From the enchanting caves and temples steeped in history to the tranquil countryside and vibrant festivals, there’s something for every traveler to discover and enjoy. Whether cruising along the Ngo Dong River, marveling at the limestone formations, or immersing yourself in the ancient pagodas, every moment spent here is truly unforgettable.
For more travel inspiration and tips on exploring the beauty of Vietnam, visit Vietnampeace.com. Let your wanderlust lead you to new adventures and unforgettable experiences in this remarkable destination. Start planning your journey today and uncover the magic of Tam Coc Bich Dong with Vietnampeace.com as your guide. Happy travels!