Tam Coc called “Inland Halong” is a popular tourist destination near the city of Ninh Binh in Northern Vietnam.
Travelers come here to enjoy a pure, natural and fresh atmosphere of the mystical landscape of Halong bay on the rice field where it is adorned itself with traditional culture, antique pagoda, mountains, water, rivers and wild wetland and more.
King Le Canh Hung ever said: “This is Vietnam’s second nicest grotto, after the Huong Tich Grotto in Ha Tay province”. Its pristine natural beauty together with a simple but nice countryside landscape, and a sacred spiritual life have converged into a fascinating and attractive Tam Coc-Bich Dong to numerous tourists.
The Tam Coc (“three caves”) portion is a three-hour excursion by small boat along the Ngo Dong river, beginning at the village of Van Lam and proceeding through a scenic landscape dominated by rice fields and karst towers. The route includes floating through three natural caves (Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba), the largest of which is 125m long with its ceiling about 2m high above the water. The boats are typically rowed by one or two local women who also sell embroidered goods.
From Tam Coc boat pier, drive East nearly 3 km, tourist will reach Bich Dong Pagoda – an ever ancient three tiered cave pagoda. It is only accessible by steep stone steps, but it is really worth climbing up for a charming pagoda and stupendous view from the top.
The largest of the grotto is 125m long with its ceiling about 2m high above the water. This grotto is adorned with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites of different shapes and colours that sparkle like gemstones. Now when drifting along the gentle Ngo Dong River under the Grotto, you can feel the deeply pure atmosphere with special smell of fresh rivers water and cool air from karst mountains when reaching each of the 3 caves in turns.
Bich Dong is a pagoda on nearby Ngu Nhac Mountain dating to 1428, comprising three structures: Ha, Trung, and Thuong Pagodas, in ascending order. Guided tours generally cover historical points and end with a pleasant view from the top.
Bich Dong pagoda was built by the colective and missionary work 0f 2 Buddhist monks: Tri Kien and Tri The. All three pagoda of Bich Dong have wooden architecure due to architectural style of the time at the end of Le Dynasty and the beginning of Nguyen Dynasty. They were arranged according to ascending order on the position of Bich Dong mountain like a Chinese letter: “Tam”. Ha Pagoda (Lower Pagoda) is located at the foot of the mountain, Trung Pagoda ( Middle Pagoda) is on the mountainside and Thuong Pagoda (Upper Pagoda) is situated on the top of the mountain. All of pagodas’ back lean againts the mountain.
Tam Coc – Bich Dong is famous for its hidden landscape, natural beauty, unique grottoes, historical and cultural relics such as Thai Vi Temple, Tien Tavern, Linh Coc Pagoda etc, Nham valley of birds, etc. The area is also well-known for its unique handmade embroidery products of Van Lam village.