Tam Coc-Bich Dong, terrestrial Halong Bay in Ninh Binh

Far about 100 kilometers from Hanoi city center along Highway 1A, tourists will reach Tam Coc – Bich Dong, the most famous landscape of Ninh Binh. Here you will be stunned by the charming beauty of the nature, a harmonious combination of waters and mountains. This is the only region in Vietnam where locals still cultivate the wet rice combining with tourism development.

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Harmonious combination of mountains, rivers and rice fields in Tam Coc – Bich Dong

This zone is featured with a tropical climate, with two seasons. The cold and wet season last from May to October and dry and hot season from November to next April. Because situated at the base side of the Red River Delta, Tam Coc – Bich Dong has a half mountain, a half plain area with a coastline of 18 kilometers. Thanks to endlessly stretching mountain views, stunning caves and charming waterways, this destination is also considered as a “terrestrial Halong Bay”. The journey to discover Tam Coc – Bich Đong departs from Dinh Cac Wharf along winding Ngo Dong River surrounded with giant rice fields. Therefore, the best time to visit Tam Coc – Bich Dong is the ripen rice season when you have chance to sit on a boat and move along brilliant yellow sea of ripen rice. Moving along Ngo Dong River, you also can contemplate the panoramic views of amazing limestones, watch exotic aquatic species in the waters or admire flocks of  white flamingo on the lawns in the lagoon.

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Flocks of white stock perch on high trees along Ngo Dong River

During your journey on Ngo Dong River, you will set foot in 3 caves through the mountains, namely Hang Ca, Hang Hai and Hang Ba Grottoes. Among them, Hang Ca is considered the most picturesque cave because it is the longest and contains most fascinating natural arts deep inside. Hang Ca Grotto is about 127 meters long crashing through a large mountain, with its entrance gate of 20 meters wide. This grotto is filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites of different shapes and colors that sparkle like gemstones.  Going deep inside, you can feel the deeply pure atmosphere with special smell of fresh river water and cool air from karst mountain. Far about 1 km from Hang Ca Grotto, Hang Hai Grotto owns 60 meters long with various shapes of spectacular stalactites. The last cave is Hang Ba, just nearby, is about 50 meters lower ceiling than the above two, looking like a platonic cupola. The climate in caves is quite fairly cool with numerous alluring stalactites hanging down with their diversified shapes. It will take about 3 hours for tourists to discover inside 3 caves and take the beautiful photos of Tam Coc (“Tam” means three, “Coc” mean grotto). This is also precious moments to relax and immerse yourself in breathtaking nature and poetic scenery.

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The entrance of Hang Ca Grotto

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Ha Pagoda in the Bich Dong Pagoda Complex

And then turning into the opposite position, you will reach Bich Dong Pagoda, which is located at the grandiose Ngu Nhac Mountain, far about 2 kilometers from Tam Coc Wharf. It is divided into three levels: Ha pagoda (low pagoda), Trung Pagoda (middle pagoda) and Thuong Pagoda (high pagoda). Ha Pagoda is situated in the foothills which is prominent in architectural characteristics strongly inspired by Oriental style: the trusses, crossbeams, and spars were made from ironwood. Up to about 120 other blue stone steps is Trung Pagoda, a unique pagoda which its half is opencast and the other is attached the cave. Climbing next 40 stone steps is Thuong pagoda in the highest position, worshiping Guan Yin Buddha Ba. The both sides of the main pagoda is 2 pagodas worshiping the God Earth on the right and Saint Son Tran on the left. Standing on the campus of Thuong Pagoda, tourists will have chance to admire Ngu Mon field and cover the panoramic view of Bich Dong Pagoda. Not only owning the spectacular beauty of the charming landscapes, the cultural-art architecture, Tam Coc – Bich Dong is a historical relic of Ninh Binh. It can be said that the wonderful landscapes is the harmonious combination of exotic beauty of the cave, the rugged mountains, the romantic waters and the brilliance of the humans forming an inseparable unity.

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