Tam Coc, Ninh Binh: Discovering Vietnam's Hidden Gem

Author: Nidhi Sood on Apr 03,2023
woman tourist in boat on the lake Tam Coc-Leisure

Nestled in the heart of northern Vietnam, Tam Coc is a serene destination that draws travelers worldwide. This small village in Ninh Binh province is a natural wonderland with towering limestone karst mountains, winding rivers, and verdant rice paddies. It's easy to see why Tam Coc is a popular day trip destination from Hanoi but to appreciate the area's beauty and tranquility fully; many travelers choose to stay overnight.


Tam Coc's main attraction is a scenic boat ride along the Ngo Dong River, which takes visitors through three natural caves, including Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba. The caves are illuminated with colorful lights, creating a mesmerizing experience. Aside from the boat ride, visitors can also explore the area by bike, hike to nearby viewpoints, or visit the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, the Bich Dong Pagoda, and other historic sites. Whether you're a nature lover, a history buff, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, Tam Coc offers something for everyone. So, pack your bags, explore Tam Coc, and immerse yourself in this breathtaking destination's natural and cultural beauty.


How to Get to Tam Coc


There are several ways to get to Tam Coc. The most convenient way is to hire a private car or taxi from Hanoi, which takes about two hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Hanoi to Ninh Binh and then take a taxi or motorbike taxi to Tam Coc. Another option is to take a train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh and then take a taxi or motorbike taxi to Tam Coc.


Things to Do in Tam Coc


Tam Coc offers visitors a wide range of activities to enjoy. Here are some of the best things to do in Tam Coc:


boat tour in tam coc-Leisure


Boat Tour

Taking a boat tour is the most popular activity in Tam Coc. The tour takes you along the Ngo Dong River, passing through three natural caves and offering breathtaking views of the karst mountains and rice paddies.



Biking is a great way to explore the countryside around Tam Coc. You can rent a bike and take a leisurely ride through the rice paddies and small villages, taking in the stunning scenery.


Caves Exploration

Tam Coc is home to several natural caves that are worth exploring. The most famous is the Tam Coc caves, also known as the Three Caves. You can take a boat tour to visit these caves or rent a motorbike and explore them alone.



Hiking is another popular activity in Tam Coc. You can hike up the limestone mountains and enjoy the panoramic views of the countryside. The Mua Cave hike is a popular option, where you can climb 500 steps to the top and enjoy stunning views of the karst landscape.


Hot Air Balloon Ride

Taking a hot air balloon ride is an exciting way to get a bird's eye view of the stunning Tam Coc landscape. Visitors can take in the breathtaking scenery from above and uniquely experience the region's natural beauty.


Visiting Hao Lu

Visiting the Hoa Lu Ancient Capital is a fascinating way to learn about Vietnam's rich history and culture. The ancient capital was the political center of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries and featured ancient temples, palaces, and other important cultural sites.


Visiting Bich Dong Pagoda

The Bich Dong Pagoda is a stunning temple built into a cave and one of Vietnam's most unique and beautiful temples. The temple is surrounded by lush greenery and features intricate carvings and other architectural details.


Hot Springs

Relaxing in one of the many natural hot springs in the area is a great way to unwind and soak in the natural beauty of Tam Coc. The hot springs are believed to have healing properties and are a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.


Rice Festival

Attending the Tam Coc Rice Festival, held annually in June, is a great way to experience the local culture and celebrate the harvest season. The festival features traditional performances, food stalls, and other cultural activities.


Water Puppet Show

Watching the traditional water puppet show is a unique form of Vietnamese entertainment that has been around for centuries. The show features intricate puppets that dance and perform on a water-filled stage, accompanied by traditional music.


Try Traditional Cuisine

Trying the local cuisine is a must-do activity in Tam Coc. The region is known for its delicious dishes, including grilled fish, goat meat, and rice noodle soup.


Hang Mua Viewpoint

The Hang Mua viewpoint is a popular destination in Tam Coc, offering stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can climb up several stairs to reach the top and take in the breathtaking scenery.


tourist sitting on hang mua viewpoint-Leisure


Where to Stay in Tam Coc?


Tam Coc offers a range of accommodation options for visitors, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury resorts. Here are some of the best places to stay in Tam Coc:


  • Tam Coc La Montagne Resort & Spa: A luxury resort with stunning views of the karst mountains and rice paddies.
  • Tam Coc Garden Resort: A peaceful retreat surrounded by lush gardens and stunning countryside views.
  • Tam Coc Homestay: A budget-friendly option for those looking to experience local culture and hospitality.


resort in tam coc-Leisure


Where to Eat in Tam Coc?


Tam Coc offers a variety of dining options, from street food stalls to local restaurants serving traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Here are some of the best places to eat in Tam Coc:


  • Ninh Binh Family Homestay: A homestay that offers authentic Vietnamese meals cooked by the family.
  • Bamboo Bar & Restaurant: A popular spot for Western and Vietnamese cuisine, with live music and a stunning view of the karst mountains.
  • Tam Coc Garden Restaurant: A cozy restaurant with a beautiful garden setting, serving local Vietnamese dishes.


Safety Tips for Visitors


Like any travel destination, taking some safety precautions when visiting Tam Coc is important. Here are some tips to keep in mind:


  • Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes when hiking or biking.
  • Keep your valuables close and be aware of pickpockets in crowded areas.
  • Stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun, especially during summer.
  • Follow the instructions of your boat tour guide and wear a life jacket during the boat tour.


Cultural Etiquette in Tam Coc


Vietnamese culture places great importance on respect and politeness, and it's essential to follow these cultural norms when visiting Tam Coc. Here are some tips to keep in mind:


  • Dress modestly when visiting temples or other cultural sites.
  • Remove your shoes when entering someone's home or a temple.
  • Use both hands when giving or receiving something, especially when dealing with older people.
  • Don't touch someone's head, as it is considered rude in Vietnamese culture.


What to Pack for Your Tam Coc Trip?


Here are some essential items to pack for your Tam Coc trip:


  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Lightweight clothing for warm weather
  • Sunscreen and a hat
  • Insect repellent
  • A refillable water bottle
  • A small backpack for day trips




In conclusion, a trip to Tam Coc in Ninh Binh province is worth taking. This serene and picturesque destination offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in Vietnam's natural beauty and cultural heritage. Tam Coc has something for everyone, from the tranquil boat ride through the caves to hiking and biking in the surrounding hills. And with the opportunity to stay overnight and fully explore the area, you'll have plenty of time to discover all these stunning destination offers. So, don't miss the chance to experience Tam Coc and all its wonders. Plan your trip today and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.





Where is Tam Coc in Vietnam?

Tam Coc is located in Ninh Binh province in northern Vietnam, about 100 kilometers south of Hanoi. It is situated in the Ngo Dong River valley and is surrounded by limestone karst formations, rice paddies, and rural villages.


What is the best time to visit Tam Coc?

The best time to visit Tam Coc is between March and May and between September and November when the weather is mild and the landscape is most beautiful.


How do I get to Tam Coc from Hanoi?

You can hire a private car or taxi, take a bus or train, or rent a motorbike to get to Tam Coc from Hanoi.


What are some of the best places to eat in Tam Coc?

Some of the best places to eat in Tam Coc include Ninh Binh Family Homestay, Bamboo Bar & Restaurant, and Tam Coc Garden Restaurant.


Is it better to stay in Tam Coc or Ninh Binh?

It depends on your preferences and travel plans. Ninh Binh is a larger city with more accommodation options and access to a broader range of restaurants and amenities. On the other hand, Tam Coc offers a more rural, peaceful atmosphere and is closer to many popular tourist sites. If you plan to explore the region extensively, staying in Ninh Binh might be more convenient. However, if you want to experience the natural beauty and tranquility of Tam Coc, waiting there is highly recommended.


What does Tam Coc mean?

Tam Coc means "Three Caves" in Vietnamese, referring to the three natural caves that can be explored by boat along the Ngo Dong River.


How many days should I spend in Tam Coc?

Most travelers spend at least one full day exploring the caves and surrounding countryside in Tam Coc. However, spending two or three days in the area would be ideal if you want to take your time and enjoy a more relaxed pace. This will give you plenty of time to visit nearby attractions like Hoa Lu Ancient Capital and Bich Dong Pagoda.

Tour Price

Our private tours typically range from $500 - $1000 per person/per night depending on chosen hotels and room categories, vehicles used, types of tours, flight cost, time of year and other factors. Make an inquiry for a customized trip quote.

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