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Two days visit Tam Coc – Bich Dong in the ripe rice season

Ninh BinhIn early June, the rice fields hugging both sides of the Ngo Dong River will put on the yellow color of ripe rice, winding along the limestone mountains.

Golden rice season Tam Coc – Bich Dong, Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh usually starts from the end of May, the beginning of June every year. This year, due to the influence of weather, rice may ripen later.

Tam Coc's ripe rice in 2019, this year's rice is not yet ripe.  Every year people only grow one rice crop, harvest in May and June. Photo: Pham Ngoc Thach

Tam Coc ripe rice season in 2019. Every year people only grow one rice crop, harvested in June. Photo: Pham Ngoc Thach


Tam Coc is 110 km from Hanoi city center, about 1.5 hours drive. Tourists travel by car from the center of Hanoi, via the Hanoi – Ninh Binh – DT491C highway to Tam Coc. On the way, there is Xuan Khiem bus stop with a large area, clean and beautiful, with restaurants and cafes. As for motorbikes, the fast route is along National Highway 1A from Giai Phong through Phu Ly, Ha Nam, to Tam Coc.

For public transport, limousine is the most convenient option with pick up and drop off point at Tam Coc boat station. Ticket price is about 170,000 – 200,000 VND one way. The bus companies Trang An Limousine, Ninh Binh Car all have cars to Ninh Binh costing 70,000 – 80,000 one way, which can be caught at My Dinh bus station, Giap Bat bus station.

Sightseeing and detailed schedule

After arriving at the wharf, visitors buy tickets to visit Tam Coc – Bich Dong for 120,000 VND for adults and 60,000 VND for children. At the station, there are electric cars to pick up and drop off cars and motorbikes from the parking lot. The boats carrying tourists here all have oarsmen, not motorboats. Service price is 150,000 VND per trip, carrying a maximum of 4 adults.

The boatmen will introduce the Ngo Dong river, called Tam Coc… Autumn in the eyes of tourists at this time is the winding river, flanked by limestone mountain ranges, green, sound. The only thing that can be heard is the sound of oars swinging the water, and the singing of Hat Van by the artists on the riverbank.

The most special feature of Tam Coc this season is that the rice fields on both sides of the river begin to turn golden yellow, looking from above like a prominent golden silk on the blue water. The people here embankment on the alluvial soil of the river to plant seedlings, so the foot of the rice plant is completely submerged in water, the soft-shaped fields embrace the river. Tam Coc fields were formed from the process of reclamation and labor of people since the 10th century AD.

With about 2 hours, the boat takes guests through Ca cave, Hai cave and Ba cave, formed by a river through the mountain. Ca cave is the largest with a length of about 127 m, inside the ceiling there are places up to 20 m high with stalactites of many shapes.

Around Tam Coc wharf, there are many tourist attractions such as Thai Vi temple, Thien Huong cave. The most popular destination is Bich Dong, known by the ancients as “Nam Thien De Nhi Dong”, meaning the second most beautiful cave in the South, behind Huong Tich Cave, Ha Tay, Hanoi.

Afternoon after lunch and rest, visitors come to Trang An eco-tourism area about 10 km away. On the way you will see the ways of ripening rice fields and the roads of growing Bodhi trees.

Trang An possesses a system of limestone mountains with a geological age of about 250 million years, through the flow of time forming hundreds of valleys, caves and lakes. Also sailing on the river through the limestone mountains, Trang An is larger and more diverse than Tam Coc, but there are no golden rice fields.

Ticket price to visit Trang An is 250,000 VND for adults and 120,000 VND for children, including sightseeing boat. There are three routes for you to choose from, the most popular is the third route, offering incense to Trinh Temple – Hang May – Suoi Tien – Dia Linh Cave – Hang Dai – Vu Lam Hanh Cung – Kong film studio.

Two days visit Tam Coc in the ripe rice season

Take a boat to visit Tam Coc and Trang An. Video: Lan Huong

The Sao Khe River flows through the clear green Trang An, moss can be seen below, especially on sunny days. The river surface is wide and the limestone mountains follow each other like Ha Long Bay. The most special feature here is Dai cave, with a length of up to one kilometer, inside there is absolutely no natural light. The ceiling of the cave has a variety of heights and shapes of stalactites, and there are low places that make the ferryman have to bend his stomach to pass. If it’s hot, the inside of the cave is cool, if it’s raining, the inside is warm.

Through Hang May, visitors will come to Thung Voi with a flooded forest, with bamboo bridges crossing, making many people think of the Western river. The air here is completely fresh, peaceful, sometimes only the sound of swimming on the water.

At the end of the tour, visitors should move to Ninh Binh city to have dinner and visit Hoa Lu ancient town, at Ky Lan park. The neighborhood recreates the traditional craft villages of Ninh Binh and other localities such as carpentry, embroidery, pottery, bronze casting… The neighborhood also hangs many colorful lanterns. By the river, you can experience sitting on a sightseeing boat, priced at 80,000 VND a time.

The next morning, the suggested destination is Dance Cave, about 10 km from the city center. Here visitors have to conquer nearly 500 steps to the top of Ngoa Long, from here to get a panoramic view of the ripe rice fields in Tam Coc. Mua Cave is also a famous check-in destination, with a view of the stone steps below or the high tower in the sky.

Places to stay and eat

Overnight in Ninh Binh has a variety of options for visitors, including many resorts near tourist attractions. In the city, there are 4-star hotels such as Ninh Binh Legend Hotel or Hoang Son Peach Hotel, accommodation prices from 700,000 VND to more than one million VND per night.

Further, you can choose resorts such as Emeralda Ninh Binh, in Van Long nature reserve, Gia Van commune, Gia Vien district. The resort is impressed by the green, close to the ancient village architecture of the North, the garden of bamboo, grapefruit, flowers overflowing… The price of accommodation here is from 1,900,000 VND per night.

There is also Vedana resort, near Cuc Phuong National Park, which has just welcomed guests since April 30. This place has 106 rooms, modern design, diverse services, hot mineral bath, the largest bamboo restaurant in the North… Accommodation price from 2,500,000 VND per night.

Emeralda is also a suitable place to stay to watch the ripe rice season in Ninh Binh.  Photo: Resort

Emeralda is also a suitable place to stay to watch the ripe rice season in Ninh Binh. Image: Resort

Coming to Ninh Binh, not to be missed goat dishes, burnt rice, river fish. Some recommended restaurants are Trang An Marina restaurant, Bai Dinh restaurant (in the Bai Dinh pagoda campus)… The above restaurants are highly appreciated for their airy, clean space, close to tourist attractions. . Meals cost an average of 300,000 VND per person.

Lan Huong

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