TAM COC - NINH BINH
In the North of Vietnam, Tam Coc, a beautiful natural setting in Ninh Binh province known as the Halong Bay on landwe have very near Hanoi.
Tam Coc: Halong Bay through rice fields
Tam Coc is located about 90 kilometers south of Hanoi in Ninh Binh province (home of the Tran dynasty) and 7 kilometres to the West of the city of Ninh Binh.
Tam Coc which means 3 caves, is a zone of Vietnam that elapses between rice paddies, bathed by the Ngo Dong River punctuated by karstic rock formations and limestone caves.
The rock formations, caves, water and landscape have made Tam Coc to know popularly as La Halong Bay on land or between rice paddies Halong Bay. More accessible than her older sister, Halong Bay, Tam Coc which squanders spectacular landscapes and exoticism, do not get to seize the throne of the major tourist attraction of Vietnam for travelers.
The river and rice paddies of Tam Coc
The natural landscape of Tam Coc runs in a small rowing boat plying the River Ngo Dong, where in addition to the impressive landscape we can also contemplate the rice fields. This zone of Vietnam has more than 350 hectares (including Tam Coc and Bich Dong).
Undoubtedly the most impressive of Tam Coc are rice fields when at its best, with a bright green with yellow, ending in the beginning of the cliffs of the rock formations.
The Vietnamese call the paddy fields of Tam Coc as the Green Sea.
Excursions and tours in Tam Coc
The price of admission to Tam Coc is approximately 2€, price to which must be added the cost of the boat. We can buy tickets at the ticket office located next to the parking space.
The Tam Coc experience begins at the Pier Van Lam, where we will sail in small rowing boats, called sampan, with capacity for 4 persons, by the Ngo Dong River. By our tour through the natural park will contemplate rock formations, we go through caves, visit pagodas and remains of monuments and buildings of times of the Vietnam’s legend.
We will share boat with 2 Vietnamese who is in charge of rowing and steer the ship during the 2 hours that usually lasts for the visit by Tam COC.
Typical tours by Tam Coc, in addition to the 3 caves, include as part of the tourist visit the area named Bich Dong, which consists of a cave and a pagoda built on a limestone hill.
The caves of Tam Coc
Tam Coc, whose literal translation is the 3 caves, named by the 3 caves that are enconden in the interior of the rock formations in the area which crosses the River Ngo Dong, about 3 kilometers from the pier Van Lam.
These caves, whose names are the cave Hang Ca, Hang Giua cave and cave Hang Chateau, have been formed by erosion of the rio on the rocks, this is to say that the caves have no ground, but that the own River runs through the interior of the caves.
The caves were created by erosion and the passage of time, in his inside 2 meters of height, find estalagtitas, strange and surprising forms carved in the rocks, wild vegetation and if we’re lucky, monkeys.
Hang Ca Cave
Hang Ca cave is the first cave and the largest of the 3, with 127 meters long and an entry of 20 meters wide, and a height of 2 meters. Their roofs reminiscent of a desert planet’s surface.
Hang Cave Giua
The second cave (also called Hang Hai), distant cave Hang Ca 1 kilometer. Hang Giua has a length of 70 meters and find multitude of estalagtitas on their roofs.
Hang Cave Cuoi
The third and final cave, the Hang Cuoi (Hang Ba) cave, is the smallest of the 3 with 45 meters in length.
Area known as Tam Coc Bich Dong is a beautiful natural setting close to the Ngu Nhac mountain, where there is a cave and also stands a 15th-century Pagoda (year 1428) that goes back to the era of the dynasty Le. Bich Dong means Pearl green.
Bich Dong pagoda, located 2 km from the caves of Tam Coc is composed of 3 structures: Have Pagoda (lower pagoda), Trung Pagoda (Middle pagoda), and Thuong Pagoda (upper pagoda) and a cave.
From the upper pagoda can enjoy the best views of Bich Dong. No wonder that in 1428 two monks decided to lift the pagoda here, entranced by the view of the river and mountains, King Le Canh even wrote a poem in honor of this beautiful place.
At the top of Ngu Nhac mountain we have the statue of a Mandarin, which contemplates the spectacular landscapes of Hoa Lu to the horizon.
The stream of fairies
Once we span the third and last Tam Coc cave, about 4 kilometres, we will arrive at a place called the arroyo de las hadas. Crystal clear waters that cover a vast expanse of land in which we can see schools of fish. The legend says that fairies used to go to this place anything, hence the name.
Van Lam village
The zone after Tam Coc is Van Lan village, famous for the hand-embroidered. Local craftsmen made embroidered on handkerchiefs, napkins, tablecloths, t-shirts, etc. Most of these items are sold on the streets of Hanoi, but village Van Lam is price is lower.
Recommendations for Tam Coc
We recommend travellers visiting Tam Coc wearing hats, sunglasses and sunscreen, because there is no possible shadow on the boats. We also recommend to carry a water bottle and the camera fully charged battery.
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