Visit Tam Coc Ninh Binh in 2 or 3 days, what to see and do?
- on Apr 7, 2020       By: BN
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Trang An landscape complex which includes Tam Coc is one of the most attractive destinations in Northern Vietnam. How not to succumb to the charms of this countryside lined with rice fields and bristling with impressive karst formations? In this beautiful natural setting, it’s served as the backdrop for several films, temples, pagodas and the former royal capital. In 2 or 3 days, you will have time to appreciate this sublime region which perfectly mixes cultural and natural discoveries.
Tam Coc in 2 days
After only 2 hours of a road transfer from Hanoi, you have arrived in this very unique landscaped site in Southeast Asia. Tam Coc is a beautiful natural gem where the limestone formations are sublimated by the spreading rice fields at their feet. It also has an endearing population that knows how to effortlessly cultivate country hospitality with simplicity and kindness. After your checking-in at your hotel and having lunch where you will have the opportunity to taste some local specialities such as goat or crispy rice, it is time to discover this enchanted countryside. The bicycle remains the best way to discover it. During this bike ride in Tam Coc, you will have the opportunity to admire incredible karst formations, superb rice fields stretching to infinity, to discover small quiet villages with the typical peasant atmosphere of the River Delta Red and a multitude of temples and pagodas.
Then continue with a rowing boat ride to fully appreciate the beauty of this grandiose landscaped site. Two hours of peaceful navigation in a breath-taking mineral world! After such a beautiful afternoon, you can’t wait to start the evening with a good dinner.
The next day, by bike or by vehicle, you can get to Hoa Lu by a very beautiful country road. On the way, you can make a stop to climb the Hang Mua (Dance Cave). You will be rewarded for having climbed over 500 steps with an amazing panoramic view of the Ngo Dong River meandering through the karst of Tam Coc and the rice fields endlessly lining the countryside of Halong Bay on land. Continue on the path through the blooming lotus ponds (in July and August) to discover the cultural traces of Hoa Lu, you can find the ancient royal capital of Vietnambetween 968 and 1010 under three feudal dynasties: Dinh, Ly and Early Le dynasty.
After lunch, there’s a possibility to continue to the typical Kenh Ga village. This village surrounded by the waters of the Ngo Dong River is characterised by its aquatic activity which gives it the air of a floating village. Or, towards the Bai Dinh pagoda, the largest Buddhist complex in Vietnam and even in Southeast Asia, which is characterised by monumental architecture and its 12 records, including the largest copper bell, the tallest and most heavy statue of Sakyamuni, the three largest Buddha (past, present and future) made of copper and the longest shopping corridor.
Tam Coc in 3 days
Blessed are the travellers who can stay a third day at Tam Coc! There are still many curiosities to discover in this fascinating region of the Red River Delta. For this third day, you can go visit the famous Phat Diem Cathedral. Phat Diem Cathedral is distinguished by its impressive architectural ensemble, made up of a dozen stone and wooden structures built in a unique style, combining the architecture of Buddhist pagodas and Western churches. Phat Diem Cathedral is the largest Catholic architectural complex in Vietnam and therefore the seat of Catholicism in Vietnam. History buffs will be able to explore this region whose provinces of Nam Dinh and Ninh Binh have the largest concentration of churches in the world! You will then discover impressive cathedrals such as the superb Bui Chu cathedral, the second oldest church in the sector, dating from 1885, with its magnificent yellow Gothic facade washed out by the rains.
Between two visits to cathedrals, you can make a stop in one of the craft villages perpetuating from generation to generation ancestral skills such as basketry in Kim Son and Van Long villages, embroidery in Van Lam village, the stone sculpture of Xuan Vu village and the carpentry of Phuc Loc.
Nature lovers will turn to visit the Thung Nham ornithological reserve, an ecological site located in a beautiful natural setting between karst peaks and tropical forests. Within it, you can enjoy the bird garden, home to several species: storks, herons, teals or starlings, among the 46 species listed. You should visit at the end of the day when the sun goes down and the birds return to their habitat for the night.
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