NB01: Tam Coc – Bich Dong Pagoda – Mua Cave – Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

The Tam Coc (“three caves”) portion is a three-hour excursion by small boat along the Ngô Đồng River, beginning at the village of Van Lam and proceeding through a scenic landscape dominated by rice fields and karst towers. The route includes floating through three natural caves (Hang Cả, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba), the largest of which is 125m long with its ceiling about 2m high above the water. The boats are typically rowed by one or two local women.

In 1773, Mr. Nguyen Nghiem (the father of the great writer Nguyen Du) visited this cave. After viewing the whole scenery of the mountains, waterways, fields, and sky covered in green mist, he gave the cave a very beautiful and romantic name, Bich Dong (which literally means “Green Pearl Grotto”). Bich Grotto has been said that the second most beautiful cave in Vietnam. Bich Dong pagoda is on the short drive to the South of Tam Coc, it was built on the Truong Yen limestone mountains range, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province. Bich Dong pagoda includes three palaces on three levels: Lower, Middle and Upper pagoda. The Low pagoda has five compartments built on the ground at the foot of mountain. From the Low pagoda up to 120 steps is the impressive Middle pagoda with a half of it was carved into mountain including three compartments. Up to 40 steps is the High pagoda located on the highest point nearby the top of The Bich Dong mountain. From here you can have the wonderful perspective view of the Bich Dong pagoda.

Mua Cave is very impressive with small grove of trees, but the main attraction is a 500-step hike to the pavilion at the top where there’s a simple altar to Quan Am (Goddess of Mercy). Really spectacular views including Tam Coc cave (see where the tour boats go!)

Hoa Lu ancient capital Located near the town of Ninh Binh, Hoa Lu is the site of a 10th-century capital of an ancient Vietnamese Kingdom called Dai Co Viet. This small Kingdom covered an area of only 300 hectares, and reigned from the 10th century, during the Dinh and Le dynasties, to the 11th century, during the Ly Dynasty. The Kingdom was enclosed by a citadel. The citadel and the Yen Ngua limestone hills provided good defence for this kingdom against the Chinese.The mountains and sea combined to make Hoa Lu’s picturesque landscape. Hoa Lu lays in a flat valley surrounded by the Trang An lime stone mountains, which form a natural wall protecting the old citadel. The city’s northwest is bordered by the Hoang Long River, the tributaries of which run through the capital, cooling the weather within the city and serving as convenient waterways.

8h30 Get picked-up at your hotel in Ninh Binh then transfer to Tam Coc.
9h00 Take a 2 hour boat trip along the Ngo Dong River to admire a great scenery of Tam Coc.
11h00 Transfer to Bich Dong Pagoda and visit Bich Dong Pagoda which was considered as the second most beautiful grotto in Viet Nam.
12h00 Have lunch in a local restaurant near Tam Coc.
13h30 Continue transfer to Mua Cave. Hike up 500 steps to enjoy great scenery from view point.
15h00 Transfer to Hoa Lu to see two temples of kings “Dinh & Le”.
16h30 Return to Ninh Binh City at about 17h00. Tour ends at your hotel.

What to bring
• Camera
• Hat
• Umbrella
• Sunblock

• Entry fees
• Boat trip
• Car with driver/ Motorbike with riders
• Lunch (food can be catered for vegetarians)
• Pickup
• English speaking tour guide

• Drinks
• Other personal expenses of guests
• Tip & gratuity (not compulsory)


Price  Car option Motorbike option  Deluxe
You are 2 persons: US$54 per person US$48 per person N/A
You are 3-5 persons: US$53 per person US$47 per person N/A
You are 6-8 persons: US$52 per person US$46 per person N/A
You are 8 up: US$51 per person US$46 per person N/A