Tam Coc is probably one of the most visited Limestone Karst Cliff scenic areas in Ninh Binh province and a stop for a lot of the day trips from Hanoi, thus it will usually be busy at certain times of the day when the coaches arrive. Nevertheless, the journey along rivers surrounded by towering cliffs and paddy fields, being rowed by locals is worth the few dollars price.
The cliffs are made up of jagged rocks, towering peaks and caves worn away at the base. Some of these you pass through and get to appreciate the sheer enormity of these natural phenomenon. You can see mountain goats in seemingly impossible to reach places and ducks happily swimming in penned areas of the rivers. It is clear to see that the land and the animals make the locals very self sufficient especially with the added income the tourists must bring.
Of course, due to the tourism there is food and drink available by floating shops but the hawking isn't that persistent.
Bich Dong Pagoda
Arriving at the Pagoda archway on the ground floor, there is a courtyard of old, faded buildings and at first it is hard to see what the big attraction is until you begin to climb the stairs to the levels above. Here, there are various religious icons and shrines while trying to capture the real feeling of hidden beauty is diffcult in photos. It has to be seen in the flesh to be fully appreciated.
Perchedclose to the top of the cliff is Bich Dong (Jade Grotto), which can be reached by stone steps, leading to a cliff face scattered with small shrines and on to the cave entrance.
Beyond the Jade Grotto, you can climb up to the summit of the Karst cliffs although the climbing is not for the faint hearted especially if it has been raining and the sharp rocks are made slippy with mud, visitors are rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding countryside from the top of the cliffs.
- Budget Travel
Cuc Phuong National Park
Cuc Phuong National Park is accessible on a day trip from Ninh Binh or if you must from Hanoi. The best time to visit Cuc Phuong National Park is during the dry season, from December to April. The park is surrounded by limestone cliffs, the highest being May Bac. There is a beautiful lake and you can stay in the rustic,yet comfortable park centre instilt houses. Treks are available but are usually quite short.
As well as the fauna and animals mentioned, there are caves to explore and Endangered Primates Rescue Centre to visit.
- National/State Park
Tam Coc--Inland HaLong Bay
Tam Coc region is 9 kilometers southwest of Ninh Binh.
Taking three-hour sampan ride through the karst hills is a highlight of a visit to the area. The journey ends by passing through three long tunnel caves. The longest cave is 120 meters. The caves eroded through the limestone hills with minimal overhead clearance for the sampans passing through.
You will see amazing rock formations are surrounded by the rice fields and separated by the many water source.
Den Le Dai Hanh --Temple of King Le
Le Temple also consists of three parts: Bai Duong, used for the community, Thien Huong, in memory of the royal mandarins of Le King, and finally, the altar in memory of the King. The statue of Le Hoan is at the centre, on the left is the statue of Queen Duong Van Nga and on his right is that of Le Ngoa Trieu, his fifth son and the third King of the First Le dynasty.
Den Dinh Tien Hoang --Temple of King Dinh
Dinh Temple was built in the shape of a Chinese character.
Through the first entrance called Ngo Mon, there is a stone royal bed with Nghe(imaginary animals of the old times) standing on both sides.
Inside the temple is Khai Thanh in worship of Emperor Dinh's parents.
The temple consists of three parts...
1. Bai Duong for the community
2.Thien Huong in honour of mandarins
and 3.Chinh Cung where Dinh Tien Hoang's statue is located.
On his left is the statue of his eldest son Dinh Lien, and on his right are those of Dinh Hanh Lang and Dinh Toan. On each side of the altar, there is one stone dragon similar to the ones placed near the royal bed.
Hoa Lu used to be a capital of Viet Nam in 1020 when ?King Dinh Bo Linh? took his crown after he defeated 12 regional armies, came to the throne and constructed the city's citadel. The site was a suitable choice for a capital city due to the natural protection afforded by the region?s craggy terrain. The ancient Citadel of Hoa Lu covers an area of 3 km2. The outer ramparts encompassed temples, shrines and the palace where the king held court. The royal family lived in the Inner Citadel.
Hoa Lu is situated in Truong Yen commune, Ninh Binh ?it is 13 kilometers northwest of Ninh Binh province where located 100 kilomaters from HaNoi. Recently became the magnet to tourism due to its magnificently scenic view of mountains, rivers as well as historical relics.
Unfortunately, most structures in Hoa Lu have been ruined over the last 10 centuries. Now, only the temples of the Dinh and Le Kings built during the 17th century remain. The tombs of the two kings can be seen in the Ma Yen Mountains.
Football in Ninh Binh town
Ninh Binh have a new national stadium and a half decent team to boot. Go and see some Vietnamese footy while you're there.
Tam Coc refers to 3 "caves" that lie along the waterway. Each "cave" is actually more like a water-filled tunnel. The roof is low enough in some places to brush a tall person's head.