Friday, February 14, 2014

Tam Coc (Halong Bay on Land) Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam


This is a continuation post from my previous travel post on Historical Hoa Lu Vietnam Ancient Kingdom Capital. We signed up for a day tour to Hoa Lu Tam Coc which is situated in Ninh Binh province of the Northern Vietnam. The journey took us about three hours ride from Hanoi city to Ninh Binh. As soon as we arrived at Ninh Binh province, the tour guide took us to the historical ancient city of Hoa Lu which you can read more and view my photographs in my previous post. We headed to lunch after completed the tour visit at Hoa Lu. We initially wanted to visit Tràng An as it is located nearby to Hoa Lu city but it is not included in the same tour package. Tràng An is an eco-tourism area and also known as the South's former capital Hoa Lu for the uniqueness of limestone mountains geological age about 250 million years. I knew about Tràng An from one of the episodes of Running Man (South Korean variety show) where they completed the mission tasks at Hoa Lu and Tràng An. Since I wanted to visit Hoa Lu, the historical ancient city, I decided to take the tour package of One Day Tour to Hoa Lu Tam Coc and hoping to return to Vietnam again to visit Tràng An and Sapa (a beautiful mountainous town occupied by tribes in Northern Vietnam along the border with China).   

After our lunch break, we headed to Tam Coc which took us between 45 minutes to an hour ride from Hoa Lu (the historical ancient city). All the tours to Tam Coc begin in the afternoon (after the lunch break). 

Tam Coc is a beautiful natural setting (a spectacular landscape with rock formation and limestone on the caves) in Ninh Binh province which also well-known as the "Halong Bay on land" or "Halong Bay in the ricefields". As soon as you arrive at Tam Coc Wharf, the tour guide will arrange you in a small group between two people to four people for a small row boat or also known as a sampan. I really enjoyed the sampan ride along Ngo Dong river which lasted between two to three hours, depending on the strength of the boat rower. Some of the Vietnamese paddle the boats with their feet while others row with their hands. You would be amazed by the greenery landscape of paddy (rice) fields and plants on the caves as well as the river is absolutely clean, non-smelly and quite clear as most of the locals row their boats instead of running on diesel engine which could cause water pollution and destroy the ecosystem of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes).

Beside that, you will be getting excited to cross through the tiny entrance holes of the caves in order to see estalagtitas and strange rock formation on the caves during the boat (sampan) ride. There are three caves of Tam Coc along Ngo Dong river. They are the cave Hang Ca, Hang Giua cave and cave Hang Chateau before reaching the final stop at the end of Ngo Dong river. 

DO NOT be surprised and disappointed as the rowers on your boat as well other boats will try to persuade and hassle you to buy food and drinks as well as souvenirs. When you visit the tourist attraction sites, you will be expected to be stopped by the locals to buy their stuff. Decline nicely and politely if you don't keen to buy anything but TIPPING is a COMPULSORY to the rower (paddler) at the end of your boat (sampan) ride. It's a tiring job to row/paddle you between two to three hours so, be generous to pay a reasonable tipping. 

It's very hot riding on a boat (sampan) ride along Ngo Dong river thus, it's advisable to put on sunblocks, a hat, a pair sunglasses with comfortable shirts and pants for your trip to Hoa Lu Tam Coc.

To know more about Vietnam tours, this is a recommended and reliable local tour agency that I have engaged for my trips: http://goasiatravel.com/



Arriving at Tam Coc Wharf near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam
Arriving at Tam Coc Wharf near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam


Heading out on the boat ride at Tam Coc Wharf near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam
Heading out on the boat ride at Tam Coc Wharf near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam


Some Vietnamese row the boats with their feet while others row with hands at Tam Coc Wharf near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam
Some Vietnamese paddle the boats with their feet while others row with hands at Tam Coc Wharf near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam


Crossing through low tunnel at Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam
Crossing through low and narrow tunnel at Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam


An enjoyable and breezing to see beautiful natural setting of paddy fields, rock formation, caves and landscape along Tam Coc river near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam
An enjoyable and breezing to see beautiful natural setting of paddy fields, rock formation, caves and landscape along Tam Coc river near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam


It's gorgeous landscape scenery as we headed out from the first cave of cave Hang Ca at Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam
It's gorgeous landscape scenery as we headed out from the first cave of cave Hang Ca at Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam


Feeling excited and curious while entering the first cave, the cave Hang Ca to find estalagtitas (strange rock formation) Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam
Feeling excited and curious while entering the first cave, the cave Hang Ca to find estalagtitas (strange rock formation) Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam


Heading to the second cave of Hang Giua cave after passing through the tiny hole of the first cave, cave Hang Ca at Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam
Heading to the second cave of Hang Giua cave after passing through the tiny hole of the first cave, cave Hang Ca at Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam


Heading into the tiny entrance of second cave, Hang Giua cave to see the unique rock formation at Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam
Heading into the tiny entrance of second cave, Hang Giua cave to see the unique rock formation at Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam


Entering through tiny entrance of the last cave, cave Hang Chateau to see unique rock formation at Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam
Entering through tiny entrance of the last cave, cave Hang Chateau to see unique rock formation at Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam


The rest area after passing through  Hang Cuoi (Hang Ba) cave before making a u-turn back to the port of Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam
The rest area after passing through  Hang Cuoi (Hang Ba) cave before making a u-turn back to the port of Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam


Don't be disappointed when the Vietnamese stop rowing the boats and persuade you to buy souvenirs at Tam Coc which is very common to find at any tourist attractions in Vietnam
Don't be disappointed when the Vietnamese stop rowing the boats and persuade you to buy souvenirs at Tam Coc which is very common to find at any tourist attractions in Vietnam


The beautiful scenery view of heading back to the river port at Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam
The beautiful scenery view of heading back to the river port at Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam


My favourite photo with magnificent natural landscape scenery over the rock formation on mountains and  rice paddies along Ngo Dong river at Tam Coc, Ninh Bình city in Vietnam
My favourite photo with magnificent natural landscape scenery over the rock formation on mountains and  rice paddies along Ngo Dong river at Tam Coc, Ninh Bình city in Vietnam


Another beautiful natural landscape scenery on the way back to the port of Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam
Another beautiful natural landscape scenery on the way back to the port of Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam


The clear mirror reflection between the cave with Ngo Dong river at Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam
The clear mirror reflection between the cave with Ngo Dong river at Tam Coc near the city of Ninh Bình in northern Vietnam


It's an enjoyable moments of simple and laid back lifestyle at Tam Coc near Ninh Binh provinece in the northern of Vietnam
It's an enjoyable moment for a simple and relaxing lifestyle at Tam Coc near Ninh Binh provinece in the northern of Vietnam


My Older Post:
  • Historical Hoa Lu Vietnam Ancient Kingdom Capital
  • Halong Bay & Thien Cung Cave (cruise tour) in Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Temple of Literature, Confucius Temple (Văn Miếu) in Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Museum of Ethnology (Vietnamese Ethnic Groups) in Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Hoa Lo Prison (Maison Centrale) in Hanoi, Vietnam
  • One Pillar Pagoda (Lotus) Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Historical Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Hoan Kiem Lake & Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Beautiful Hanoi, Vietnam


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