Ninh Binh is the land endowed with many beautiful landscapes such as Bai Dinh pagoda, Trang An world natural heritage, Cuc Phuong National Park, and many cultural and historical sites. Among them, there is a sacred and ancient temple, which is Bich Dong Pagoda.
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- Ninh Binh Itinerary – BEST Itinerary to the amazing Ninh Binh
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Table of Contents
- 1 Overview
- 2 How to go to Bich Dong Pagoda?
- 3 When is the best time to visit Bich Dong Pagoda Vietnam?
- 4 What to Expect at Bich Dong Pagoda
- 5 Famous Attraction, Activities nearby Bich Dong Pagoda
- 5.1 Travel Routes by Boat Trip
- 5.2 Road Tourism Destinations
- 6 What to eat when you visit Bich Dong Pagoda
- 7 Where to stay when visiting Bich Dong Pagoda?
- 8 Bich Dong Pagoda Tour Schedule
Bich Dong Pagoda is located in the complex of Trang An Heritage, dubbed as “Nam Thien second cave – located on Ngu Nhac Son mountain range, in Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district, Ninh Binh province. The pagoda was built in the style of “three” in Han scripts, consisting of three unconnected buildings, based on the mountain position from low to high forming three separate temples, hidden under the green canopy of ancient trees surrounded by stone.
About 2 km from Tam Coc wharf is the Bich Dong Pagoda destination hidden at the foot of limestone mountains. Bich Dong means “green cave” is considered to be the most attractive tourist attraction in Ninh Binh. This is also one of the beautiful spiritual caves.
The scenery surrounding Bich Dong pagoda is very charming. It can be said that the wonderful landscape is a harmonious combination between the strangely beautiful cave and the rugged rocky mountains, surrounded by swamps along with many typical tree and flower species, which has formed a unity and an impressive nostalgic beauty.
You can visit Bich Dong Pagoda all day. Local experts recommend that you should spend time there from 9:00 to 18:00 and witness the full view of Ninh Binh from the top.
Entrance Fee Ticket
It is free for tourists who want to visit Bich Dong pagoda. Be careful because some people will try to make you pay for the ticket!
How to go to Bich Dong Pagoda?
- >>> For more detail: How To Travel From Hanoi to Ninh Binh, Tam Coc and Trang An Complex by Bus?
From the center of Hanoi city, Tam Coc – Bich Dong is only about 110km, so tourists can travel by train, bus, private car or even motorbike
- By Train: You can buy the ticket offline at the train station or online. The train is comfortable and you can get a bit of sightseeing along the road.
- By Bus: From Hanoi, you can go to Ninh Binh by taking a bus from Giap Bat bus stations. Buses to Ninh Binh are quite high frequency so you don’t need to worry about missed trips.
- By Motorbike: From Hanoi, you take a motorbike in the direction of 1A highway – Ninh Binh road, then continue to follow the road 30/6 until this intersection then turn right to Tam Coc.
- By Private Car: Private car is expensive but it is really comfortable and you can also have your own space.
In the above options, it is mostly recommended to travel by train and bus. Because if you are not a motorbike driver, it will be quite difficult for you to get acquainted with this vehicle and the traffic in Vietnam.
In addition, you can have the flexibility of the Hanoi-Ninh Binh Limousine route. Fare from 150.000VND/Pax/Way
- >>> Refer to Top 10 Limousine Bus from Hanoi to Ninh Binh
From Tam Coc – Ninh Binh
If you are staying in Tam Coc, the best option would be to go to the Bich Dong Pagoda by bike. There are a lot of stores in the area of Tam Coc Bich Dong offering this service. You can also ask at a few hotels or restaurants.
If you want to travel a little bit further, you can rent a motorbike for about 150,000 VND per day. When you have a motorbike, nothing is greater than making a few stops along the stunning road from Tam Coc to Bich Dong pagoda to see the beautiful views of the great mountains and rice fields.
Besides, you can get on a taxi to Bich Dong pagoda. It is easy to catch a taxi in Ninh Binh or Tam Coc. The price will depend on your departing point and the type of taxi you catch. But the average price is approximately 15,000 VND/km
If you are not familiar with Vietnamese roads, you can book an organized tour to explore the Bich Dong pagoda. However, there is little tour that takes you to this pagoda only.
When is the best time to visit Bich Dong Pagoda Vietnam?
Local peoples and tourists around the world often visit Bich Dong pagoda at the two important New Year celebrations: Vietnamese New Year (Lunar January) and Western New Year (at the end of December). During those times, Bich Dong has celebrations with many activities and events.
At the end of December, when the Western new year is celebrated, Bich Dong is decorated beautifully, especially in the evening when tourists will be astonished at the wonderful nighttime ceremony with numerous illuminated lotuses being released over the lake.
Besides, February is the Vietnamese New Year, a private venture for the Vietnamese people. During the Vietnamese New Year, local people often descend on the Bich Dong pagoda to pray for themselves and their family. They also show their sacrifices to hope a new year become lucky.
It is probably a good idea to visit Bich Dong pagoda during this time. That gives you a great chance to immerse yourself in the happy and meaningful atmosphere of the Vietnamese New Year.
The time of Tam Coc – Bich Dong tourism is the most beautiful when the rice season is ripe (The period of late May and early June).
At this time, there is golden sunshine. Images of green and yellow rice fields and red, fragrant lotus ponds are interwoven with each other to create a beautiful countryside picture.
On foggy days, you can see the scenery through the misty atmosphere that makes Bich Dong Pagoda more mysterious than ever. Also, the peaceful river among the mountains helps Bich Dong pagoda scenery to become more romantic than anywhere else.
What to Expect at Bich Dong Pagoda
Bich Dong Pagoda
Bich Dong pagoda was built in 1428 under the reign of Le Thai To, considered the most famous beauty spot of Ninh Binh province. The small stone bridge across the lotus lake leads to a quiet, sacred pagoda space in the middle of a mountainous area with the same message.
After passing over a stone bridge that leads to the Bich Dong pagoda, tourists can see the beautifully decorated gate. Go through the gate of Bich Dong pagoda, tourists will find yourself being lost in an oasis of peace and tranquility. It is great to spend your time exploring this place.
Bich Dong pagoda has 3 separate layered ancient pagodas: Ha (Hạ), Trung (Trung), and Thuong (Thượng). These three pagodas are arranged in ascending order. Climbing some steep, you can enjoy the wonderful view.
The first pagoda is Ha, located on the left side. As a Buddha shrine, Ha pagoda has incense and statues with 5 rooms and a 2-story roof.
Reaching a few stairs, you can see the second pagoda, Trung. There are two areas in Trung pagoda: One is located outside and the other is located inside the cave. Trung pagoda consists of a two-story roof, a forecourt, and an upper temple with three rooms. This pagoda has the unique traditional Vietnamese architecture with the walls or roof covering the cliffs, creating a mysterious beauty inside a cave.
The last pagoda is Thuong. To reach this one, tourists have to pass through Dark Cave or Blue Cave with 40 stone steps. Along the journey, tourists can admire the impressive breathtaking view of scattered beautiful villages, limestone ridges, and refreshing air. In Thuong pagoda, there are two vertical rooms designed to look like a house and the forecourt. In the outer room is the stone altar while a statue of Bodhisattva is placed in the inner room.
Famous Attraction, Activities nearby Bich Dong Pagoda
Tam Coc – Bich Dong tourist area includes many sightseeing routes for yachts, bicycles, and walking, which link about 20 Tourist Destinations.
Travel Routes by Boat Trip
The route of Van Lam wharf – Ngo Dong river- Tam Coc; Xuyen Thuy cave (under Bich Dong); Thach Bich – Nang valley; Thung Nham – bird park, But cave – Thien Ha cave, etc.
Tam Coc is the first cruise line to be exploited in Tam Coc – Bich Dong tourist area.
Ca cave is 127 m long, through a large mountain, with its over 20 m wide mouth. In the cave, the climate is quite cool and many stalactites are hanging down with various shapes.
Hai cave, nearly 1 km from Ca cave, is 60 meters long. The cave ceiling has many stalactites hanging down very strangely
Ba cave, close to Hai cave, is 50 m long, ceiling like a stone arch, lower than the other two caves.
To visit Tam Coc, visitors should get on the boat from the central wharf. The boat takes visitors on Ngo Dong river winding through cliffs, caves across the water and rice fields. Time to go and come back is about 2 hours. The landscape of Tam Coc, especially on the two sides of the Ngo Dong River, can vary with the season of rice (green rice, yellow rice, or silver water in the field).
- You might want to check out: Tam Coc – Ninh Binh: All About Weather, Tips, Routes, Things To Do
Thach Bich – Sun Valley
Starting from Dinh Cac wharf (Tam Coc), go more than 500 meters by road to Thach Bich wharf to reach Sun Valley. Continuing the journey, you will be watching the sun valley surrounded by a cloudy sky, mountainous area, and water. After about 3 km of going by boat, you will come to many legends such as Ba Doi mountain, Nui Coc, Mang mountain, Vang mountain, etc.
Through 100m long Thung Nang cave is Thung Nang temple. The temple was built in a quiet space; the back of the temple is based on the sacred mountain that is the place to worship God.
After visiting Thung Nang, on the way back to Cay Gao, you will visit Voi temple. Voi Temple dates back hundreds of years, built of stone, with stone statues made elaborately and meticulously. Voi temple dated from the Le dynasty to worshiping Mr. Ly Dong Hai, who is an official from Son Trach Mountain.
Thung Nham Bird Park
Thung Nham is essentially an eco-tourism area with many entertainment and recreation places. The Bird Park tourist site is an eco-tour of Trang An scenic complex, newer than Tam Coc. This tourist area is located in Hai Nham hamlet, Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district, about 5 km to the west of Bich Dong pagoda compared to the main attractions of Vai Gioi cave, Tien Ca cave and Bird valley.
- Read More: Thung Nham Bird Garden Ninh Binh
Thien Ha Cave – Galaxy Cave
Thien Ha Cave is located in the range of Tuong mountain with the height of nearly 200m which is part of the solid natural wall surrounding and protecting the southwestern capital of the 10th century Hoa Lu, associated with historical and cultural places such as Le Dynasty Wharf, Dau Son Buddha Mountain, Dau Linh Field, etc.
From Muong Tho Ha village, Son Ha commune, you get on the boat on a small canal, about a kilometer in length between the countrysides. Tourists continue to walk on the 500m long stone path along the foot of Tuong mountain to reach the cave entrance. The cave has a length of 700m including a 200m dry cave and a 500m long water cave.
The shapes created by the mountain rocks are called as this is the Cao Lo chasing the bait, those are the Elephant ambushing, the Tiger stalking its prey, the monkey climbing the tree, etc. Going higher, there is worshiping with the image of Buddha, Duong Tang chanting prayers for the disciples, all of which evoke curiosity and discovery of visitors.
Xuyen Thuy Cave
Xuyen Thuy Cave is a dark and submerged cave along the length of the Bich Dong massif. The cave is like a semicircular stone tube of about 350 m long winding from the east to the west. The average width of Xuyen Thuy cave is 6m; the widest place is 15 m. The ceilings and walls of the cave are usually flat. It seems that nature has arranged each big stone into an arch of a bow, semicircular shape with various shapes.
The entrance to the Hydrodynamic River is at the rear of the mountain, opposite the road to Bich Dong Pagoda. At the end of the journey through the hydrodynamics, visitors can climb to reach the cave and Bich Dong Pagoda.
Road Tourism Destinations
Hiking, bicycle and mountain tourism destinations: Mountains and Bich Dong Pagoda; Tien cave; Dance cave; Co Vien Lau ancient house; Thai Vi temple – Thien Huong cave, etc.
Tien Cave is a beautiful dry cave of Tam Coc – Bich Dong tourist area. The cave is located nearly 1 km from Bich Dong pagoda. The dynamic range consists of three large, wide, and high caves. The cave ceiling has many veins, stalactites, and stalactites sparkling in many colors that look like big roots.
Standing from the outside, you will see that the cave looks like a magnificent castle. The changes of nature create interesting shapes of stalactites in the cave with the shape of the money tree, paddy tree, fairy, elephant, lion, tiger, iguana, dragon, the eagle, and even the colorful flying clouds. The rocks in the cave when you knock on will create many types of very strange sounds.
Thien Huong Cave
Thien Huong cave is located on the road from Ngo Dong river to Thai Vi temple. It is a dry and bright cave located halfway up the mountain with an altitude of about 15 m above the ground. The cave has a height of about 60 m, a depth of 40 m and a width of 20 m. The top of the cave is empty, so the cave is also called Heaven cave. Lying within the cave is a temple dedicated to Mrs. Tran Thi Dung, wife of King Ly Hue Tong. She was the person who transmitted to the people of Ninh Hai commune embroidery.
Linh Coc Pagoda
Linh Coc Pagoda is located on the southeast and about 500 m from Bich Dong pagoda. According to the epitaph here, Linh Coc Pagoda dated from the reign of King Tran Thanh Tong, in 1258. Along the way to Linh Coc pagoda, you will come across the three Chinese characters, “Coc Tien Linh”. To go to Linh Coc Pagoda, you have to go to the south of Mau Dien, climb 83 stone steps on the slopes. The temple is halfway up the mountain, facing the west; in the front is a field of water with very charming scenery.
Thai Vi Temple
Thai Vi Temple belongs to Tam Coc – Bich Dong complex, famous for its unique architectural features and tranquil dreaming scenery. You can walk to Thai Vi temple from Tam Coc itinerary or go by road 2 km from Tam Coc boat pier.
The best time to visit Thai Vi temple is during the festive season. Thai Vi Ninh Binh Temple Festival is held annually from the 14th to 17th of the first lunar month. During this time, people will perform rituals to commemorate the merit of the first four kings of the Tran Dynasty.
Join Thai Vi temple festival, tourists will have a great opportunity to participate in some folk games such as dragon dance, lion dance, wrestling, chess, or boat racing. Immersing themselves in such a joyful festive atmosphere is definitely an unforgettable experience when tourists come to the temple on this occasion.
Vietnamese Ancient Village – Co Vien Lau
Co Vien Lau is an ancient house area with many old houses collected mainly in Ninh Binh and the Northern Delta region. It is located right next to Tam Coc wharf and beside the way to Thai Vi temple. Vietnamese Ancient Village has an area of about 20,000 m², displaying 22 old houses in many villages in the Northern Delta. Inside the houses are many tools such as chaise, mahogany, tea cabinets, etc. These old houses are mainly built from the Nguyen Dynasty and show the unique culture and characteristics in traditional Vietnamese architecture.
Mua Cave – Hang Mua
Mua Cave is actually a beautiful landscape located inside Mua Cave tourist area, in the area of Tam Coc, Hoa Lu. This is the most favorite destination for foreign visitors. If you go there at any time, it will be easy to see a lot of Western visitors check in. Mua Cave has been connected to Tam Coc by visiting tours: Ben Cay Da – Ben Thanh – Ca Cave – Mua Cave – Hai Cave – Ba Cave – Suoi Tien – Trang An Cave Tourist Area. Mua Cave along with Trang An, Tam Coc – Bich Dong together create a set of 3 outstanding and impressive tourist destinations of the ancient capital.
- You may to check out: Mua Cave Ninh Binh | Viewpoint, Entrance Fee- Everything You Need
What to eat when you visit Bich Dong Pagoda
Ninh Binh scorched rice
A rustic dish, showing the ingenuity of human hands, has been handed down for hundreds of years, becoming a specialty of the ancient capital, one of the famous delicacies of Ninh Binh.
Ninh Binh mountain goat meat
Ninh Binh mountain goat meat is characterized by toning, low-fat and aromatic taste. Some other local materials and specialties also contribute to the highlight of Ninh Binh goat dishes, including the accompanying vegetables, typical topography of rocky mountains, Kim Son wine, Nho Quan wine, and Ninh Binh burnt rice.
Ninh Binh snail
This species of Ninh Binh mountain snail is extremely rare because they only live in caves, and it is not until the rainy season from April to August that the snail crawls out to find food and breed. The meat of mountain snail is tough, crunchy, sweet, and smells of Chinese medicine. Mountain snails can be processed into many dishes such as grilled, fried tamarind, steamed ginger, boiled exhaust, mixed onion salad, etc are very attractive.
Several restaurants serve delicious food near Bich Dong Temple in Ninh Binh and you can walk or cycle to get there.
Some restaurants such as Chookie Beer Garden (1.5 km from Bich Dong) – a great place to relax, eat Ninh Binh specialties, and enjoy smoothies, Khoa Dung Restaurant (2.1 km from Bich Dong) – having great food and services, and Thuy Linh Restaurant. Rice pot is also another local specialty dish you must try. Rice is usually served with pork dishes.
Where to stay when visiting Bich Dong Pagoda?
Here are the hotels near Bich Dong Pagoda with good quality, affordable prices, good service, and clean rooms.
The first choice is Chez Loan hotel just 1km from Tam Coc – Bich Dong. Rooms here are spacious, clean, and convenient while prices range from 650,000 VND to 1,700,000 VND / day. Prices will depend on the length of your stay and the type of room you choose. This hotel offers massage services, an outdoor pool, and fishing.
The second option is Tam Coc hotel, not far from Bich Dong pagoda and about 700,000 VND – 1,000,000 VND / day. The rooms in this hotel are spacious, clean, and comfortable. It is a good choice for travelers who want to explore Tam Coc Bich Dong.
In addition, there are many other good hotels near Bich Dong for you to consider, including:
- Tam Coc Family Hotel
- Nguyen Shack Homestay
- Ninh Binh Panorama Homestay
- Tam Coc Westlake Homestay
>>> Check out more: TOP 10 Best Homestay in Ninh Binh – Cheap Price and Spectacular Scenery
Bich Dong Pagoda Tour Schedule
Hanoi – Hoa Lu – Tam Coc – Bich Dong (1 day)
At 8 am, from Hanoi, go straight to Ninh Binh. From here to Hoa Lu, you will visit the temples of Dinh and Le. Here strolling, sightseeing, and looking for a restaurant to rest for lunch, remember to enjoy the specialty of burnt goat meat.
After resting, continue from Hoa Lu to Hang Dance. Here, having fun taking photos of different styles, then move to the nearby Tam Coc Bich Dong area, take a tour to go all the way to Tam Coc Bich Dong, and come in the afternoon. End of the journey, return to Hanoi.
Hanoi – Cuc Phuong – Tam Coc Bich Dong – Van Long (3 days 2 nights)
Day 1: Hanoi – Ninh Binh – Cuc Phuong
Departure from Hanoi in the morning, after about 3 hours, you will arrive at the gate of Cuc Phuong National Park and eat lunch at Cuc Phuong. After that, visit Cuc Phuong forest, a thousand-year-old tree, landmarks along the way from the forest gate to the inside.
One night at Cuc Phuong
Day 2: Cuc Phuong – Hoa Lu – Tam Coc – Bich Dong
In the morning, check out, have breakfast, and then depart from Cuc Phuong to go to Hoa Lu ancient capital. After visiting the temples of King Dinh and King Le and discover the ancient capital, you have lunch and continue to move to Tam Coc Bich Dong tourist area. After exploring Tam Coc Bich Dong, return to Ninh Binh City.
Dinner and overnight in Ninh Binh City
Day 3: Ninh Binh – Van Long – Kenh Ga – Hanoi
In the morning, check out and move from Ninh Binh city to Van Long lagoon. This is also one of the places where the filming of Kong- Skull Island takes place. At noon, from Van Long, go straight to Kenh Ga hot spring to eat, rest and take a hot spring bath.
In the afternoon, departure to Hanoi.
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