About 100 kilometers from the center of Hanoi, Tam Coc – Bich Dong is renowned as “Ha Long Bay on land” or “Vietnam’s Second Most Beautiful Cave” which is most ancient and pristine sight of Ninh Binh Province.
Tam Coc – Bich Dong
Just like its name’s literal meaning, Tam Coc is comprised of three caves, namely the First Cave, the Second Cave and the Third Cave. All of these karstic rock formations and limestone caves elapsing among rice paddies in Ngo Dong River, which makes it a “Shan Shui” landscape of all time. Outstandingly, Tam Coc is the only land in Vietnam to planting wet rice until the real today – here the wet rice enters its ripeness between April – May of Lunar Year.
Starting from the Dinh Cac station, the boat trip around Tam Coc takes visitors along the sinuous Ngo Dong River and allow them to relish the golden sea of ripening rice right on the two riverbanks. Further way, the spectacular shapes of smooth limestone or the schools of aquatic species quivering under the indigo water and the white storks hovering above bushes of sedges which explains why Tam Coc has long been an endless inspiration for photographers.
For a more accurate vision of Tam Coc, let’s have a look at the three caves: The 127-meter long, 20-meter wide and 2-meter high First Cave can be recognized as the entrance of Tam Coc – this is the first to encounter in your journey. The air is overflowing inside under multitude stalactites – some call it the surface of a deserted planet! Only 1 kilometer away from the First Cave, the Second Cave welcomes you with a 60-meter lobby and even more distinct forms of stalactites that you only witness in a dream of wonderland. You cannot bear to miss the last of the sequence, either, with a lower stone arch-like roof and a length of 50 meters. Furthermore, adventurers or photoholics can always climb the cave if they ask the local boatmen in advance - there they have the best angle for the eyes, and of course artistic pictures.
Another mesmerizing feature of the destination is Bich Dong Pagoda – an old pagoda indispensable to the limestone, which all are parts of Bich Son (Green Mountain). It is composed of Ha Pagoda, Trung Pagoda, and Thuong Pagodas in the low-to-high order. With Ironwood girders, stone pillars, and a curved two-floor roof, Ha Pagoda is a classic example of traditional Eastern architecture. 120 cerulean stone steps away lies the Trung Pagoda, half of which, exceptionally, is open to nature. Another 40 stone steps and the tourists can get to the Thuong Pagoda at the mountain peak from where King Trinh Sam used to cherish every sight his eyes captured and granted this as “Vietnam’s Second Most Beautiful Cave.”
Dinh King Temple
In honor of King Dinh Tien Hoang, Dinh King Temple is a part of Hoa Lu ancient capital’s heritage in Truong Yen Commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province. Behind Ma Yen Mountain in which Dinh King tomb is settled, Ding King Temple was built on the old ground of Hoa Lu Palace in the past. Patterned by phoenix and lotus details, the Temple is headed to the East. Minh Duong - Semicircle lake is at the entrance of Dinh King Temple, followed by Nghi Mon (the inner gate), The Sanctum and the Main Palace (in honor of King Le Dai Hanh and his two sons).
Le King Temple
Only 500 meters from Dinh King Temple, Le King Temple, has a smaller size but with the same style of architecture. Majestically standing, the temple consists of a lotus lake, a rockery, Ngo Mon Gate (King Gate), a flower garden. There are three buildings including The Sanctum, Thieu Huong (in honor of a Le Dynasty’s Mandarin Pham Cu Luong and the Main Palace (in honor of King Le Dai Hanh, his son and Queen Duong Van Nga).
Ninh Binh is a land of reminiscence for travelers who wish to have moments of tranquility and enjoy themselves in the cultural and natural side of the world.
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