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Grottos of Tam Coc on the Rice Paddies of Vietnam

Updated on March 9, 2015

Vietnam's Rural & Natural Environment Around Tam Coc

Vietnamese peasant sitting on a water buffalo. Fields of Vietnam near Tam Coc.
Vietnamese peasant sitting on a water buffalo. Fields of Vietnam near Tam Coc. | Source

Highlights of Hanoi

Hanoi is a city located on the north east of Vietnam and it is not only Vietnam’s capital, but also one of the most important cities of South Eastern Asia. Hanoi is a very interesting metropolis, full of contrast between ancient traditions and modern times, where east meets west, and mingles in a uniquely Vietnamese style.

Besides being one of the highlights of Vietnam, Hanoi is a very good base from which to visit other beautiful and unusual places around the northern area of the country; Hanoi offers good connection and the entire infrastructure to get into the rural areas of Vietnam. From Hanoi, one can easily arrive to phenomenal natural jewels, like the famous and extremely beautiful Halong Bay -definitely one of Vietnam’s gifts from nature-, and the not so mentioned but equally gorgeous Tam Coc.


Tam Coc: Steep Rock Formations

Full view of the Ngo Dong River, rice paddies and rock formations present in Tam Coc Vietnam.
Full view of the Ngo Dong River, rice paddies and rock formations present in Tam Coc Vietnam. | Source

Grottos of Tam Coc Vietnam

Click thumbnail to view full-size
First Grotto "Hang Ca", view from within the cave. Tam Coc, Vietnam.Vietnamese women skillfully rowing through the Second Grotto "Hang Hai" in Tam Coc, Vietnam.Third Grotto "Hang Ba", view from within the cave. Tam Coc, Vietnam.Vietnamese women selling candies from her wooden raft which she rows up and down the river. She is now parked within one of the grottos. Tam Coc, Vietnam.
First Grotto "Hang Ca", view from within the cave. Tam Coc, Vietnam.
First Grotto "Hang Ca", view from within the cave. Tam Coc, Vietnam. | Source
Vietnamese women skillfully rowing through the Second Grotto "Hang Hai" in Tam Coc, Vietnam.
Vietnamese women skillfully rowing through the Second Grotto "Hang Hai" in Tam Coc, Vietnam. | Source
Third Grotto "Hang Ba", view from within the cave. Tam Coc, Vietnam.
Third Grotto "Hang Ba", view from within the cave. Tam Coc, Vietnam. | Source
Vietnamese women selling candies from her wooden raft which she rows up and down the river. She is now parked within one of the grottos. Tam Coc, Vietnam.
Vietnamese women selling candies from her wooden raft which she rows up and down the river. She is now parked within one of the grottos. Tam Coc, Vietnam. | Source

So Where to Go in Vietnam?

If you are visiting or planning a trip to Vietnam, you should definitely write Hanoi, Halong Bay (Ha Long Bay) and Tam Coc on your list.

Tam Coc is the name given to a series of low grottos through which the Ngo Dong River flows. The grottos are wide and long caves built into huge rock formations that jut out vertically from the green rice paddies which are cultivated along the river. These rock formations are similar to the ones in Halong Bay, but instead of protruding from the ocean, they protrude from the rice fields worked by Vietnamese peasants, as well as from the Ngo Dong River, which is why Tam Coc is also known as “Halnog Bay on the Rice Paddies”.


Grottos Description

  • First Grotto: “Hang Ca”, length 127m (417ft), width 20m (66ft)
  • Second Grotto: “Hang Hai”, length 60m (197ft), width 18m (59ft)
  • Third Grotto: “Hang Ba”, length 45m (148ft), width 18m (59ft)

Vietnam Books

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War
Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

A powerful and inventive, very well written novel of the Vietnam War, full of jungle adventures, camaraderie, politics, hatred and love. Highly rated by 567 readers including me.

 

Images of Vietnam

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Vietnamese women at work equipped with the traditional Vietnamese conical hat. Tam Coc, Vietnam. Vietnamese peasant working his rice paddies. Tam Coc, Vietnam. Vietnamese women rowing with her feet through the Ngo Dong River, Tam Coc, Vietnam.In the background of this picture you can see the beautifully green rice paddies, the tropical aspects of Vietnam and the imposing rock formations. Tam Coc, Vietnam. Dramatically vertical rock formations along the Ngo Dong River. Tam Coc.
Vietnamese women at work equipped with the traditional Vietnamese conical hat. Tam Coc, Vietnam.
Vietnamese women at work equipped with the traditional Vietnamese conical hat. Tam Coc, Vietnam. | Source
Vietnamese peasant working his rice paddies. Tam Coc, Vietnam.
Vietnamese peasant working his rice paddies. Tam Coc, Vietnam. | Source
Vietnamese women rowing with her feet through the Ngo Dong River, Tam Coc, Vietnam.
Vietnamese women rowing with her feet through the Ngo Dong River, Tam Coc, Vietnam. | Source
In the background of this picture you can see the beautifully green rice paddies, the tropical aspects of Vietnam and the imposing rock formations. Tam Coc, Vietnam.
In the background of this picture you can see the beautifully green rice paddies, the tropical aspects of Vietnam and the imposing rock formations. Tam Coc, Vietnam. | Source
Dramatically vertical rock formations along the Ngo Dong River. Tam Coc.
Dramatically vertical rock formations along the Ngo Dong River. Tam Coc. | Source

Tam Coc, a Surreal Boat Trip

The way to visit Tam Coc’s grottos is to be rowed through the river, which goes under the three “Hangs” or grottos. The boat trip takes about two hours and it is quite an unusual experience.

In addition to the natural beauty of nature, expressed in the colors and in the beautiful sculptures that wind erosion has created, Tam Coc is filled with curious and atypical characters that go along the river: old men with long white bears, women rowing with their feet, peasants working the rice fields, and guys dressed in military attire. Get your camera ready and set it in stop motion! (Although the wooden rafts don’t move very fast, some of my photos turned out a little blurry).

Try to arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds that come with the day trips from Hanoi and be prepared for a couple of hours in the sun, there is no shade in the boats.

Vietnam Map

A
Hanoi:
Hanói, Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Vietnam

get directions

B
Ha Long Bay Vietnam:

get directions

C
Ninh Binh Vietnam:

get directions

Tam Coc is just about 9Km southwest of Ninh Binh.

Please leave your input and ideas for this hub, as well as any additional question in the comments box bellow.

Comments on Grottos of Tam Coc on the Rice Paddies of Vietnam

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    • Claudia Tello profile imageAUTHOR

      Claudia Tello 

      6 years ago from Mexico

      Irene, thanks for your lovely comments, you are very kind. The grottos of Tam Coc in Vietnam and the area surrounding them is very beautiful, I have to give all the credit to the inspiration I got from nature: the landscapes, the rock formations, the rice paddies, the Ngo Dong River, the people of Vietnam, the colors and traditions.

      Thanks once again for your feedback, it means a lot to me.

    • profile image

      Irene Winniczuk 

      6 years ago

      The photographs are absolutely unique. Beautifully taken!!!!Made by an artistique observant eye!!

    • Claudia Tello profile imageAUTHOR

      Claudia Tello 

      6 years ago from Mexico

      Lejonkung, that is great! Enjoy your trip and have a very nice time. Thanks for your nice comments.

    • lejonkung profile image

      lejonkung 

      6 years ago

      WOW! this is amazing. I am going to Vietnam in 2 months so i must go there! Thank you!

      Lejonkung

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