Bich Dong Pagoda is a popular Instagram photo spot for those visiting Tam Coc or Ninh Binh. It’s known for its concrete bridge which leads you under an old Vietnamese structure. The lake around the bridge is also full with tall green lily pads. This place looks magical and the atmosphere is peaceful. The pagoda is easy to reach and is only located 3km away from Tam Coc.
How to get to Bich Dong Pagoda
From our accommodation in Tam Coc, Bich Dong Pagoda was only a 5 minute drive along a straight road. We drove ourselves on our scooter which we rented for 100,000 VND ($6 AUD) per day. The roads are very easy to follow so you’ll have no issue finding Bich Dong Pagoda once you type it into your GPS. Since it’s so close, another popular and cheaper option is to rent a bicycle. You can rent one for 50,000 VND ($3 AUD).
To get to Ninh Binh, we used 12Go to book a bus from Hanoi. 12Go is a super cheap and reliable way to get around Vietnam and other popular Southeast Asian countries. Whether you’re looking to get to Ninh Binh or travel to your next spot in Vietnam, we definitely recommend using 12Go.
↠ Book: Latest 12Go prices and timetables.
Bich Dong Pagoda Opening hours
Bich Dong Pagoda is open all day as there are no set opening hours. There is no fence stopping you from going and taking photos, so you can visit anytime. We definitely recommend going in the mornings to skip the midday heat and avoid the crowds. We visited at 10am and had the complex all to ourselves, although throughout the day it can get much busier with tourists.
Be aware that there is no entrance fee for Bich Dong Pagoda! As we approached on our scooter, an older lady pointed us in the direction of the carpark. Once we parked she told us entry and parking cost 50,000VND ($3 AUD) per person. Later we found out that entrance is free and that parking shouldn’t cost anymore than 10,000VND. Additionally, you don’t have to pay for parking and can instead park beside the road just before reaching the pagoda. The locals will try to convince you to pay more than you need to so be sure to avoid this scam if she forces you to park in her area.
What to expect
As we took 2 steps out of the carpark, we realised we had already reached the bridge surrounded by lily pads. The popular photo spot is actually the entrance to a complex of 3 pagodas. The entrance is stunning and is one of the most photogenic and recognised spots in Vietnam. The arched concrete pathway leads out over the field of lily pads where you’ll find a traditional Vietnamese style gateway. The scenery and structures surrounding the area are all incredibly unique and beautiful.
Once you’ve finished taking photos at the entrance, you can continue through to explore the complex and view the 3 different pagodas. The pagodas are located on different levels and are built in ascending order. You’ll have to walk up a few steep stairs to reach the pagodas which are built into the the limestone cliffs. The pathway soon leads you through a large cave in the mountain, taking you to the last pagoda at the top. The view is definitely worth it! You’ll be welcomed with an incredible view of the surrounding landscape that looks over the local rice fields and towering limestone mountains.
The three pagodas are all designed with beautiful traditional architecture and are great to admire. Be sure to keep quiet and also dress respectfully around the pagodas. If you’re looking to explore some more pagodas, be sure to also check out the giant Bai Dinh Pagoda.
Best time to visit Ninh Binh
Ninh Binh is popular to visit all year round, although if you get unlucky you can come across some bad weather. Ninh Binh experiences a dry season and a rainy season. The dry season is from November to April, while the rainy season is from May to October.
The weather during the dry season is mainly on the cooler side. You’ll only have the occasional wet day with temperatures staying below 26 Degrees Celcius. If you want the best chance of perfect weather, you’ll want to plan your trip in the dry season. The rainy season is quite the opposite with it being hot, humid and heavy rainfall. In September, Ninh Binh is sometimes hit with typhoons. If you want to stay on the safe side, then you can skip visiting in September.
We actually decided to take the risk and visit Ninh Binh in mid September. Despite the rainy season, we actually had a perfect stay in Ninh Binh with no rain. We may have gotten very lucky, although for us our trip in September was perfect. The rainy months are not all that bad when deciding to visit Tam Coc or the Ninh Binh region. You’ll find fewer tourists during this season as well as lush green landscapes.
Where to Stay
There are two main areas you can stay in when visiting Ninh Binh. You can either stay in Ninh Binh Town or Tam Coc which aren’t too far from each other. We personally preferred to stay in Tam Coc. There are plenty of accommodation options as well as restaurants and we really enjoyed the laid back vibe.
Ninh Binh Hidden Charm Hotel & Resort – Luxury: This hotel is definitely the best in the area and for the affordable price, you can’t beat it! Located only a short distance from the centre of Tam Coc town, it’s the ideal choice if you’re looking for a luxury getaway for an affordable price.
Tam Coc Boutique Garden – Midrange: Tam Coc Boutique Garden is the perfect place to stay if you’re after large clean rooms and a good breakfast. This hotel is located along the rivers edge and only a 5 minute walk to the very centre of town. The owners are also super friendly and help you with anything you need.
Tam Coc River View Homestay – Budget: Everyone who stays at this super affordable homestay only has positive things to say! From it’s perfect location to friendly owner and nice breakfast, it’s everything you need for the perfect stay. This homestay is also located along the river so you can watch the local boats row by.
↠ Check availability: Tam Coc accommodation