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Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

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Bich Dong Pagoda, Ninh Binh Overview

Nested by the Mountain-side of Ngu-Nhac, Bich Dong Pagoda is an ancient temple in Tam Coc village of Ninh Binh province. This prehistoric artefact comes under the umbrella of the Trang An Tam Coc Scenic complex which is a declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Surrounded by limestone mountains, these pagodas are a series of atmospheric caves holding ancient shrines. The Bich Dong Pagoda relic complemented by the mountain, caves and the deep green trees surrounding it makes it a perfect spot to be visited by nature lovers.

Originally built in 1428, Bich Dong Pagoda was initially a small temple on the crown of the Ngu-Nhac Mountain. Later in 705, two Buddhist Monks Tri Kien and Tri The rebuilt the small pagoda into a series of three Pagodas: Ha, Trang and Thuong in ascending order. It is suitable to take up a guided tour on the history of these Pagodas to completely understand the depths of its built and the philosophy behind it. One can easily pair this tour by visiting the beautiful Hang Mua Peak and ending it with a Tam Coc Boat tour which gives an essence of the beautiful vistas of nature surrounding the location.

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Structure of Bich Dong Pagoda

The strong standing structure of the three ascending ordered Pagodas is gated by an arched concrete bridge that stretches over the surrounding vistas of beautiful water lilies and continues its trail towards a magnificent temple entrance of an ancient stone built Vietnamese gateway. One can sight the shrines and the colossal deep green view surrounding it.

The three Pagodas of Bich Dong are named after their position on the mountain. The lower Pagoda is the foremost one named Ha Pagoda, representing a Buddha shrine along with other statues of the Buddhist community. Followed by a few stairs trek, is the middle (second) Pagoda named Trung Pagoda. And finally the upper most pagoda named Thuong Pagoda, nested on the top of the mountain with a stunning view of the Mountain valley complementarily featured along with it. All the rooftop of the three pagodas have a four upwardly curved corners as the tails of phoenix bird.

Ha Pagoda
The Ha Pagoda constructed at the base of the mountain, consists of a two storied structure with 5 rooms with 10 roofs. The truss, crossbeam and spars are made of ironwood along with 4 meter high monolithic stone pillar without any linkages. The altar of the Ha Pagoda showcases the statues of the past, present and future Buddha’s looming from the haze of burning incense around it creating a sacred atmosphere of divinity.

Trang Pagoda
After climbing about 120 S- shaped steps from the foot of Ha Pagoda, one can witness the gorgeously built middle Pagoda – the Trang Pagoda- set afoot half-way of the Ngu-Nhac Mountain. It’s an unusual pagoda with one half of it open at front and the other half inside the cave. The structure is made of a two-tier roof like the Ha Pagoda, with a three room upper temple and a courtyard which leans to the west.  

The unique feature of the Trang Pagoda lies in the traditional Vietnamese architecture with tiled roofs and walls containing Chinese characters describing the departure of all the ancestor of Buddha from this place to the Southern country for preaching Buddhism. The cave has a mysterious vibe about it. The other half of the Trang Pagoda inside the cave has images of fairies, little boys, flying dragons, turtles and Buddha. A huge bronze bell hangs in the cave with elaborate engravings hangs in the dark cave of the Trung Pagoda.

Thuong Pagoda
From the dark blue caves of the Trang Pagoda, followed by 40 steep stone steps to the Upper most pagoda- The Thuong Pagoda. The journey to the third pagoda is breathtakingly beautiful complemented by a view of impressive limestone ridges and a cool ambience. The Thuong Pagodas consists of two rooms in form a vertical house-style with a forecourt and a stone altar in the outer room and a shrine of Bodhisattva in the inner room. Beside the Thuong Pagoda is a water pool called “Cam Lo water pool” which is considered of curing ailments of all kind. Outside of the Thuong Pagoda offers a spectacular countryside view of the rich limestone mountains and river flowing through their base, making it a mystical feast for eyes.

Best Time to Visit

Bich Dong Pagoda can be visited round the year. Though the months of May to October witness a hot humid climate followed by an adequate amount of rainfall, making the whereabouts a little damp.

An early morning visitation around 6:00 AM gives one the leverage over the crowded hours and a chance to explore comfortably. The pagodas can also be visited during the late afternoons (around 4:00 PM) to relish the impeccable view of sunset over the valley.


  • There is no entry fee to enter into the Pagoda, hence beware of the locals who might fool you into paying them for the entry fee.
  • If you are travelling via a bicycle, motorbike or a private car, make sure to park a few kilometers before the destination, as the locals charge VND 5000 for bicycles to VND 10,000 for motorbikes.
  • It is advisable to book the tickets online when travelling to Tam Coc via Bus or train.  
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes to enjoy the climb to the top most pagoda at Bich Dong.

How To Reach Bich Dong Pagoda

Bich Dong is positioned between the Ngu-Nhac Mountains in the Tam Coc village of Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district of the Ninh Binh province. The closest airport and city bus station are located in Hanoi city.

One can travel by train, bus, motorbike or a private car from the city center of Hanoi to Tam Coc – Bich Dong. It is about 110 kilometers from Hanoi city. One can board a train from Hanoi station or take a Bus to Ninh-Binh which takes about 2 to 2.5 hours to reach.

From Ninh Binh it takes about 10 minutes to reach Tam Coc where Bich Dong Pagodas are located. A one way ticket from Hanoi via train’s costs around VND 110,000 while a bus ticket costs around VND 70,000 to VND 210,000 depending on a public bus to luxurious bus respectively. A taxi from Ninh-Binh to Tam Coc will cost around VND 50,000.

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