The Best Time to Visit Tam Coc

Just about 100km south of Hanoi, Tam Coc has fast become one of the top attractions in Vietnam for its picturesque rice paddy and mountain scenery. The small village and waterway is located just outside of Ninh Binh City, which has many connections to Hanoi, making it a popular day trip from the capital. Often referred to as ‘Halong Bay on land’, Tam Coc has retained its culture even with the introduction of tourism to the region.

There are many events in Ninh Binh Province throughout the year, and the best time to visit Tam Coc varies depending on what you want to see. For most, it’s at harvesting time for the yellow rice, which comes once a year for a short time only, however, Tam Coc features many other calendar events throughout the year. Here, we take a look at the best time to visit Tam Coc.

Tam Coc Panorama

1. The best time to visit Tam Coc for the Golden Rice

The beautiful golden fields of rice are the ones plastered over all of the tourist posters and brochures in the Old Quarter, but they really should come with a disclaimer. Bright yellow rice is normally on show from about the end of April to early June, which is also usually the time with the bluest skies, fewest clouds, and a relatively comfortable temperature.

The main attraction in Tam Coc is a boat ride down the winding river. Views from here during the summer months of May to early June are the most stunning. The clear blue sky sits atop the nearby mountains, while yellow fields of rice stretch out from the center of the Ngo Dong River below. You can see workers wading through the water to harvest the precious rice from the comfort of your boat, or alternatively, climb to the top of Lying Dragon Mountain on one of the summer's many clear days for a fantastic view over the river and harvest.

Golden Rice Tam Coc

2. The best time to visit Tam Coc for The Green Rice

While May is the best time to visit Tam Coc for the harvest, this also means it's the busiest, with tour prices and accommodation options at a slightly higher price because of all the tourist interest. If you would prefer your boat ride to be more of a serene experience, then maybe opt to visit in spring when vast fields of green are out in all their verdant beauty.

The replanting of rice starts just before or after Tet, the Vietnamese new year, which changes depending on the lunar calendar but can usually be any time from around late January to mid-February. Unlike most places in Vietnam, Tam Coc only has one harvest per year because of the rise of the river’s water level during the wet season, making farming on its banks impossible.

Green Rice Tam Coc

3. The best destinations to visit around Tam Coc

3.1. Hoa Lu

Less than 10km from Tam Coc is Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam, which usually comprises the first part of a day trip to Ninh Binh from Hanoi. Hoa Lu was the capital of Vietnam for 41 years during the rule of two kings, King Le and King Dinh, now a beautiful complex of two temples devoted to the kings, as well as a watery moat with dramatic mountains in the background.

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

The festival that is held here annually to commemorate the time that Hoa Lu served as the capital is a popular event. There is a royal procession around the complex, heading to the two temples to pay their respects to the kings before celebrations begin with a fair and various games. The time for the festival changes depending on the lunar calendar, but the last days of spring (late April and early May) are a pretty solid bet to catch the festivities in a wonderful, historic place.

Check the tours in Hoa Lu: Hoa Lu - Hang Mua – Tam Coc Day Tour, Discover Hoa Lu Tam Coc & Halong Bay, Hoa Lu Tam Coc Day Trip, Hoa Lu - Trang An Full Day from Hanoi

3.2. Bich Dong Pagoda

This beautiful pagoda located at the end of the Tam Coc village road offers a fantastic glimpse into the ancient Sino-Vietnamese culture. It features three levels as well as a beautiful view over the Tam Coc region from the top.

Bich Dong Pagoda

The New Year celebrations in Vietnam are so important that they do them twice. Once for Vietnamese New Year in February and once for the Western New Year at the end of December. Bich Dong Pagoda has celebrations at both times; at the end of December, Bich Dong has a small but beautiful nighttime ceremony where many illuminated lotuses are released onto the lake.

The Western New Year is a communal affair, but Vietnamese New Year at Bich Dong Pagoda is more of a private venture for the local people who visit it. This usually happens in the few weeks during and immediately after the new year in February when crowds descend on the pagoda to offer their prayers and sacrifices in order to become lucky in the new year. Avoiding Tam Coc is probably a good idea during this time as the usually serene village can turn into the kind of scene you might see in bustling Hanoi.

Check the tour in Bich Dong: Tam Coc Bich Dong Day Tour From Hanoi

Related Articles:

Where to Stay in Ninh Binh

Best Things to Do in Ninh Binh

How To Travel From Hanoi To Tam Coc

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