Tam Coc and Hoa Lu
My trip to Tam Coc was one of my most memorable in Vietnam. It’s about a two hour bus ride outside of Hanoi is one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam. In the city of Van Lam the Ngo Dong river passes through a series of paddy fields where it literally cuts through the mountain in three places forming three caves.
There is a little wharf where you jump on a boat. Your tour guide is a Vietnamese who rows the oars with her feet. That’s right, with her feet. Even after watching for a few hours, I couldn’t figure out how she did it. I guess it saves your back, but it must take a long time to learn how.
The Tam Coc Grotto is made up of threes caves, the Hang Ca, Hang Hai and Hang Ba caves. The largest is 125 m long, but it’s ceiling is so low you need to duck when you float through it. As you can see, the grotto is has stalactites and stalagmites of different shapes and colors that sparkle like gemstones.
After the boat ride, we drove to Hoa Lu, the Vietnam capital city from 968 – 1009 to visit the King Dinh and Le Temples. These were quite different from the Bhuddist temples I visited in Thailand. Not as ornate, but still beautiful. They were similar in their symbols. You’ll notice the roof has two dragons, which represent kings. As it was explained to me, there were two kings fighting over the moon—which represented a woman. Some things never change.