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chimani Nov 8th, 2007 05:58 AM

Tam Coc
Hi All,

I may or may not get up to Hanoi on my forthcoming trip (only 6 days to go). If I do, I thought I might go to Tam Coc on a day trip.

But, I hear you all cry, "Halong Bay is the place to go". Well maybe, but I hope to visit northern Vietnam again one day and so I'm leaving Halong for another day - when I will have time to do it justice.

So, expert fodorites, if you have been to Tam Coc, would you recommend?

How did you get there?

I'm looking for input from folk who went on public transport or an organised day trip.

Car and driver is not my style.

Thx and happy travels, wherever you go.

SandyD1 Nov 8th, 2007 07:08 AM

Hi Chimani,
I have been to both Halong Bay and Tam Coc/Hoa Lu. I did each in a day trip as I am one of those people who subscribe to the "I want to see as much as possible in case I don't come this way again" I stayed at the Pacific Hotel in Hanoi (about $20 a night) and they set up the day trips for me. (I think Halong cost me $25 and Tam Coc/Hoa Lu was about $17). I wouldn't pay much over that becuase all tours are pretty much the same for day trips. A van picked each of us up at our hotels (a mix of backpackers and moderate/budget travelers). There are plently of travel agencies that can help book these too once in Hanoi. I loved Halong Bay for the sheer vastness, as it was quite different than anything else I had seen (although the Bay can get a bit crowded with boats at times). I also loved Tam Coc for different reasons. It was very serene to take a raft down the river for a few hours and see the caves. Equally beautiful, just different. I have to admit that in all my travels I don't recall ever seeing so many shades of vibrant green in nature as I did rafting through the Tam Coc area. So if you think you will get to Halong later, go enjoy Tam Coc. I hope that helps.

glorialf Nov 8th, 2007 09:48 AM

I thoroughly enjoyed Tam Coc and felt it was in some ways more interesting than Halong Bay because it was so untouristy -- at least when I went.

alison Nov 8th, 2007 05:25 PM

Chimani, please be sure to post a trip report when you return so we can all benefit from it!
thanks. have a great trip!

cmenoni Nov 8th, 2007 05:28 PM

I agree that both are beautiful in different ways. 2 years ago, we took a minivan bus/tour to Tam Coc, but got off and stayed 2 nights at what was then the new Long Hotel, right in front of the entrance to the caves park. The rooms were small, but the comfortable furniture on the large balconies with great views were worth the 2 night stay. Around $20US double then. Food at the small hotel and nearby restaurants was adequate and wine and beer were reasonable. It is not very toursity, once the daytrippers leave. We really enjoyed our stay. I believe they have a website. Enjoy your travels!!

Orlylily Nov 8th, 2007 08:36 PM

Gosh, seems like I'm the only one who thought Tam Coc was a waste of time and money.

When we went by private car it was quite busy and had many many boats lined up waiting for passengers. It was quite pretty but the crush of hawkers and photographers made the entire experience something I wouldn't recommend. We were bothered by boats of sales people who were very very persistent. Also our boat driver tried to sell us things and was quite upset with us when we didn't purchase anything. It's no fun to be rowed by a surly lady. It made for bad feelings all around.

One of the photographers snapped photos of us and then followed us to our car trying to make us purchase them. We finally gave him money, refused the photos and left.

We travel to Asia at least twice each year and have never had such an unpleasant experience.

Tried to imagine the place without all the hassles but then wouldn't recommend the place because of the hoards of people. It is not a serene experience and tho the scenery is pretty it wasn't pretty enough for the expense. There are many places in the world with limestone karsts and water and most of them are probably not filled with tourists.

I'm with those who like HaLong Bay. Have you thought of going to see the hill tribes? I hear that is a great experience.

Bisbee Nov 8th, 2007 08:59 PM

If you go, stay the night, then get up early and do the boat trip before all the tourist buses arrive.

WeiLong Nov 9th, 2007 07:36 PM

Tam Coc is certainly worthwhile, one of the highlights of my visit to the North of Vietnam. I arrived in Ninh Binh by train from Hanoi, stayed at Queen's Hotel and rented a scooter to get around all the local attractions. From memory I think I paid $7/day.

Tan Coc:

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