Bich Dong Pagoda gate

Bich Dong Pagoda Ninh Binh | History, opening hours and entrance fee

Bich Dong Pagoda is one of the most spectacular heritage lying in the mountainside. It is considered as the second most beautiful cave in Vietnam, after Huong Tich cave. Coming here, you will enjoy a picturesque pagoda with full of surprises and unforgettable beauty of mother nature. Let’s check out all the information and tips can’t be missed for a great trip!

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Bich Dong Pagoda History

Bich Dong Pagoda is an ancient temple built on Truong Yen limestone mountain in Ninh Binh Vietnam. This historical and cultural relic belongs to Trang An Landscape Complex which has been classified as a special national monument and a UNESCO world heritage site.

Bich Dong Pagoda gate

Come to Bich Dong Pagoda to get lost in the fairyland!

Bich Dong Pagoda, originally named “Bach Ngoc Thach Son Dong” – means a beautiful and white stone pagoda”. In 1774, Lord Trinh Sam came here. Admiring the perfect combination of mountain, caves, rivers, fields and trees in green color and the pagoda plays the center role in that landscape, he changed its name to “Bich Dong Pagoda (Green Caves)”.

Another legend kept the belief that this name was put in 1773 by Nguyen Nghiem, who was mandarin as well as the father of the famous national poet Nguyen Du.

Bich Dong Pagoda opening hours

The answer is anytime. Following the advice of local people, you should visit it from 9 am to 6 pm. This is the best time to witness the stunning landscape from the top of the mountain.

Bich Dong Pagoda entrance fee

No charge for entering the pagoda, but you should prepare a little money for parking outside.

Bich Dong Pagoda dress code

Whenever you go to religious places in Vietnam such as temples, pagodas… you should follow the dress code: avoid wearing skirts, shorts and too revealing outfit clothes. The appropriate length of your clothes is below your knees.

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What can Bich Dong Pagoda Vietnam offer you?

The unique thing

Bich Dong pagoda was a small pagoda built in the mountain top in the 15th century. The next three centuries, it was completed fully as present thanks for an idea of two monks shaping a spiritual religious place and efforts of people living around there.

Bich Dong Pagoda unique

Bich Dong was a very small pagoda on the top of the mountain at first start

The most special thing in Bich Dong is a combination of mountain, cave and pagoda with impressive natural beauty. Three pagodas in the mountain and Xuyen Thuy Cave under the mountain create wonderful landscapes called “Bich son bat canh” according to the old concept.


Bich Dong was built in the style of “三” in Chinese which means “three”. So it has three separated temples lying along the side of the mountain: the Lower, the Middle and the Upper pagoda in ascending order.

Getting upstairs 120 and 40 stone steps from the lower to the higher one, you will be amazed by impressive scenery and unique architecture with enormous stone blocks. In here worshipping Buddhist and Guanyin.

Bich Dong pagoda gate

Just the architecture of the main gate is impressive enough

The Lower pagoda

The Lower pagoda has 5 compartments built by Ironwood with traditional “Dinh” architecture and 8 curved roofs, which is typical in the North of Vietnam. The stone pillars are higher than 4 meters, constructed in one bock stably.

Looking at the altar, at the top is three Buddhist generations. The second one is three Bodhisattvas. Next ones are gods responsible for encouraging to do good things, punishing evil behaviors and considering the cause and effect in the human realm.

Also, outside is stone carved the name of people making a great contribution to pagoda establishment.

Bich Dong pagoda lower pagoda

The Lower pagoda lies at the foot of the mountain

The Middle pagoda

Passing S-shaped stone steps, you will see The Middle pagoda with half inside and a half outside the mountain to get sunlight forming three compartments worshipping Buddhist. It is in the middle of the Ngu Nhac mountains. The first sight in your eyes is two words “Bich Dong” carved in the cliff of the mountain.

The Middle pagoda passes three times reconstruction with 3 different names: Dong pagoda (1428), Bach Ngoc Thach Son Dong ( 1740) and Bich Dong ( from the XIX century until now) in time Tu Duc King visited and admired its natural beauty.

Bich Dong pagoda middle pagoda

A little climbing to get to The Middle pagoda

Then after 21 stone steps from here, you will get Dark Cave where you will utter thank you to the creator because of everything like in an antique legend. Many people call Dark Cave is a natural pagoda, it seems to built to become a pagoda. In 1707, two monks also cast a large bell to hang on the ceiling of the Dark Cave at the mouth of the cave.

Bich Dong pagoda dark cave

A very mysterious path leads to the thrilling dark cave

The Upper pagoda

The highest one is The Upper pagoda, near the top of Bich Dong Pagoda. Inside worshipping Guan Yin and there are two small temples outside worshiping Tho Dia (Land God) and Duc Son Than (Mountain God). Here you can have the beautiful panorama view to mountains and fields in Ninh Binh.

Bich Dong Pagoda view from the top

“Rocky” path leads to a beautiful view!

Xuyen Thuy Cave

It is a dark and flooded cave along the length of Bich Dong, through the cave of Bich Dong pagoda. It has a shape of semicircle winding from the East to the West. Inside the cave is flat ceilings and walls created large stones arrangements like arches or semicircular with diversified images.

Xuyen Thuy Cave entrance is opposite to Bich Dong pagoda and behind the mountain.

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Getting to Bich Dong Pagoda Tam Coc

Bich Dong Pagoda in Tam Coc nearby area. From Tam Coc, it’s better to hire a bicycle or scooter to get to Bich Dong as it is just 2 kilometers from the Tam Coc center.

Then you can stop some steps along the way both seeing the daily life of local people and taking photos of rice fields and mountains. Or you can find a taxi for yourself with the cost of around 15,000 VND per one kilometer.

And from here, you can visit some attractions nearby such as Thung Nham bird garden, Sunshine Valley, Mua Cave and Thai Vi temple.

Tips for first-time visitors!

  • You should bring a bottle of water and snacks. Since you will have to climb and walk quite a lot.
  • Smartphone or camera full of charge to catch the impressive landscapes.
  • A torch may be helpful when being inside the caves to look at the magical images formed from stalactites. Or just flashlight in your smartphone is good enough.
  • If you are afraid of being cold inside the caves, a thin coat is a great preparation.
  • Combine to visit Bich Dong with same places nearby in one trip. Read our travel guide or Tripadvisor recommendations.

Visiting Bich Dong Pagoda is worthy while you are in Ninh Binh! If you have any question about this destination, don’t hesitate to contact us, we are more than happy to help you out!

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