Bich Dong Pagoda, Ninh Binh
Bich Dong Pagoda, Ninh Binh

Bich Dong Pagoda, Ninh Binh

Bich Dong is a cave pagoda built in the 15th century at Ninh Hai Commune, Hoa Lu District, Ninh Binh Province. Bich Dong Pagoda comprises 3 pagodas here called Chua Ha, Chua Trung and Chua Thuong all of which are built leaning against a limestone mountain. The main building is the Cave Pagoda (Chua Trung) built into a cave in the mountain.

 Bich Dong Pagoda belongs to Trang An Complex which is inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage. Bich Dong is 3km west of Tam Coc and 11km southwest of Ninh Binh City. The country road from Tam Coc to Bich Dong is amid scenic rice fields with rivers and several limestone mountains.

Pond at Bich Dong Pagoda
Pond at Bich Dong Pagoda

 The best time of the day to visit Bich Dong is in early morning or late afternoon when it is so quiet all around. You can either cycle to walk from Tam Coc to Bich Dong. Those do not have time, then travel by car is the only option.

Bich Dong Pagoda Ninh Binh
Gate to the Bich Dong Pagoda Ninh Binh

On arrival at the site, you’ll only see a small gate by a gigantic mountain. Crossing a stone bridge over a lotus flower pond, you’ll come through the gate and follow a small footpath to a yard with Chua Ha (the lower pagoda) leaning against the mountain base. 

Chua Trung - Bich Dong Pagoda
Chua Trung (The Middle Pagoda) - Bich Dong Pagoda

From Chua Ha, you start hiking up the mountains on the stone steps to Chua Trung (the Middle Pagoda) which is built into the mountain, inside a cave. Have your time studying the arrangement of statues at Chua Trung. Then pass through a huge dark cave and you’ll find a staircase with stone steps leading to Chua Thuong (the Upper Pagoda). 

Hiking path to the top of Bich Dong Pagoda
Hiking path to the top of Bich Dong Pagoda

Chua Thuong is quite well hidden amid rock cliffs but possesses commanding views of the lovely countryside around. Have time studying the meaning of the shrine and altar. Meditate and take in the fresh air of the peaceful countryside. Do not forget to take as many photographs as you can as different position at the pagoda complex offers different interesting photos. 

View from top of  Bich Dong Pagoda
View from top of  Bich Dong Pagoda, Ninh Binh

Bich Dong Pagoda is visited on Ninh Binh tours operated by all Paradissa. The tours to Ninh Binh are for 1 day or 2 days or 3 days from Hanoi.