Bird Watching Secrets : An Independent Day Trip From Hanoi to Thung Nham Bird Garden

Thung Nham Bird Garden, Ninh Binh

Thung Nham bird garden – The best place for birding in Ninh Binh

In search of scenic nature, bird watching and an adventurous day trip from Hanoi, Vietnam? Hanoi Eco Tour introduces this ultimate independent travel guide to Thung Nham bird garden tells you everything you need to know about visiting the best bird-watching spots in Ninh Binh, near Hanoi.

Where is Thung Nham bird park?

Thung Nham Bird Park Map, Ninh Binh

Thung Nham Bird Park travel map

Thung Nham bird park (click here for a google map) is situated in Hoa Lu Dist, 6 kilometers from the well-known Tam Coc and 3 kilometers from Bich Dong pagoda. It’s just a 2.5-hour drive by minivan from Hanoi Old Quarter, away from the residential area.

What is so special about Thung Nham valley?

Thung Nham Bird Garden in Ninh Binh

Thung Nham Bird Park, the best place for birding near Hanoi

Thung Nham  is a really beautiful, quiet, clean, peaceful bird garden, with lots of attractions for nature lovers. From limestone caves, orchard gardens, and the Valley of love, the bird park is just a day trip from Hanoi.

The valley is home to 50,000 birds of over 40 species, including cranes, phoenixes, storks, bitterns,  and some rare breeds listed in the Red Book that might be extinct soon. 

Thung Nham Bird Valley in Ninh Binh

Thung Nham bird garden is home to 40 species of birds

Thung Nham Bird Park reviews

It is an awesome place for hiking and enjoying the fresh air in a good environment created by Mother Nature. There is a heap of trees, plants, and birds in the area. Taking a boat ride to watch the birds in the bird park is a cool thing to do. You can see more reviews of Thung Nham bird park on Trip Advisor

Entrance fee and ticket to visit Thung Nham 

Entrance fee : 100,000VND per person

20.000VND per person for a sharing boat ride to visit Buddha cave. A private boat with 2 persons

30.000VND per person for a sharing boat ride to visit bird park. A private boat with 10 persons. 

Best time to visit Thung Nham bird garden 

October to March is breeding season, when many different types of birds building their nests and come to roost. But you can see thousands of birds all day long, any time of year!

From April to September, you can also see lots of birds going out and returning from feeding. Late afternoon from 17.00pm to 18.00pm, or early morning from 5.00 am to 7.00 am is the best time to watch their daily commute. 

Getting to Thung Nham bird park from Hanoi

Hanoi to Thung Nham by minivan

Getting to Thung Nham by minivan is very convenient with a pick up from your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter and drop off at Thung Nham bird park.

Ninh Binh Excursion is a good choice to book this option . Ticket costs 200k. You can book on the online platform: VeXere.

Hanoi to Thung Nham by Grab or taxi

If you like traveling solo with air conditioning,  you can also take a private transfer, Grab, or taxi to Thung Nham from your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter. Consider having your hotel arrange a private car to be sure the driver is experienced and knows additional sites to visit if time permits.

Hanoi to Thung Nham bird garden by train

Please see the following details about the train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh with a schedule and rate. The train arrives at Ninh Binh city, you need to take a taxi to Thung Nham, which costs around 100k 

Depart Arrive  Train number  Ticket fare
9.00 11.18 SE5 $7 USD (Soft seat with air conditioning)
19.30 21.44 SE3 $7 USD (Soft seat with air conditioning)
20.10 22.22 SE19 $7 USD (Soft seat with air condition)


Travel tips and practical information of visiting Thung Nham 

Cycling Thung Nham Bird Garden

Cycling along the way of the bird park

1) Traveling route : Buy an entrance ticket at the ticket booth. Then hike Vai Gioi cave. Next, drive to the center, then take a sampan boat ride to explore Buddha cave. Then discover Mermaid cave. Then you have two options to visit the bird park:

Option 1 : Walk or ride a bike to a platform about 3 kilometers from the center gate for the best views of the birds.

Option 2 : Take another boat ride to visit the bird park. With this option, you can get close to the area where the birds nest.

2) What to bring

  1. Sun screen
  2. Sun glasses
  3. Insect spray
  4. Water bottle
  5. Cash
  6. Professional camera (if possible)
  7. Walking shoes

3) You aren’t allowed to ride your own bike along the trail to the platform for bird watching. Bikes for rent are available at the bird park 

4)Tour options | A guided tour from Hanoi is a good choice if you’re willing to spend a little more. Traveling with a private tour guide and a car lets you see other famous sites nearby. Tours cost up to $85 per person, include entrance fee, lunch, and transfer. 

Top attractions in Thung Nham bird park

Orchard Garden

Get lost into this wonderful orchard garden with an array of fruits : guava, mango, persimmon, lychee etc. The atmosphere here makes you feel connected to nature. You can pick and eat the fruits as much as you like while you’re in the garden and enjoy the hands-on farming experience by taking care of the environment. 

Three Ladies Cave

According to legend, when King Dinh Tien Hoang was poisoned, no talented royal physicians could cure him. At that time, three ladies lived in Hoa Lu, the ancient capital. They dreamed of holy water which could be used to save the king bubbling from the cave. Unfortunately, the tigers all killed them when trying to retrieve the water. Local people recognized their heroic attempt to save the king and buried them in the cave, hence the “Three Ladies Caves”.

Mermaid Cave

Mermaid cave in Thung Nham

Mermaid cave – a great place to explore in Thung Nham bird park

You will admire the amazing beauty of ancient limestone rock formations by hiking up 42 steep steps and walking along 700 meters of a bamboo pontoon. The cave is about 1 mile long and took over a million years to form. Nature has blessed a wonderful place with stalactites that look much like a mermaid.

Please be aware of the low ceiling in the cave, and don’t forget to take a torch in order to enjoy the scene clearly. 

Buddha Cave 

Buddha cave in Thung Nham Bird Garden

Boat ride along Buddha cave in Thung Nham

Taking a relaxing boat ride along this magnificent limestone cave, over 500 meters long. During the boat ride, you will see a stalagmite that resembles a Happy Buddha looking at the river. Don’t forget to bring your flashlight!

Vai Gioi Cave

Vai Gioi Cave, Thung Nham Bird park

Vai Gioi cave in Thung Nham

Located on a high hill, 88 meters above sea level, this cave required hiking up 430 steep steps to reach the entrance. The cave is approximately 5000 square meters with three chambers (Earth, Hell and Heaven), including various shapes of splendid stalactites and stalagmites.  According to the legend, the ancient Viet people built an altar in the cave to pray for bumper crops, fruitful seasons, and good weather conditions.

Recommended itinerary for Thung Nham bird garden

You will first explore Vai Gioi cave with 3 chambers, you need to hike up 500 steep steps to reach the entrance. 

Next, take a relaxing boat ride to explore the But cave for half an hour, then have lunch in a restaurant in the area. 

In the afternoon, two more limestone caves will be explored: Mermaid cave and Three ladies cave for another half an hour. 

Next, pay a visit to the orchard garden, with an array of fruits that is typical for this tropical climate. 

Lastly, taking another sampan boat ride for bird watching, you’ll have a chance to see thousands of birds having on the trees. Then hop on the car and back to Hanoi in the late afternoon. 

Thung Nham Review

It is an awesome place to check out, especially for nature lovers and bird watchers. Please see more review on Trip Advisor

Nearby tourist attractions

Linh Coc Hai Nham 

A wonderful place for taking a leisurely boat ride that takes you to explore the limestone cave, a perfect place for those who like traveling off the tourist trail. There are a few people who know the places. It locates Bich Dong pagoda and Thung Nham Eco-tourism site.

It takes about over 1 hour to explore two limestones cave. There is an option with a long journey is to travel from Linh Coc Hai Nham to Galaxy grotto area and back, which takes about 2.5 hours. 

The entrance fee is about 60k (Approximately $3 per person). There is a suggestion with extra tips for the boat rower, about $1 USD per person. 

Bich Dong pagoda

Bich Dong Pagoda is one of the well-known tourist attractions in Ninh Binh and only 2 miles away from Tam Coc. Bich Dong is a common site to visit for both day trips and overnight trips to Ninh Binh

To conquer the peak of the pagoda, you need to hike over 150 steep steps. The view of the top is truly amazing with limestone mountains, water, green rice paddy field.

My advice is to get there in the morning or afternoon to avoid the big crowd so you can take lots of awesome photos and enjoy your hiking pace. On the other hand, make sure you turn on the flashlight with your phone camera because you need to go through a dark cave to reach the top.

Tam Coc

It is a must-do for Ninh Binh, which offer an amazing boat ride with an awesome view of the limestone mountains, rice field and more. I recommend taking the boat ride in May so you are able to see the yellow paddy field when it comes to harvest season. 

The boat ride takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, which takes you to explore 3 caves. There is sometimes due to the tidal because of heavy rain, you only see one cave instead of three caves. Most travelers prefer staying in the Tam Coc area because there is a wonderful rural area to check out with many things to do. 

We hope this article by Hanoi Eco Tour helps you plan a great trip to Thung Nham Bird Garden and it will be in your Ninh Binh itinerary. If you find it helpful, please LIKE, and SHARE it. Thank you!

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