Tam Coc Garden Resort: One of the most peaceful Boutique Hotels Vietnam Has to Offer
Ninh Binh, Vietnam.
Tucked away in the idyllic countryside of Ninh Binh Province, Tam Coc Garden Resort is a charming boutique hotel surrounded by lush, green rice paddies and towering limestone peaks. With stunning landscapes and pristine waterways at its doorstep, the serene environment encircling this hideaway makes it the perfect base for exploring some of the most beautiful locations Vietnam has on offer.
Tam Coc Garden is located in the heart of Ninh Binh, often referred to as Vietnam’s ‘Halong Bay on land’ due to its striking limestone karsts. Although wonderfully secluded – it’s at least two hours south of the capital city of Hanoi – the property is just a 10 minutes’ drive away from Tam Coc town.
Far removed from the fast-paced life of urban Vietnam, Tam Coc Garden Resort orientates itself around local farm life and is passionately focused on both eco and cultural tourism. The hotel is proud to only employ staff who live in close proximity to it, and its design and decor draws inspiration from the nearby Tonkinese villages.
Completely integrated into a myriad of glistening rice fields, bamboo groves and forested limestone hills, Tam Coc Garden is a truly tranquil oasis. It’s quiet, full of charm and the culture of the indigenous population is central to more than just the aesthetics. A taste of traditional Vietnam life, including the warm hospitality associated with the region, is all part of the property’s package.
Double rooms start from £144 per night with a buffet breakfast included. Although moderately priced for boutique luxury, it’s still one of the steeper options in Ninh Binh.
My younger brother, a solid travel companion (despite the snoring).
Where You’ll Stay
The 8 independent bungalows at Tam Coc Garden are fitted with stone walls and tiled roofs typical of this part of Northern Vietnam, and each one is divided into 2 luxurious, spacious bedrooms. All the bungalows in the complex are decked out with simple wooden furnishings and a private terrace to enjoy the views, as well as floor to ceiling glass windows so you can watch the natural world go by without even getting out of bed.
We stayed in the cheaper of the 2 options on offer and snapped up a deluxe room for a night. The use of natural building materials, most of which are locally sourced, gives it a rustic and refined charm. There are plenty of cosy living spaces inside that really implore you to relax, as do the views of the lily-pad filled lotus ponds – exactly what you need after a day of intrepid exploring.
Not quite scenic enough? Splash out on a premium room to enjoy more expansive views of the rice paddies and surrounding highlands – well worth the extra £8. The bathroom has a natural outdoor feel and features a rain shower and home-made jasmine scented toiletries, which are perfect for unwinding before you enjoy a restful night’s sleep in the large queen sized bed.
As it’s an intimate property, facilities are few, but it does still boast some luxuries. The outdoor pool, for example, is framed by splashes of verdant greenery and wild flowers, set against the spectacular backdrop of the Trang An mountains. Sip tea and tuck into refreshments under the shade of large fruit trees, or order your favourite cocktail at the poolside bar and enjoy alfresco dining beneath the stars. While there is no official spa, herbal foot massages are on offer to sooth tired feet after long hikes.
Tam Coc’s restaurant offers appetising dishes based on regional flavours and seasonal produce. The menu covers both Western and Asian dishes, but going local and sampling the Vietnamese cuisine is absolutely recommended. For breakfast think poached eggs, banh xeo pancakes, beef pho and seasonal fruits with homemade yoghurt – there’s something here for everyone. With rich and unspoilt grounds, fresh aromatic herbs, vibrant spices, fresh fruit and vegetables are free to flourish in the hotel’s garden, as are your agricultural skills; staff are more than happy for guests to assist them and educate themselves on traditional cultivation methods.
The Tonkinese garden is one of the highlights of the property, where bamboo groves and vegetable gardens provide the perfect habitat for fragrant flora and wildlife to blossom.
There’s a whole range of activities on offer at Tam Coc Garden, and many involve meeting with members of the region’s communities and being exposed to experiences unique to their way of life. Enjoy some traditional arts and crafts, cooking and calligraphy classes (not at the same time), bamboo basket making and even kite building. And don’t worry – if you’re a closet adrenaline junky who’s been taken to Tam Coc by a much calmer, centred partner, try your hand at sampan rowing classes or fishing on Linh Coc Pier.
What I loved
The promotion of local culture. From traditional activities, to regional flavours and employing only local staff, the hotel truly celebrates the heritage, traditions and story of the region.
Complimentary bicycles. Days here are spent cycling through picturesque countryside and exploring the nearby sites at your own pace. Would definitely recommend cycling to Bich Dong Pagoda or Tam Coc Village.
Warm, discreet and personalised service. The welcoming staff ensured that every need was met and gave top tips on where to visit in the neighbouring area, which definitely helped us get the most out of the stay.
Things To Know
Tam Coc Garden is an incredibly well-placed resort – it affords guests the opportunity to view a whole host of culturally significant landmarks. Nearby is the Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Mua Cave, Phát Diệm Cathedral, the Bái Đính Temple or the fascinating Tam Coc River. There are spectacular national parks and nature reserves within reach too.
Taking a boat tour in Ninh Binh is a must. While the Ngo Dong River and Trang An boast some of Vietnam’s best natural landscapes, they take up a good portion of the day. For those looking for a less frequented route, there is a smaller river just 300 metres away from the hotel.
Tam Coc Garden really is off the beaten track. Although the surrounding pathways make for scenic bike rides during the day, don’t expect to find anything within walking distance. A taxi is very much needed to take you into town for dinner.
Zen-seekers and cultural explorers, but also families and couples – Tam Coc Garden is an ideal escape for those looking for a slice of serenity within close proximity to the attractions on offer within the Ninh Binh Province.
Filled with character and true to the traditions of the surrounding villages, Tam Coc Garden offers an authentic, all-encompassing experience that packs in ecological living, warm hospitality and delicious native cuisine. The location is truly picturesque, and with such a relaxed atmosphere, this boutique retreat is an ideal place to get away from it all; so much so that you might even postpone sightseeing for a day by the pool. The choice is yours.
about the author
Hi! I’m Maz, born and raised in London. After working in finance for 5 years, I was left craving a life with more meaning and less monotony - so I decided to set up my hotel reviewing business, something I'd always dreamt of doing. Now I am always in search of beautiful spaces which inspire people and create memorable experiences.