Sunset at Thung Nam Bird Park
Ninh Binh birds at sunset

Nestled within the Trang An Heritage Complex, in the Ninh Hai commune of Hoa Lu district, glitters the captivating Tam Coc region. Just 100 kilometers south of Hanoi, this breathtaking landscape first emerged globally in the Oscar-winning film “Indochine“, shot here in 1992. The visual poetry of the Ngo Dong River beckons as it winds its way through the underground caves, its banks flanked by verdant rice fields that ripple like silken brocades cradled by the towering limestone mountains. The bountiful history and beauty of Tam Coc is a testament to the enduring grandeur of Vietnam’s many layered history.

To celebrate this enchanting land, the “Tam Coc Yellow Season Festival” was created as a unique annual tourism event. Unlike many Festivals on the Ninh Binh calendar, the Yellow Season is not tied to a religious or historical event.  It celebrates the end of the first harvest of the New Year and so is dependent on seasonal variations, not the lunar cycle.

Harvest Time

Harvest Time in Ninh Binh

The true splendor of Tam Coc shines brightest at the end of the wet rice season, a time of great cultural and spiritual significance for the Vietnamese people. As the rice ripens, Tam Coc erupts in a brilliant golden hue as a tapestry of prosperity and happiness is woven, The Yellow Season festival celebrates the bountiful harvest and highlights the cyclical nature of life that has sustained the nation through its many triumphs and tribulations.

When it is decided that the last fields of rice are ready to be reaped, the local committee of Tam Coc will set a date for the festival. As such, it is difficult to predict precisely when it occurs but generally it is around the end of the 4th lunar cycle and the start of the 5th (around the end of May or beginning of June in the solar calendar).

Visitors can expect to witness the re-enactment of the traditional harvest ritual to thank the god of agriculture, where participants engage in time-honored practices such as offerings, chants, and ceremonial dances to express their gratitude and reverence.

Buffalo Dreaming
Cooling the Buffalo

The image of a young buffalo herders playing the flute is iconic to the rice culture in Vietnam. Perhaps it is the youth (future), the buffalo (intrinsic to traditional rice farming) and the flute (symbolizing both beauty and harmony) but whatever, a performance will also take center stage, serenading the ripening fields with soulful melodies of the Vietnamese flute. Thus evoking a sense of timelessness and connection to the natural rhythms that have sustained the people of Tam Coc for generations.

Additionally, the event will feature the unique “goat fighting competition,” which celebrates the famed Ninh Binh Mountain Goats and the prized meat dishes that have long been a staple of the Ninh Binh province’s rich gastronomic traditions, further immersing visitors in the rich cultural tapestry of the region.

A Captivating Connection

Through these deeply meaningful rituals and time-honored practices, the Tam Coc yellow season is a captivating celebration of the Trang An Heritage Complex, allowing visitors to forge a profound connection with the land, the people, and the enduring spirit that has shaped the identity of this enchanting destination.

A Vibrant Rice Field Display

Mother Nature bestowed Tam Coc with a natural beauty that the ancients compared to the place closest to the gods, so during the Tran Dynasty (1226-1400) the kings chose Tam Coc as the most appropriate site to become monks and worship the Buddha. During the time of wars against invasions from the Mongol-Yuan Empire, this was also one of the bases chosen by Tran Dynasty kings, mandarins and generals to repel the invaders.

Each year, visitors to the scenic Tam Coc region during harvest season will be treated to a unique sight – rice fields adorned with the image of the festival flag bearing the words “Tam Coc’s golden color”. This innovative display, the first of its kind in the North, symbolizes the solidarity between local businesses, the government, and the community.

By collaborating to create this captivating work of art, they have provided an endless source of inspiration for photographers visiting Tam Coc and the enchanting Ninh Binh province as a whole. This striking visual representation showcases the region’s cultural vibrancy and natural beauty, promising to leave a lasting impression on all who witness it.

Hang Mua Temple
Hang Mua Temple

Ninh Binh’s Tourism Week Showcases Cultural Diversity and Natural Wonders

The activities planned within the framework of Ninh Binh’s Tourism Week aim to introduce and widely promote the unique features of the province’s culture, people, history, and the potential of its tourism resources to both domestic and international visitors.The ” Tam Coc yellow season – Trang An” event is an exciting and captivating experience, featuring a lineup of new and distinctive activities.

Visitors will have the opportunity to take boat rides on the river and admire the vibrant rice fields, accompanied by the soothing sounds of traditional Vietnamese flute music. The program also includes a night-time walking street experience and a photography exhibition highlighting the picturesque landscapes of Tam Coc’s croplands.

Attendees will also have the chance to explore and learn about the region’s local products and art villages.This comprehensive lineup of events promises to immerse visitors in the rich cultural heritage and natural wonders that make Ninh Binh a truly captivating destination.