Tam Dao Exploration : Useful Travel Guides &  Local Tips for Your Great Trip

Tam Dao Exploration : Useful Travel Guides & Local Tips for Your Great Trip

Considering a getaway from the urban hustle? Tam Dao town, not far from Hanoi city, might just be the perfect destination for you. Dive into our detailed blog, which we've compiled a thorough guide filled with crucial details to help you organize your journey to the Tam Dao mountains in Vietnam...

Tam Dao : A Charming French Hill Station for Your Ideal Holiday Retreat

Tam Dao, a charming town nestled in Vinh Phuc province, is conveniently located just 90 KM from Hanoi. At its average altitude of 900 meters, the township enjoys a consistently cool and pleasant climate throughout the year. That is why the French developed it as a perfect summer retreat for officials in the early 20th century, providing a serene escape from the hot weather of the lowlands. A stroll through this charming town reveals remnants of this colonial history, with picturesque French villas and an old French church dotting the town.

Translated as "three islets" or "three peaks," Tam Dao region boasts a wide mountain range with three majestic summits: Thach Ban at 1,388 meters, Thien Thi at 1,375 meters, and Phu Nghia at 1,400 meters. These peaks, resembling islets emerging from the clouds, contribute to the town's stunning landscape.

Tam Dao Castle

Tam Dao, often likened as a miniature version of Sapa or Da Lat, attracts visitors with its majestic and romantic natural landscapes. Towering mountains, lush rainforests, and drifting clouds and fogs create a breathtaking panorama. The air is fresh, providing a ideal hideaway for any travelers. As a result, this lovely little town have become an ideal resort destination for holidaymakers seeking a tranquil retreat while doing their trips to Hanoi, Vietnam.

1. When is the Ideal Time to Visit Tam Dao?

Tam Dao could be visited year-round due to its mild temperatures, which typically range between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius. Doing your visit to Tam Dao hill station, each season will bring you different travel experiences.

1.1. Participating in the Spring Festival at Tay Thien Pagoda

Tam Dao is constantly covered with the mist so it is hard to capture its beautiful scenery during spring months (between Jan & Mar). Howerver, If you've already made the effort to visit Tam Dao at the beginning of the year, it's advisable to set aside some time to explore the scenic Tay Thien Complex, located approximately 25 km from Tam Dao town.Commencing the New Year with a visit to Tay Thien temples to seek good fortune and prosperity for your entire family and loved ones will surely bring you a memorable Tam Dao journey with a peace of mind.

Tay Thien Pagoda Complex

1.2. Summer in Tam Dao - A Wonderful Hideaway from the Lowland's Heat

This is perhaps Tam Dao's most prominent season, as visitors have the opportunity to experience the contrast in weather between the lowlands and this mountain retreat. During the summer (Apr- Aug), the sky is blue & clear to admire breathtaking landscapes of mountains, valleys & tropical forests. Therefore, Tam Dao is normally crowded with local visitors with their weekend summer holidays, who flock to escape the heat as it normally maintains a refreshing 4-5 degrees Celsius cooler. If you are planning a visit to Tam Dao in this time, especially on weekends, make sure to book the hotels far in advance to confirm the availability.

1.3. Visiting Tam Dao in Autumn & Winter

In the fall and winter months, spanning from August to December, a visit to Tam Dao mountains promises a quieter and more serene landscape. In autumn ( Aug - Oct), Tam Dao town is bestowed by nature with a splendid, poetic, and mystical scenery with pleasant climate & beautiful visibility. You can experience stunning pictures of surrounding nature : wisps of mist gracefully drifting over the houses on the mountain slopes, sometimes even gently settling on the lush green roofs

Tam Dao view

During the winter months from November to January, Tam Dao transforms into a captivating landscape, enveloped in mist, and some clear days if really cold weather down the lowlands.This enchanting setting adds a romantic and dreamy ambiance, making it an ideal destination for the couple &  the cloud's hunters.

Castle Tam Dao's swimming pool

While you can enjoy Tam Dao's charm throughout the year, the best time to visit this town is from April to October. This time normally offers clear skies and pleasant weather, perfect for admiring the vast mountains and lush valleys. If you prefer a more tranquil experience, plan your trip on weekdays and consider avoiding the peak tourist season from mid-May to early September, which coincides with the local Vietnamese summer holidays.

2. Suggested Things to Do & Places to Visit in Tam Dao area

2.1. Scenic Hikes to Explore Tam Dao National Park

Nestled in the Vinh Phúc province of Vietnam, Tam Dao National Park stands as a protected sanctuary. Covering a larger area of 34.995 ha, this park is a haven for a diverse range of flora and fauna. Home to over 1,500 plant species, 690 animal species, and 50 bird species, the park is a great spot for nature lovers who want to experience the beauty of Vietnam’s wilderness.

Tam Dao mountain hike

For those with a passion for natural landscapes and adventure treks, the followings are our suggested things to do in this garden & recommended to do with an experienced tour guide who know well about the route.

  • Join in a trek through the verdant and dense forests that define the beauty of Tam Dao National Park.
  • Conquer the summits of Thien Thi, Thach Ban, and Phu Nghia, each towering over 1,000 meters above sea level.
  • Witness a rich flora and rare fauna, including the white-cheeked black monkey and the snake-head fish.

2.2. Check-in at Tam Dao Stone Church

A visit to Tam Dao wouldn't be complete without checking -in at Tam Dao Stone Church, a distinctive architectural gem. Originally constructed in 1906 and later rebuilt in 1937 in the Gothic style using stones, this church stands as an impressive testament to French colonial architecture. Step inside to discover intricately designed stained glass windows and vibrant wall murals depicting scenes from the Bible. A visit to this historical landmark not only offers a great check-in opportunity but also provides panoramic views of Tam Dao town from the expansive yard surrounding the church.

Tam Dao French Church

2.3.Heaven Gate – A High Viewpoint Above the Blanket of Clouds

Just beyond the French Stone Church, you'll find the Heaven Gate, a can't- be-missed place for your viral instagram posts. Perched high upon the mountain, this spot offers breathtaking views of a vast sea of clouds enveloping the towering mountain peaks.

Heaven Gate Tam Dao

This location also features a café and various decorative elements perfect for photo opportunities. Among the highlights is the ornately designed gate, strategically placed so that in the afternoon, the sun appears to hang precisely between its columns, likely the inspiration behind the name Heavenly Gate.

Tam Dao Hands

Moreover, the distinctive hand-like structure extending into the vast space serves as another popular spot for photography, resulting in numerous spectacular shots

2.4. Silver Waterfall – A Silvery Cascade from the Mountains

The Silver Waterfall, a gem situated down the mountain slopes within the town, offering a refreshing escape. This waterfall presents itself as a slender stream of water gracefully descending down into a small pond, expanding into a broader cascade at its base. Venture onto one of the moss-covered rocks nearby for a perfect photo backdrop with the cascading water.

Tam Dao Silver Water Fall

To access the waterfall, be ready for a journey down a series of rugged stone steps, where you'll encounter a variety of cafes and shops overlooking the mountains and valleys below, offering a delightful blend of adventure and scenic vistas

2.5. Pay a Visit to the Temple of Jungle Mother Goddess – a spiritual landmark in Tam Dao

Tucked away within a bamboo forest on the outskirts of the town's center lies a serene compound of spiritual buildings, which includes the Jungle Mother Goddess Temple and the Golden Pagoda. This tranquil sanctuary features a remarkable 4-story building adorned with elaborately carved corridors and roofs, alongside a vast courtyard decorated with more than a dozen Buddha figures and a white stone stairway that ascends to the main altars.

Tam Dao mountain temple

As a key spiritual hub in the region, this sacred site frequently welcomes devoted worshippers who come to burn incense and seek blessings for prosperity, particularly on the first and 15th days of each lunar month. It is great to marvel at its stunning architecture and experience a sense of tranquility on your Tam Dao trip.

2.6. Cau May Studio - An Outdoor One  with Stunning Views

While iconic sites like the Stone Church and the Heaven Gate have been popular among Instagram enthusiasts for a while, Cau May Studio is a name that's recently been gaining a lot of attention. Located 2KM from the center of town, this outdoor photo studio offers something unique.

Cau May Studio

Nestled on the mountainside, Cau May Studio features an array of wooden bridges supported by steel beams, creating endless possibilities for capturing dreamlike pictures.These bridges span over a sprawling field of sunflowers, making October or November the ideal months to visit when the flowers are in full bloom, offering the most stunning views.

Additionally, the site is dotted with various decorative elements designed to bring your fantasies to life, including a staircase that appears to ascend directly into the sky

Stair in Cau May Studio

2.7. Hang around at top-noched cafes for Tam Dao's beautiful views

While doing trips to Tam Dao, you may spend some spare time drinking coffee with your beloved ones. The following suggested cafes you must surely come for drinks while captivating parnoramic views of Château De Tam Dao, its town, and surrounding scenery of rolling mountains & pristine valleys : Quan Gio Cafe', Rock Cafe', Co La cafe', DMB Coffee.....

Castle Tam Dao

2.8. Take Part in A Scenic Hike to Tay Thien Pagoda Complex

Situated a mere 28 kilometers from Tam Dao town, Tay Thien Pagoda Complex ranks among Vietnam's top three Buddhist meditation centers in Vietnam, celebrated for its sacred temples that attract thousands of Buddhist pilgrims seeking to pay their respects. Currently, this complex holds reverence for the Nation Mother Lang Thi Tieu and Buddha, making it a favorite destination among local Vietnamese, especially in the aftermath of Lunar New Year festivities. For those interested in Vietnamese religion and eager to combine it with hiking experiences, a visit to the temples on Thach Ban peak ( one of three summits in Tam Dao) should be listed as a key things to do when travelling to Tam Dao mountain region.

Tay Thien temple

3. Where to Stay in Tam Dao?

While many homestays in Tam Dao are situated quite a distance from the downtown area, making them less convenient for exploring tourist attractions in the town, there are some excellent options with stunning mountain views such as 90s Homestay, Moon Homestay, CuDen Homestay, Levent Homestay, Kumo Chan Homestay... for your reference.
 
Hotel view
 
For those who prefer to stay in the heart of downtown, numerous luxury hotels and French-built villas are available, with room rates ranging from VND1-2.5 million per night. Popular choices include Camellia Luxury Hotel (5 stars), Tam Dao Belvedere Resort (4 stars), Venus Hotel (4 stars), The Rock Luxury Hotel Tam Dao (4 stars),  Century Hotel (3 stars)......

4. Tam Dao's Culinary Delights

Chayote, known as "su su" in Vietnamese, is a famous vegetable in Tam Dao area & can be cooked in different ways such as boiling and frying with beef or garlic. You can find this dish available on every restaurant's menu. While travelling in Tam Dao, you will find this chayote vegetable sold a lot by locals on mountainsides or even the sides of downtown streets

Another signature dish here is the grilled chicken.These chickens are free-ranged ones so their meat is thick, tough and tasty.. The chicken meat is wrapped in clay and grilled on charcoal until it achieves a golden brown hue. For a taste of this unique dish, head to Khong Gian (Space) Restaurant.

Grilled chicken dish

Another can't- be- missed dish is grilled red beef, which hardly found anywhere else. The process involves hanging calf meat near an anthill for ants to bite, followed by washing and grilling over charcoal until it turns red. You can xperience this distinctive dish at Thien Cam Restaurant and Pho Nui Restaurant

Due to the chilly weather, grilled skewers, roasted chestnuts and bamboo-tube rice are favorite dishes at the night market.

5. How to Get to Tam Dao Town from Hanoi?

5.1. By Motorbike

If you're an adventure enthusiast with motorbike skills, opting to rent a motorbike from Hanoi and embark on a journey to Tam Dao is an excellent choice. Throughout most of the route, you'll navigate on wide, spacious avenues that are easy to drive on. The difficulty level increases slightly in the final 15 kilometers as you ascend the mountain to reach Tam Dao center. This section involves some slopes and multiple turns, but the well-constructed road make it more easily to drive on. By maintaining a moderate speed, you should encounter no issues reaching your destination safely and soundly.

Tam Dao travel by motorbike

5.2. By Public Buses

You can reach Tam Dao by bus by taking either Bus 58 or Bus 07 from Hanoi to Mê Linh Plaza. From there, transfer to Vĩnh Phúc’s Bus 01, which will take you to Vinh Yen Bus Station. Catch Bus 07 from the station to reach the base of Tam Dao mountain. The cost of each bus ticket is only VND9,000

This option is often considered a budget-friendly way to Tam Dao hill station. However, be prepared for a journey that may consume several hours, as the buses make multiple stops to pick up passengers. Additionally, keep in mind that the buses only reach the base of the mountain, so you'll still need to arrange a motorbike or taxi service to take you to the summit

Public bus to Tam Dao

5.4. By Renting a Private Car with driver

For those who lack confidence in riding a motorbike or find prolonged periods on public buses uncomfortable, a quicker and more enjoyable option is to rent a private car with a driver. Opting for a reputable car rental company ensures not only the provision of a suitable car (with options ranging from 4 seats to 29 seats) but also valuable advice on places to visit. Additionally, experienced drivers are available to make sure a smooth and pleasant journey throughout your chosen itinerary.

Car to Tam Dao mountain

5.5. By joining on a day trip or 2-day journey to explore Tam Dao with a local tour operator

For newcomers planning a visit to Tam Dao, a widely favored choice is to secure a Tam Dao travel package through a local travel company. Based on your available time, they will consult suitable itineraries, ranging from one to two days. These tours typically feature an English-speaking tour guide to accompany you, offering insights into local cultures & destination.The package includes car transfers, meals, hotel accommodations, and entrance fees to various sightseeing spots. These tailored trips are designed to ensure your exceptional experiences in Tam Dao, Vietnam

Paxs on Tam Dao trip with us

6. Travel Tips for Your Tam Dao Visit

Here are some essential travel tips to consider when exploring Tam Dao mountains

  • Book Accommodation in Advance: If you plan to visit on the weekend, ensure you book your hotel well in advance to secure availability and reasonable prices.
  • Dress Warmly: Pack warm clothing, especially for the evenings when temperatures can become quite chilly.
  • Don't forget to pack your camera for the breathtaking sunrise and sunset views from atop the hills
  • Car Maintenance: If you're driving, thoroughly check and maintain your car before the journey. Pay special attention to the brakes, as they are crucial for navigating the winding mountain curves.
  • Caution on Scooters: Be careful when riding scooters, especially downhill. Ensure you are confident and able to secure yourself, as there have been recent incidents in Tam Dao related to brake failures on downhill slopes.
  • Bring Sufficient Cash: There are no ATM systems available in Tam Dao, so make sure to have enough cash on hand. If you need additional funds, you'll have to descend the mountain to withdraw money.

We hope that this comprehensive travel guide on Tam Dao Exploration will be useful for your upcoming journeys to this charming town in Vietnam. Golden Holiday Travel, a local tour operator, provides both one-day Tam Dao tour  or 2 day Tay Thien pagoda & Tam Dao Mountain Exploration, along with private car rental Hanoi to Tam Dao to explore its attractions.Over the years, we have had the pleasure of assisting numerous travelers, ensuring that their experiences in Tam Dao are truly unforgettable.

Customized Tam Dao journey

Should you require local travel support for exploring the Tam Dao mountain in Vinh Phuc, please feel free to contact us via email at goldenholidaytravel.vn@gmail.com or reach out to us on WhatsApp at +84.988451530.

Need local support, please, let us know!

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