This post was last updated on February 3rd, 2020 at 03:32 pm
The mountainous province of Cao Bang is one of the most beautiful regions in Vietnam. In itself, it is not that spectacular, but it is a great base to explore the area. An environment surrounded by beautiful nature. The great thing about Cao Bang is that tourism here is not yet at its peak unlike in Sapa or Ha Long Bay. You can really enjoy the tranquility here.
The Beautiful Cao Bang
Cao Bang is located in the northernmost tip of Vietnam on the border with China. The area is surrounded by mountains and due to the cool climate, these mountains can hide behind a thick fog. These conditions can produce great settings for photography. It is located on the bank of the Bang Giang River.
TIP – The biggest attraction in this region is the Ban Gioc Falls.
Cao Bang is on the route from Ha Giang to Lang Son. There are only a few people who make it this far north. It’s strange because this is one of the most beautiful regions in Vietnam and definitely worth a visit!
There are small villages and impressive waterfalls in the province. Those who do take the trouble to travel to Cao Bang probably come here for the pilgrimage to Pac Bo Cave, where Ho Chi Minh lived after his return to Vietnam in 1941.
The Village of Cao Bang
The environment is the main reason tourists come here. The town itself is a small, dusty, and noisy place. The city is built on the southwestern bank of the Bang Giang River. In the town, there’s a theater, a bank, a number of restaurants, markets, (nearby) accommodations, a post office, and the People’s Committee.
The park at the top of the hill in the center of the city is worth a little walk and can provide much-needed shade. The statue of Uncle Ho is a reminder of the fact that he lived here.
A house in a fairy-tale like location
What to do in & Around Cao Bang
The impressive environment here is the main reason that people make the trip to Cao Bang. In this beautiful area, there are a number of things that you should definitely not miss. One of those things is the Ban Gioc Falls. We will tell you more about this later.
1. Discover the Town
The town itself is not that special, but it is a good base to discover the region. In Cao Bang itself, you can visit the War Memorial. We found the view here more beautiful than the War Memorial itself. There’s also the Ba Be National Park, a beautiful region in Vietnam, a 5-hour drive away.
2. Go to the Ban Gioc Falls
Perhaps the most important reason to travel to Cao Bang is the Ban Gioc Falls. The largest waterfall in Vietnam, directly on the border with China. They are very spectacular and definitely a highlight during your trip through Vietnam. The falls are “only” 30 meters high, but an impressive 300 meters wide.
In addition to these impressive waterfalls, the province is also home to various ethnic minorities, notably the Dao, Nung and Tay who still maintain their traditional way of life in the more remote areas.
How to Get to the Ban Gioc Falls
Buses from Cao Bang to the falls take 2 hours (75,000 Dong, $3.20).
TIP – The entrance fee to the falls is 15,000 dong ($0.65). For 100,000 Dong ($4.30) you can get even closer to the falls with a bamboo raft.
3. Go to Lang Son
Lang Son is about 130 kilometers from Cao Bang. Lang Son is a city on the border of China. It is a small village surrounded by the Karst Mountains. More than 80% of the area is covered with mountains and this spectacular terrain provides breathtaking views. The area is mainly inhabited by tribes such as the Tho, Nung, Man, and Dzao.
Lang Son, situated next to the Karst Mountains, has amazing views as well
How to Get to Cao Bang
Cao Bang is more than 270 kilometers from Hanoi. That does not seem that far, but you have to go straight through the mountains so it will take a while. The bus from Hanoi takes at least 9 hours and it costs around 150,000 Dong ($6.45). There are 12 buses a day! So reservations are not necessary. If you come from Lang Son, it takes about 3 hours by bus and it will cost 100,000 Dong ($4.30).
To get to the Ban Gioc Falls, take a minibus that runs every day (ask about this at your accommodation). You can also visit the Ba Be National Park (a beautiful region) from Cao Bang. This also costs 100,000 Dong and takes around 5 hours.
Best Time to Visit Cao Bang
The cool climate of the province ensures that you can come here all year round. However, the beautiful nature with forests, mountains, and waterfalls can best be visited in the spring, from February to April. It will rain a bit less in these months.
If you want to see the snow-covered mountains in Trung Khanh or Tra Linh Mountain, it’s better to come here from November to January. It can be a bit chilly in these months.