In this brief one-day-trip we explore the northeastern province of Cao Bang, with Ban Gioc-Detian Waterfalls as final destination on the border with China.
SLEEPER BUS FROM HANOI TO CAO BANG
CAO BANG PROVINCE
They let us check-in super early at 7 am so we can get a few hours resting, the sleeper bus isn’t really the best way to get a good night sleep.
When we wake up, we rent a motorcycle (for 200,000 VND, almost double the price compared to Da Nang) and leave eastbound towards Ban Gioc Waterfalls. The road is in good conditions, all turns at first, with long straight roads after. Plus some rewarding views!
BAN GIOC WATERFALLS
Ban Gioc Waterfalls are in fact so wide they have a side diving into Vietnam, and the other into China. The fall is “only” 30 meters high, what is impressive is the overall width that reaches 300 meters!
On the Vietnamese side there’s relaxation and laziness, some stands sell souvenirs, but the owners lie on hammocks. The Chinese shore is super busy, rafts go up and down to bring tourists close to the fall. This describes the different organisation and mentality between the two countries in tourist matters, Chinese do it better in this case. Indeed, as on the Chinese side a wooden stairway leads to the top of the falls to appreciate them from above too, on our side the muddy uphill path is blocked by an iron safety fence. Still we look at the bright side and we enjoy the Ban Gioc waterfalls being almost us alone here!
NGUOM NGAO CAVES
We get into the caves at about 2 pm, and we’ll get out almost 2 hours later! A breathtaking scenery that leaves us speechless, very hard to describe. Stalagmites and stalactites of huge dimensions, of all shapes, continuously evolving. Water is everywhere, the drops that form the stalagmites come down as pouring rain, we hear the underground rivers flowing all around. Speleologists have discovered that the grottoes are linked with the waterfalls 4 km away, but these recently discovered caves aren’t open to public yet…
We have been in several caves in Vietnam, from Da Nang’s Marble Mountains to Ha Long Bay’s Thien Canh Son Cave, (unfortunately we missed Phòng Nha in central Vietnam) but these ones have been undoubtedly the most impressive. Surely the fact we were alone with no people around had deep impact. As usual, photos can describe better than words, so check them out and try to imagine the view from live, just 100 times better than in photo!
WHERE TO STAY:
- Primrose Homestay Cao Bang: the most established place in Cao Bang, the young staff is very friendly and welcoming, cheap prices!
- You can pre-book all your accommodation in Vietnam with free cancellation here.
HOW TO GET AROUND:
- Head to Hanoi My Dinh bus station to buy tickets to Cao Bang, from 150.000 VND;
- Direct bus Hanoi-Ha Giang: 300,000 VND.
- Motorbike rent: from 200.000 VND/day.
- Book your tickets to travel in Vietnam on amt.12go.asia
- Never leave home without a reliable travel insurance. Even if you trust yourself, you can’t always trust others. Better safe than sorry! Get your quote here.