In this brief 1-day-trip we explore the northeastern province of Cao Bang, with Ban Gioc-Detian waterfalls as final destination at the border with China.
They let us check-in super early at 7am and, after a few hours resting, we rent a motorcycle (for 200.000 VND, almost double price compared to Da Nang) and we leave eastbound towards the waterfalls. The road is in good conditions, all turns at first, with long straight roads after.
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, what is impressive is the overall width that reaches 300m.
On the Vietnamese side there’s calmness and laziness, some stands sell souvenir, 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 brightside and we enjoy the waterfalls almost us alone.
We get in the caves at about 2pm, 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 other caves aren’t open to public yet…
We have been in some 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 influence. I don’t want to bore you more with descriptions, so check this pictures out and try to imagine the view from live, just 100 times better than in photo!
- There’s a few guesthouses in Cao Bang, prices from 250.000 VND/room.
- Head to Hanoi main bus station to buy tickets to the North, from 150.000 VND.