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Cao Bang, Vietnam: A handy guide to savor the best of the province

24/01/2024 6.518

Cao Bang, Vietnam, where karst landscapes, cultural marvels, and serene waterfalls converge, promises an unforgettable journey into untouched beauty and local heritage.

Cao Bang

From its lush landscapes to its vibrant culture, Cao Bang, Vietnam offers a unique adventure for Vietnam travel. Cao Bang offers a unique blend of natural wonders, historical significance, and cultural diversity. Whether you are drawn to its stunning landscapes, intrigued by its history, or eager to immerse yourself in local traditions, Cao Bang has something to offer every kind of traveler.

1. Where is Cao Bang? How to get there?

1.1. Location of Cao Bang

Cao Bang Province is situated in the northeastern part of Vietnam, bordering China's Guangxi Province. On a Cao Bang, Vietnam's map, you will find it marked with diverse landscapes, from lush valleys to towering mountains. Its terrain features karst topography, picturesque valleys, and cave systems.

Cao Bang City serves as the provincial capital, providing a central point for exploring the region's natural beauty and cultural richness.

Cao Bang

1.2. How to get to Cao Bang, Vietnam?

To reach Cao Bang, Vietnam, travelers often embark on journeys from Hanoi via various transportation options, including buses, private vehicles, and even overnight trains. Another popular route involves a scenic Sapa-Ha Giang-Cao Bang tour, where travelers traverse the stunning landscapes of northern Vietnam, immersing themselves in the breathtaking beauty of the region before arriving in Cao Bang.

Hanoi to Cao Bang:

How to get to Cao Bang from Hanoi? Hanoi to Cao Bang distance spans around 270 kilometers. The most popular and practical transportation choices encompass:

  • Sleeper Bus: A favored option, taking approximately 8-10 hours. Sleeper buses depart from My Dinh Bus Station and reach Cao Bang Bus Station. Some buses even offer a direct route to Ban Gioc Waterfall Cao Bang, Vietnam.
  • Private Taxi or Van: A longer journey of about 10 hours to Cao Bang Province.
  • Train and Bus Combo: Commence with a train ride to Lang Son province, the nearest railway station to Cao Bang, and then transition to a bus from Lang Son to reach Cao Bang.
  • Motorbike Expedition: Reserved for experienced riders and thrill-seekers, a motorbike adventure delivers an exhilarating approach to Cao Bang.
Cao Bang

Sapa - Ha Giang - Cao Bang:

This extraordinary route from Sapa to Cao Bang unveils a tapestry of Vietnam's diverse topography and cultural riches. Here is how to navigate this enchanting path:

  • Sapa to Ha Giang: Start from Sapa, the renowned mountain town, travel east to Lao Cai, and venture north to Ha Giang. The route showcases terraced rice fields, ethnic villages, and stunning mountain vistas. In Ha Giang, allow yourself to explore its loop of breathtaking scenery.  
  • Ha Giang to Cao Bang: From Ha Giang, journey eastward toward Cao Bang, Vietnam. En route, tourists will get the chance to take in the marvelous beauty of Quan Ba's Twin Mountains and the ethereal landscapes of Meo Vac. After traversing the mountainous roads, you will reach Cao Bang, where you will encounter Ban Gioc Waterfalls, Nguom Ngao Cave, and the historical Pac Bo Cave. 

2. When is the best time to visit Cao Bang?

Cao Bang weather exhibits a clear division between two distinct seasons. The rainy period spans from April to September, while the dry stretch encompasses October to March of the following year. 

Cao Bang

Each season in Cao Bang presents its unique charm. The best time to experience the full splendor of Cao Bang is during August and September. During this period, Cao Bang, Vietnam's weather is pleasantly cool with reduced rainfall, providing favorable conditions for exploration and reveling in the region's splendid natural beauty. Waterfalls cascade magnificently, enhancing the scenery. 

Between November and December, the mountains and forests are adorned with vibrant buckwheat flowers and wild sunflowers, forming a captivating landscape. As spring transitions to early summer, the climate strikes a harmonious balance, offering an opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring apricot forest.

3. Best places to visit in Cao Bang, Vietnam

3.1. Pac Bo Cave

Cao Bang

Pac Bo Cave served as a pivotal refuge for Ho Chi Minh during the arduous struggle for independence. The cave's captivating stalactite formations lend an air of mystique, inviting visitors to explore its depths and immerse themselves in the atmosphere that once enveloped the revolutionary leader. Adjacent to the cave, Lenin Stream and Karl Marx Mountain stand as poignant reminders of Vietnam's revolutionary journey, offering further layers of insight into the profound sacrifices and dedication that shaped the nation's destiny. 

3.2. Quay Son River

Cao Bang

Quay Son River in Cao Bang is considered one of the most poetic rivers in Vietnam. The river winds its way through a captivating tapestry of natural beauty, offering an immersive experience in the province's scenic landscapes. With its crystal-clear waters that mirror the lush foliage and towering limestone karsts, the river serves as a mirror to nature's artistry. 

As it meanders gracefully through the terrain, Quay Son River beckons travelers to embark on serene boat rides, allowing them to drift along its gentle currents while taking in the panoramic views that unfold around every bend. This aquatic journey not only unveils the breathtaking vista of Cao Bang's countryside but also provides a serene escape, enveloping visitors in a sense of peace and tranquility as they navigate the waterways and forge a deeper connection with the region's natural splendor.

3.3. Ban Gioc Waterfalls

Cao Bang

Ban Gioc Waterfalls, a breathtaking masterpiece of nature nestled within the picturesque landscapes of Cao Bang, beckons travelers with its awe-inspiring beauty. Situated on the border between Vietnam and China, these magnificent falls are celebrated as some of the largest in Southeast Asia. Their grandeur is emphasized by the roaring cascade of crystalline water that descends gracefully down multi-tiered limestone steps. 

The scene is framed by a lush panorama of verdant foliage, creating a harmonious contrast that heightens the visual splendor. At the base of the falls lies a serene turquoise pool, inviting visitors to bask in its tranquility and serenade to the melody of nature's symphony. 

3.4. Phat Tich Truc Lam Pagoda

Cao Bang

Nestled in proximity to the mesmerizing Ban Gioc Waterfalls in Cao Bang, Phat Tich Truc Lam Pagoda graces the landscape with its serene presence. This spiritual haven offers a tranquil retreat for seekers of inner peace. 

Surrounded by the majestic beauty of nature, the pagoda's intricate architecture and serene ambiance provide a harmonious blend of natural and spiritual beauty, inviting visitors to embark on a journey of contemplation and rejuvenation amidst the enchanting surroundings.

3.5. Khuoi Ky Village

Cao Bang

Nestled within Cao Bang's alluring tourist complex is the captivating Khuoi Ky ancient stone village, an embodiment of Tay's cultural heritage. This traditional village of the Tay people lies adjacent to provincial road No. 206, a mere 2 kilometers from Ban Gioc Waterfalls.

The village beckons with an enchanting sight - stone-crafted stilt houses emerging from the landscape. Among the sprawling green expanse, fourteen resolute stone houses perch on the mountainside, exuding a harmonious connection to their surroundings. Adding a touch of romance, the village finds itself serenaded by the crystalline Khuoi Ky Stream, which weaves an elegant watercourse before it. 

3.6. Nguom Ngao Cave

Cao Bang

Nguom Ngao Cave, nestled within the mountainous embrace of Gun village in Dam Thuy commune, Trung Khanh district, emerges as a priceless gem bestowed upon Cao Bang, Vietnam by nature itself. Its very name, "Nguom Ngao," resonates with the Tay ethnic language, translating to "Tiger Cave." 

Once inside, visitors are greeted by an enchanting array of uniquely formed stalactites. Nguom Ngao boasts a labyrinth of limestone chambers, each possessing varying dimensions, floors, staircases, and passageways. The stalactites and stalagmites, adorned in forms reminiscent of a coral reef, a ship, a cascading waterfall, an inverted lotus blossom, and terraced fields, weave a tapestry of exquisite splendor within the cave's depths, casting an aura of magnificence and fantasy.

3.7. Thang Hen Lake

Cao Bang

Tucked away within the captivating expanse of Cao Bang, Vietnam lies the ethereal Thang Hen Lake, an enchanting retreat that invites travelers to immerse themselves in its natural splendor. Nestled amidst a lush tapestry of greenery, this hidden gem captivates with its serene emerald waters, reflecting the pristine beauty of its surroundings. 

The lake's secluded tranquility offers a respite from the demands of modern life, inviting visitors to unwind and rejuvenate amidst a landscape of breathtaking allure. As a haven of serenity, Thang Hen Lake serves as a picturesque sanctuary where one can escape the hustle and bustle, allowing the senses to absorb the harmonious symphony of nature and find solace in its unspoiled beauty.

3.8. Mat Than Mountain

Cao Bang

Also known as Nui Thung Mountain, Mat Than Mountain is a breathtaking natural marvel located in Cao Chuong commune within Cao Bang's Trung Khanh district. Known as "Phja Piot" in the language of the Tay ethnic minority, which translates to "a mountain with a hole," this geological wonder lives up to its name with a remarkable hole approximately 50 meters in diameter piercing through the mountain at its midpoint. This unique feature, combined with the mountain's commanding presence, creates a captivating and unparalleled vista that beckons travelers to explore and marvel at the extraordinary beauty of this Cao Bang, Vietnam treasure.

3.9. Khau Coc Cha Pass

Cao Bang

For intrepid adventurers drawn to the allure of this northern province, a Cao Bang loop to the Khau Coc Cha Pass, famously known as Me Pja Pass, is undoubtedly one of the must-try things to do in Cao Bang. Spanning a mere 2.5 kilometers, this pass is distinguished by its formidable incline, comprising 15 tiers and 14 bends, earning it the moniker of "Vietnam's most daring pass." 

3.10. Phong Nam Valley

Cao Bang

Phong Nam Valley in Trung Khanh District offers a captivating retreat where visitors are embraced by ethereal mist, gracefully suspended amidst a backdrop of grandeur. The landscape unfolds as a tapestry of poetic beauty, where majestic mountains and meandering rivers converge with golden-hued rice fields that stretch into the horizons of autumn's embrace. 

A journey to Phong Nam Valley promises moments of wonder and amazement. The juxtaposition of tranquil rooftops, winding rivers, and the resplendence of golden fields coalesce harmoniously, painting a vivid and enchanting natural tableau that etches itself into the hearts and memories of those fortunate enough to traverse its serene expanse.

3.11. Phia Oac National Park

Phia Oac National Park in Cao Bang Province is a nature lover's paradise. This protected area boasts diverse ecosystems, from dense forests to highland meadows, and is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. What to do in Cao Bang Phia Oac National Park? Visitors can explore hiking trails, enjoy stunning vistas, and experience the park's biodiversity up close.

Cao Bang

4. A complete list of must-eats in Cao Bang Province

When it comes to culinary delights, Cao Bang, Vietnam offers a tantalizing array of dishes that showcase the region's rich flavors and cultural diversity. Down below are the must-try Cao Bang foods that tourists should not miss out on. 

  • Sour Pho (Pho chua Cao Bang): a unique twist on traditional pho that tantalizes with a sour broth, creating a delightful flavor contrast.
  • Grilled agarwood fish (Ca tram huong nuong): a local delicacy in Cao Bang known for its distinctive smoky flavor, offering a unique and flavorful culinary experience.
  • Fried duck meat cake (Banh ap chao): a flavorful specialty of Cao Bang, delighting with its crispy texture and savory taste
  • Ant egg rice cake (Banh trung kien): a distinctive Cao Bang delicacy that offers a unique blend of flavors and textures, combining the earthy richness of ant eggs with the comfort of rice cake.
  • Trung Khanh Chestnut: a delectable treat celebrated for its natural sweetness and creamy texture, providing a delightful taste of Cao Bang, Vietnam's bountiful produce.
  • Cao Bang steamed rolls (Banh cuon Cao Bang): Cao Bang's version of steamed rice rolls distinguishes itself with a sweet bone broth accompaniment, setting it apart from traditional varieties. Unlike others, these rolls exclude wood-ear mushrooms and dried shallots, offering a unique and delightful taste.
Cao Bang

5. Where to stay in Cao Bang?

In Cao Bang, Vietnam, accommodation options cater to a range of preferences, ensuring a comfortable and immersive stay for every type of traveler. Hotels and homestays are the two most popular options. 

  • Hotels

Guesthouses and hotels in Cao Bang, Vietnam provide modern amenities, offering convenience and easy access to local attractions and dining. You can tailor your stay to your liking by selecting from an array of room categories and services that accommodate various preferences and budgets. These accommodations are particularly suited for travelers seeking privacy, customary conveniences, and a hassle-free sojourn, whether it is a business venture or an urban escapade.

  • Homestays
Cao Bang

For a more immersive experience, Cao Bang eco homestays in ethnic minority villages like Tay and Nung offer the chance to engage with locals, share meals, and delve into traditional customs. These rustic yet charming accommodations grant insight into authentic rural lifestyles, catering to travelers seeking a genuine connection with local culture and a unique, personalized stay.

Vietnam is a treasure trove of captivating destinations. In addition to Cao Bang, consider these remarkable places for an enriching tour:

  • Phu Quoc: the idyllic island famed for its pristine beaches, azure waters, and vibrant marine life. 
  • Nha Trang: a coastal gem boasting beautiful beaches, clear waters, and an array of activities, from snorkeling and diving to exploring historic sites and vibrant markets.
  • Hoi An: Hoi An's ancient town impresses tourists with its well-preserved architecture, lantern-lit streets, and bustling markets. 
  • Da Nang: a coastal city in Central Vietnam known for its stunning beaches, rich history, and vibrant blend of traditional and modern culture.
  • Ha Long: a breathtaking natural wonder that features emerald waters and thousands of limestone karsts.
Cao Bang

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Cao Bang


Cao Bang

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Cao Bang, Vietnam beckons with its diverse landscapes, rich cultural tapestry, and historical significance. From the cascading beauty of Ban Gioc Waterfalls to the serene allure of Phong Nam Valley, every corner holds a tale waiting to be discovered. Whether immersing oneself in local traditions, embarking on thrilling adventures, or savoring authentic cuisine, a journey to Cao Bang promises an unforgettable experience that unveils the true essence of this captivating province.

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