Ban Gioc Waterfall, Vietnam
Visit Cao Bang province and the 4th Largest Waterfall in the World
Aside from Ban Gioc- Detian Falls, Cao Bang is also the home of Nguom Ngao, one of the most beautiful caves in Vietnam.
The Surrounding Area
Cao Bang province is located in northern Vietnam about 272 km from Ha Noi. From Cao Bang, you can follow highway 4B eastward toward Lang Son. Highway 3 will lead you north to Bac Kan, China, or you can hop on highway 34 and follow it to Ha Giang province out west.
You can purchase a bus ticket at any local station in the provinces across northern Vietnam. Be sure to pay attention to ticket price, departure time, destination and all the different routes before you begin your journey.
If you choose to go on a road trip with either a car or a motorbike, follow highway 3 all the way northward and you will finish the road at Cao Bang. It's recommended that you spend at least 3 to 4 days in the area before migrating to others destinations since there's so much to experience. Be sure to bring all necessary travel documents, follow the traffic laws and use a reliable vehicle, as help are limited while on the road so a few equipments may be wise.
Time to visit/Season
The local cuisine varies from month to month, all depending on the harvest. Summer temperatures are high with skyrocketing humidity levels. This can potentially create uncomfortable travels, so be prepared. From Autumn to Spring, the area experiences beautiful weather with cold nights and temperate during the day. This is usually the best season for sightseeing and feasting on the local fares as the harvest season draw to a closed.
Hotels in Cao Bang have their price ranging from 150,000 - 500,000 dong/night; in US dollars, a room could be anywhere between $7.50 to $25 per night. A few prominent hotels for you to choose from are Anh Duong, Bang Giang, Ky Dieu or Phong Lan. It's good common sense to reserve rooms in advance and research the area before booking.
There are a few fares in Cao Bang that one should not miss while visiting the area. Cao Bang is famous for a specific dish, duck marinated with 7 different exotic spices, then roasted over an open fire. Other strange dishes including sour pho, beehive porridge and all the different kinds of sweet rice are considered fine cuisine to the foreign traveler in the region.
Places to see
Cao Bang is famous for the Ban Gioc waterfall. This fall is the fourth largest waterfall in the world, standing just behind Iguazu, Victoria, and Niagara Falls. The water of Ban Gioc plunges down from a height of 30 meters, continuously flowing and dropping over the many layers of rock, creating a stairway of cascading water, which gently flows into the rice fields stretching as far as the eyes could see. Not far from the falls, Nguom Ngao cave lies waiting with its many stalactites reaching unimaginable heights, displaying all kinds of fascinating formations.
The water of Ban Gioc flows into Lake Thang Hen and Lake Thang Luong. Situated 1000 meters above sea level, both lakes reflect the green color of vegetation, which grows on the rocks around them. The water bends and twists around the shore to create a heavenly scene almost only existing in a picture. The special thing about Lake Thang Hen is that it has low tide and high tide twice every day. Lake Thang Luong displays a green island perfectly situated at its heart in the middle of the lake. At Thang Hen lake, you can easily relax in a boat and let yourself float from shore to shore, traveling upstream and visiting Thang Hen cave or glimpsing the daily life of the native people while they’re in the fields.
Moreover, Cao Bang is also the home to many historical sites such as Hoang Dinh Giong, Ngam Dao, Phao Dai, Lung Tau cave, Bo Thay cave, etc. These sites record the history of the country through its many battle with China over the northern border. The most visited of these sites would be Pac Po, where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked between 1941-1945 while preparing for Vietnam's independence from the French. Aside from getting a glimpse of his life, you can also take a relaxing moment to soak your feet at Lenin stream, hike the Cac Mac mountain, explore Bo Bam cave or Co Rac field.
If time allows, don’t forget to visit Nghieu Son Linh and Bach Ma fortress. These 2 historical sites have been in existence since the earliest time period in Vietnam's feudal history. Stop by Da pagoda and listen to the strange resonance of its twin bells playing every hour of the day.
With so many cultural and historical sites to experience, Cao Bang has a lot to offer the intrepid traveler who wishes to experience a fascinating piece of Asia. Add this to your places to see while vacationing in Northern Vietnam.