Ban Gioc Waterfall
Ban Gioc Waterfall or Thac Ban Gioc located in Cao Bang province, 350km from Hanoi is one of 4 biggest waterfalls located on a frontier after Iguazu, Victoria and Niagara. The area is home to many ethnic minority communities, such as the Nung, Dzao and H'mong ethnic groups. Ban Gioc Waterfall is located on Quay Son river and features a width of 300m. Ban Gioc Waterfall formed the basis for the border between Vietnam and China on the river.
Ban Gioc Waterfall
Ban Gioc is the largest waterfall in the country, though not the highest. Its vertical drop is "only" around 30m, but it has an impressive 300m span. One side of the falls is in China, and the other is in Vietnam. Water volume varies considerably between the dry and rainy seasons, and the falls are most impressive from May to September.”
Nguom Ngao Cave
About 4km from Ban Gioc Waterfall, Nguom Ngao Cave is one of the most spectacular cave systems in Vietnam. Created by an underground river, it extends for several kilometres underground, and villagers sheltered here during the 1979 war with China. Visitors are permitted in one section, where a 1km-long concrete path and excellent lighting has been installed. A guide (no English) accompanies you on an hour-long cave tour, past huge stalagmite and stalactite outcrops and through a vast 100m chamber. The 10-minute walk from the parking lot to the cave is also very beautiful, threading through the limestone hills that characterise Cao Bang province, past fields of soya beans. A second, even bigger branch of the cave system is said to extend almost all the way back to Ban Gioc Waterfall, though there’s currently no visitor access to this section.”
Hang Pac Bo Cave
After 30 years of exile, Ho Chi Minh reentered Vietnam in January 1941 and took shelter in this small cave in one of the most remote regions of Vietnam, 3km from the Chinese border. The cave and surrounding area are sacred ground for Vietnamese revolutionaries – this is the base from which Ho launched the revolution he’d long been planning. Hang Pac Bo is 58km northwest of Cao Bang. For a return half-day trip by xe om, expect to pay around 200,000d. Even if you have little interest in the history of Vietnamese communism, the cave is in a beautiful location surrounded by evergreen forests filled with butterflies and birdsong, and overlooked by limestone mountains. Ho Chi Minh lived in the cave for a few weeks in 1941, writing poetry and translating key texts by the fathers of socialism. He stuck close to China so that he would be able to flee across the border if French soldiers discovered his hiding place. Ho named the stream in front of his cave Lenin Creek and the jungle-clad mountain that overlooks this stream Karl Marx Peak.
The Uncle Ho Museum
It is located at the entrance to the Pac Bo area. About 2km beyond this is a parking area. The cave is a 10-minute walk away along a shady stone path that follows the riverbank. You can step inside the mouth of the small cave, but not enter. The path then loops past various other points of interest, including a rock table that Ho is said to have used as a kind of jungle office for his translations and writing. In a patch of forest about a 15-minute walk in the opposite direction is a jungle hut, another of Ho’s hideouts. On the way to the hut is a rock outcrop used as a ‘dead-letter box’, where he would leave and pick up messages
The journey to the falls and cave is absolutely stunning; the road follows a beautiful river valley and weaves through soaring karst peaks for much of the trip. It’s an 87km journey along a decent paved road, and takes about 2½ hours. Buses (70,000d, two hours, 12 daily) connect Cao Bang with Trung Khanh, 27km short of the falls. Negotiate for a xe om in Trung Khanh to take you onward, which should come to around 200,000d including a two-hour wait. Another option is the direct bus (75,000d, 2½ hours) departing Cao Bang at 7.30am and 9am.
Ban Gioc Waterfall Tours.
- Mr Linh's Adventures  is a leading and unique travel company organizing group and private tours from Hanoi.
- Combining with Ba Be National Park is another option. Tourist travel from Hanoi with 1 night at Ba Be lake before travelling to Cao Bang then Ban Gioc Waterfall.
Thanh Loan Hotel This spotless place features wood panelling in abundance and spacious rooms with high ceilings, dark-wood furniture and bathrooms with tubs.
Tell: 026-385 7026; [email protected]
Duc Trung Hotel A solid option with business-bland-style rooms just a short walk from Cao Bang's main drag.
Tell: 026-385 3424; www.ductrunghotel.com.vn