Asia,  Cao Bang,  VietNam

A Ban Gioc waterfall Cao Bang Vietnam travel guide by a Vietnamese !

If you are seeking for some hidden gems in Vietnam, this post is definitely for you. Presumably, you’ve found this page whilst researching for some “authentic places in Vietnam ” and I am glad that you are here . Ban gioc waterfall Cao Bang Vietnam is an attractive place and it is really worth your time to visit. Imagine immersing yourself in a world of marvellous natural beauty, without the crowds or traffic jam. That’s Ban Gioc. Lets explore this wonderful scenery through my Cao Bang, Ban gioc waterfall travel guide below.

1. Ban gioc waterfall facts

Ban Gioc Waterfall Cao Bang Vietnam is located about 90km from Cao Bang city and 400km from the center of Hanoi capital. This is actually the part of Ban Gioc-Detian Falls which are both located in the karst hills of Daxin County on the Chinese side and Cao Bang province on the Vietnamese side. Ban Gioc is a Vietnamese name and Detian Falls is a Chinese name.

Ban gioc waterfall is the largest waterfall in Asia and the fourth largest along a national border in the world. It is more than 656 feet in width and 99 feet in depth. The water falls down a three-tiered cliff. These rocks and trees divide it into three different falls and located on Quay Son River. The smaller fall belongs to Vietnam whereas the bigger part is divided into 2 parts: Vietnam and China part.

The main Ban gioc waterfall
The main Ban gioc waterfall ( both belongs to Vietnam and China)

Nowadays, It’s much easier than ever to visit Ban Gioc waterfall, but still very few foreign travellers know it. Thats the reason I wrote this article to let you know more about this truly hidden gem in Vietnam.

2. Hotels near Ban gioc waterfall

Yen Nhi Ban gioc homestay: 4€ for 1 person in a dorm and 8€ for a double room. This homestay is in a very good location which is near Nguom Ngao caves and Ban Gioc waterfall( 2km). A real local homestay where you get to feel the local life. It is as basic as it gets, but the service and kindness of the hosts is heartwarming.

Khuoiky Ban gioc homestay: Located in the rock village Khuoi Ky between Ban Gioc Waterfall and Nguon Ngao Cave, this homestay provides barbecue facilities as well as a garden. It is in large community hall of the village and the host is very friendly. Price: 4-8€.

There is also a mid-range hotel named Saigon Ban Gioc Resort. Room rate starts from 1,200,000 VND /night. It’s the nearest hotel to Ban gioc waterfall Cao Bang Vietnam, which is within easy walking distance.

3. Ban Gioc waterfall weather

Ban gioc waterfall cao bang vietnam in September
Ban gioc waterfall Cao Bang Vietnam in September

The climate in Ban Gioc Cao Bang waterfall is divided into 2 distinct seasons: rainy season and dry season. The rainy season starts from June to September. This is also the time when the waterfall pouring water, pouring white foam. The best time to visit Ban gioc waterfall would be August – September.

Waterfall in the dry season has a completely different shade. At this time, the climate is quite hot and Ban Gioc Cao Bang waterfall is quite peaceful.

4. How to reach Ban Gioc waterfall Cao Bang ?

4.1 From Ha Noi to Ban gioc waterfall Cao Bang

-By Bus:

  • You can go to My Dinh bus station or Giap Bat to catch the bus /sleeper bus to Cao Bang. Time is about 7-8 hours (200k VND). The best way is booking through the hotel staff in Ha noi. They will help you to call the bus company and reserve the seat . I would prefer booking a night sleeper bus at 9.30 pm to save time and arrive Cao Bang in the early morning or you can book the limousine at 4.30 pm and arriving Cao Bang at 10.30 PM.
  • 2 popular bus companies:
  • Thanh Ly bus : phone 0916121888
    Vinh Dung bus : phone 0973755755
  • When arriving at Cao Bang bus station, you need to catch a taxi/rent a motorbike or take a bus again to Ban gioc waterfall (80km, 2-3 hour). There is only two bus routes in Cao Bang bus station: to Pac po village or Ban Gioc waterfall ( Trung Khanh district). And the bus to Ban gioc waterfall runs every 30 minutes so its easy for you to catch the bus from there. ( Price: 70k VND). Frankly I would prefer to hire a motorbike cause the scenery on the way to Ban Gioc waterfall is extremely marvellous that no one should miss.

– By motorbike:

You can choose one of the following 2 routes to move to Ban Gioc waterfall Cao Bang :

-Highway 1: Hanoi – That Khe – Trung Khanh – Ban Gioc (about 323 km distance).( blue line)
– Highway 3: Hanoi – Thai Nguyen – Bac Kan – Cao Bang – Trung Khanh – Ban Gioc.( grey line- 319km)

From Ha noi to Ban gioc by motorbike
From Ha noi to Ban gioc by motorbike

The other option is going from Ha noi to Ban Gioc waterfall via Ba Be lake. If you intend to visit Ba Be during your trip, this route is the good choice.

4.2 From Sapa to Ban gioc waterfall Cao Bang

From Sapa to Ban gioc waterfall Cao Bang map
From Sapa to Ban gioc waterfall Cao Bang map

There is no direct bus from Sa pa to Ban gioc waterfall Cao Bang Vietnam . Normally people have to turn back to Ha Noi capital and take the other bus from Ha Noi to Ban gioc falls. This way will take at least around 15 hours so its not a good option to do so. I would prefer you to take a bus from Sapa to Ha giang province. Ha giang is a hidden gem in Vietnam which is very authentic and worths your time to visit. You can stay there in 2-3 days and then take a bus from there to Ban Gioc .

5. Things to do in Ban gioc waterfall Cao Bang Vietnam

Entrance ticket: 45k- 2USD

The exact entrance fee is 40.000VND and you will need to pay 5.000 VND for insurance which is optional. Anyway its not too expensive at all.

  • Before heading to the waterfall, you will have a chance to pass by various souvenir shops . You can buy some souvenirs from there or rent traditional costume of Tay and Nung ethnic group and have some great photos or you can even take photos with horses there.( 50k VND-2 USD for renting costume and 10k for renting palm-leaf conical hat).
A Vietnamese take a photo with horse in Ban gioc falls
A Vietnamese take a photo with horse in Ban gioc falls. @PhuongAnh Nguyễn
  • Riding on a bambo raft: (fee: 50k- 2 USD for 10 minutes) Ban gioc waterfalls are half in Vietnam and half in China. Both countries have bamboo rafts that punt visitors to the cascade through the mist and you can easily view the waterfall from both sides at water level. Be prepared to get wet – both from the spray, and from paddling in the water. The Vietnamese side is less developed than the Chinese side. There are almost no tourists on the Vietnamese site on weekdays, unlike the China’s site.
  • Trek up to the upper level of the waterfall: Going through a wooden bridge at the bottom of the smaller fall, there’s a path leading up to the higher up the side of Ban gioc waterfalls with fantastic view from above. However be very careful when climbing there cause the rocks are very slippery and dangerous.
 A path leading up to the higher up the side of Ban gioc waterfalls
A path leading up to the higher up the side of Ban gioc waterfalls
  • Find a secret place to marvel at one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam. Normally I would find some places on a pebbly beach or lay in the tree trunk near there and enjoy the sights. Just as long as you are not coming here on weekends or holiday, finding those places will not be a problem.
  • Enjoy the countryside landscape along Quay son river and Kayak in Quay son river : Before reaching Ban Gioc waterfalls Cao Bang Vietnam, you will have a chance to savour the picturesque countryside on the road along Quay Son River with fabulous valley, huge limestone karsts and golden paddy fields. This is indeed one of the most ideal place for camping in Vietnam.
Quay Son river
Quay Son river
beautiful landscape near Ban gioc waterfall cao bang vietnam
beautiful landscape near Ban gioc waterfall
Paddy fields in harvest season in cao bang vietnam.
Paddy fields in harvest season.

5. What restaurants are near Ban Gioc waterfall Cao Bang Vietnam?

Cao Bang has various delicious specialities and 7-species roasted duck is one of the most amazing dish that you should not miss when visiting there. Those kind of dishes are easily found in any restaurant in Ban Gioc falls.

7-species roasted duck: 7 species-roasted duck is a special dish in Cao Bang that no one should forget when visiting this beautiful land. People have used 7 different spices to marinate duck meat. The meat is firm and sweet, soft but neither friable nor tough. Many people who have tasted it have guessed that in these spices, there must be some flavors from the roots and leaves of the plants brought from the forest.

7-species roasted duck in ban gioc waterfall cao bang vietnam
7-species roasted duck

Ant eggs cake: traditional dish for important holidays. The cake is made from ant eggs and rice with some other spices of Cao Bang.

Honestly, tourism in Cao Bang as well as Ban gioc waterfall is still not developed as there is not much good infrastructure there. Finding a luxury or high-end restaurant is almost impossible so do not surprise if you can not find any deluxe bar, resort like in many other tourist places in Vietnam.

Some restaurants near Ban gioc waterfalls Cao Bang Vietnam:

  • Phuong Cuu restaurant: 80m from Phat Tich Ban gioc pagoda gate.
  • Tung Duong restaurant: adress: ĐT206, Đàm Thuỷ, Trùng Khánh, Cao Bằng, Vietnam.

6. Ban gioc waterfall day tour

Ban gioc waterfall day tour is almost impossible starting from Ha noi. The bus from Ha noi to Ban gioc Cao Bang normally takes around 8-9 hours. Hence I would prefer you to book Ban gioc waterfall 3 or 4 days tour rather than a day trip. Among various Ban gioc waterfall tour on the internet, this Ba Be National Park and Ban gioc waterfall is one of the best tour I have seen. This tour includes accommodation, meals for 3 days 2 nights and round-trip transport. Through this tour, you will have a chance take a scenic cruise along the Nang River and Ba Be Lake, explore local life in the Tay village of Bo Lu, discover one of the most amazing cave and Ban gioc waterfall Cao Bang Vietnam. On the other hand, besides various remarkable things you may have, I have to admit that the time on the van during this trip is quite long.

Price: 200€

7. What attractions are near Ban gioc waterfall ?

7.1 Buddhist Temple of Truc Lam Ban Gioc

Truc Lam Ban Gioc pagoda
Truc Lam Ban Gioc pagoda

Distance from Ban gioc waterfall Cao Bang Vietnam: 700m

Ticket: free.

Phat Tich Truc Lam Ban Gioc pagoda was built in June 2013 and completed 2018. It’s a new beauty spot destination which serves the religious and spiritual needs of the Vietnamese people in Cao Bang . The pagoda was built in the style of traditional Vietnamese Buddhist architecture. From the pagoda, you can get the whole view of Ban Gioc waterfall with fabulous landscape near there. You should try not to miss this one for the overlooking and breathtaking view.

7.2 Nguom Ngao Cave

Nguom Ngao cave
Nguom Ngao cave

About 3km from Ban Gioc waterfall Cao Bang Vietnam , this immense cave with a total length of 2144m is located in the heart of a mountain in Cao Bang. Despite of the fact that this cave had been discovered in 1921, tourists can only visit this cave since 1996. Besides Ban gioc waterfall, Nguom Ngao cave is definitely one of the must visiting place in Cao Bang Vietnam. You can easily explore the cave by foot without any special equipment.

Ticket : 45k

7.3 Thang Hen lake

Distance from Ban Gioc waterfall Cao Bang Vietnam : 65km

Ticket: free.

Thang Hen is a freshwater lake, located in Tra Linh District, about 25km far from Cao Bang center. This place is blessed with charming landscape of green trees, emerald water, and the bending lozenge shape around the valley. Water level in the lake changes every day depend on the season.

Thang Hen lake
Thang Hen lake

The Thang Hen (bee-tail shape) lake system includes 36 natural lakes connected to each other through under-ground caves and rivers, each of which is several hundred meters apart. All of the lakes are located in a large valley surrounded by peaks connected with each other by low saddles, forming a typical karst peak cluster-depression landscape.

7.4 Nui Thung valley

Distance from Ban Gioc waterfall: 60km.

Ticket: free

Nui Thung Valley
Nui Thung Valley

Thang Hen lake and Nui Thung valley is in the same area of Cao Bang geopark with various lake, karst peak and mountains. International scientists who have studied about Cao bang geopark had call this place as “Mountain Angel Eye” due to its marvellous natural beauty. There is a lake and waterfall called Nam Tra in this valley. If you come here on the dry season, there will be no water on Nam Tra lake and its time for you to gaze in awe at this charming meadows in Vietnam. Nui Thung and Thang Hen lake is quite far from Ban gioc waterfall, however they are both on the way from Ban gioc to Cao Bang city so I highly recommend visiting those places before turning back to Ha Noi.

8. Ban Gioc waterfall Cao Bang Vietnam travel tips

  • Always check the weather condition before heading to Ban Gioc waterfall Cao Bang Vietnam.
Ban gioc waterfall cao bang vietnam in flood season.
Ban gioc waterfall in flood season.
  • Bring full identification when traveling to Ban Gioc waterfall Cao Bang Vietnam to avoid some unnecessary troubles because this is an area of the border between Vietnam and China.
  • Bring a wound-bandaging kit for protection in case of having minor scratches while trekking.
  • Bring extra cloth and towel in case of getting wet when going on a bamboo raft.
  • Bring a pair of sport shoes and a pair of sandals to ease foot pain.
  • Try to stay in Cao Bang at least 2 days instead of just visiting Ban gioc waterfall cause Non nuoc Cao Bang is one of 2 global geological parks recognized by UNESCO in Vietnam ( the other is Dong Van karst plateau geopark in Ha giang province- another hidden gem in Vietnam). Not only Ban gioc waterfall, Cao Bang Vietnam has much more fascinating places to offer with widespread forests, endemic faunas and floras, diverse culture.
  • A detailed Cao Bang vietnam travel guide !

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