Cao bang Travel Guide

All things need to know before travelling to Cao Bang

When mentioning Cao Bang, tourists will immediately think of the “green pearl” of the mountains and forests of Northeast Vietnam with its pristine features. Especially the majestic nature and cool climate in four seasons of the year. Not only that, Cao Bang is also famous for many primeval forests, rich flora and fauna, beautiful landscapes beside unique culture. Let’s explore this beautiful land with Origin Vietnam.

1. Where is Cao Bang?

Cao Bang is a province in the Northeast mountainous region of Vietnam. About 280 km northeast of Hanoi capital and geographically located:

  • The West borders Ha Giang and Tuyen Quang provinces.
  • The South borders Bac Kan and Lang Son provinces.
  • The North and East border the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (China) with a 333.125 km long border.

2. How is Cao Bang unique?

Cao Bang is a place with 90% terrain consisting of rugged rolling hills and mountains, divided by a dense river system and deep valleys. It is this characteristic that has given this place a surprisingly majestic natural beauty, with the power to “capture the hearts” of countless tourists from far and wide.

In addition, Cao Bang is also a land imbued with a long-standing revolutionary tradition with a long history of heroic battles.

This place is considered the origin of the Vietnamese Revolution because President Ho Chi Minh lived and worked here upon his return home, determined to regain independence for the Vietnamese people and famously giving birth to the poem “Landscape of Pac Bo”.

Additionally, Cao Bang is renowned for its folk songs, unique traditional customs, and festivals, captivating culture enthusiasts to the extent that they forget their way home.

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

Although Cao Bang is blessed with many beautiful scenes by nature. It’s not always possible to visit and fully enjoy the vast scenery of mountains and forests.

Because the climate in Cao Bang is divided into 2 seasons. The rainy season lasts from May to August and the dry season from September to April of the following year. However, tourists who come to this “green pearl” all say that Cao Bang has its own unique beauty in every season.

But to be able to capture all the beauty of Cao Bang. The most ideal time to travel to Cao Bang is from August to September every year. At that time, the weather will be extremely cool, with little rain, convenient for traveling and exploring all the famous places and landscapes. At this time, the famous waterfalls in Cao Bang will also be “strongly active” with abundant water resources, bringing an extremely majestic landscape. Thanks to that, you will easily get virtual photos at one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Vietnam.

In addition, if you want to find the season of flowers blooming, filling the mountains and forests. You can also go to Cao Bang in the last two months of the year. At this time, buckwheat flowers and wild sunflowers will compete with each other to bloom, like a brilliant mountain painting.

Is it worth visiting Cao Bang?

In case you want to experience the cold of winter then you can admire the image of white snow and ice covering an entire stretch of sky. Also you may come here in the winter at Phia Oac National Park.

In spring, all over the world, natural scenery seems to be wearing a “new shirt”. Everything is bright, flowers are fragrant and blooming, forests of peach blossoms, plum blossoms, pear blossoms,… are in full bloom. This is also the season of traditional festivals here, visitors have the opportunity to participate in traditional cultural activities and unique folk games.

4. How to get to Cao Bang?

4.1 Traveling from Hanoi

Cao Bang is located in the Northeast of Vietnam and about 280 km from Hanoi city. So it is most convenient to stop in Hanoi first. To be able to travel from other provinces to Hanoi, you can choose between many different means of transport. But the one to save the most time is still traveling by plane. You can easily find any direct flight from countless airlines from all over the country to Hanoi.

4.2 From Hanoi to Cao Bang city


From Hanoi to Cao Bang city, there are many means of transportation from passenger cars, rental cars, self-driving cars to motorbikes. Among them, passenger cars are the most optimal choice in terms of both cost and time. You can also easily find a suitable bus with a flexible schedule at My Dinh bus station to travel to Ha Giang city.

Private vehicles

For tourists who want to travel by private car or motorbike to fully experience the beautiful roads. You can rent a car in Hanoi to travel to Cao Bang city or you can book tour package to Ban Gioc Cao Bang here.

Particularly for large tour groups, if you have a driver’s license, you can rent a self-driving car to proactively start your trip to Cao Ban city.

  • Detailed directions for cars: From Hanoi, you can drive towards Hanoi – Lang Son highway, then follow National Highway 4 to reach Cao Bang.
  • Detailed route instructions for motorbikes: Travelers traveling by motorbike can move in the direction of Thanh Tri bridge, onto Hanoi – Thai Nguyen highway. After that, you continue to take Thai Nguyen – Cho Moi highway to Bac Kan, follow National Highway 3 to Phu Thong – Ngan Son – Cao Bang.

5. Sightseeings in Cao Bang

5.1 Ban Gioc Waterfall

Ban Gioc Waterfall was once on the list of the most beautiful waterfalls in Southeast Asia. And also in the top 4 largest waterfalls in the world. Located at the intersection of the border between China and Vietnam. Ban Gioc is as beautiful as a strip of pure white silk between the mountains and forests of Cao Bang and flows down to the jade-colored Quay Son river.

The identifying point of this waterfall is its unique layered structure with each block of water flowing through many layers of limestone and plants. At the foot of the waterfall are the houses and green fields of the Nung and Tay ethnic people.

5.2 Ma Phuc Pass

Ma Phuc is the most beautiful pass in Cao Bang province. It is a check-in location in Cao Bang that makes tourists amazed by the majesty of nature. The pass is located in Tra Linh district and has a length of about 3.5 km and an altitude of 700m (compared to sea level). True to its name, Ma Phuc Pass “squeezes” across limestone mountains and valleys, creating an image like the back of a horse.

The pass is among the most dangerous roads in Vietnam. At the same time, Ma Phuc is also classified as a geological heritage of Non Nuoc Cao Bang Global Geopark, recognized by UNESCO.

5.3 Thang Hen Lake

Also located in Tra Linh district, Thang Hen lake is one of the most famous Cao Bang tourist destinations. The lake is located in a complex of 36 natural lakes located at an altitude of nearly 1700m and connected through an underground cave system. Among them, Thang Hen Lake has the largest area and also attracts the most travelers.

This lake has the most beautiful scenery in the mountains of Northern Vietnam, with emerald green water reflecting the clouds and sky. Surrounding the lake are primeval forests and blooming wildflower beds. Although the lake water will turn turbid during the rainy season, the scene is still as beautiful as a watercolor painting among the Northeast mountains and forests.

5.4 Nguom Ngao Cave

Although it appeared more than 400 million years ago, Nguom Ngao was only opened for tourism in 1996. In the Tay language, the name Nguom Ngao means “Tiger cave”. Nestled in the mountains of Chongqing district, this is a limestone cave with a projection of more than 2100m long.

Nguom Ngao has 3 main gates: Nguom Lom, Nguom Ngao and Ban Thuon. Stepping into Nguom Ngao cave, you will be overwhelmed by the magnificent natural scenery of this Cao Bang tourist destination. Stalactites with unique shapes and eye-catching colors grow in every corner.

In particular, the temperature inside the cave is quite ideal, cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Inside the cave there are also small, gurgling streams that are extremely pleasing to the ears. Nguom Ngao Cave is only about 5 km from Ban Gioc waterfall, so you can choose tours to visit Ban Gioc waterfall combined with this cave.

5.5 Nghieu Son Linh

Only about 2 km from Cao Bang city center, Nghieu Son Linh is a mountain range. It’s located on the right bank of the gentle Bang River. This is not only a mountainous area with charming landscapes. But also a place associated with the history of Cao Bang. In the past, this was the place where troops were stationed against the Northern invaders and then became deserted because it was covered by dense forests.

Nghieu Son Linh has two peaks: Khau Thuoc and Khau Khieu. Nestled between these two mountains is Na Lu citadel and extremely difficult slopes. Currently, Nghieu Son Linh only has a 15m wide citadel running around the foot of the mountain.

5.6 Pac Bo cave – Lenin stream relic

Referring to tourist destinations in Cao Bang, you cannot ignore the Pac Bo relic site. This is not only a historically significant coordinate, but also has beautiful natural scenery like a fairyland.

With an area of more than 500 hectares, this place is divided into many relic clusters associated with Uncle Ho’s daily activities. Among them, Coc Bo cave, Lenin stream, milestone 108, Gooc Mu field are the most famous destinations.

Pac Bo relic area is beautiful in any season, however, you should come here in the dry season months (May – September). At this time, nature at Pac Bo is at its greenest, the Lenin stream flows gently and the weather is ideal to explore this place.

5.7 Phat Tich Truc Lam Ban Gioc Pagoda

This is one of the first temples present in the Northeast region of our country. Leaning against Phia Nhung mountain. Phat Tich Truc Lam Ban Gioc Pagoda was built on a 3-hectare campus. From the pagoda, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Ban Gioc waterfall and the valley below.

The pagoda is divided into many areas such as the Tam Quan gate, the Tam Bao court, the statue garden, the temple, etc. The entire pagoda is designed in traditional Vietnamese architectural style with familiar materials such as ironwood, brick…

5.8 Khuoi Ky ancient stone village

Located in the Ban Gioc waterfall tourist area. Khuoi Ky village is a village more than 400 years old, 100 km from Cao Bang center. With a location leaning against a limestone mountain and an area of about 1 hectare, this is home to more than 14 households of the Tay ethnic group.

A special feature of this ancient Cao Bang tourist destination is the stone houses built in 1594. The general architecture of these houses is traditional – a three-room tiled house with a foundation. made of stone.

Not only houses, stones are found everywhere in Khuoi Ky village, from fences, stoves, mills to dams. Therefore, Khuoi Ky is often called the ancient stone village. In the village, there are only a few homestays for people to open on their own with extremely affordable accommodation prices.

5.9 Magic Eye Mountain

About 39 km from the city, Mat Than Mountain is located in the Thang Hen lake complex of Cao Bang Geopark. In the Tay language, the mountain is called Phja Piót, meaning mountain with a hole. Local people often call it Thung Mountain and tourists are gradually getting used to this name.

Surrounding the mountain is a large valley with long stretches of green grass, wild, peaceful. Beside the quiet scene with herds of horses leisurely grazing. The turn into the mountain is a bit difficult to find, visitors should ask local people in advance to avoid getting lost. On the way to the mountain, visitors will pass by Ma Phuc Pass. It’s a very beautiful viewing spot when traveling by motorbike.

5.10 Nam Tra Waterfall

Located in the valley of Ban Danh hamlet, Quoc Toan commune, Tra Linh district, Cao Bang. With majestic and wild natural beauty, attracting many tourists to visit and explore. No matter when you travel to Cao Bang. This place always maintains its inherent natural beauty, allowing visitors to comfortably come here all year round, enjoying an exciting vacation with family and friends.

5.11 Phia Oac – Phia Den National Park

Phia Oac – Phia Den National Park is an extremely ideal place for those who want to experience trekking or traveling by motorbike. Located at an altitude of 1,931 meters, Phia Oac peak is a place you definitely should not miss if you want to hunt clouds, watch ice or sometimes even snow on winter days.

5.12 Nguyen Binh bamboo forest

If you love simple but artistic natural landscapes, you definitely cannot help but visit Nguyen Binh bamboo forest. With more than a dozen kilometers covered by the poetic green color of bamboo trees, you will feel like you are in a scene from a swordplay or historical movie – the childhood memories of many people.

6. Specialties when traveling to Cao Bang

When traveling to Cao Bang, visitors will not only admire the breathtaking natural scenery. But you will also have the opportunity to enjoy the specialties of this beautiful land.

6.1 Cao Bang rice rolls

Unlike the way people in the lowlands eat Banh Cuon, which is to sprinkle fish sauce on the cake, in Cao Bang, people will enjoy this familiar dish with bone broth. The crust is thinly coated, but still very supple, fragrant with rice, rolled with a little minced meat inside and served with a cup of broth containing poached eggs, pork trotters, and coriander. When eating, you can add a little bit of soaked bamboo shoots to add to the unique flavor of this dish.

6.2 Banh Chao (Chao cake)

Also known as duck and chao cake, this cake is often sold in the cold winter, specifically from November to February of the following year. The cake has a crispy fried sticky rice crust and the filling is made from richly seasoned duck meat. When serving to diners, the owner will cut the cake into small pieces and serve it with a cup of sweet and sour dipping sauce, soaked papaya and herbs.

6.3 Ant egg cake (Peng Ray)

This unique cake is a specialty of Cao Bang in April – May. Because at that time, wild black ants will grow very strongly, so the ant eggs are especially delicious and greasy.

The way to prepare Ant egg cake is also quite simple: after being cleaned, the ant eggs are fried with onions, a little minced pork, crushed peanuts, and chopped palanquin leaves to make the filling. The crust is made from upland sticky rice and wrapped with young leaves to always maintain its fragrant elasticity.

6.4 Canarium sticky rice

You can easily find this sticky rice dish anywhere in Cao Bang during the Canarium season (around July – August every year). When enjoying, you will feel the fleshy taste of the canarium, combined with the sweet sticky rice and eat it forever without getting bored. More specifically, sticky rice with Canarium is even more classified as a delicacy when it was announced by the Vietnam Record Holders Association to be in the list of top 100 typical dishes and culinary specialties nationwide.

6.5 Roast duck with 7 Cao Bang flavors

Roast duck is a dish that is familiar to many people. However, if you have the opportunity to come to Cao Bang, you will enjoy an extremely special dish, which is 7-flavored roasted duck. Even those with the most demanding tastes must praise this Cao Bang specialty.

Roasted duck with 7 flavors is a dish originating from the Tay people with a very elaborate preparation method. The flavor is a harmonious combination of fresh, well-cooked, still succulent duck meat with crispy skin coated with fragrant wild honey.

In the past, 7-flavored roasted duck was often cooked by people during major festivals, weddings, and worshiping ancestors… But now this dish has become more popular, becoming a familiar specialty. at many restaurants in Cao Bang.

6.6 Cao Bang sour pork

Next in the list of Cao Bang specialties we will explore sour pork. The special feature of this dish is that it is made from local pigs, fed with bananas, wild vegetables, and corn bran, so it has very little fat and the cooked meat has a more fragrant and richer flavor than regular pork.

Before processing into a dish, we incubate the pork in a bamboo tube until it ferments, then stir-fry it with vegetables or unevenly. The meat has a very unique taste, as it is just fermented, making the sour flavor very palatable. This Cao Bang specialty is extremely suitable to drink with sticky rice wine.

6.7 Cao Bang sausage specialty

Pork ribs are quite similar to Southern sausages. However, the special thing is that Cao Bang rib sausage is made with wild boar and local pigs, so the flavor is more delicious. Besides, people here also have their own secret to smoking sausages to get the most rich and unique flavor. We marinate meat and pork intestines with ginger juice, cardamom, and magnolia leaves to make Cao Bang specialty sausage ribs. Then, we dry the meaty pork ribs on the stove for many days until they cook and gradually dry.

6.8 Cao Bang sour pho

Sour pho is the next Cao Bang specialty that we wants to introduce to you. Pho noodles are powered entirely by hand and through the fermentation process. They will have a sour taste and characteristic aroma.

Pho is poured into boiling water, then mixed dry with crispy fried pork or roasted duck, pork liver, mac mol leaves, sour bamboo shoots, peanuts, and sweet and sour fish sauce. This dish is greasy but not boring, the flavor is very harmonious. So if you have the opportunity to travel to Cao Bang and don’t know what to eat in the morning, stop by the sour pho restaurant to enjoy it.

7. Accommodation when traveling to Cao Bang

When traveling to Cao Bang, visitors can stay overnight at accommodation establishments in Cao Bang city center. This creates favorable conditions for visitors to easily move between attractions and enjoy amenities at the accommodation. Furthermore, at each different destination, visitors can stay overnight at local homestays, allowing them to admire the beautiful natural landscape around them and experience the daily life of local people.

7.1 Hotels:

  • Minh Hoang Hotel. Address: 98 Kim Dong, Hop Giang Ward, Cao Bang City, Cao Bang.
  • A Dong Cao Bang Hotel. Address: Ngoc Xuan, City. Cao Bang, Cao Bang.
  • Long Lam Hotel. Address: 12 3/10 Street, Cao Bang City, Cao Bang.
  • Max Boutique Hotel. Address: 117 Vuon Cam, Hop Giang Ward, Cao Bang City, Cao Bang.
  • Jeanne Hotel. Address: 99, Kim Dong, Hop Giang Ward, Cao Bang City, Cao Bang.

7.2 Guesthouses:

  • Hoa Dai Guest House. Address: 90 Hoang Van Thu, City. Cao Bang, Cao Bang.
  • Hong Thu Guest House. Address: No. 205, Group 12, Hop Giang Ward (fortress slope), Cao Bang City, Cao Bang.
  • Thai Thu Guest House. Address: Old Highway 3, Song Hien Ward, Ward. Cao Bang, Cao Bang.
  • New Wind Motel. Address: 90A Group 4, Song Hien Ward, Cao Bang City, Cao Bang.
  • Minh Hanh Guesthouse. Address: Road 3-10, Song Bang Ward, Cao Bang City, Cao Bang.

7.3 Homestays:

  • Khuoi Ky Homestay. Address: Ban Gioc Waterfall, Dam Thuy, Trung Khanh, Cao Bang.
  • Mr. Kim’s Homestay. Address: Phia Thap Hamlet, Quoc Dan, Quang Uyen, Cao Bang.
  • Green Door Ban Gioc. Address: Po Tau intersection, Chi Vien, Trung Khanh, Cao Bang.
  • Homestay Pac Rang. Address: Pac Rang village, Phuc Sen commune, Quang Uyen, Cao Bang.
  • Primrose Homestay Cao Bang. Address: House number 18, Hong Viet, Hop Giang ward, Cao Bang city, Cao Bang.
  • Yen Nhi Homestay. Address: Ban Gioc Waterfall, Dam Thuy, Trung Khanh, Cao Bang.
  • Cao Bang Eco Homestay. Address: Block 6, Song Bang Ward, Cao Bang City, Cao Bang.

8. Some necessary notes when traveling to Cao Bang

To make your trip as safe and complete as possible, you need to refer to the following notes:

  • You should prepare suitable, lightweight clothing according to the season when traveling to Cao Bang. It is especially important to bring warm and heat-retaining clothes when traveling in winter. Because the temperature can drop as low as 3 – 4 degrees Celsius.
  • Need to bring items such as raincoats, hats, cotton shirts, maps, backup batteries, medicine. Also insect spray as backup for unexpected cases.
  • Need to bring all identification documents because Cao Bang is an important border area.
  • The roads in Cao Bang are mainly mountain passes. So you need to have a steady driver if traveling by motorbike, be fully equipped with protective gear. Especially check the vehicle thoroughly to avoid damage along the road. .
  • You need to learn a little about the customs and traditions of the local people. So as not to violate taboos and respect the local culture when visiting.

Cao Bang is a mysterious land full of majesty and pristine nature that needs to be explored. Above are the Cao Bang travel experiences that we share and we are sure that any tourist should visit this place at least once in their life. With a team of consultants, tour operators and professional and dedicated local guides, Origin Vietnam – the leading tour operator. We will accompany every step of your tours in Vietnam to explore the travel beauty of Cao Bang and commit to bringing the best experiences to you.

It’s great for

  • Trekking lover, couple, so lo traveller
  • Recommend to do private tour that visitor will get useful information about this area. Also the local people daily life. It’s great to do trip combination with Ba Be National Park. Trip duration can take 4 days/3 nights from Hanoi.

Hopefully, Cao Bang’s travel guide has provided enough information for the journey to experience the beautiful land of your northern mountains. Cao Bang tourism will certainly not disappoint visitor.

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Where you have chance to visit the many magnificent Ban Gioc Waterfall in Vietnam. You’ll be travelling throughout remote areas in the northern of Vietnam, brushing across the Chinese border and stay with local families in discover about the distinctive cultures and traditions life of Tay ethnic minority.
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