The main reason for travelers to visit Cao Bang is the Ban Gioc waterfall and though it is one of the highlights of this province, there is so much more to see. In fact, it is one of the most stunning provinces of Vietnam. There are so many great things to do in Cao Bang that are overlooked; and this created a unique opportunity to venture and go off the beaten track. To help you out for your visit, we made a list of 10 best things to do in Cao Bang.
Tip: If you are going to fall in love with these best things to do in Cao Bang, then make sure to check out our unique designed tour: Off the beaten Cao Bang loop. We personaly designed this tour to bring you to most of the highlights we describe below.
1.Ban Gioc waterfall
The best thing to do in Cao Bang is visiting the Ban Gioc waterfalls. This is the largest waterfall in Vietnam, right on the border with China. They are spectacular waterfalls and a highlight of your trip through Vietnam.
The falls are “only” 30 meters high, but an impressive 300 meters wide. To the left of the large waterfall, you will find another smaller one, overshadowed by its big brother, but not less beautiful.
Tip: Near the waterfall you will also find the Phat Tich Truc Lam Ban Gioc Pagoda. This is the first pagoda to be built in the northern border of the country, on Phia Nhu Mountain, about 500 meters from Ban Gioc Waterfall. From the pagoda you can see the entire Ban Gioc waterfall. A few kilometers further up you will find the Nguom Ngao Cave. A small cave, with a beautiful system of stalactites and stalagmites. You can easily combine a visit to the cave and pagoda with the ban gioc waterfall.
2.Phong Nam valley
One of the best things to do in Cao Bang is exploring the hidden and more off the beaten destinations. Phong Nam valley is a place like that, not too far from the well known Ban Gioc, but this valley is hardly visited. Though, it is stunning and it might be one of the most beautiful valleys of Vietnam. On either side you will find mountains and in between small villages, lots of rice fields and a peaceful stream. It is a fairy tail setting, hardly visited by tourist.
3.Nui Thung mountain
Nui Thung Mountain is also referred to as Angel Eye Mountain and it is obvious why. Halfway up the mountain you will see a huge hole. It is not only the mountain that makes this a special place. Only a small road can take you to this area, which opens up like a hidden valley, with mountains, jungle, plains and a lake that reflects the Angel Eye.
4.Me Pja Pass
Vietnam has many impressive mountain passes and Me Pja pass is one of the most impressive ones. It has 14 turns in total, winding down the mountain. There is a hiking trail starting from the top that can bring you to the viewpoint.
Thang Hen Lake consists of 36 small natural lakes around mountains at an altitude of 1000 meters. The lakes were formed in limestone formations.
6.Visit local villages
Cao Bang is dotted with small villages hidden in valleys, countryside and mountains. Some villages even date back from the french colonial times and other villages are known for their special trade. You can visit Phia Thap village to see the traditional way of making incense. Pac Rang village is a traditional blacksmith village.
7.Phia Oac National Park
Phia Oac mountain range has the second highest peak in Cao Bang. The area is especially known for one of the only places in Vietnam where temperatures can plunge below zero with even snow and white frost. There is also a nice forest where you can wander around and the area is also known for its tea plantations.
8.Driving through the mountains of west Cao Bang
The are around Ban Gioc and Phong Nam is stunning, but when you are heading more to the west of the province you will find more and more mountains, similar to the ones you find in Ha Giang. There are some stunning mountain passes along the road of QL34 with epic views. The best way is to go on the back of a motorbike of a experiences guide, but for more comfort it is recommended to go by car.
9.Learn more about the local minority cultures
Like other places in norther Vietnam, such as Sapa and Ha Giang, you will also find many ethnic minorities living here. A great thing to do in Cao Bang is to experience and learn about their culture. A good way to do so is staying in a local homestay. One of the best areas to learn about the minority culture is Bao Lac.
10.Pac Po Relic
In the far north of Cao Bang you will find Pac Bo, the historic pilgrimage site for many Vietnamese. After Hồ Chí Minh crossed the border between China and Vietnam in 1941, Pác Bó became a place that will be forever salvaged in Vietnamese history. In this relatively small area you will find, for example, the cave of Hồ Chí Minh, better known in Vietnamese as “Hang Cốc Bó”.
In this cave, the leader of the revolution spent his first weeks protecting himself from his enemies and preparing for his rebellion. The so-called Lenin Stream flows past this cave, a brook of the bluest and crystal clear water. The peace and tranquility you experience in Pác Bó is regularly accompanied by a group of picnicking Vietnamese or couples who are more than happy to share their love by the water. You can buy tickets (20,000 ₫) for the area of Pác Bó on the spot at the entrance.