Travel guide: Ban Gioc Waterfall- the most spectacular waterfall of Vietnam

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Ban Gioc waterfall, located on the Vietnam – China border in Cao Bang province, is considered the most spectacular waterfall of Vietnam. Standing at the foot of waterfall, the cool atmosphere from the dense water vapor will literally bring you to the heaven of freshness and relaxing.  It will be very big regret if you miss this attraction during your stay in Vietnam. So pack up together with some of my experience and get to Ban Gioc Waterfall now!

In the articles: Attractions on route | How to get to Ban Gioc | Hotels | Itineraries 

Ban Gioc waterfall - Cao Bang - Vietnam
Ban Gioc waterfall – Cao Bang travel guide

Attractions on Ban Gioc Waterfall trip

While Ban Gioc Waterfall is the absolute final destination and the main highlights of the day, Cao Bang also offer its visitors a generous number of destinations to incorporate with the trip to Ban Gioc Waterfall. Check out Thang Hen lake, Nguom Ngao cave (động Ngườm Ngao), Pac Bo cave (hang Pắc Bó – where Ho Chi Minh president used to live). If you have enough time, consider combining Ba Be lake and Ban Gioc waterfall to make a circular trip to include all of the main attractions in Cao Bang. 

How to get to Ban Gioc waterfall

You can get to Ban Gioc by private car, motorbike or bus from Hanoi

By private car or motorbike

The distance from Hanoi to Ban Gioc waterfall is 350km (220 miles) so try to leave early to arrive arrive in the afternoon. On the route, you will pass Trung Khanh town first where you should stop to book an accomodation before proceeding to the waterfall. 

If travelling by motorbike, which should take a lot more time) then you can stay overnight in Bac Can (a city on the way with many hotels and motels) so you can continue your ride the next morning.

Ban Gioc waterfall - Cao Bang -Vietnam
At the foot of Ban Gioc waterfall

By bus

Buses from Hanoi should take about 8 hours to get to only Cao Bang city, from where you would have to rent car or motorbike to get to Ban Gioc. Or if having motorbike, you can also carry it on the bus, which is advised because renting motorbike in Cao Bang is not easy. Here are some sleep bus firms to consider:

1. Hai Van bus, leave from My Dinh bus station (20 Pham Hung – Tu Liem – Hanoi). Tel: (office in Hanoi) +844.3722.3588 or +841677.242424, (office in Cao Bang) +8416.86.24.24.24

2. Hung Thanh, office add: 162B Tran Quang Khai street (tel: +844.3927.4284 – +8497.632.9090) or 39 Cau Giay street – Dong Da (+844.3766.6199 or +844.3766.8641). 

3. Thanh Ly bus, from My Dinh bus station. Tel: +84912.237.252

4. Khanh Hoan bus, from My Dinh station. Tel: +84915.660.062

Sleeper buses usually leave in evening and arrive in the early morning of the next day. 

Nguom Ngao cave in Cao Bang Vietnam
Inside of Nguom Ngao cave

Hotels and motels

In Trung Khanh town

1. Hoan Le motel, tel: +8426.826.221 or +84915.425.531

2. Thien Tai motel near Trung Khanh market, +8426.382.6537

3. Dinh Van hotel is close to Trung Khanh market. +8426.3602789

In Cao Bang city

4. Anh Duong hotel at 78 Kim Dong street – Cao Bang city. Tel: +8426.385.8467

5. Bang Giang hotel on Kim Dong street, +8426.385.3431

6. Duc Trung hotel at 85 Be Van Dan street, +8426.385.3424

7. Hoang Anh hotel at 131 Kim Dong, +8426.385.8969

8. Hoang Gia hotel at 26B Le Loi, +8426.385.8168

>> Booking hotels for your trip

Ban Gioc waterfall travel itineraries

Highlights: Ban Gioc waterfall (most beautiful waterfall in Vietnam), Nguom Ngao cave (near the fall), rice fields along the route, Thang Hen lakeMa Phuc mountain pass (one of most beautiful mountain passes in Northern Vietnam),…

One trip to Ban Gioc Waterfall should be given 2.5 days, 3 days or 4 days if combined with travelling to Ba Be lakeNovember and March, season of Tam Giac Mach flower, are the best time to visit Ban Gioc. 

Itinerary 1: 4 days by car

In addition to Ban Gioc fall, you will visit Ba Be Lake and Lang Son border city. 

Day 1: Hanoi – Ba Be Lake

– 6.30am. Leave for Ba Be Lake, the distance is 230km (140 miles) from Hanoi. 

– 11.30am. Have lunch in Ba Be. You can have lunch at homestays of Tay ethnic group, which are in abundance.

– 2pm. Rent a boat to visit Ba Be lake, caves and enjoy the nature. 

– Evening, back to the village to rest and interact with the locals. 

Ba Be lake in Bac Kan Vietnam
Daily life on Ba Be lake

Day 2: From Ba Be to Pac Bo cave then back to Cao Bang city. 

– 7am. Have breakfast and leave soon to save more time. On the route, remember to stop at the foot of Gio mountain pass (Wind pass), where the landscape is very beautiful. 

– 11.30am. Have lunch in Cao Bang city where Pho Chua (sour noodle) is waiting for you. 

– 1.30pm. Visit Pac Bo cave. If you travel on Tam Giac Mach flower season, the landscape is very truly breathtaking, ideal for photos.  

– 5pm. Back to Cao Bang for overnight rest. 

Day 3: Cao Bang – Ban Gioc waterfall – Nguom Ngao cave – Thang Hen lake

– 6am. You should start soon for a nice day with many beautiful sites. From Cao Bang, you go straight to the waterfall. On the route, you will cross Ma Phuc mountain pass.

– 9am. Arrive at the waterfall but don’t rush going down the fall. Enjoy the hike down and take beautiful photos. If you like to adventure, you can climb to the big fall to take a closer look.

– 10am. On the route back to Trung Khanh town, you can stop for Nguom Ngao cave, which will take  a nice trek through a small mountain and a 3km (2miles) walk to the cave. 

– 12.30pm (or 1pm). Lunch in Trung Khanh town. 

– 1.30pm. Back to Cao Bang. On the route, don’t forget to visit Thang Hen lake. It’s located on a mountain and offers a very beautiful view. Its water is blue at all time. Keep in mind to question about the accessbility for car, which was impossible at the time I visited in 2011 due to road expanding. It might not be a problem now.

– 4.30pm. Back to Cao Bang city from the lake. Overnight in Cao Bang. 

Day 4: Cao Bang – Lang Son – Hanoi

– 7am. The road from Cao Bang to Lang Son is quite nice. During rain season, its is also very beautiful with yellow rice fields (though it’s not terraces). 

– 12pm. Have lunch in Lang Son city. Then ship at local markets. Lang Son is famous for the paradise of Chinese merchandise. You should bargain when shopping. 

– 3pm. Back to Hanoi. The distance is 160km (100 miles) on 1A highway.

– 6pm. Arrive in Hanoi 

Water wheels in Cao Bang Vietnam
Water wheels (cọn nước – used to take water from streams into rice fields) of Thai ethnic group in Cao Bang

You won’t be too tired if travelling by car, but might be slightly inconvenient with some small roads. Travelling in Northern mountains, you should pick the car with less than 16 seats. 

Itinerary 2: 3 days by motorbike

Day 1: Hanoi  – Thang Hen lake – Trung Khanh town

– 6am. Head to Cao Bang city. On the route, take your time stop for any beautiful spot for photos. Just ensure arrive in Cao Bang city at the right time to have lunch.

– 11.30am. Lunch in Cao Bang city. 

– 12.30pm. Leave for Ma Phuc mountain pass, remember to ask for the way to Thang Hen lake, which goes through very beautiful and poetic villages.

– 3pm. Keep going to Trung Khanh town. You should go along Tra Linh (Trà Lĩnh) road, a beautiful road, especially on the Tam Giac Mach flower season. However, if you visit the lake late, you should follow the one leading through Quang Uyen (Quảng Uyên). 

Day 2: Trung Khanh – Ban Gioc – Nguom Ngao cave – Ha Lang – Cao Bang

– 7am. Pack lunch and sisit Nguom Ngao cave first. 

– 10.30am. Head to Ban Gioc waterfall, which is most beautiful in during rain season when the water flows down fiercely.

 11.30am. Have lunch at Ban Gioc water fall.

– 1.10pm. Back to Cao Bang. You run along the border, from Ban Gioc, go straight to Bang Ca (Bằng Ca), then go through Ha Lang (Hạ Lang) to Quang Uyen (Quảng Uyên). Along the route are a number of beautiful valleys and waterfalls.

– 5.30pm. Arrive and stay overnight in Cao Bang city.

Panorama of Ban Gioc waterfall - Cao Bang Vietnam
Panorama of Ban Gioc waterfall

Day 3: Cao Bang – Lang Son – Hanoi

– 7am. The last day is light and easy with nice road.

Important note: Most of the road is very good with mild slope for amazing ride, but towards the end of road, there’s a very dangerous curve. I don’t clearly remember where exactly  it it, just remember it runs along a shallow river. 

– 12pm. Have lunch in Lang Son city. Then visit Lang Son’s markets and shop for souvenirs. 

– 3pm. Back to Hanoi. 

Above is my experiences and recommended itineraries for a trip to Ban Gioc waterfall – Cao Bang. If you have any question, feel free to leave in the comment section!

>> Booking hotels for your trip

Travel guide: Ban Gioc Waterfall- the most spectacular waterfall of Vietnam
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4 COMMENTS

  1. I’ d like inform that
    1. How much car rent cost for one day from Cao Bang visit Ban Gioc waterfall and Nguom Ngao cave.
    2. Boat price for 2 people to closely waterfall.
    3. How much for entrance or permit fee for Ban Gioc
    4. Hotel in Cao bang has to book first or can walkin during weekend in mid March.

    • Hi Nid! Sorry for my late reply, hope it’s still helpful for you!
      1. I don’t know exact cost but at the time I visited Cao Bang (1 year ago), the cost is about $50-$60/day for 4-seat car and $70 – $90 for 7-seat car.
      2. The waterfall does not lease boat as I know! Sorry!
      3. The fee to enter Ban gioc is 0.7
      4. You should book hotel in advance because this is the most beautiful period at Cao Bang so many visotor come there.

  2. My friend Julia and I trlleaved with Cao from Nha Trang to Hoi An during our trip through Vietnam, last August.When we were first introduced to the whole idea of taking motorbikes (which none of us had ever done before) through the Vietnamese highlands I was very hesitant and sceptic. I’d like to think of myself as somebody rather cautious; so biking on yes, sometimes muddy paths somewhere in nowhere was not really my ultimate goal.

    But: boy was I wrong!After some consideration and a big leap of faith later we agreed to do the trip. Two days later we had our training lesson with the motor bikes and that was when I good hooked. I loved biking and was now looking forward to exploring this beautiful country off the beaten path. Cao was an excellent guide who made our entire journey a big pleasure. We would alternate between bigger (i.e. concrete) roads and unpaved paths, however the latter was the minority.

    Throughout the days we would often stop at the side of the road and Cao would explain to us the history, flora, fauna and other aspects of his country. We visited the most beautiful spots, ate in the most local restaurants (yet among the most delicious) I had ever been to and even visited an orphanage a very touching experience. The beautiful surrounding scenery was simply incredible and breathtaking; definitely something you would not find if you only sick to Highway No. 1. As for accommodation we stayed in local hotels that were just perfect for our needs and offered very good value for money.My initial concerns proved to be baseless as we arrived in Hoi An safe and sound after 5 incredible days in the Vietnamese highlands. However, I would like to stress that the possibility of accidents of course exists.

    Should you want to be to reckless and try to race foolishly you will most likely find yourself on the ground very soon (something you would not want to happen to you far off from the next best hospital). However, your guide (and in our case Cao) will drive in front of you and make sure that the pace suits all surrounding conditions. Stick to his instructions and nothing will happen. Finally I can only recommend this trip to anybody thinking about visiting Vietnam. These motorbike tours are a very unique and intense way to really get a feel for this beautiful country off the beaten path.

    • Oh Olga, your question is so long while my english is so bad. May you please give me time and I will reply you later, or you contact me via Skype – Atomhoang, we can talk for easier!

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