Amazing landscapes between Vietnam and China
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We take a local bus from our hostel in Ha Giang at 8 am (paid 250,000 dong) towards Cao Bang (https://www.marsontheroad.com/en/destinazioni/72/alla-scoperta-del-vietnam-del-nord-ha). We are told that the bus is direct and that the journey is about 6 hours.
The truth is that we get on a local bus (which barely can be called that) and, between hens and goods of all kinds, we reach a village after 5 hours of driving. Here they make us change the bus (a little better than the previous one) and between curves and broken roads, it takes us about 9 hours to reach Cao Bang.
It has been an endless journey! There is definitely an amazing landscape on the way here, but the buses are not comfortable at all.
We book the Minh Hoang Hotel for almost € 5 per person or 130,000 dong (remember that 1 euro is equivalent to 27,200 dong).
Clean property with double beds and private bathroom. Unfortunately, even here the staff does not speak English so we continue to struggle to communicate.
The province of Cao Bang with the capital of the same name is located in northern Vietnam and borders with southern China. There are about 550,000 inhabitants in this province. Many people come from ethnic groups like Tay, Nung, Dao and Hmong.
The city of Cao Bang was damaged during the war with China in 1979 and has since been rebuilt. It is located at an altitude of 300 m, so there is a very favourable climate throughout the year. This area offers many natural beauties including:
BAN GIOC WATERFALL: the waterfall is located 80 km north of the city of Cao Bang, on the border with China. It has a width of over 200 m and the water drops from a height of 70 m on 3 sections. The colour of the water depends on the weather. You can choose to take a boat (bamboo rafts) and approach the waterfall. The admission cost is 40,000 dong. This waterfall is the largest in Vietnam, but not the highest. It is also the fourth largest in the world among the waterfalls on the border between two nations after the Iguazú Falls, Victoria and Niagara. We reach it via public buses from the centre of Cao Bang at a cost of 140,000 A / R. Duration of the trip: 2 and a half hours.
They are really wonderful especially if you want to take a walk to the nearby pagoda where you can admire a view from the top to take your breath away!
NGUOM NGAO CAVES: are located about 4 km from the waterfall, reachable by motorbike or being able to have a ride from some bus passing as we did. The caves of Nguom Ngao are an interweaving of almost 2500 meters of caves and tunnels discovered by a group of British speleologists. About 400 million years have been formed, so they are very old. They are also rich in stalagmites and stalactites and their development is due to the inflow of water containing calcium carbonate. Entrance fee: 45,000 dong. It's worth it because it's really close to the waterfall. We also heard about local buses departing from Cao Bang which stop a couple of hours at the caves before reaching the falls. Just ask a little around and the kind local people will surely help you.
MOUNTAIN LAKE THANG HEN: it is located 30 km from the town of Cao Bang. Entrance fee 20,000 dong. We reach it with a scooter that we rent at the price of 150,000 dongs and take about an hour after the numerous curves. Once again the landscape we meet along the way is wonderful. This lake is located in the district of Tra Linh and consists of 36 small natural lakes on a hill at a height of 1,000 meters above sea level. The lakes formed from calcareous formations. An unusual phenomenon of these lakes is that the water level moves like the tide of the sea. In addition, the Cao Bang lakes form the rivers that feed Ban Gioc Waterfall. The colour of this lake is turquoise and here reigns absolute tranquillity. We are the only tourists in the place. Just imagine the atmosphere!
Ultimately we spent only 2 days in the province of Cao Bang but they were enough to get to know this land a little. If you have more time consider visiting the park of Babe Lake, according to many really beautiful. We were, therefore, enthusiastic about the beauty of these places. To make everything more magical is the fact that we find ourselves immersed in local realities really distant from the most tourist and fictitious ones. This is exactly what we were looking for and so far only in Cao Bang we found it. All you have to do is to look out the window of the bus or venture into these magnificent landscapes to get lost in colours and shapes that you thought were just fruit of your imagination until now.