Route: Hanoi – Lang Son – Quang Uyen
Meals included: Lunch, Dinner
You will be picked up from your accommodation in Hanoi at around 7.30 – 8.00 am. The car has AC (thankfully!) and will take you to Lang Son.
From here, you will be taken towards the Chinese border for around 3 hours until you stop at Chi Lang Pass. This long gorge spans 20 km and lies in a. barrow valley between the two mountains. The place has huge historical significance as it was the setting for many victories against Chinese invasions, the oldest of these dating back as far as 981 AD! This has earned it the reputation of Vietnam’s strongest bastion and citadel.
An hour will be given to allow you time to explore this area and the nearby Quy Mon Quan Gate. This translates to ‘The Gate of Monsters’ and gets its name from the many invasion forces that would enter through the pass over the course of history.
Lunch will be provided at a restaurant in Dong Dang. After this point, you will continue into the pass, stopping to visit Mother’s Temple and Dong Khe. This is another important site where the battle of Dong Khe was fought during the First Indochina War. Fighting occurred here throughout September and October 1950.
That night, you will stay in a homestay which is operated by a local Nung family. Dinner will also be provided in the evening.
The entire day will consist of around 3-5km of walking.
Route: Cao Bang – Ban Gioc waterfall – Ba Be Lake
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Breakfast will be provided at the homestay before you depart for Trung Khanh. This lies on the border with China and provides travellers with another opportunity to meet the local Nung people living in the village of Phuoc Sen. This place is most famous for its traditional blacksmithing techniques.
You can see from the surrounding landscape (rice paddies) that the farming tools made by the people of this local community are integral to the lifestyle and agriculture of the surrounding area.
Phuoc Sen is close to the incredible Ban Gioc Waterfall, which will serve as the trip highlight. The waterfall spans over 300 meters and straddles the border, split between Vietnam and China. There will be time to explore the area around the falls and also to take photographs – trust us when we say, this place is a photographer’s dream!
After you have experienced Ban Gioc, you will head over to Nguom Ngao Cave which is another hugely impressive natural wonder. This cave stretches a whopping 2,144 meters underground and is filled with breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites.
When you have explored the cave, you will return to Cao Bang town where you will journey down the ‘snake pass’ to Ba Be Lake. You will stay here for the night in a traditional homestay contrasted in Tay style. You will also have the opportunity to meet the local Tay family who run the place. You will be provided with an authentic Vietnamese home-cooked meal in the evening.
Route: Ba Be Lake – Hanoi
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
The morning will start with a delicious breakfast before you hop onboard one of the local boats and head off to explore Ba Be Lake. The lake is beautifully scenic and you will be able to see amazing karst formations and potentially even some of the local wildlife!
The time on the boat can be spent how you please, whether you decide to stay onboard and enjoy the views or hop in for a refreshing swim.
The boat trip will continue along the Nang River which will allow time for exploring Puong Grotto caves. Here there are stalagmites and stalactites which have been created by river erosion and also a huge colony of bats.
This signifies the close of the tour and all that is left is to brave the long journey back to Hanoi. On the way back you will stop at a tea plantation to break up the journey and get another look at local life.