Day 1: Hanoi – Lang Son – Quang Uyen (L/D)
Our tour guide will pick you up by car at your hotel around 7:30-8:00am, transferring you to Lang Son. We will start by driving in the direction of the Chinese border for about 3 hours, before stopping at Chi Lang Pass – a 20-km-long gorge created from a narrow valley between two mountains.
This place occupies an important position in Vietnamese history, being the place of many victories against various Chinese invasions over the centuries and millennia, as far back as 981AD. As such it bears the reputation of Vietnam’s strongest citadel and bastion. Here you will have roughly an hour to walk around and explore the area around the Quy Mon Quan Gate, which translates as “The Gate of Monsters”, named for the many invasion forces that would spill through the pass over the course of history only to be beaten back by stalwart Vietnamese defenders.
After lunch at a local restaurant in Dong Dang, you will continue your trip into the pass, stopping to visit Mother’s Temple and Dong Khe – an important historical site where The Battle of Dong Khe was fought during the First Indochina War. In fact, this was the very first battle of the Indochina Wars, and the fighting here took place through September and October 1950, ending in a resounding victory for the Viet Minh.
In the evening you will get to enjoy dinner and overnight rest in a local homestay owned and operated by a local Nung family.
Highlights and activities: Chi Lang, Quy Mon Quan Gate, Dong Khe Battle Site, Ethnic Villages, and a 3-5km walk.
Day 2: Cao Bang – Ban Gioc Waterfall (B/L/D)
After enjoying breakfast at the homestay, you will depart for Trung Khanh which lies right on the border with China. Here you will have another chance to meet and interact with the local Nung people living in the village of Phuoc Sen, a mountainous village famous for its traditional blacksmithing. The farming tools made here are an integral part of the lifestyle which is evident in the surrounding rice paddies and fields.
Nestled amongst these amazing landscapes is the breath-taking Ban Gioc Waterfall which spans over 300 meters, split half and half between Vietnam and China. You’ll get some time here to simply take in the amazing atmosphere surrounding the falls, which presents an excellent opportunity for some fantastic photography.
Once you’ve finished at the falls, it’s time to head over to Nguom Ngao Cave, for a very different, but no less impressive natural wonder. The cave stretches for 2,144 meters underground and is brimming with incredible stalactites and stalagmites.
You will then return to Cao Bang town and head down the “snake pass” to Ba Be Lake, where you will stay overnight in a homestay constructed in traditional Tay fashion and owned and operated by a local Tay family. Here you can relax and unwind from the day and enjoy a delicious and authentic home-cooked meal.
Highlights and activities: Ban Gioc Waterfall, Nguom Ngao Cave, Ethnic Villages
Day 3: Ba Be Lake – Hanoi (B/L)