Ban Gioc Waterfall in the Cao Bang region of Northern Vietnam is a truly beautiful sight. Although the journey you take to reach to the waterfall is the where the true beauty lies.
We spent over 2months in Vietnam and our journey to Ban Gioc Waterfall was a true highlight of the entire trip. In this post we will share our step by step guide on how to reach Ban Gioc Waterfall from Hanoi so that our fellow travellers can enjoy this hidden gem too!
How to reach Ban Gioc Waterfall From Hanoi? The journey from Hanoi to Ban Gioc Waterfall is about 370km and will take two days. First, you must take the 7 hour journey to Cao Bang City where an overnight stay is advised. The next morning you can take the 90km journey through the upper Cao Bang Region to Ban Gioc Waterfall which will take 2-3hours.
Ban Gioc Waterfall is one of the most stunning falls we have ever seen and the Coa Bang Region itself will lead you through awe inspiring natural beauty. This is definitely an off the beaten path location in Vietnam that we totally recommend you visit!
The region of Cao Bang is often overlooked by tourists, making it a truly un-touched region of Vietnam. In this article we take you through a detailed step by step guide and provide all the costsing and transport options available for the journey from From Hanoi to Ban Gioc Waterfall.
Step 1. Hanoi to Cao Bang City
Step one in reaching Ban Gioc Waterfall is to first make your way from Hanoi to Cao Bang City. Cao Bang City is located in the province of Cao Bang, a mountainous region in northeast Vietnam near the Chinese border.
The Journey from Hanoi to Cao Bang city is about 286km and will take about 8hours. So we do recommend a nights stay in Cao Bang City before you travel onto Ban Gioc Waterfall.
At first Cao Bang City might seem a bit dull, but if you have the time to spend 2-3 days here you will end up falling in love with this off the beaten path city. Traditional hot pot and the lively markets were highlight for us in Cao Bang City.
Below we have listed some transport options for travellers wanting to reach Cao Bang City from Hanoi:
Luxury Limousine Van – 260,000₫/$11USD
It sounds and looks expensive, but its not! We are budget travellers but we actually travelled to Cao Bang City via a luxury limousine van. We had asked our hotel to book us a bus and the price seemed good, and when the bus arrived we were pleasantly surprised to find a luxury limousine van with all the bells and whistles, even reclining leather chairs!
We recommend to book through your hotel in Hanoi and the shuttle will pick you up directly outside your hotel in the old quarter. Or you can try and contact an agency directly, but you might expect an English barrier, here is one agency we found.
Expect a smooth comfortable ride if you choose to travel by lux shuttle. We slept most of the way but the driver stopped off at very yummy pho street stall for lunch which was actually a food highlight for us. Apart from comfort, the best thing about travelling in a luxury limousine van from Hanoi to Cao Bang was the price, it’s actually very affordable at 11 USD per seat!
Sleeper Bus – 200,000₫/$8USD
You can travel to Cao Bang City by one of the many daily sleeper buses leaving My Dinh or Luong bus station in Hanoi. Sleeper buses in Vietnam are actually quite a novelty and they can be a comfortable budget option for domestic travel.
However, for just a couple of dollars more you can opt for the Luxury limousine van which we think makes for a far better journey. If you do decide to travel by bus to Cao Bang City, buses leave almost hourly in the mornings and evenings, so you shouldn’t have trouble booking a ticket on arrival to the bus station.
Motorbike Bike – 350,000₫per day / $15USD
If you are super adventurous you can choose to hire or purchase a bike in Hanoi and ride to Cao Bang City independently. The great thing about having a motorbike is the freedom of being able to go where you want when you want.
However, we would only recommend this journey to experienced and confident riders. Driving in Vietnam can be dangerous if you are not prepared for the road conditions and the way traffic in Vietnam flows.
In-order to drive a motorbike legally in Vietnam you will need an international driver’s permit and motorcycle license from your country or a Vietnamese license. Although many travellers ride motorcycles without the proper licenses (including us), we do not recommend such a long journey driving illegally in the country.
Step 2. Cao Bang City to Ban Gioc Waterfall
Once you arrive in Cao Bang City we recommend to stay a night or two to experience this remote and off the beaten path northern city. When you are ready to make your way further north into the province of Cao Bang and onto Ban Gioc Waterfall you will be pleased to know that the journey is fairly short and very scenic.
The distance to travel is only 83kms and the scenery you will encounter along the two hour journey from Cao Bang city to Ban Gioc Waterfall is some of the most stunning natural landscapes we have ever seen. Not only will you see beautiful landscapes but you will also encounter pure untouched rural Vietnamese life, it really is an eye opening journey. Below we have listed some transport options for this leg of the journey:
Motorbike – 150,000₫/$6USD per day
This is our recommended mode of transport from Cao Bang city to Ban Gioc Waterfall. Traveling by motorbike is a great way to take in all the sights along the way and gives you the freedom to stop where you like and to explore a few other locations freely once you reach Ban Gioc Waterfall.
The roads are fairly quiet along the journey and we found it to be a safe and enjoyable road. If you are feeling really adventurous you can do what we did and travel to Ban Gioc Waterfall and back to Cao Bang city in a loop. This loop means that instead of coming back the way you came along the main road, you take an alternative loop route which will lead you to some truly off the beaten bath villages and diverse scenery.
However, the road conditions along this loop can be a bit dodgy and your journey might take four hours instead of two. You can hire motorbikes in Cao Bang for about $6USD per from memory. We hired our bike through our accomodation in Cao Bang City, named >>> Cao Bang Eco Homestay.
Bus – 70,000₫/$3USD
From Cao Bang city you can also catch a local bus to Ban Gioc Waterfall. These buses run every 30mins from the central bus station and deliver you directly to the waterfall. The bus journey will take y 2 hours and will cost 70,000₫/$3USD. We have heard the buses are very easy to locate and are named if you have any trouble ask your hotel to guide you or some friendly locals.
Taxi – 600,000₫/$25usd one way.
If you have the budget you might be interested in taking a taxi to Ban Gioc Waterfall. Talk to your accommodation in Cao Bang regarding booking a taxi which will set you back about 600,000₫/$25usd one way.
Other Sights Near Ban Gioc Waterfall?
Nguom Ngao Cave – 45,000₫
We recommend you stay 2-3 nights in the area near Ban Gioc Waterfall as there are some other impressive sights to discover. Nguom Ngao Cave is one of those places and is located just 3km away from the falls.
This cave was actually really impressive and surprisingly large. We have visited many caves during our travels and this one tops the list for natural beauty and size. The best thing about this cave and there are no crowds so you can enjoy it in peace without the hordes of other tourists.
Best Place to Stay Near Ban Gioc Waterfall?
We stayed at a traditional homestay near Ban Gioc Waterfall called yến nhi bản giốc homestay. This was a truly authentic experience in a family home located in a small stone village around the corner from the falls. The sleeping arrangements were comfortable and the best part of our stay was the delicious homemade food prepared for us each night. This was an amazing experience that we recommend to all travellers visiting the area.
Places to stay in Cao Bang City
|Cao Bang Eco Homestay
This is where we stayed during our time in Cao Bang city. Cao Bang Eco Homestay is a warm friendly budget accommodation with helpful hosts. The rooms are clean and air conditioned and you can easily book your motorbike rental
Gia Bảo Homestay
A lovely clean accomodation in Cao Bang city with large rooms & great wifi. This accommodation also has a beautiful garden area to relax in.
Primrose Homestay Cao Bang
This is one of the highest rated stays in Cao Bang. The hotel is beautifully decorated & centrally located and most importantly has very helpful and warm staff.
We hope this step by step guide to reaching Ban Gioc Waterfall From Hanoi was helpful!
Cheers, Native Travellers
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