Ban Gioc Waterfall

How to travel to Ban Gioc for your best experience
Ban Gioc Travel Guide – What to do, when to visit, and more…

Located on the border between China and Vietnam, about 350km from Hanoi, without a doubt, Ban Gioc Waterfalls are the number one attraction in Cao Bang. Claiming to be the highest natural waterfall in the Southeast Asia region and the fourth largest in the world, the 300m-wide Ban Gioc waterfalls crash over the 70m distance of three layers creating a roaring which echoes across the land.

Frequently asked questions

Located on the border between China and Vietnam, about 350km from Hanoi, without a doubt, Ban Gioc Waterfalls are the number one attraction in Cao Bang. Claiming to be the highest natural waterfall in the Southeast Asia region and the fourth largest in the world, the 300m-wide Ban Gioc waterfalls crash over the 70m distance of three layers creating a roaring which echoes across the land.


Set in a striking valley and surrounded by lush jungle, scattering around with amazing rock platforms that separate the water masses into many currents like silver threads, Ban Gioc feels like a paradise of its own with the vast range of falls and pools within the park that captivate every witnessed eye. However, thanks to the long distance that is hard to reach for most tourists, this falls remains pristine and is fairly off-the-beaten-track. If you can hear it calling, let’s find out how to travel to Ban Gioc for your best experience in this article.

1. Enjoy trekking and sightseeing in Ban Gioc

As you go along Quay Son river before reaching Ban Gioc waterfall, unfold before your eyes is the horizon of a rural region in northeastern Vietnam. The amazing landscape of the mighty valley, dotted with wild limestone hills evokes a thrilling feeling about the unique scenery that can only be found here.Here and there are the rice fields, and if you are lucky enough coming during the harvest season, you can see local farmers working on the vast yellow paddy fields and by the river bank, the water wheel carrying and channels the water to irrigate the crops. It’s a peaceful and humbling sight to see.


The serenity of this valley is dramatically switched when the Quay Son River reaches a 300m-wide limestone ledge, and drops sharply down several terraces from the height of 30, creating Ban Gioc waterfall with thunderous water flows giving you a powerful feeling.
The waterfall is easily accessible via a gravel path that threads through rice fields, over wooden bridges above gurgling creeks, and onto an exposed grassy bank at the bottom of the falls. But before you walk on the gravel path, you must first stop at the nearby kiosk to pay the entrance fee of $2. What is in front of you now is the wide, white cascade fringing with foliage and framing by sharp limestone mountains, which are partly obscured by drifting clouds of vapour from all the spray generated by the waterfall.


Hint: There is also a secret way to climb the Ban Gioc waterfall, where you walk along a closed path. The path that goes up, starts when you walk over a wooden bridge below the fall. It brings you to the first and second layers of the waterfall. It is quite a dangerous path that leads up through the jungle and there are obstacles to block access to this path. If you follow the path for a few hundred meters, you will reach the middle level of the waterfall with a magical viewpoint down the fall which not everyone is able to have. However, we do not recommend this activity for those who are not fit enough and without proper footwear, because the path is slippery with huge rocks and thick forest.

To get the closer view of Ban Gioc, you may hire a bamboo raft for a quick tour going downstream, which is not less enjoyable and fascinating. But be prepared to get wet and pay attention to warning signs as the nearby area may have the height level of water or sharp stones.

2. Explore Nguom Ngao Cave inside out

Just a short distance away from Ban Gioc Waterfalls, the Nguom Ngao Cave stretches over 2km and has some of the most unique stalactite formations in Southeast Asia. The name itself roughly translates to ‘Tiger Cave’ and for a long time the cave lay dormant as local legend told of tigers who inhabited the cave. The story is what it was, however, those who enter the cave are only met with stunning scenes of rock formations. As you step foot into the cave, the formations change with each new cavern. Going further, visitors will see the cave is filled with stalactites and stalagmites in differing shapes and sizes, their forms emerging from the cliff face and often depicting mythical creatures or magical scenes.

3. Climb up Truc Lam Phat Tich Pagoda

Considered as the first pagoda in Northern Vietnam (not far from Ban Gioc Waterfalls as well), Truc Lam is built based on the traditional Vietnamese architecture which fits perfectly into the hillside. As you climb higher to the main temple area passing a three-door gate, you will witness the holy Guan Yin statue. From the pagoda, you can get the whole view of Ban Gioc waterfall with fabulous landscape nearby. You should try not to miss this one for the overlooking and breathtaking view.

4. Boat Thang Hen Lakes & hike Nui Thung Valley

About 60km from Ban Gioc, sits in a tranquil valley surrounded by rocky, forested mountains, the Thang Hen Lakes are made up of 36 miniature lakes that are all connected through caves and underground passageways. The colours of the turquoise blue waters and rich green trees are intensified by the bright sun on clear days. The lake is peaceful; the still air is only disturbed by the horses grazing idly and birds dipping through the sky. The lake is actually made up of 36 different lakes, but during the rainy seasons when the lakes swell, they flow into one another creating one large expanse of water. Small wooden boats wait on the shores of the lake to take visitors on a voyage around the lake, the perfect way to bask in the beauty of both the mountains and the lake.


Nui Thung Valley and Thang Hen Lakes are in the same area of Cao Bang geopark with various lakes, karst peaks and mountains. International scientists who have studied Cao bang geopark have called this place “Mountain Angel Eye” due to its marvellous natural beauty. There is a lake and waterfall called Nam Tra in this valley. If you come here during the dry season, there will be no water on Nam Tra lake and it’s time for you to gaze in awe at this charming meadows in Vietnam. Nui Thung and Thang Hen are quite far from Ban Gioc waterfall, however they are both on the way from Ban Gioc to Cao Bang city so we highly recommend visiting those places before turning back to Ha Noi.


1. Peng Ray, which translates to ant egg cake, is a seasonal delicacy for the Tay community in this region. Each year they gather the ant eggs from the nearby forests from April to May. The eggs are encased in a glutinous rice cake and wrapped in fig leaves. The dish is popular in the whole Cao Bang for its high nutritional value.


2. Cao Bang Roasted Duck is one of the favoured meats in Cao Bang. To have a delicious famous dish, the picking duck to process and the marinated duck meat with 7 characteristic flavors should be done meticulously. Don’t miss these dishes out while you still can try.


3. Cao Bang Sour Noodle Soup is the highlight of local cuisine. A bowl of noodles is abundant, filled with fleshy liver meat, bacon, roasted duck, heap of peanuts and chili. In summer time, the sauce is made with a light sour taste, making it even delicious. This dish can be eaten for any meal of the day.


4. Xoi tram Cao Bang is a regional take on the classic Vietnamese dish sticky rice which is mixed with fruit from the Carnarium tree to give it a rich purple colour.


5. Trung Khanh chestnuts make the name as the best chestnut you can find in Vietnam and considered as a specialty of Cao Bang. Eaters will remember the fleshy flavor of the chestnuts, especially roasted. The chestnut shell is tough and hard to peel off. But once you get to the inner nut, its taste is just so rewarding. Come to Trung Khanh Cao Bang in autumn, you can find chestnuts everywhere.


6. Da Hien Vegetables, also known as Bo Khai vegetables, often growing wild in the rocky areas, the constitution became a special vegetable of this land. This is a very crunchy, easily broken tree that is only harvested in the spring and summer season. It companies perfectly with dining meat (beef, pork…)

For most tourists, we often suggest a 2-day & 1-night itinerary, which includes various activities of outdoor exploration and culture discovery, for your best experience while traveling Cao Bang.

Day 1: Ban Gioc Waterfalls – Nguom Ngao Cave

Visit Ban Gioc Waterfalls in the early morning to enjoy fresh air and breathtaking views. Do the trekking along Quay Son river and try a bamboo raft at Ban Gioc. May swim at the pool and camp until afternoon. Then visit Nguom Ngao to witness stunning scenes of the natural cave. Return to Ban Gioc to have dinner with specialties and stay with locals for a night.

Day 2: Thang Hen Lake – Nui Thung Valley

Pay a visit to Thang Hen Lake and Nui Thung Valley on the way back to Hanoi. Try a boat tour on the lake, enjoy the peaceful ambiences and have a total relax before ending the trip to Ban Gioc.
If you are a veteran backpacker, please feel free to manage the trip on your own and alter it when needed, else, we recommend you join a tour organized by a professional company that can free you from hassles and keep you safe throughout the journey.

As part of Cao Bang, of which wet season from June to September and dry season from October to May, Ban Gioc has a period of low and high water levels accompanying with distinctive beauties at each season.


At the dry season, Ban Gioc waterfall is beautiful, gentle, elegant with cool water in nice blue hues that will make you want to drop yourself and blend into it.
At the wet season, Ban Gioc waterfall is at its most majestic charm as the water runs faster and the foam splashes like clouds. You may prefer this period to visit Ban Gioc, especially the harvest in Cao Bang is in its full swing.

To get to Ban Gioc in Cao Bang, you may consider travel by bus, my car, or by motorbike.


By public bus: There are comfortable, two-level sleeper buses departing Cao Bang from My Dinh Bus Station, Hanoi daily, which cost between VND190,000 – 250,000 and take about 8 hours of traveling.

After arriving in Cao Bang, you can take the regular buses (number 3 and 7) to Trung Khanh town and Ban Gioc waterfall resort as their final destination. The distance is around 85 kilometers so it should take you two more hours to get to your waterfall.


By private car: Alternatively, there is the option to hire a car and driver in Hanoi to drive to the spot, which gives a very convenient and comfortable trip, but at a higher fair.

By motorbike: You can rent a motorbike to drive yourself from Hanoi to Ban Gioc, Cao Bang. Although renting a motorbike is not a big deal, we do not encourage you to do this if you first come to Vietnam. Ensure your safety first.

Throughout this article, we wish you to have an idea of how to travel to Ban Gioc for your best experience. In case you are looking for your own travel agent, who can offer a wonderful and hassle-free trip to Ban Gioc, please feel free to let us know. We always commit our best to make it your once-in-a-lifetime journey.

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