How to travel to Bao Lac for your best experience
Bao Lac Travel Guide – What to do, when to visit, and more…
Bao Lac is a western district of Cao Bang Province, 350km away from Hanoi, the destination possessing mountainous authenticity and guaranteeing encounters unpublished, of which a lovely setting with fields and hills surrounding, and a little river with
water wheels flowing through town. As home to various ethnic minority groups living in the far northeast of Vietnam like H’mong, Dzao, Lo Lo, Tay, Nung…,
Bao Lac is a western district of Cao Bang Province, 350km away from Hanoi, the destination possessing mountainous authenticity and guaranteeing encounters unpublished, of which a lovely setting with fields and hills surrounding, and a little river with water wheels flowing through town. As home to various ethnic minority groups living in the far northeast of Vietnam like H’mong, Dzao, Lo Lo, Tay, Nung…,
Bao Lac has the unique cultural space of a borderland that creates a vivid beauty and immense vitality for the land. With terrain of climate characteristics of a mountain area, Bao Lac is famous for agricultural products such as plums, pears, oranges and precious medicinal herbs. This hidden town is considered a must for travelers who are on their loop around northeast Vietnam. If you are one, let’s find out how to travel to Bao Lac for your best experience in this article.
Climbing the Phja Da Mountain
“The roof of Cao Bang” – Phja Da sits at a height of over 2,000m above the sea level in an area of many traffic lines, comprising high mountainous terrain, pristine caves with sparkling stalactites, and a big area of primitive forest. From afar, people find it hard to see the peak of Phja Da because it is covered with white clouds all year round. Owning the ecological system that is highly biology-diversified with rare and precious animals and vegetables, with the cool climate throughout the year like that of Sa Pa and Tam Dao, Phja Da is at the top list to visit in Bao Lac.
Trekking the Xuan Truong Valley
There is a valley covered in thick fog, called the Xuan Truong valley. It had been mostly separated from the outside world by high mountains all around. There should be great photo opportunities around here if the weather were nicer. There is a small but good road which travels through the valley with ethnic houses and huge farms around. This where you should meet locals, witness a casual life of Bao Lac as well as learn their culture.
Stay at the Lolo Village
This village is where to find ethnic minority of Lolo with very special habits and practices. Originally from Yunnan in China, the Lolo followed migratory movements towards the South in the 15th and 18th centuries to settle in the landlocked mountains of Haut Tonkin. Visiting this village, you can appreciate their beautiful wooden house on stilts, the traditional costume worn by women consisting of a black tunic with colorful patterns embroidered on the sleeves and front, with few silver necklaces and discreet earrings enhance their beauty. And it is not a surprise if you are welcome with a flood of rice wine, as the usual sign of hospitality of the host!
There is also a magnificent hike of a few hours to discover the mountain range that serves as a backdrop to the village. This moderate-level walk allows you to enjoy some beautiful rice terraces, steep valleys, cross hamlets of ethnic minorities and see the first Chinese foothills on a clear day. A lunch in the form of a picnic and a plunging view of your host village will conclude this hiking trip in style.
Visit the Nong Mansion
Visiting Bao Lac Town, visitors are easily captivated by the unique architecture of an ancient mansion of the Nong family. This was a house of an official of 1890. Lying on the foot of Van Trung Mountain, this mansion is the harmonious combination between the architecture of Western and local style. Surroundings are old trees with over 100 years of age. This is one of the most popular tourist spots in Bao Lac with a relatively large number of visitors each year.
Hanging around at Bao Lac market
The Bao Lac market is the perfect place to meet the ethnic minorities of the region and to enjoy the amazing commercial activities of the mountains of northern Vietnam. This local market is very authentic and unique because of its ethnic diversity. There is a real mix of colours on the varied costumes of the local ethnic minorities from the mountains. Here women compete in beauty with their dazzling costumes and they are the ones who energetically run the merry-go-round.
The market is held every 5 days according to the lunar calendar of the month. Visiting here, you can find fabric, plants, roots, foods, rice wine… almost everything on the land.
As part of Cao Bang, Bao Lac is rich in specialties that are inspired from various unique dishes that the land can offer. Don’t miss trying some of them when you are here.
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 for its high nutritional value.
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.
Sticky rice, 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.
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 to Bao Lac.
Day 1: Bao Lac arrival – Phja Da Mountain – Lolo Village
Get on a bus from Hanoi heading to Bao Lac and arrive in the afternoon. Climb up Phja Da Mountain to watch the pristine natural scene of the river, forest, caves and explore the rich ecological system. Then move on to Lolo Village to get to know the enthic culture and have a homestay for a night.
Day 2: Xuan Truong Valley – Bao Lac departure
Trek around Xuan Truong valley to be amazed by the fantastic landscape of the land. Visit local stilt houses, get socialized, have lunch with special foods from the mountainous area and buy some souvenirs home.
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.
Bao Lac has the moderate climate prevailing which is suitable for a sun vacation. The best time to visit Bao Lac is from February until May and July until November, when you have a pleasant or warm temperature and limited till mediocre rainfall.
The highest average temperature in Bao Lac is 29°C in july and the lowest is 15°C in january. Contrarily, winter temperatures in some areas occasionally experience freezing conditions and some amount of snowfall.
By public bus:
From My Dinh Station in Hanoi, you may catch a bus to Cao Bang which which costs around 250,000 and takes about 8 hours of traveling. However, you need to hail a taxi, or motorbike-taxi to take you to Bao Lac with an extra fare.
By private car:
Else, there is the convenient 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 Bao Lac, 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 Bao Lac for your best experience. In case you are looking for your own travel agent, who can offer a wonderful and hassle-free trip to Bao Lac, please feel free to let us know. We always commit our best to make it your once-in-a-lifetime journey.