Day 1: HA NOI - PUONG CAVE - BA BE LAKE (L, D)
Our driver and tour guide will pick you up in the early morning at your hotel in Hanoi and begin your journey through North-eastern Vietnam. The drive to the national park Is roughly 230 kilometers long, and on the way, we will make a stop in a local Tay village, where you will get to spend some time learning about their traditions and rice farming.
Once you arrive in Ba Be National Park, you will board a boat and head down the Nang River as it winds through wild and rugged landscapes before reaching Puong Grotto, where you can marvel at the impressive stalagmites and stalactites found within. Afterward, you will continue along the river until you reach Ba Be Lake itself. Here you will get to visit Widow Island (named for the local legend regarding the lake) and those who wish can go for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear waters.
You will end the day in Coc Toc Village, inhabited by the Tay ethnic minority, where you will spend the night at Homestay.
Day 2: BA BE LAKE - HUA MA CAVE - QUANG UYEN (B, L, D)
After breakfast with your host family, your journey today will start with a visit to Hua Ma, a dry cave with thousands of amazing stalactites, followed by a drive around Ba Be Lake. Then as you cross through rainforest leaving Ba Be, you will stop for lunch in Cho Ra Town, before continuing on to Quang Uyen, a district inhabited primarily by Nung ethnic minority communities. Due to their isolation and the remote nature of the district, their centuries-old traditions and culture remain recognizably distinct from other minorities in Vietnam.
This remoteness and traditional simplicity are what make Quang Uyen so appealing, and you will be able to experience this first-hand as you overnight in the village.
Day 2: QUANG UYEN - BAN GIOC - CAO BANG (B, L, D)
The third day is likely to be your highlight of the tour, as we take you to one of the most incredible natural wonders in Northern Vietnam; Ban Gioc Waterfall. This breath-taking 300-meter wide cascade sits right on the border between China and Vietnam, amidst a beautiful mountainous landscape.
While you’re here you can spend your time relaxing in the glow of the natural beauty, take some amazing photos, and board a bamboo boat that will take you so close to the falls you’ll feel the spray on your face, practically sitting at the very edge of Vietnam, so close to China that you can actually touch it.
After enjoying the waterfall, you will venture deep underground into the magical Nguom Ngao Cave to discover the rock formations which have been carved by erosion over millennia, before heading to a local market where local people from across the region come to buy and sell locally produced products, as well as socialize with people from other communities.
You will then hike to Phat Tich Temple which as well as giving great insight into local beliefs, offers unrivaled views of Ban Gioc Waterfall with China in the background.
Rounding out the day, you will then travel to Cao Bang where you will spend the night in Hotel.
Day 1: CAO BANG - HA NOI (B, L)
Before leaving Cao Bang, you can partake in the optional activity of climbing the hill up to the War Memorial, which will present a great panoramic view of the town and the surrounding countryside.
As we leave Cao Bang, following the windings roads of Highway No.4 through beautiful valleys flanked by steep mountains and spectacular vistas, we will eventually reach Lang Son, the capital of the area and an important crossing and trade route to nearby Non-Nuoc. The village and surrounding area is very diverse, being home to Dzao, Man, Tho, and Nung people.
The highlight of the town itself is undoubtedly its two markets, the Old Market and the Dong Kinh Market, where you can find anything from traditional crafts to modern electronics.
Time permitting; we will make a stop at the beautiful caves situated amongst the ruins of the Mac Dynasty Citadel, just a few kilometers outside of Lang Son. Among these caves are Tam Thang, which contains a small lake and offers great views of the surrounding farmland, and Nhi Thanh, formed by a river that flows through it and featuring poems inscribed on the wall dating back to the 18th century.
In the afternoon we will take you from Lang Son back to Hanoi along a well maintained and comfortable modern 4-lane highway, arriving at your hotel in Hanoi in the late afternoon.