Looking for adventure but dread the crowds? The province of Cao Bang may just be the destination fit for you. It’s on the Northeastern-most part of Vietnam and one of its main attractions, the Ban Gioc Waterfall sits on the border and is just 30 km from China. If you visit at the right time, ideally from October to April, Cao Bang is a laid-back getaway with five major river systems and 47 lakes and most of the province is protected as a UNESCO Global Geopark.
The most direct way to get in is via Hanoi which will set you back 5 hours on the road but the ride will be well worth it. The city capital, similarly named Cao Bang is where you’ll end up and the best way to get around and explore is by renting motorbike taxis. In the city itself, do check out their local markets for food and culture and if you are familiar with the lunar calendar, you can schedule it accordingly since this determines when the markets pop up.
Like a lot of Vietnam, Cao Bang is another nature lover’s paradise but what sets it apart is the breathtaking Ban Gioc Waterfall which is the fourth largest in the world. Intimidating yet magnificent during the rainy season and very magical to look at during dry times. Other sites one should check out are the Than Heng Lake, Nguom Ngao Cave, and Pac Bo Cave.