Ban Gioc Waterfall travel guide – 5 highlights & how to get there

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The Ban Gioc waterfall is the largest and most beautiful waterfall in Vietnam, located in the northeastern province of Cao Bang. The water rumbles down 3 levels and is 30 meters high and 300 meters wide. This also makes the Ban Gioc waterfall the widest waterfall in Vietnam.

The water from the waterfall comes from the Quay Son river. This beautiful jade-blue river flows from China through a fantastic landscape of rice fields and limestone rocks. The Ban Gioc Waterfall is still not a major tourist hot spot, despite the popularity on social media and good road access. Mass tourism is yet to come and besides on weekend and on public holidays, there are not many foreign and local tourist.

What to expect at the Ban Gioc Waterfall

The Ban Gioc waterfall flows into the Quay Son river, in the middle of a mountain range. From the height of 30 meters, the thunderous water flows give you a powerful feeling. Ban Gioc is considered the most impressive and beautiful waterfall in Southeast Asia. You come here not only to view the amazing waterfall, but also the breathtaking scenery.

The waterfall is easily accessible via a gravel path. This path runs through a grassy bank and over wooden bridges. But before you walk on the gravel path, you must first stop at the nearby kiosk to pay the entrance fee of 2 dollar. There are also a few food and drink stalls set up close to the falls.

The Ban Gioc waterfall is right at the border, with Vietnam on one side of the Quay Son River and China on the other side. This means that one half of the waterfall is in Vietnam and the other half in China. On both sides you can take a bamboo raft that can bring you near the thundering water, so you could practically shake hands with Chinese tourist from the other boats. A ride of 10 minutes on a raft costs around 2 dollar.

Raft over the Quay Son river
Going by raft over the Quay Son river, with Vietnam on one side and China on the other side
tours Cao bang Ban Gioc waterfall

To the left of the large waterfall you can admire another “smaller” waterfall, overshadowed by its big brother. It is still a huge waterfall and not less beautiful than the main one.

Ban Gioc in Cao Bang
The main waterfall on the right and the smaller waterfall on the left
Ban Gioc waterfall
The “smaller” waterfall on the left

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 from the beach below the fall. It brings you to the first and second layers of the waterfall. It is quite 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 that gives an impressive view of the waterfall. If you choose to climb it, you do so at your own risk.

Entrance fee & opening hours

  • Price: 45,000 VND
  • Opening hours: 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Motorbike parking is an additional 10,000 VND.

Best time to visit Ban Gioc Waterfall

Like any of the other waterfalls in Vietnam, Ban Gioc has a period of low and high water levels, depending on the season you are visiting. But you can visit the waterfall all year round, because there is always water, but there are times when you can experience the very best version of Ban Gioc.

Cao Bang has a wet season from June to September, and a dry season from October to May. In the first period you clearly see a larger waterfall. This force also brings more soil, which means that the water usually gets a dark brown color.

During the dry season there is less rain and the weather is much cooler. The water has nice blue hues this season, but the problem with this season is the amount of water.

The best time to visit Ban Gioc waterfall is around August and September, the perfect combination when there is a lot of water and the color is clear and blue. You will also find beautiful rice fields in Ban Gioc during this season.

5 highlights around Ban Gioc Waterfall

With a distance of more than 300 km from Hanoi and over 7 hours of driving, it can be a bit far for only visiting the waterfall. Luckily there are plenty of stunning thing to do in Cao Bang. Here are a 5 not too far from the Ban Gioc Waterfall.

1. Ban Gioc Temple

Truc Lam Phat Tich pagoda (or the Ban Gioc Temple)

When you have explored Ban Gioc you can go to the best viewpoint of the waterfall. You can find this view from the Truc Lam Phat Tich pagoda, also known as the Ban Gioc temple. From the waterfall you go back to the main road and follow it about 600 m back towards Cao Bang until you come to a turn to the left with a few souvenir and food stalls. This is the access road to the Truc Lam pagoda, also called the Ban Gioc temple. When you reach the top, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking panorama that looks straight down into the valley and the Ban Gioc waterfall.

2. Nguom Ngao cave

Nguom Ngao cave in Cao Bang

At only three kilometers from the Ban Gioc waterfall you will find the impressive limestone Nguom Ngao cave. With a total length of more than 2,100 meters, it is an ideal place for cave lovers. You can walk through a large part of the cave that is beautifully lit and very impressive. The cave is remarkable, thanks in part to the water dripping through the limestone walls, but this can also ensure that the path can sometimes be very slippery.

3. Phong Nam valley

Phong Nam valley in Cao Bang
View from the Phong Nam valley viewpoint

Even though the Phong Nam valley is just 10 km from the Ban Gioc waterfall, there is a very big change you will not find any tourist in this area.

4. Nui Thung mountain

Nui Thung mountain

The Nui Thung mountain (60 km from Ban Gioc) is another hidden paradise hardly known by the tourist crowds. This mountain, also called Angel Eye mountain, has a huge whole in the center of the mountain. It is not only a great spot to make some photos, but the complete hidden valley is absolutely beautiful. Rich of forest, high mountain, lakes, plains and small villages of minority.

5. Thang Hen Lake

Thang Hen Lake in Cao Bang
Thang Hen Lake

The Thang Hen Lake is right next to Nui Thung mountain. It is the biggest lake of a complete system of 36 lakes in Tinh Coc valley (Cao Bang). You can take a boat trip over the lake or relax by the water’s edge with beautiful views of the mountains that are being reflected in the lake.

How to get there

The Ban Gioc waterfall is approximately 360 kilometers from Hanoi and 90 km east of Cao Bang. You can easily reach the waterfall via a good national highway to Cao Bang city and then a number of well-maintained provincial roads that lead through fantastic scenery to the falls.

From Hanoi to Bang Gioc Waterfall

From Hanoi to Cao Bang it is fairly simple: either take a bus (sleeper buses) from the My Dinh bus station or Luong Yen bus station in Hanoi (8 hours) or ride the motorbike on Highway QL3. The highway is in good condition and runs along beautiful landscapes; from Hanoi to Cao Bang it is 280 km. The price for the bus is between the VND 190,000 – 250,000.

Bang Gioc Waterfall tours

The easiest way to discover Bang Gioc is with a multi-day tour from Hanoi. Tours from Hanoi to Ban Gioc waterfall are often three-day trips combing visits to other local attractions in addition to the waterfall, such as Ba Be Lake and the Ngam Ngou cave.

Ba Be Lake is a natural lake in North Vietnam that is absolutely fantastic because of its amazing nature. It is located in Ba Be National Park. Although it is quite a long way from Ba Be to Ban Gioc, your journey to the northern region of Vietnam will be more complete by adding this amazing lake to the itinerary.

Tip! Check our Ban Gioc Waterfall tours. We have a few tours that are custom made and unique, combining some of the most stunning and off the beaten destinations of Cao Bang. You can visit the Ban Gioc waterfall also with Ha Giang and Ba Be Lake.

From Cao Bang to Bang Gioc Waterfall

Small local buses run from Cao Bang to Ban Gioc and back a few times a day. You ca ask the staff at your accommodation for bus times and more information. Taxis and motorcycle taxis are also available in the city center.

With a motorcycle you have the best experience with spectacular views along the route. You can rent motorbikes and scooters at most hotels and homestays for around 8 dollar a day. The QL3 motorway is the easiest and fastest way to reach Ban Gioc Waterfall from Cao Bang.

Where to stay

There is a resort called Saigon-Ban Gioc on the road directly opposite the entrance to the falls with rooms from $ 40 per night. Only if you get a room on the top floor you are able to see the waterfall from the balcony. In addition to the Saigon-Ban Gioc Resort, there are a number of local homestays on either side of the road, between the Nguom Ngao Cave and the waterfall. One of the best accommodation in the area is Lan Homestay. It is located in a peaceful area along a river and between the mountains. The homestay is a traditional stilt house of minority.

Finding accommodation in Cao Bang city or Trung Khanh can be useful to find the homestay or hotel of better quality or more attractive prices. The best accommodations in Trung Khanh are close to the market. But when you go to Cao Bang city you have many more options.

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