Nui Thung mountain, also called Angel Eye mountain, is still a very unknown place, at just 30 km from Cao Bang City and 70 km from Ban Gioc waterfall. It is not only the mountain that is worth a day trip, but the whole area, with Thang Hen Lake, villages, mountains and rice fields, all located in a hidden valley called Tuyet Tinh Coc.
- Nui Thung mountain
- Thang Hen Lake
- Tay minority villages
- How to get there?
- Best time to visit
- Other places to visit
Nui Thung mountain
Coming from Cao Bang City and driving to the north in the direction of Ban Gioc, you drive to the top of the Ma Phuoc pass where you take the DT205. After 10 km on this main road there is a small road on your left that takes you over a mountain into the stunning hidden valley of Tuyet Tinh Coc. Driving through this valley you will see lots of dense jungle, impressive mountains on both sides, small authentic villages of minorities and peaceful countryside of rice fields with buffaloes wandering around. Take your time to explore the area and enjoy some of the most breathtaking scenery that Cao Bang has to offer.
The biggest highlight of the valley is without a doubt the Nui Thung mountain. Nui Thung is also named as Angel Eye mountain, due to it’s enormous hole in the center of the mountain. On the foot of the mountain is a lot of vegetation, that almost grows through the hole of the mountain. Inside Nui Thung is a very large cave with many dark nooks, stalactites, stalagmites and water seeping out of cliffs above that form a small stream of tens of meters down into the cave. It is not a tourist attraction, so venturing in the cave can be dangerous and not recommended without a guide.
Around the mountain you will find large plains and lakes. There are 36 emerald lakes connecting with Nui Thung mountain and the closest one is called Thang Hen lake. There is also a small waterfall called Nam Tra waterfall. Before Nui Thung was known by tourists, it used to be the favorite place for locals to go camping and fishing depending on the water level at the lake in front of Nui Thung.
Thang Hen Lake
Just 10 minutes driving from Nui Thung, you will find Thang Hen lake surrounded by beautiful jungle and mountains. It is part of a 36 lake system, each of which is several hundred meters apart and all laying in the same valley. With 2 km long and 500 meter wide Thang Hen is the largest lake of them all. The mountains and jungle around the lake completes the impressive scenery. Unlike most other lakes in Vietnam that become brown in color during rainy season, Thang Hen lake stays blue all year round since it is fed by clear pure water from a cave located above the lake.
To get to the lake you have to pay 30K/person entrance at a abandoned resort. There is a road that goes around a part of the lake that you can walk or drive. You can discover the lake more by doing a a boat trip. There is also a restaurant for lunch, dinner or even accommodation for staying overnight.
Tay minority villages
There are few Tay minority villages in the valley and around the lakes that you can visit. They live in houses on stilts, surrounded by a forest of hardwood trees, some of which are a thousand years old. There are some trees, from which the locals say they make wine from. The villages are a great place to learn more about the local culture.
How to get there?
Tuyet Tinh Coc valley, with Nui Thung mountain and Thang Hen Lake are located just 30 km from Cao Bang City. If you rent a motorbike in Cao Bang, you start driving north via the QL3. On top of the Ma Phuoc pass, you take a left, instead of straight to the Ban Gioc waterfall. Follow the road for 10 km until there is a small road with a sign on your left. This small road brings you in the valley. In the valley itself there are signs putting you out to the mountain and lake.
Tip! Excited to visit Nui Thung and its stunning valley? Then check out this Off The beaten Cao Bang loop tour! This unique custom made tour by us brings you to this place and to some other known and unknown areas of Cao Bang, such as Ban Gioc waterfall, Bao Lac, Me Pja Pass and more!
Best time to visit
The area can be perfectly visited all year round. If you want to see the rice fields in their most beautiful time – golden season or harvest season – you should visit from September till the beginning of October. During this time the lakes also have more water then during the dry season.
Other places to visit around Nui Thung mountain
It might be a bit far from Hanoi just to visit this stunning area. Luckely there are plenty of other great things to do in Cao Bang. Not too far north you will find another amazing valley called Phong Nam valley and just 20 km from that is the biggest draw of the province, the Ban Gioc waterfall. All the way in the west of Cao Bang is Bao Lac with the Me Pja Pass. Cao Bang can also easily combined with a boat trip on Ba Be lake.