A complete guide to Cao Bang travel

23-Dec-2019

Cao Bang - the Northeast land of the country endowed with amazing nature, is extremely beautiful with majestic mountains and forests. Moreover, Cao Bang tourism is also attracting tourists from historical places. That makes Cao Bang always the land that many people choose to spend their time visiting.

1. Overview of Cao Bang tourism

Cao Bang travel

Cao Bang is a mountainous province, the border is located in the Northeast, the North and Northeast borders with Guangxi (China), the borderline is over 333 km long, the West borders Ha Giang and Tuyen Quang provinces, the South borders 2 provinces of Bac Kan and Lang Son. The north-south direction is 80 km (from Duc Hanh commune, Bao Lam district to Quang Trong commune, Thach An district). The direction of East-West is 170 km (from Ly Quoc commune, Ha Lang district to Thach Lam commune, Bao Lam district).

Cao Bang has a natural area of ​​6,703.42 km2; it is a limestone plateau interspersed with soil, with an average height of over 200m, the border area has an elevation of 600 - 1,300m above sea level. Mountains and forests occupy more than 90% of the area of the whole province, while flat land for cultivation only takes nearly 10%. The current population is 519,802 people. Cao Bang is deeply imbued with the cultural identity of ethnic groups. Since the establishment of the province, up to now, the history of formation and development has been deeply impressed.

2. When to travel?

In Cao Bang, each season has an unique beauty. If you have never been here, no matter which season you travel to Cao Bang, you will bring a new and very special feeling.

However, according to the Cao Bang travel experience of its travelers, Cao Bang attracts the most tourists at two times of the year. For those who want to see Ban Gioc waterfall and the beautiful blue water will choose from August to September every year. November to December is when Cao Bang also blooms with buckwheat flowers and wildly lit anemones on roads.

Hot summers can make your tour somewhat tiring. However, Cao Bang tourism in the summer is not without its own interesting feature. You can hide in the sun in the immense mountains, sit in the wind watching the fish dancing. More specifically, summer is also the ripe plum season throughout the Cao Bang mountains. You will be able to enjoy the plum and summer fruits in this border area.

3. Means of traveling

Cao Bang City About 280km from the capital  (Hà Nội), because the distance is quite far, so it is good to take a bus from My Dinh bus station for convenience. From Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang or Can Tho, if you want to come to Cao Bang, you will take a flight to Hanoi and then continue the journey to Cao Bang.

4. Tourist attractions and places to explore when visiting Cao Bang

Cao Bang travel

Ban Gioc Fall

Ban Gioc is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Vietnam, which is situated at Dam Thuy ward, Trung Khanh, Cao Bang. Even from a far distance, tourists can hear the great sound of water falling. From a height of more than 30 m, tons of water fall down on layers of limestones. Right in at the middle of the fall is a large mound of rock full of plants, which split the water stream into 3 smaller ones look like white silk bands.

All days and nights, the water stream falls on flat rock layers which creates a lot of white foam covering a large area. On sunny days, the steam even helps create a fanciful rainbow. Down under the foot of Ban Gioc Fall is a mirror-like river. On two sides of it, there are green colors from fields and forests.

Ban Gioc Phat Tich Truc Lam Temple

Ban Gioc Phat Tich Truc Lam Temple is elegantly built on Phia Nham mountain, Dam Thuy ward (Trung Khanh), and it is about 500 m far from  Ban Gioc Fall. The temple is built in traditional Vietnamese architecture style which includes: triple gate, bell lodge, drum lodge, stele, “three treasures”, To and Mau worshipping temple, historical figures worshipping temple, Hung dynasty area, guest area and other minor areas. Ban Gioc Phat Tich Truc Lam Temple plays an important role in the development of Ban Gioc Fall into one of the main national tourist attractions.

Nguom Ngao Cave 

Nguom Ngao is a huge cave which was formed by long-time weathered limestones. Nguom Ngao (as known as Tiger cave in Tay language or “a cave in the middle of rocks) is discovered by the locals in 1921. Nguom Ngao cave has a length of 2.144 m with 3 main entrance: Nguom Lom entrance which is cold all year round and hidden under rock layers at the foot of the mountain, Nguom Ngao entrance which is a few hundreds stairs from the foot of the mountain and Ban Thuon entrance behind the mountain, which is near Tay people’s Thuon village.

The arch of the cave narrows down and open up again, which brings tourists some excitement. There are stalactites from the top, bottom, left, right in different sizes which creates a wonderful scene of the cave.

Pac Bo relics site

Cao Bang travel

Pac Bo relics site is an important historical and revolution-related relics of Vietnam, which is situated at Pac Bo village, Truong Ha Ward, Ha Quang district, Cao Bang and is it its 55 km to the North of Cao Bang city. The site includes the Ho Chi Minh memorial house, Coc Po cave (in local language it means “upstream”), Lung Lan cave, Nguom Vai cave, Lenin spring, a rock table where Ho Chi Minh used to work at, Mr. Ly Quoc Sung house floor, Mr. La Thanh house floor, etc.

Thang Hen lake

Located at Quoc Toan Ward, Tra Linh district, Cao Bang at a height of thousands of meters above the sea level lever. Thang Hen lake is one of the beautiful lakes in the Vietnamese 36 lakes in mountains. It is situated in the middle of the mountainous area with the green color of trees and plants on rocks reflects on the water and the river follows the arduous way of underground rocks. Thang Hen lake is a rhombus-shaped lake with 300 m wide and 1000 m long in the middle of the forest with white olives and Chinese black olives hidden in cat-ears-shaped rocks. The upstream of this lake is a large cave with water running all day and night.
More specially, Thang Hen lake has its own up and down “tides”. In the flooding season, when other lakes have has a reddish color, this lake still remains in its blue color. In the dry season, the water drops about 10 meters. Near Thang Hen lake, there is another lake called Thang Luong, which has a hill inside it with a beautiful view.

View more: 5 Cao Bang tourist destinations you must visit

5. What to eat when visiting Cao Bang?

Coong phu (floating cake)

Coong phu (floating cake)

Coong phu is made from nice sticky rice mixed with some normal rice. The cake is filled with crushed roasted peanuts peanut with sugar and sesame. Coong phu cakes are usually pure white so some people may mix flour with gac or immerse rice with cam or coconut leaf to bring in some new and unique colors, tastes and odour. There are literally no coloring or chemicals.

Rolled cake

Rolled cake is not a strange dish for Northern Vietnamese but Cao Bang local people have their own unique way to eat the dish, comparing to other places.

Cao Bang rolled cake is distinct in its served soup. Not like Hanoi or Ha Nam people who dip rolled cake into a mixed fish sauce with reduced sweetness and sourness, Cao Bang locals dip the cake into the sweet soup from boiling bone broth. Due to this reason, many people call this dish soup rolled cake to separate it from the rolled cake with the fish sauce of people from lowlands. The soup is made by boiling pig broth so when put it into the bowl, you can smell the distinctive odour and the sweetness. Each bowl of soup is served with a few spoonfuls spoonful of crushed meat and topped with scallion.

Another attractive cuisine is the egg rolled cake which is made by putting an egg on the cake inside the mold and then cover it and when the cake has been cooked enough, it covers the egg and it is served in a bowl. When tasting this dish, customers can feel the sweetness with the bold flavor of scallion and meat and the toughness of the cake in the soup. Many tourists from far away trying this for the first time feel unfamiliar but all compliment the dish due to its boldness and tastiness of the dish.
Sauté cake.

Winter in Cao Bang has a special dish that is served in many shops and bars. This cake looks like fried cake but it is filled with duck meat and not crushed pork, fungus and green beans like normal fried cakes. Cao Bang people called it sauté cake or sauté duck cake.

The ingredients for sauté cake is not too complicated, just sticky rice and rice flour with duck meat filled, but this is a specialty in the Northeast area.

The coat of the cake is a mixture of sticky rice, rice and soybean. The chosen rice is the one gathered recently and raw rice and the rice is mixed together and immersed in about half a day to make it thicker and then crushed into flour. They also choose Quang Uyen soybean with a yellow color inside to mix with rice flour to make a concentrated mixture to maintain the softness and tastiness.

After having all the required ingredients, they take enough amount of flour and fill it with duck meat, put the cake under pressure and slowly put into boiled oil until the cake has a yellowish color in both sides and gives off of a nice odour, then you can take it out and try the dish. 

Canarium sticky rice

Canarium sticky rice

Visiting Cao Bang, you will meet this canarium sticky rice everywhere, from prestige houses, weddings to the cozy meals of local houses at the weekend. Not like other kinds of sticky rice, this canarium sticky rice has a nice odour from sticky rice with a strange smell of canarium. It has a bold taste of canarium with sweet rice which will not bore bores you and more especially, even if you eat a lot, you will not feel hot inside your throat. 

Beef hung over the kitchen

Cao Bang is a place where many people raise cows, especially in districts like Ha Quang, Bao Lac or Bao Lam. If you have some time to visit this place to try some specialties, do not miss this beef hung over the kitchen. Cows in Cao Bang are for cultivating and for hauling vehicles. They also have a lot of meat. Drying is a method of maintaining beef of locals but it also brings the beef a unique taste.

All kinds of dried beef are delicious, but the best kinds are bottom and muscle beef which are sweet and soft. Beef is sliced into sizes depending on your interest but the best size is about 3-fingers wide and a hand long. Beef is spiced with salt, ginger sauce and white wine. Before marinating, cut a few lines on the beef for the spices to infuse. After marinating, use bamboo to skewer the beef and put it over the kitchen.

Roasted milk pig

In Cao Bang, local pigs that weigh from 4 to 6 kg are often chosen to be roasted. After the preparation, use a large piece of paper to dry the pig (if washing it under the water, the meat will be flappy and will lose all its flavor. Then put some clausena indica leaves with other spices into the stomach and sew it and use bamboo to skewer and roast on embers; while roasting, put some honey and other spices spiced to make the coat crunchy without being cracked. Nicely roasted pork has a yellowish color, crunchy skin and nice odour. The dipping sauce also has a unique recipe.

6. Accommodation in Cao Bang

Accommodation in Cao Bang

When visiting Cao Bang, I usually choose the two-star Hoa Viet hotel; although it does not have breakfast service, the room is really nice and in high quality. Otherwise, you can choose many other hotels such as the three-star Bang Giang hotel or two-star hotels such as Huong Sen hotel, Thanh Loan hotel, Giao te Hotel, etc. Recently, in Ban Gioc Fall tourism site, there is a 4-star Sai Gon Ban Gioc hotel so if you want some interesting experience near the border area of Vietnam, you can choose to stay here.

7. Souvenirs

When traveling to Cao Bang, you will see many local products that can be bought as a gift for your family and friends.

Firstly, we have to mention Trung Khanh chestnuts. Chestnuts here are solid with nice odour and light sweet taste which is really favorable. These are sold in all markets in Cao Bang with a reasonable price of only 60,000 VND/kg. You can buy both raw chestnuts and roasted ones as roasted chestnut can still be kept in the fridge up to 4 or 5 days.

Souvenirs - Cao Bang

Cao Bang sausage is not too fatty and has a distinct odour so it is always on top of tourists’ list of things to buy as a gift home. Additionally, khao cake is also a nice Cao Bang souvenir for the elderly.

8. Other notes 

Remember to bring all your identifications, driving license and drive carefully as the roads here are stiff and arduous.

Traveling to Cao Bang in summer is quite hot so please prepare coats and sun cream to avoid the sun and bring light clothes. You should also prepare some personal medicines to avoid flu due to the change in weather.

Please make sure that everything is carefully prepared so that you can have the most perfect trip with many unforgettable memories. 

Some travel schedules to Cao Bang for your reference:

Hopefully, the information that JTA Tours shared above will provide you with useful information for your tour to Cao Bang. If you find this information useful, please share or save the article for reference when needed.

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