Ban Gioc Waterfall – How to visit the most impressive off-the-beaten-track in Vietnam

Ban Gioc Waterfall Facts

Ban Gioc Waterfall is one of Vietnam’s most impressive natural sights.

  • Located in the northeastern of Vietnam in Cao Bang province, the falls are 30 metres high and 300 metres across, making Ban Gioc the widest (but not the highest) waterfall in the country.
  • The falls are half in Vietnam and half in China as the Quay Son River forms the border between Vietnam and China.  Both countries have bamboo rafts that punt visitors around the base of the falls for better views of the cascade.

  • With around 30 meters high and 208 meters wide, Ban Gioc waterfalls can be heard from afar as the water is hitting the cliffs. Opposite to the falls, the river is calm, peaceful, clear as a mirror and painted by rice paddy fields that is beyond imagination and when standing in front of, looking at the falls, it is like looking into a watercolor painting. The beauty is just unreal!

The scenery changes according to the seasons through the year. In spring, the flame-red blossoms are in full bloom. In autumn, the waterfall surroundings turn golden-yellow. In the summer, the waters become stronger and violent and during winter the fall’s clear waters drop slowly.

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Farming techniques in the region

Farming techniques can’t have changed much here in centuries: save for some mechanized rice threshers, most of the work is done by hand. One piece of ‘technology’ you’ll see along the banks of the river is the bamboo water wheel. This attractive, medieval-looking device scoops up water from the river near Ban Gioc Waterfall, carries it up to the level of the fields, and drops it into earth gutters, which channel the water into the fields to irrigate the crops. It’s a hypnotic, peaceful and timeless sight. However, it would appear that they are slowly dying out: on my last visit, only a few of them were operating, and a couple were in a state of neglect.

Ban Gioc Waterfall and its sourround

There’s an impressive limestone cave system near Ban Gioc Waterfall, called Nguom Ngao caves (entrance: 40,000vnd [$2]), just a few kilometres on the right before reaching Ban Gioc waterfall. A kilometre-long walkway leads through the caves, which are beautifully lit and very impressive. Tread carefully because the pathway can be very slick, thanks to the dripping of calcium carbonate, which forms the stalactites that you see all around you.

Best time to visit Ban Gioc Waterfall

The best time to visit Ban Gioc Waterfall is from May to September when it rains sometimes so you can see a big waterfall and you can swim in its cool  water. 
It is also nice to visit from October  to December, but the falls is not as big as other months and it can be too cold to swim.

How to get to Ban Gioc Waterfall

Because the falls are located right on the Chinese border, foreign travellers used to require a special permit to visit the area. But today, you can just turn up and buy a ticket (45,000vnđ ~ $2) at the kiosk without any documents at all, before walking down a gravel path to the waterfall. (Very occasionally, the ticket kiosk may ask to see your passport.) The path threads through rice fields, over wooden bridges above gurgling creeks, and onto an exposed grassy bank at the bottom of the falls. The wide, white cascade is fringed with foliage and framed by sharp, tooth-like limestone mountains, which are partly obscured by drifting clouds of vapour from all the spray generated by the waterfall. A good viewing point is from the newly constructed hilltop temple and pagoda on the south side of the road, opposite the falls.


DEALING ALERT !!!:  Ba Be Lake – Ban gioc waterfall  3-Days Tour

Ban Gioc Waterfall – How to visit the most impressive off-the-beaten-track in Vietnam
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