205 miles North of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, lies Ban Gioc Waterfall. Potentially, if not definitely, the best waterfall in the whole of Asia.
The dividing line between Vietnam and China splits the waterfall in two. Making this already impressive set of waterfalls even more interesting.
Unlike anything I’ve seen in Asia, and more reminiscent of something belonging to Croatia or the Balkans. This set of falls is so much more expensive and impressive than I had originally thought.
Easily visited from Hanoi, this is a must-visit waterfall if you’re in Northern Vietnam and the journey to the waterfall is quite something too.
Quick Facts about Ban Gioc Waterfall
- Distance: 205 Miles from Hanoi, 50 miles from Cao Bang
- Time: 2 hour drive from Cao Bang
- Best travel time: After heavy rainfall or first thing in the morning
- Difficulty: Easy and small trail leading to the waterfalls
- Parking: Cost 5,000VIN (Less than £1)
High Points of Ban Gioc Waterfall
- The road to the falls is one of the best I’ve ever driven.
- Off the tourist route, so is a cool spot to visit.
- Lots of different falls to see and explore.
- One of Asia’s best waterfalls
Low Points of Ban Gioc Waterfall
- Not sure I’d want to do a day trip from Hanoi without my own transport.
- Can get busy during the day, go first thing.
How to get to the Ban Gioc Waterfall
Lying 200 miles North of Hanoi, and 50 miles North of Cao Bang, this is a fairly easy waterfall to get to and isn’t remote.
I would strongly advise, if you’re confident enough, to hike a bike in Hanoi and do the journey yourself. If not, get a bus to Cao Bang, and then drive from Cao Bang to Ban Gioc Waterfall.
The drive from Cao Bang is one of the best drives I’ve done anywhere in the world. I can comfortably say that having driven around Fjords in Norway, over mountain passes in New Zealand, the famous NC500 in Scotland, and many miles road tripping in the USA.
Along the route there are many points of interest and places to visit, you could definitely turn this into a 2 or 3-day trip if you so wish.
If you’re interested in more things to do on the route, then you can click here to find more.
That said, I’d strongly recommend you visit the incense village, where they make incense. It can be beautiful to witness if you catch it at the right time.
Also, along the route is one of the oldest blacksmithing villages in the world. Definitely worth a stop off to see how they create some of the most deadly, but incredible-looking knives I’ve seen!
My Experience of Ban Gioc Waterfall, Vietnam
This was the only pin I had on my maps in the whole of Vietnam.
It intrigued me because of its location. The waterfall technically belongs to China, but half of the falls are in Vietnam.
A series of falls cascade down and like previously mentioned look more like a waterfall you’d find in Croatia, or the Balkans.
For me though, the drive from Cao Bang through to Ban Gioc was as good as the waterfall itself.
Traveling through rural Vietnamese villages whilst nestled deep in incredible Vietnamese landscapes, the 2-hour drive felt like 20 minutes. Constantly evolving landscapes kept my attention on what was around me rather than the arduous task of driving the bike through the winding roads.
The waterfalls themselves were actually much more impressive than I had originally anticipated. The Vietnamese side has the most impressive falls out of all the cascades. But the vastness of the tiers in the main waterfall is absolutely incredible.
It is slightly strange to see China from the other side of the water. One good throw of a rock and it would be in China. I do believe the view of the tiers would be better from the Chinese side, but I wasn’t willing to risk the swim over the water to find out…
You could quite easily spend a good hour or so here wandering around and taking in the beauty of Asia’s biggest waterfall.
Or if you’re a 6FT white guy like me, spend an hour being in photos for locals who have either never seen anyone with muscles, or never seen a white guy before.