The not highly populated province of Cao Bang is on the far north-east of Vietnam, bordering to China. It is not on the radar yet for most tourists, and mostly independent traveller or tourists with private drivers make the 240 km journey north from Hanoi.
The main base for tourists is the capital of the province, surprisingly called Cao Bang. It has plenty of accommodation and is overall not a bad place to stay, though food and hotels target mainly Vietnamese tourists who arrive here in masses.
The reason to come to this province however, is not Cao Bang but two well-known sites – the Ban Gioc Falls and Pac Bo cave.
Pac Bo is in the north-east corner of the province, located at the Chinese border. It is a sacred place for the Vietnamese as Ho Chi Minh stayed in these cave when he returned to Vietnam. So anyone interested in history might be interested.
The Ban Gioc waterfall is a magnificent fall at the far east. It actually represents part of the border, half of it belonging to China, and the other side to Vietnam. Near the falls you can also find the beautiful and impressive Động Ngườm Ngao cave.
If this is not enough this province offer some beautiful landscape, with some interesting roads that will please anyone who likes riding a motorbike. Doing the Cao Bang Loop is actually another good reason to visit this province.
There are other smaller places you might stop at when exploring the area. Between Pak Bo cave and Ban Gioc is the border town Tra Linh, and on the way towards Meo Vac you will pass the town Bao Lac, or the small mountain village Thin Tuc. You find accommodation there, and if needed most other places have little guesthouses available.
There is no train station or airport in this province, so the only way to get there is by bus, car or motorbike. The highway QL3 Is in rather good conditions, however getting closer to the province the road gets much steeper, so steep in fact that the A/C was switched off for that section to put pressure off the engine. But the route offers some nice views. The bus journey takes between 6 and 8 hours depending on the company. And most buses will go to Cao Bang town. If you want to reach the other parts you have to change buses there.
I think the various places to see makes Cao Bang province a very attractive place to visit for tourists who do not mind travelling off the beaten tourist trail. And they will be rewarded with beautiful landscape and very friendly and welcoming people.