Cycling the Border Belt Cao Bang

Cao Bang

4 days 3 nights

Culture and Religion
Immersive Learning
Hands-on Workshop


Booking in advance

About this experience

Cao Bằng is home to many ethnic minorities that have kept their unique traditions but remain some of the poorest people in Vietnam. 

Enjoy some of the most beautiful cycling routes that North Vietnam has to offer, in an area that is only just opening up to international tourists. You will enjoy the craft villages of Cao Bang around the tranquil village of Phia Thap, and then cycle North-East to the Chinese border region where you will experience Vietnam’s magnificent Ban Gioc waterfall, falling between the surrounding trees with Vietnam on one side of the river and China on the other.

Utilizing sealed and unsealed roads for over 90% of the planned route (the remainder being well packed walking trails), this is suitable for people with limited mountain biking experience. A moderate level of fitness will be required though, with day 2 and day 3 stages pushing the other side of 50km.

  • Cycling through beautiful scenic routes
  • Local interaction through CBT programs
  • Experience how to make paper using traditional techniques
  • Experience basket weaving in a village that specializes in this art

Your positive contribution

Environmental and Cultural Protection

By booking this activity, you are contributing to responsible travel.

Environmental: Measures are put in place to make sure water and energy is not wasted and that wildlife are protected.

Cultural: This tour makes sure that money is invested back to the locals and that community-based tourism is in place.

Your itinerary

Standard program

Day 1: Hanoi – Phia Thap (-/L/D)

6:00 – Travel from Ha Noi – Phia Thap commune (Bus)

15:00 – Short bike ride around homestay location

19:00 – Dinner at homestay

Route Description:

After arriving at the homestay you’ll have the opportunity to warm up your cycling legs with a ride around the local area. This short “there-and-back” ride takes us along wide dirt roads to a paper-making village, where you’ll be able to have a go at making your own paper using a process that locals have been using for generations. After putting your skills to the test we’ll take a leisurely ride back to Phia Thap homestay village.

Stay at Phia Thap

Day 2: Phia Thap – Basket Weaving Village – Phia Thap (B/L/D)

7:00 – Ride from Phia Thap homestay to Basket Weaving Village

8:00 – Participate in Basket Weaving Challenge

12:00 – Lunch at Swimming Spot

19:00 – Dinner at homestay

Route Description:

It’s time to really stretch those legs with the Phia Thap Epic Loop. This 40km ride along dirt and sealed roads (with a small section of singletrack) will take you through a local basket-weaving village where you will not only see baskets being made, but also have a go at making one yourself. We then continue along the southern half of the loop and stop at a fresh spring where you can cool off with a quick swim after lunch.

After everyone has refuelled we’ll head north along a sealed road towards Quang Uyen where you can purchase drinks at any of the local shops. Taking a steep but short climb out of town takes us onto the northern half of the loop, through amazing countryside and back to the homestay for a well-earned rest.

Note: Water and fruit stations will be provided on the trail.

Stay at Phia Thap

Day 3: Phia Thap – Trung Khanh – Lung Niec (B/L/D)

7:00 – Travel from Phia Thap commune to Trung Khanh (Bus)

8:00 – Ride bike from Trung Khanh to homestay at Lung Niec

19:00 – Dinner at homestay

Route Description:

It’s the biggest day of the tour distance-wise. We start with a 40-minute bus ride to the town of Trung Khanh, leaving behind most of the busy highway that goes to the Chinese border. After topping up the water bottles we head north, through amazing river scenery and passing rice paddies and water wheels and (on a clear day) spot the Chinese border in the distance.

Crossing the picturesque Quay Son river we then turn south-east along sealed roads and village trails, before turning east and making our way to the Lung Niec homestay that’s located only a stone’s throw from the famous Ban Gioc waterfall.

Note: Water and fruit stations will be provided on the trail. Lunch stop along the way.

Stay at Lung Niec Homestay

Day 4: Lung Niec – Ban Gioc – Hanoi (B/L/-)

7:00 – Ride bike from Lung Niec homestay to Ban Gioc Waterfall

8:00 – Community Development Project at Ban Gioc Waterfall

10:00 – Travel from Ban Gioc to Hanoi (Bus)

Route Description:

Make sure your camera battery is fully charged, because Day 4 would possibly be the day you drain it to the last bar with tons of shots of the stunning landscape. Turning right onto the main road it’s a short downhill ride down to the amazing Ban Gioc waterfall, where we will spend a few hours participating in a community development activity that will assist the locals in maintaining the area. Here riders can grab a coffee at the Sai Gon Ban Gioc Resort located right next to the waterfall entrance, or wander through the souvenir markets at the base of the falls. After a group photo (and plenty of your own, no doubt) it’s all aboard the express bus back to Hanoi.


 Tours and transfers as mentioned in the itinerary (air conditioned vehicle)

 Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= dinner)

 2 water bottles/day/pax. For environmental protection the empty bottle

    needs to be returned for recycling.

 English speaking guide; local guide

 Entrance fees for all visits and activities as mentioned in the itinerary

 Community fund: 10% of your homestay fee will contribute to the

    community development fund.

Not included

✘ Beverages and personal expenditures

✘ Local cultural performance/show

✘ Other transfers than mentioned

✘ Other meals than mentioned

✘ Other services than mentioned

✘ Travel insurance for the trip Hanoi – Cao Bang – Hanoi

✘ Tips

Logistical Information

  • Starting time: Car pick-up at 6.00 a.m (1st day)
  • Meeting point: Your hotel
  • What to bring: Good walking shoes, raincoat, jacket, insect repellent, long sleeved clothes, hat or umbrella, sunscreen and sunglasses.
  • Who can join the tour: this tour is suitable for adults aged 18 and above with medium health conditions.

What's the weather like?

  • Cao Bang has a fairy-tale landscape of conical limestone peaks, secluded valleys and dense forests. The limestone plateau interspersed with mountains has an average altitude of over 200 meters while the areas bordering China are located higher at an altitude of 600-1300 metres.
  • Due to its northerly location and the influence of cold waves from China, Cao Bang has a cooler climate than the rest of Vietnam.
  • The province has a temperate climate with four seasons. Summers are hot and humid with an average temperature of 25-28°C in summer and 16-17°C in winter. Lowest temperatures of 5-8°C are recorded in winter between December and February and some of the higher peaks even can see snow fall during cold spells.

Where does the tour occur?