Trekking the Limestone Mountains and Handicraft Villages of Cao Bang

Cao Bang

4 days 3 nights

Culture and Religion
Immersive Learning
Hands-on Workshop

Medium to Sporty

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. Breathtaking landscapes made up of limestone mountains, rice terraces, wild rivers, waterfalls and caves make it a perfect destination for tourists that seek an authentic and adventurous travel cycling along picturesque mountainside

  • Enjoy picturesque views throughout the trip
  • Genuine Homestay experience
  • Experience tile-making
  • Experience incense-making
  • Enjoy canoeing through jade-blue waters of the river
  • Cave visit before going back to Hanoi

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 – Trung Vuong – Phia Thap (-/L/D)

6:00 – Car transfer Hanoi – Cao Bằng – Trưng Vương

Lunch on way to Cao Bằng

13:30 – Hiking Trưng Vương – Phia Thắp (3 hours, about 6km) / possible car pick up on the way if needed

19:00 – Dinner / homestay at Phia Thắp village

After a long journey by bus to Cao Bằng we will start hiking uphill in the steep idyllic valley of Trưng Vương. We will pass through a breathtaking landscape of limestone mountains, rice terraces and maize fields to reach our destination Phia Thắp community-based tourism village. The village is surrounded by limestone pinnacles which make for a spectacular scenery.

While the homestay owners prepare dinner you can sit on the balcony to watch the beautiful sunset or stroll through the picturesque village.

Day 2: Phia Thap – Lan Duoi – Lung Ri – Phia Thap (B/L/D)

7:00 – Climbing mountain near Phia Thắp village (viewpoint)

9:00 – Trekking to Làn Dưới (basket weaving village) and Lũng Rì (tiles village)

12:00 – Lunch at Lũng Ri

13:00 – Making tiles at Lũng Rì, trekking from Lũng Rì to Pác Rằng (blacksmith village), Car transfer to Phia Thắp

Total trekking time whole day: 7 hours (13 km)

* Alternative: car pick up at Lũng Rì back to Phia Thắp homestay

19:00 – Dinner / homestay at Phia Thắp village

Early morning you will climb to the top of a limestone mountain behind the village from which you can enjoy the stunning view over Phia Thắp village and its surrounding mountains.

Back in Phia Thắp we will start trekking to Làn Dưới village, a village specialised in the weaving of baskets. We continue trekking until we reach a meadow that offers irresistible views over maize fields and a fairy-tale landscape of limestone pinnacles covered in lush vegetation. A perfect place to take in the scenery and stop for pictures. We then start our descent to the village of Lũng Rì where we will enjoy a delicious meal cooked by a local family. In the afternoon you have the chance to experience the tile making process, a craftsmanship the village is famous for. After you tried making tiles yourself we will continue trekking to Pác Rằng village.

Pác Rằng is specialized in the crafting of blacksmith products such as knives. You will be able to see a blacksmith at work before being picked up by car back to Phia Thắp village.

Day 3: Phia Thap – Quay Son River – Ban Gioc (B/L/D)

7:00 – Incense making at Phia Thắp

  • Car transfer from Phia Thắp to Trùng Khánh district, canoeing for 2 hours on Quây Sơn river
  • Lunch at Lũng Niếc homestay

13:00 – Climbing the mountain near Lũng Niếc village and visit cave there, continue trekking to top of mountain to see overview of Bản Giốc waterfall and pagoda, go to Bản Giốc waterfall from another side of mountain

16:00 – Visit Bản Giốc waterfall

19:00 – Dinner / homestay at Lũng Niếc village

In the morning you can experience incense making at Phia Thắp village. The village has a long tradition in the production of incense sticks. Test your craftsmanship skills and try making your own incense sticks. After this fun activity we will drive to Quây Sơn river for canoeing. Gliding through the jade-blue waters of the river along a spectacular scenery of limestone mountains and green rice terraces will be an awe-inspiring and relaxing activity.

After canoeing we will have lunch in our homestay at Lũng Niếc close to Bản Giốc waterfall. In the afternoon we climb a mountain next to the village that offers a spectacular view over Ban Gioc waterfall and the nearby pagoda. On the way to the mountain top we will visit a limestone cave. From the top we then hike downhill to the waterfall where you have time to enjoy one of most beautiful natural attractions of Vietnam before we head back to the homestay for dinner.

Day 4: Nguom Ngao Cave – Cao Bang City – Hanoi (B/L/-)

8:00 – Visit to Nguom Ngao cave and handicraft villages

12:00 – Lunch in Cao Bang City

13:00 – Car transfer back to Hanoi

In the morning you will visit Nguom Ngao Cave before returning to Hanoi. You will visit handicraft weaving and papermaking villages on the way back to Cao Bang. After lunch in Cao Bang City we will drive you 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?