We had a rendezvous with Cao Bang in the freezing days of late winter. No one warned us not to go to Cao Bang in such harsh weather, but we didn't think much about it because we've always embraced every weather condition.
For us, this year-end trip was perfect, truly perfect.
We may have lacked many things, but the emotions were undoubtedly unique, complete, and unparalleled. Throughout the journey, we kept telling each other that we would definitely return to Cao Bang on a sunny summer day, with cool water and lush greenery.
✨ Day 1: Hanoi - Cao Bang City - Bai Tinh - Bamboo Forest - Me Pia Pass - Bao Lac Homestay
Vinh Dung sleeper bus picked us up at 9:00 PM at My Dinh Bus Station, and we arrived at Cao Bang City at 4:30 AM. The ticket price was 300k/way. The new bus had spacious sleeper beds, not cramped like other sleeper buses we've used.
We rented motorbikes from Green Riders at 180k/day, with free temporary stay at the dorm. The sleeper bus dropped us off nearby; you can ask the driver to stop at Thanh Ly Office. The motorbikes were new, guaranteed, and came with helmets.
The initial procedure always involved feeding ourselves and the bikes, so don't overlook this step, as we had a long journey ahead. Since we didn't bring warm clothes, we had to buy some here before starting our journey.
We visited local markets, Bai Tinh (a wide grassy area suitable for camping), and the bamboo forest. We only passed through without stopping for long. We had lunch near the bamboo forest, and the food was exceptionally delicious, not extravagant but extremely tasty.
The highlight of the day was Me Pia Pass (also known by other names such as Khau Coc Tra, 14-level pass, etc.). To capture a photo with the pass, we had to climb a bit.
It's called climbing, but it felt more like a leisurely walk. I personally love the feeling of walking in the mountains, especially when reaching the summit and admiring the entire Me Pia Pass, counting the 14 or 15 levels.
The journey back to Bao Lac Homestay from the checkpoint was quite far. We left late, so we had the experience of finding our way in the dark night like treasure hunters, and to make things more interesting, we got lost and even encountered a forest fire. Can't we just have a normal journey without these challenges?
We slept on a traditional stilt house and had a hot pot dinner at the homestay. The hot pot, especially with taro (sweet potato), was excellent. Staying in a stilt house/dormitory means you have to accept the lack of privacy, communal living, and the possibility that the sleeping arrangements may not be as comfortable as expected.
People will try to create conditions for you to rest, but don't expect too much because it's quite challenging; it's a characteristic.
We told each other to adapt to the common rhythm, like eavesdropping on the interesting stories of some drunk guys, or listening to some very amusing conversations.
✨ Day 2: Bao Lac Homestay - Me Pia Pass - Le Nin Stream - Mountain of the God's Eye
Crossing Me Pia Pass during the day is truly an experience that you must not miss. Unlike O Quy Ho or Ma Pi Leng Pass, crossing Me Pia Pass in the chilly weather gave us a sense of chivalry, grittier, more worldly than the fairy-tale-like scenes. It's hard to describe; can you imagine it? If you're curious, you should go experience it yourself.
From Me Pia Pass to Le Nin Stream, the road was surrounded by beautiful red leaves, but due to heavy rain, the photos didn't capture much. The weather on the second day was worse, with rain and dense fog, some areas were completely foggy. We reached the entrance of Le Nin Stream around noon, had lunch at a restaurant right at the entrance (I forgot the name), delicious and affordable, only 420k for 6 people.
Entering Le Nin Stream, the 45k/pax ticket included an electric car ride, which was fantastic, with 10 stops. Le Nin Stream continuously amazed us, it was so beautiful, absolutely wonderful.
No words can fully describe our emotions at that time. It was like, TRULY AMAZING! To enter the stream, we had to walk, the stone-paved path was not very slippery, so ladies should avoid wearing high heels.
From Le Nin Stream, we continued our journey to the Mountain of the God's Eye. Two days of long motorcycle rides in the cold weather left everyone exhausted; the road to the Mountain of the God's Eye felt endless and full of despair.
By this time, the sky had turned dark, colder, with drizzling rain and thick fog, and no one spoke during the journey, everyone seemed exhausted to the point of despair. Arriving at the camping site was also when it was already dark.
Camping at Dat Camping Cao Bang cost 750k/pax, including overnight camping, BBQ dinner, bonfire, breakfast, tea, coffee, and off-road biking.
Everything was prepared before we arrived. Personally, I felt this was a worthwhile experience and highly recommended for those visiting Cao Bang. The feeling of being full, warmed up after a long journey, and sitting around the fire chatting in the mountains was truly wonderful. If you go in the summer with a starry night, it would be perfect.
✨ Day 3: Mountain of the God's Eye - Cao Bang City - Hanoi
The Mountain of the God's Eye would be very beautiful if you visit in the summer, with warm sunshine on the green grass carpet, buffaloes grazing leisurely, and when the water rises, the sky, land, mountains, and rivers blend into a magnificent landscape.
We planned to climb the "God's Eye," but on the third day, it rained, and all plans were halted. We wandered around, checked in, ate and drank coffee, and then returned to Cao Bang City.
There is one regret that we couldn't visit Ban Gioc Waterfall on the last day due to the cold and rainy weather. Everyone was already exhausted after a long journey in unsupportive weather. Perhaps, that gives us another good reason to return to Cao Bang, to experience what we haven't experienced. Goodbye Cao Bang, and see you again! ❤️
©️ TET MINH TRAVEL DIARY
►42/85 Bat Khoi, Long Bien, Hanoi, Vietnam
►80B Nguyen Van Cu, Long Bien, Hanoi, Vietnam
🏆 Travellers' Choice từ TripAdvisor