Waterfall WonderlandCao Bang, Vietnam
Vietnam’s answer to Iguazu Falls is located in Cao Bang, in the country’s far northeast, and provides a spectacular natural border with China. Framed by dramatic limestone karsts, rice paddies and bamboo groves, Ban Gioc waterfall tumbles 30 metres down a series of cascades fed by the Quay Son River.
Getting here is quite the journey – the falls are about 350 kilometres northwest of Hanoi – but the rewards more than outweigh the effort. Hitch a ride on a bamboo raft and prepare to get wet as you punt across the 300-metre width of the falls. Take a dip in one of the jade-green pools and enjoy a side trip to nearby Nguom Ngao Cave, an underground network of tunnels and chambers that extends for several kilometres and sheltered villagers during the 1979 war with China. Hotels in Cao Bang City can organise trips to Ban Gioc and the caves.
Overnight sleeper buses run from My Dinh bus station, about seven kilometres west of Hanoi, to Cao Bang and cost about US$8.