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How to Travel from Hanoi to Cao Bang

cao-bang-ban-gioc-waterfall-flooding-in-may-3 View of the Ban Gioc Waterfall in Cao Bang

Northern Vietnam boasts unique untouched beauty of roaring mountain ranges and, primeval forests, and verdant terraced fields. Compared to internationally favorite destinations such as Sapa, Ha Giang, or Ninh Binh, Cao Bang’s reputation remains more humble, but experiencing the pristine nature here will be forever memorable. Transportation from Hanoi to Cao Bang is not abundant, and what we have here are the most convenient ways to travel from Hanoi to Cao Bang.

Note: Cao Bang Province has 9 districts and one capital city with the same name, Cao Bang City. This blog will cover traveling to Cao Bang Province in general.

An Overview of Cao Bang

Distance from Hanoi to Cao Bang: 280 km

  • There is no direct train or flight from Hanoi to Cao Bang
  • The most popular transports to travel from Hanoi to Cao Bang: motorbike, bus, taxi
  • Cao Bang is an ancient land dating back to the Bronze Age, and it was once the capital of Au Viet - a conglomeration of the ancient Viet and Chinese tribes at the time. In modern times, the Pac Po Cave in Cao Bang became a historic location during the wars in Vietnam.
  • Cao Bang Attractions: Pac Bo, Nguom Ngao Cave, Ban Gioc Waterfall, Thang Hen Mountain Lake, Mac King's Temple, etc.
  • Northern Cao Bang borders with Guangxi Province in China. Read more about Land Border Crossings in Vietnam

ban gioc waterfalls

Ban Gioc Waterfall acts as a natural border between Vietnam and China

  • See Where to Stay in Cao Bang
  • Best time to travel from Hanoi to Cao Bang: October - April (dry season)
  • Ethnic minority groups in Cao Bang: Tay, Nung, Dao, Hmong, etc.

Suggested Options to Travel from Hanoi to Cao Bang

Hanoi to Cao Bang by Motorbike/Car

  • Duration: 6 - 7 hours
  • Motorbike rental price: VND 150,000 - VND 300,000/bike/day (depending on the type of motorbike)
  • Car rental price: VND 800,000 - 1,000,000/car/day (depending on the type of car)

Recommended routes:

  • For a car road trip only: From Hanoi’s Vinh Tuy Bridge (Long Bien District), follow 1A National Road (QL 1A), head for Hanoi - Bac Giang Highway, then Bac Giang - Lang Son Highway; once in Lang Son, make for 4A National Road to get to Cao Bang

See Where to Stay in Lang Son

  • For motorbikes:
    • Hanoi - Ha Giang Loop - Cao Bang: When traveling in Northern Vietnam, don’t miss the thrills of completing the Ha Giang Loop on a motorbike, and discover more in Cao Bang afterward. Read our Ha Giang Loop Itineraries to plan your trip. 
    • Hanoi - Thai Nguyen Province - Cao Bang (from the Nhat Tan Bridge in Hanoi, follow the National Road 3 - QL3)

The motorbike route from Hanoi to Cao Bang is not particularly developed, so this is an alternative only if you know how to ride a motorbike and are used to the road conditions of Vietnam. Otherwise, we would recommend against this option for your safety.

cao bang road

Some sections of the roads are not developed, which can be extremely muddy and slippery in the rainy season

Traveling from Hanoi to Cao Bang by a rented car seems more practical as there are national highways connecting the provinces between Hanoi and Cao Bang. However, once you’ve arrived, driving in and around Cao Bang may pose some difficulties as the countryside roads are narrow and can be quite muddy. This can also be too costly and risky considering the gas and maintenance cost (one small scratch on the car and you may have to pay extra for the rental fees).

cao bang khuoi ky stone village-hanoi-to-cao-bang

A motorbike is more suitable to travel in Cao Bang road's condition


  • Always start your trip with a full gas tank, and plan your gas for the day
  • When planning the travel time, double the time suggested on Google Maps just in case
  • Look for accommodations along the way to plan your stops
  • Pack warm clothes, especially if you’re traveling in the rainy season

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Hanoi to Cao Bang by Bus

  • Duration: 7 - 10 hours
  • Price: from VND 200,000/ ticket

Traveling by bus from Hanoi to Cao Bang is the most stress-free way. The journey can be quite long and arduous so we would recommend choosing a sleeping bus. There are plenty of private bus lines from My Dinh or Gia Lam Station in Hanoi, that can take you to Ban Gioc Waterfall, or Cao Bang Bus Station.

my dinh bus station hanoi cao bang

My Dinh Bus Station in Hanoi

Tips: most global online transportation booking platforms do not cater to buses from Hanoi to Cao Bang, so you can book tickets online at more local channels such as The local websites can help you to arrange your journey from Cao Bang back to Hanoi, too.

Hanoi to Cao Bang by Taxi/Private Taxi

  • Duration: 6 - 7 hours
  • Estimated cost: from VND 2,000,000

Traveling by taxi on a long distance is apparently expensive, but there are comfort and personalized service that come with the high price. Ask your hotel receptionist to arrange a trustworthy taxi brand for you, or even book a private taxi service for more convenience on the trip.

Get a ticket for more day trips from Hanoi:

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What is your Preferred Way to Travel from Hanoi to Cao Bang?

All in all, taking a bus from Hanoi to Cao Bang is the most cost-conscious and viable option. Having said that, while Cao Bang is not widely accessible to everyone, make full use of this opportunity to explore the natural scene here when it is still undisturbed by tourist crowds.

Got a question about traveling in Vietnam? Let us know in the comments below!


© Written by Kim Hoang for

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Sunday, 05 February 2023

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