Northeast Vietnam

Con Son Den Kiep Bac - Hai Phong - Around Hai Phong - Ha Long Bay - Ha Long City - Cat Ba Island - Bai Tu Long Bay - Mong Cai Chinese Border - Around Mong Cai - Lang Son - Cao Bang - Aroud Cao Bang - Ba Be National Park - Thai Nguyen - Around Thai Nguyen


IDD Code:(+84) 26
Cao Bang province is one of the most beautiful places in all of Vietnam. The same cannot be said for the town of Cao Bang, but nobody cares as it is a useful base to explore the surrounding countryside. Cao Bang town is high above sea level and has a gentle climate. While in Cao Bang town, hit the hill leading up to the War Memorial. Head up the second lane off Đ Pac Bo. go under the entrance to a primary school, and you'll see the steps. There are great 360-degree views from the summit, and it's very peaceful, not to mention good exercise.
Internet access has come to Cao Bang and there are several places to get an online fix on Pho Vuon Cam, just north of the Thanh Loan Hotel. The Bank for Foreign Investment and Development will change US dollars but it's a major exercise, undertaken by sleepy staff. Try to arrive with enough cash to cover your stay. There are still no ATMs in town.
Sleeping & Eating:
Nguyet Nga Hotel (tell: 856 445; r 110.000d; Just over the bridge on the east bank of the river, this is one of the most reliable cheapies. Don't be put off by the drab exterior, as the rooms are on the large side and include TV, fridge and hot water.
Thanh Loan Hotel (tel: 857 026; fax 857 028; 159 Pho Vuon Cam; r US$15; The best all-rounder in town, this hotel is clean and friendly. All rooms are the same price, irrespective of size, so check out a couple of options to get a bigger, brighter one. The only drawback is the strange stuffed animal collection adorning the lobby. Rates include breakfast.
Bang Clang Hotel (tell: 853 431; fax 855 984; r 240,000 300,000d;The biggest hotel in town, this government-run place is almost a village, complete with shops, restaurants and mas - sage. The staff are friendly and it's popular with tour groups. Located near the bridge in the north of town, rooms at the back on the upper floors have sweeping views overlooking the river.
Men Quyen Restaurant (tell:856 433; meals 20,000-40,000d) Tucked away behind the market, this is the most popular diner in town. And diner it is, with all the meals on display in steam-ing vats. Browse the selection and make your choice. The sheer number of Vietnamese eating here is a good sign. Huong Sen Restaurant (meals 10,000-30,000d) Formerly the leading restaurant in town, although there wasn't much competition, this com binh dan place has a nice location on the riverbank. Basic food but at basic prices. Besides the hotel restaurants, there are plenty of good food stalls (meals from 10,000d) near the market. It is best to eat early, as most eateries are closed by 9pm.
Getting There & Away
Cao Bang is 272km north of Hanoi, along Hwy 3. This is a sealed road, but due to the mountainous terrain, it's a full day's drive. There are several direct buses daily from Hanoi (80,000d, nine hours) and Thai Nguyen. There is also a daily bus to/from Lang Son (62,000d, five hours), departing from the bus station (Đ Kirn Dong).