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Trekking the Limestone Mountains and Handicraft Villages of Cao Bang

Trekking the Limestone Mountains and Handicraft Villages of Cao Bang

Code: VRT03

Cao Bang, Viet Nam

Cao Bằng is home to many ethnic minorities that have kept their unique traditions but are also one 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 experience.


Trip Itinerary

06:00 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.

07:00 climbing mountain near Phia Thắp village (viewpoint)
09:00 trekking to Làn Dưới (basket weaving village) and Lũng Rì (tiles village)
lunch at Lũng Ri
13:00 afternoon: 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) / optional: 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 craftmanship the village is famous for. After you tried making tiles yourself we will continue trekking to Pác Rằng village. Pác Rằng is specialised 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.

07:00 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 craftmanship 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.

08:00 visit to Nguom Ngao cave and handicraft villages

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.

We recommend to bring good walking shoes, raincoat, jacket, insect repellent, long sleeved clothes, hat or umbrella, sunscreen and sunglasses.


  • 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 perfomance/show
  • Other transfers than mentioned
  • Other meals than mentioned
  • Other services than mentioned
  • Travel insurance for the trip Hanoi – Hoang Su Phi – Hanoi
  • Tips

General terms and conditions

We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance (covering emergency medical evacuation) for trips to Vietnam.

Please see the General Terms and Conditions before booking a tour.



Travel Tips



Investing locally


Saving energy & water


Protecting wildlife


Protecting culture



Animal cruelty




Mass tourism

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