Lang Son is one of the northeastern province of Vietnam which is a180km from Hanoi. This land has long been know as the gateway to Cao Bang and China. Blessed with karst mountains, lovely rivers, picturesque landscapes, many historical and cultural sites, but Lang Son is still little visited by international tourists. However, if you have the plan to visit the northeast of Vietnam, do not forget to spend a night in this city or expeerience homestay at a rural village.
How to get to Lang Son
• By road: From Hanoi, it is easy and convenient to catch the local buses to Lang Son, which takes around 3 hours and it costs US$8 per person. Gia Lam is the best bus station to buy the ticket.
• By train: The daily trains from Hanoi to Lang Son starts at 06:00, 11:07 and 17:07, the fares are around US$5 per person. Train can be a good option as it is an interesting way for tourists to see the landscapes on the way and travel like a local. From Lang Son, tourists can come to Nanning or Guilin of China.
Places to visit in Lang Son
There are several places to visit on your Vietnam holiday in Lang Son:
• Chi Lang Passage: A historical name and passage that witnessed the ups and downs in Vietnamese history. If you travel by road, stop there for break and learn about the Vietnam - China wars.
• Tam Thanh cave: Used to be considered as the most beautiful cave in Vietnam, Tam Thanh cave is now a pagoda cave, a holy place for buddhists to pray and tourists can both enjoy the cave and know about the Vietnamese spiritual life.
• Mau temple: Located in Dong Dang, not far from Dong Dang market and Huu Nghi border gate, Mau temple is religious site for Vietnamese belief. Mau in Vietnamese is "Mother". On the way from Lang Son to Cao Bang, you should stop here to see the "Len Dong Ritual", which is unique and so interesting.
• Mau Son mount: 30 km away from Lang Son city, Mau Son is at 1,541m above the sea level and known as "Sapa of the northeast" as it is cool all year round here, sometimes with snow. The view from Mau Son is fantastic and if you choose to stay here for a night, there are some many guesthouses like May guesthouse, Anh Dao guesthouse, Huong Son guesthousem, etc.
• Bac Son valley: A newly found destination for tourists, Bac Son valley offers stunning view over picturesque mountains, river and rice paddy fields. A scenic spot for photographers. Homestay is a nice choice here.
Shopping in Lang Son:
To be a border town, Lang Son has two border gates with China. Dong Kinh market, Tam Tanh market and Ky Lua night market are heave for cheap Chinese electronic products.
Food in Lang Son:
Roasted pork and roasted duck are best dishes to try in Lang Son as they are used special ingredients and recipes.
Accommodation in Lang Son:
There are many guesthouses, minihotels and a few 3-4 star hotels in Lang Son city. Highly recommended ones are Muong Thanh Lang Son hotel, Vis Boutique hotel, Van Xuan hotel. If you travel with a local Vietnam tour operator, they will choose the best one for you. If you travel on your own, choose the central located hotel that is close to Ky Lua market and local restaurants.
Best time to visit Lang Son:
Lang Son is one stop on your northeast Vietnam tour so the best time to visit is in dry season. However, if you want to see the rice paddies of Bac Son valley, right time to come is from June - July.
Day 1: Hanoi - Bac Son - Lang Son
Day 2: Lang Son - Ban Gioc waterfall
Day 3: Ban Gioc waterfall - Ba Be lake
Day 4: Ba Be lake - Hanoi (Or continue to Ha Giang)
Day 1: Hanoi - Ha Giang
Day 2: Ha Giang - Dong Van
Day 3: Dong Van - Meo Vac or Bao Lac
Day 4: Meo Vac - Ba Be lake
Day 5: Ba Be lake - Ban Gioc waterfall
Day 6: Ban Gioc waterfall - Bac Son valley
Day 7: Bac Son valley - Halong Bay
Day 8: Halong Bay - Hanoi