Only 4 hours away from Hanoi, in the beautiful Vietnamese countryside, lies sprawling rice terraces surrounded by towering limestone cliffs. This area is called the Bac Son Valley and is relatively untouched by tourism.
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Hike Up the Limestone Cliffs
One of the best parts about visiting Bac Son Valley is hiking up the staggering limestone mountain. At the beginning of the path you’ll be surrounded by a thick forest of trees and plants. However, as you begin to ascend higher to the viewpoint the curtain of leaves will slowly reveal a beautiful sight in the valley below.
The climb up is intermediate with slightly steep steps and can be uneven at times. There are a few steps but it will mostly be stones and rocks so be sure to wear proper shoes.
Once you reach the top you will see a small building where you will continue up a very short distance to the right. Here you will see an antenna tower surrounded by a large wall. This is where you will be able to get the best view of the valley. Very carefully climb up the ladder to the top platform of the antenna tower.
How to Get to Bac Son Valley from Lang Son
Figuring out how to actually get to the Bac Son Valley and the iconic viewpoint is not exactly simple. There isn’t any information online about bus schedules or routes so we had to figure it out once we arrived at the hotel.
The staff informed us that there is a bus, however it will only drop you off outside of the valley. From there you would still need to find a taxi to take you all the way in which could be quite difficult if at six o’clock in the morning or if you don’t speak Vietnamese.
Therefore the easiest way was to take a private car. So for the price of $50 we had a car pick us up from the hotel at 4am and drive the 2 hours to Bac Son Valley. Once we arrived in town, our driver would stop along the way and ask the locals how to find the starting point for the hike. Eventually we located it and had to pass through a local’s home to reach the stairs leading up.
While hiring a private car is slightly more expensive, it is definitely worth it for the convenience of reaching this particular place.
» The GPS Coordinates of the starting point for the hike are 21.901226, 106.336109. You can also enter Điểm gửi xe Nà Lày into your Google Maps. This will take you directly to the section of the road where you will walk to find the stairs to begin your hike.
» Type in Đỉnh Nà Lay or Bac Son Viewpoint into Google Maps for the location of the actual viewpoint. This is the spot that you will reach at the top of your hike.
How to Get to Bac Son Valley from Hanoi
Since there isn’t a ton of information on the internet about how to get from Hanoi to Bac Son Valley we had to ask our hotel in Lang Son.
The first step in getting to Bac Son Valley is making your way from Hanoi to Lang Son where you’ll stay overnight. Again, there isn’t a lot of information on transportation options to Lang Son or Bac Son Valley and even our hotel staff wasn’t sure.
Therefore, we ended up having to hire a private car to take us from Hanoi to Lang Son. The cost for the 2.5 hour drive was $50 USD and was set up through our hotel in Lang Son.
Where to Stay in Lang Son
A new hotel in the small town of Lang Son is Song Long Hotel. The hotel is nice, clean and located about a 2 hour drive from the Bac Son Valley. The wifi is also stable and works pretty well. However, the bed is extremely hard and quite uncomfortable but the options in such a small town are pretty limited.
Where to Eat in Lang Son
The small town is filled with coffee and tea shops but no where to really get a proper meal. Luckily we found an adorable cafe called Little Pie where they served delicious food surrounded by vintage decor and a cute atmosphere.
Best Time to Visit Bac Son Valley
The weather in the Bac Son Valley is quite cold during the early morning. If you choose to go for sunrise be sure to wear layers as you’ll want to remove them as you start to hike up.
In general, spring is the best time of year to visit Northern Vietnam. The weather will be cooler and the flowers will be in bloom. The summer is the hottest time period with Autumn showing cooler weather again.
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WHAT CAMERA GEAR DO I USE?
- Main Camera: Sony A7III
- Wide angle lens: Sony G Master 16-35mm f/2.8
- Zoom lens: Sony 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3
- Secondary Camera: Canon 6D Mark II
- Canon wide angle lens: Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L
- Underwater camera: Leica X-U
- Camera with gimbal: DJI Osmo Pocket & Underwater Housing
- Drone: DJI Mavic Pro
- Camera Bag: Polar Pro Drone Trekker
- External Hard Drive: LaCie 1 TB rugged mini external hard drive