Ha Giang & Ban Gioc Waterfall – Itinerary & route

Combing the stunning mountains of Ha Giang and Ban Gioc Waterfall, the most impressive waterfall in Vietnam, will be an amazing experience. Whether you choose to travel the route from Ha Giang to Ban Gioc Waterfall on your own, riding a motorbike or enjoying a more relaxed journey by going on a combination tour in a car or on the back of a motorbike, this itinerary promises to captivate your senses with charming villages, and hidden gems along the way.
In this guide:

Combining the Ha Giang Loop and Ban Gioc Waterfall in Cao Bang

Combining the Ha Giang Loop with a visit to Ban Gioc Waterfall in Cao Bang creates a diverse and unique itinerary. However, it’s important to note that this combination does not include the full Ha Giang Loop.

From Meo Vac, instead of returning to Ha Giang city via Mau Due and Du Gia, the journey continues towards Cao Bang province. While you will miss the specific route back to Ha Giang, the opportunity to explore Cao Bang’s stunning landscapes, ethnic villages, and the magnificent Ban Gioc Waterfall makes it a worthwhile addition to your itinerary.

The standard Ha Giang Loop itinerary is typically a minimum of 3 days, but can be extended to 4 or 5 days. However, when combining Ha Giang and Ban Gioc Waterfall, you will cover just a part of the loop in 2 days, and an additional 2 days will be spent exploring Cao Bang. So your Ha Giang and Ban Gioc Waterfall exploration takes a total of 4 days.

man standing in front of the Ban Gioc Waterfall in Cao Bang province

Many tours also include an extra day at Ba Be Lake on the return journey from Cao Bang to Hanoi, providing an opportunity to visit the largest natural lake in Vietnam, nestled within a picturesque jungle and surrounded by charming villages.

You can check our 5 day tour to Ha Giang, Ban Gioc Waterfall and Ba Be Lake.

How to get from Ha Giang to Ban Gioc Waterfall

Unfortunately, when it comes to public transportation, there are currently no direct bus routes available between Ha Giang and Ban Gioc Waterfall or Cao Bang City, which is the closest city to the waterfall.

From Ha Giang City

If you choose to depart from Ha Giang City, be prepared for a long journey of approximately 9 to 10 hours without many stops. The travel distance is less than 300 km. It is not advisable to attempt this in a single day due to the challenging road conditions, which include poor road quality and winding mountainous terrain.

From Meo Vac

Many travelers opt to start their journey from Meo Vac, a town located past the halfway point of the Ha Giang Loop. The route from Meo Vac to Ban Gioc Waterfall spans approximately 235 km and is typically completed over the course of two days.

It is recommended to first travel to Cao Bang City, which is 175 km from Meo Vac, and then proceed to Ban Gioc Waterfall the following day, covering the remaining 85 km.

You can book the route from Ha Giang – Dong Van – Meo Vac – Cao Bang – Ban Gioc Waterfall in this combination tour.

Transportation between Ha Giang and Ban Gioc Waterfall

As their are no buses run between Ha Gaing, both Ha Giang city and Meo Vac, you have to go with private transportation. These are the options:

Driving motorbike

Ha Giang Loop by motorbike driving yourself

If you have the necessary documentation and experience, driving a motorbike yourself is an option. However, consider the limitations of renting a motorbike in one location and returning it in another. You might have to choose to start already from Hanoi to also end there. Otherwise ask a motorbike rental agency if they have both a location in Ha Giang and Cao Bang.

Easy Rider

Opting for an Easy Rider tour is safer and allows you to enjoy the experience from the back of a motorbike, eliminating the need to worry about renting and returning bikes. Keep in mind that long distances on a motorbike can be uncomfortable for some people. However, doing this complete route with an easy rider will be a one in a lifetime experience.


Choosing to travel part of the Ha Giang Loop and from Ha Giang to Ban Gioc Waterfall by car offers the most comfort. Do be aware that extended periods of driving can still become tiring. Having that said, it is easy to take all your luggage and well protected against hot and cold weather or rain.

Car + Motorbike

For a combination of adventure and comfort, consider being on the back of a motorbike for a portion of the Ha Giang Loop and then switching to a private car to continue the journey to Ban Gioc Waterfall and Cao Bang. This way, you can enjoy the thrill of motorbiking while also having the convenience of a car for the second part of the trip.

This option is available in our Ha Giang + Ban Gioc Waterfall combo tour.

Ha Giang and Ban Gioc itinerary

This is an example itinerary that combines the Ha Giang Loop and the breathtaking Ban Gioc Waterfall. You can easily customize and extend this trip by adding extra days in Ha Giang and Cao Bang to have more time for exploration. Additionally, you have the option to add Ba Be Lake after Cao Bang.

Day 1

Ha Giang – Dong Van

Begin your journey from Ha Giang City. This means you have traveled from Hanoi to Ha Giang the day before or at night. From Ha Giang City along the road to Dong Van you explore notable sights such as Quan Ba Pass, the Twin Mountains, Tham Ma Pass, Hmong Kings Palace, Dong Van Old Quarter, and picturesque villages and valleys. Spend the night in Dong Van.

Day 2

Dong Van – Lung Cu – Meo Vac

Depart from Dong Van and make your way to Lung Cu Flag Tower, the northernmost point of Vietnam. Continue your drive through the captivating Dong Van Karst Plateau and venture over the scenic Ma Pi Leng Pass. Arrive in Meo Vac and settle in for the night.

Day 3

Meo Vac – Bao Lac – Cao Bang

Embark on the next leg of your itinerary, traveling from Meo Vac to Cao Bang City. Along the way, you’ll traverse breathtaking mountain passes and encounter charming local villages and scenic countryside. Enjoy an overnight stay in Cao Bang City.

Day 4

Cao Bang – Ban Gioc Waterfall – Cao Bang

From Cao Bang, venture to the renowned Ban Gioc Waterfall, where you can marvel at its stunning beauty. Explore nearby caves, hidden valleys, and immerse yourself in the local culture. Return to Cao Bang City and take a bus back to Hanoi.

For those opting for a tour, an additional day or two can be spent at Ba Be Lake, where you can partake in a boat trip, visit a magnificent cave, engage in kayaking, and explore the pristine surroundings of Ba Be National Park.

You can book this full itinerary here or ask us to customize it if you want to change or add days.

Excited to visit Ha Giang? Book your local experiece here!