Lang Son city is the capital of Lang Son Province in the northeast Vietnam. The city is accessible by road and rail from Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, and it is the northernmost point on National Route 1A. We don’t run any trekking, hiking, cycling tour within the town of Cao Bang. Therefore its surrounding districts offers a range of off the beaten track holidays in Vietnam. Options include Van Quan road trip, mountain hiking, jungle trekking, homestay, road cycling, community tour, student educational travel, motorcycle, motorbike tours from Hanoi.

The history

Due to its geography as Vietnam’s gateway to China, Lang Son and its ancient citadel have been in the path of many invasions, and were the site of three French defeats during the colonial era.

Occupied by Qing forces during the military buildup that preceded the Sino-French War, the city was occupied by France after the two-week Lang Son Campaign in February 1885. However, the brigade there conducted a hasty retreat after a failed attack at the Battle of Bang Bo into China; the “retreat from Lang Son” became the most controversial aspect of the war and led to the fall of Jules Ferry’s ministry. Outnumbered French colonial forces clashed with the Japanese 5th Division in the Battle of Lang Son during the Japanese Vietnam Expedition on 22 September 1940. The French were again compelled to retreat hastily. In 1945 it was again the scene of heavy fighting during the Japanese coup d’état in French Indochina.

After the end of the Pacific War, the French colonial army established a permanent garrison there, which served as the logistics hub for the French border fortresses. It was captured in 1950 during Vo Nguyen Giap’s offensive against the French border forts, considered a turning point in the Indochina War. The city was the center of fighting during the Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979, and sustained extensive damage.

When to go

Lang Son Vietnam weather has an average annual temperature of 17–22 °C and an average annual rainfall of 1,200–1,600 millimetres (47–63 in). The average temperature in the summer is 28.5 °C (83.3 °F) and 12–13 °C (54–55 °F) in the winter, It has an average humidity of 80–85% and an average of 1600 hours of sunlight a year.

Getting to Lang Son city

The best way to get Lang Son town from Hanoi is to rent a car with driver. You will be picked up at your place in Hanoi and brought to Lang Son city. Those who are on budget can take local public bus at lower cost. Hanoi Lang Son bus journey takes about 4 hours on road.

What to see and do

The two caves with Buddhist altars, well illuminated are the Tam Thanh Cave and the Nhi Thanh Cave. These are two important tourist attractions in Lang Son town.

Tam Thanh cave

The Tam Thanh Cave is very large with three chambers, has water pond, and has a window opening, which provides scenic views of vast rice fields outside. The outer chamber of the cave on the right has the Tam Giao Pagoda (built in 1777) with six shrines. The second chamber of the cave on the left also shrines, the Ngoc Tuyen River flows through this cave into the mountain, an unusual feature which is described as “a dramatic sight”.

Nhi Thanh Cave

The Nhi Thanh Cave, about 700 m away from the Tam Thanh Cave, was discovered in the 18th century by Ngo Thin Sy, military commander of the Lang Son garrison, whose poems have been inscribed at the entrance to the cave. A plaque erected in the cave depicts a French resident of Long Son in full European dress.

The Mac Dynasty citadel

The Mac Dynasty Citadel, a 16th-century monument located in a desolate area on a rock outcrop, is bounded by the east-west facing walls and is approached from the Tam Tinh road from Lang Son city. Series of steps from the road lead to the ruins of the citadel.

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