Lang Son City, a birdeye view from the To Thi Mountain
Lang Son City, a birdeye view from the To Thi Mountain

Lang Son: Travel Guide, Things to Do

Lang Son is a mountainous province in the North East of Vietnam. The capital city of the province is Lang Son City, which is 154km north of Hanoi and which is a border town between Vietnam and China.

Lang Son Province has a number of scenic mountains of which the highest is Mau Son, nearly 1,500m above sea level. By far, the area is off the tourist track, only adventure travellers travel through Lang Son by jeep or by motorbike on their way to or from Cao Bang and other provinces in the North East of Vietnam.

Lang Son Vietnam
Lang Son City, Vietnam

1/ From Hanoi, you can travel to Lang Son via Route 1A and Route 1B. Via Route 1A, you’ll travel through Bac Ninh and Bac Giang Provinces on a basically flat road. Once the landscape by the roadside becomes mountainous, then you are in Huu Lung, Lang Son. There are patches on forests on these mountains.

A short distance from Huu Lung, then you’ll be making your way with sublime mountains on both sides of the road, it is Chi Lang. Route 1A is newly made, the old one is only 500m in parallel to Route 1A and there are several crossing paths that you can get to the old route which is small and is flanked by amazing mountains on both sides. Now you are in one of the most important historical sites of Vietnam: the Chi Lang Passage.

Chi Lang Passage, Lang Son, Vietnam
Chi Lang Passage, Lang Son, Vietnam

In the past there was only one route from Lang Son to Hanoi and when the Chinese attacked and invaded Vietnam, they would have to pass through the Chi Lang Passage. The Vietnamese set traps at the Chi Lang Passage several times and it helped them defeat the invaders. This is a beautiful site and rich in history. You should not miss it while on your way to Lang Son.

2/Via Route 1B, you’ll have to travel to Thai Nguyen City first, then leave the city into idyllic countryside. The road is in good conditions and normally is quiet. The scenery includes lovely rice fields against the backdrop of green mountains. AdventureGreen hosts bicycle tours for our adventurers to discover this amazing countryside.

A nice country road at Bac Son, Lang Son
A nice country road at Bac Son, Lang Son

Once you pass through Vo Nhai District (Thai Nguyen), you’ll be in Bac Son of Lang Son Province. It is a lovely valley of rice fields surrounded by several mountains around. Vo Nhai and Bac Son were the homelands of the most fierce guerrilla movements against the French. There are peaceful villages of the Tay and the Nung in this area that offer homestay which you may like to give a try to learn more about their cultures.

A lovely road amid mountains at Binh Gia, Lang Son
A lovely road amid mountains at Binh Gia, Lang Son

There are also chances for you to climb one of the mountains for breathtaking views and photographs of the area. It is quite a hike and be prepared with hiking shoes as well as drinking water!

3/From Lang Son City you can follow Route 1A via Dong Dang to the Chinese Border. Do not spare a chance to take a peep at the border gate. Also, there’s the fortress of Dong Dang that you can recall lots of battles in the past, the most recent of which was in 1979. Recall the last brutal battle here.

The historical RC4 at That Khe, Lang Son
The historical RC4 at That Khe, Lang Son

Else at Dong Dang you turn into the historical Route 4A which was known as Route Coloniale 4 (or RC4) during the French times. This was the French supply route to the Northeast and Cao Bang, and there were several battles which took place on this route. Veterans and historians may want to spend more time studying the former battlefields here. AdventureGreen has both eco-cultural trekking tours and historical trekking tours in this area.

4/ From Lang Son, you can also go to Halong Bay via Route 4B. The road is not in great conditions but the scenery is wild and beautiful. Rarely should you find travelers on this route. The road goes down all the way. When you are out of Lang Son City, you’ll see a sign post showing the way to Mau Son Mountain which is 1,000m above sea level and which was a hill station for French colonialists earlier. The road up the top is small and steep and once on the summit you can get spectacular scenery of both Vietnam and China should it be on a clear day.

Mau Son Hill Station in Lang Son, Vietnam
Mau Son Hill Station in Lang Son, Vietnam

5/In Lang Son City, you can visit several attractions which take should a good day.
5.1 Climb the To Thi Mountain for amazing views of the city from the mountain top.

To Thi Mountain, Lang Son City, Vietnam
To Thi Mountain, Lang Son City, Vietnam

5.2 Spend some time examining the ancient Mac Citadel on the To Thi Mountain and learn about the history of Vietnam. Try to put your imagination at work and see why the citadel was built right there!

The Mac Citadel at Lang Son City
The Mac Citadel at Lang Son City

5.3 Adore colorful stalactites and stalagmites at the Tam Thanh Cave and Nhi Thanh Cave.

Nhi Thanh Cave, Lang Son, Vietnam
Nhi Thanh Cave

 

Tam Thanh Cave in Lang Son, Vietnam
Tam Thanh Cave in Lang Son, Vietnam

5.4 Visit the Ancient Citadel of Lang Son with weathered gates left with the old rusty protecting canons.

Lang Son Citadel
The gate of the Old Citadel at Lang Son City