Pac Bo (Pác Bó) in Cao Bang province – a rich history of northern Vietnam.
- In northern Vietnam, there are a number of historical monuments from the times of French colonialism in Vietnam + the Indochina War and also from the Vietnam-American War. In the north of Vietnam there are several cities and remote places where you will see various monuments, memorials or ruins from these 2 wars. A very important figure in this war history was the patriot, communist and the first president of North Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh (Vietnamese: Ho Chi Minh), real name Nguyen Ai Quoc. And one of the important places in this history is the border place with China – Pac Bo (Pác Bó) located about 50 km north of Cao Bang in Ha Quang district. Pac Bo is also the name of the village where this place is located.
- Cao Bang Province is a very attractive place for travelers who are looking for less visited places. It offers several interesting places such as Ban Gioc Waterfall, Non Nuoc Cao bang Geopark, fascinating scenic districts such as Trung Khanh, Phong Nam and also caves, beautiful nature, rivers and less foreign tourists and the already mentioned historic place Pac Bo. For the travelers themselves, it can be worse with transport, I consider it is almost necessary to move there on a motorcycle / scooter. Apart from the city of Cao Bang, there are not so busy roads, which is an advantage.
Ho Chi Minh as the leader of Viet Minh for the Independence of Vietnam.
- The village of Pac Bo is known mainly for the fact that Ho Chi Minh lived here for 7 weeks in the cave of Pac Bo (Hang Pắc Bó), also called Coc Bo Cave. It happened in 1941, after his return from abroad where he spent 30 years. It was from Pac Bo that preparations began for Ho Chi Minh’s resistance led by the Viet Minh (Việt Minh) movement against French colonialism. And it resulted in the Indochina War of 1946-1954, in which Vietnam eventually won.
- There are other important places in the historical site of Pac Bo, such as the Le-Nin river (suối Lê-Nin), the Cac Mac viewpoint – or also called the Karl Marx Mountain (Núi Các Mác), the Khuoi Nam hut (Lán Khuổi Nặm), Nguom Vai Cave, Lung Lan Cave, a small museum or pagoda, Ho Chi Mina Palace and shrine.
- At the village of Pac Bo, behind the entrance to this historic site, there is also a Monument marked as KM0 – Ho Chi Minh Road (Km 0 đường Hồ Chí Minh). It marked the beginning of the legendary Ho Chi Minh Road, which runs through the whole of Vietnam. In several places in Pac Bo, it is possible to see where Ho Chi Minh slept, where he worked and where, for example, he spent his free time or cooked. Most of the descriptions of these points of interest are only in Vietnamese, but using a mobile translator with photo capture is a bit of a help.
- A nice and calm river Le-Nin flows through the place Pac Bo, which has a very beautiful turquoise color (weather permitting). Ho Chi Minh also bathed in this river, but you, as tourists, definitely do not bathe in this river, swimming in this river is strictly forbidden here. Hut Khuoi Nam was a place of residence and rest of Ho Chi Minh, and also here the Communist Party established in May 1941 a task for the Viet Minh movement – the national liberation of Vietnam.
▶ Pac Bo Cave (Pác Bó) – a hiding place of Ho Chi Minh in 1941.
▶ Lê-Nin River – flows through the area of the historic site of Pac Bo.
▶ Khuoi Nam Shack – the task of national liberation was established here.
There is a snack, restaurants, shops, but also a tourist resort in Pac Bo.
- The historical site of Pac Bo in Cao Ban province is a relatively large area located in the countryside surrounded by hills and smaller mountains. Before entering the paid area, there is a parking lot for cars and motorcycles, everything is marked there and you will see it. From the parking lot and the entrance it is possible to use the electric car / minibus, which will take you to the monument KM0 – Ho Chi Minh Road and then continue a little closer to the historical part and before that tourists get out of the car and go to the area just on foot. Paths for tourists are marked, you can’t get lost, expect to take a walk. You will be walking mainly along the Le-Nin stream.
- There are also a few restaurants, snacks and grocery stores in the area and in the village of Pac Bo. There is also a newly built tourist resort (cottages) where it is possible to stay. In the season, there may also be stalls with various souvenirs and tourist items. I would also like to highlight a nice trip from the city of Cao Bang to Pac Bo, I recommend riding a motorcycle, it is a very nice and comfortable trip between several scenic areas.
- You will drive through a few smaller non-tourist villages between rice fields and between hills. Along the way you can also visit the Kim Đồng National Monument (Mộ Kim Đồng), which is located about 6 km before Pac Bo historical site. It is a memorial to the 14-year-old hero Kim Đồng (Nông Văn Dền), who set up a children’s team to help in the war in the mountain areas and also met Ho Chi Minh in Nam En Cave.
How to get and travel to the historical site of Pac Bo?
- The best way to get to Pac Bo is to ride a motorcycle from Cao Bang town. It is possible that some minibuses run on this route, but you must check this in Cao Bang. Unfortunately, I personally do not know of any public buses, so another option is to use a private transfer or taxi from Cao Bang town. The travel distance from Cao Bang to Pac Bo historical site is 50 km and you will drive along a fairly good road to the place.
- The road is not so busy at all and the path around the nice scenery and a few villages and hamlets outside the tourist area is just a diversification. Then I recommend riding a motorcycle from Pac Bo to the nearby Soc Ha area near the Chinese border, a very nice scenic agricultural area, rice fields and mountains in the whole area. You can park your motorbike in the paid car park before entering Pac Bo historical site. Cao Bang Province has no airport or railway.
- From Hanoi to Pac Bo – bus, minivan to Cao Bang + motorbike from Pac Bo
- From Cao Bang to Pac Bo – private transfer, motorbike, possible minibus to find out in Cao Bang
- From Bao Lac to Pac Bo – the best way is through the city of Cao Bang (bus + motorbike)
What is the best time to visit Pac Bo historical site?
- Pac Bo in Cao Bang Province is located between mountains, in some cases lowlands and in some cases mountainous areas. For Cao Bang Province, roughly the same applies as for Ha Giang Province. The best time to visit the historical site of Pac Bo is the dry season, and therefore months from September to April. Autumn can be a good time with pleasant temperatures, in the summer months there is a risk of more rain, because it is the monsoon season. In winter, the mountains can have very low temperatures, pack warmer waterproof clothing. In the case of the monsoon season, some roads may be less passable and there may be a risk of landslides, especially in mountain areas.
▶ The best time to visit Pac Bo in Cao Bang – September to April (dry season).
▶ In the summer, there is a risk of monsoons and landslides on the roads.
▶ The opening hours of the historical site of Pac Bo are from 8 am – 11 pm (all week).
Where to stay in Cao Bang or Pac Bo?
- In the city of Cao Bang there are a number of different accommodation capacities, there are hotels, guest houses but also various homestays and hostels. Prices are quite low compared to other tourist destinations in Vietnam. Most hotels in the city are of medium quality. You can also stay at the historical site of Pac Bo, for example, Nga Nghi Hai Hoa is right next to the parking lot in front of the complex.
- There is a tourist resort in Pac Bo and in the vicinity before entering the complex there is also a homestay such as Mai Anh Homestay. But I think, it is better to stay in the city of Cao Bang and just go to Pac Bo, for example, for a day trip and back. I don’t think there is any point in staying around Pac Bo for more days.
Some tips for accommodation in Cao Bang:
Faqs + Travel Tips – Historical site of Pac Bo in Cao Bang:
Where is the historical site of Pac Bo?
- Pac Bo Historical Site with caves, Lenin River and other remains where Ho Chi Minh has been hiding for some time, is located 50 km north of Cao Bang City in Pac Bo Village on the Chinese border, Ha Quang District, Cao Bang Province.
What makes Pac Bo interesting and important?
- Pac Bo is a national historical and important monument of Vietnam, a place where Ho Chi Minh was hidden for about 7 weeks in 1941 on his return to the country after 30 years. In Pac Bo, a national struggle led by the left-wing Viet Minh movement for the liberation of the country from French colonization was being prepared and begun. The history of the place is also connected with the Vietnam-American War. The Km0 memorial marks the beginning of the Ho Chi Minh Trail / Road (Đường mòn Hồ Chi Minh) that led through Vietnam.
What can you see and visit in Pac Bo historical site?
- Pac Bo is a complex of several historic sites. Most of them are related to the life and spending of Ho Chi Minh’s time in Pac Bo. The Pac Bo complex includes the Km0 Monument (Beginning of Ho Chi Minh Road), Pac Bo Cave (Coc Bo), Các Mác Mountain (Karl Marx Viewpoint above the Lenin stream), Trail and Crossing Point (Border belt), Lenin River (Suối Lê Nin), Khuoi Nam Hut, Nguom Vai Cave, Lung Lan Cave, a small museum or palace and the shrine of Ho Chi Minh + some other smaller places nearby.
What can you see on the way to Pac Bo?
- It is also important to say that the Pac Bo area is also part of the Non Nuoc Cao Bang Geopark. Here you will see some nice mountain and hilly passages, rice fields in the lowlands, and about 6 km before Pac Bo you can visit the Kim Dong Memorial, which is dedicated to the 14-year-old war hero (Nông Văn Dền). If you ride a motorcycle, I also recommend visiting the Sóc Hà area and riding a short distance along the Chinese border.
How to move in Pac Bo historical site?
In Pac Bo you will move around the area mostly on foot.However, transport by electric minibus to the historic area is provided from the parking lot.Expect to take a walk here, if you want to visit all the attractions.The roads are marked, you can’t get lost here.
How to get to Pac Bo from Hanoi or Cao Bang?
- The best way to get from Hanoi to Pac Bo is by bus and motorbike via Cao Bang City. So take a bus to Cao Bang and ride a motorcycle from Cao Bang to Pac Bo. I recommend visiting this place in combination with a survey of the entire province. From the city of Cao Bang to Pac Bo, it is a nice road through non-tourist Vietnam, the road is very good and you will certainly not take a dirt road, but along a quality asphalt road to the place. If some minibuses or buses run from Cao Band to Pac Bo, you need to find out in Cao Bang.
- From Hanoi to Pac Bo village – bus, minivan to Cao Bang town + motorbike from Cao Bang to Pac Bo
- From Cao Bang to Pac Bo – private transfer / car, motorbike, possible minibus to find out in Cao Bang
- You can book bus tickets from Hanoi to Cao Bang online
What is the best time / season to visit Pac Bo in Cao Bang?
- The best time to visit Pac Bo is during the dry season, eg from September / October to April. In Cao Bang province, landslides on the road may be threatened during the monsoon season. In addition, expect tropical heat in summer. In winter, it is necessary to have warmer waterproof clothing.
How much is ticket / entrance fee to Pac Bo?
- Entrance fee to the historical area where the Pac Bo Cave is 20,000 VND. Parking in front of the complex costs about 10,000 VND. Please note that this entrance fee and ticket price may vary over time.
What is the opening time of Pac Bo historical site?
- Opening hours are from 8 am to 11 pm, all week from Monday to Sunday. Please note that this opening time of Pac Bo may change in the future.
Where to eat or buy something in the village of Pac Bo?
- Pac Bo is also a small and isolated village. There are a few restaurants and a few shops, expect a very limited selection. There are about 2 restaurants right in the Pac Bo historical complex. During the tourist season, there may also be some small stalls with local products and snacks.
Where to stay if I want to visit Pac Bo historical site and cave?
- Theoretically, you can stay in a place in Pac Bo or a short walk from Pac Bo, some accommodation facilities are there. However, the choice is limited. However, I recommend choosing accommodation in the city of Cao Bang and visit Pac Bo, for example, for a day trip. Personally, I don’t think it makes much sense to stay with Pac Bo.
Route map from Hanoi to Pac Bo site via Cao Bang town:
(Pac Bo is located about 315 km from Hanoi and about 50 km from the city of Cao Bang, this is the most suitable route)