Thang Hen is a lake, but also a tourist resort and part of the Non Nuoc Geopark.
- Cao Bang Province in northern Vietnam offers a number of beautiful places, many of which are part of the Non Nuoc Cao Bang Geopark. This geopark occupies a large part of Cao Bang province, offers beautiful nature, hilly and mountain scenery, ethnic villages and their minorities, as well as many great authentic rural sites. Cao Bang Province is a less visited part of northern Vietnam by foreign tourists, except for a few tourist spots, such as the famous Ban Gioc Waterfalls or the historical site of Pac Bo, where Ho Chi Minh was hidden in 1941 for a few weeks.
- Cao Bang Province is a more suitable place for those who will travel by motorcycle. There are limited bus connections between the towns and some places can only be reached by private transfer or on a motorbike / scooter. There is no railway or airport in this province. One such place is Thang Hen Lake and tourist resort (Hồ Thang Hen), which is located only about 30 km from the city of Cao Bang (Tra Linh District) and is easily accessible by motorcycle. It is a lake, but the place is also marked a tourist resort, where it is possible to stay in the season.
Thang Hen Lake in Tra Linh consists of up to 36 other smaller lakes.
- Thang Hen Lake is located at an altitude of about 1000 m. above sea level and in the rainy season it can reach a length of 1-3 km, depending on the volume of water. The whole lake is spread between several hills and near the mountain valley Thung Na Ma (Thung lũng Núi Thủng Nà Ma), which is located nearby. In this area there is also a small mountain called Phja Piót Mountain or Angel Eye Mountain (Núi Thủng Phja Piót). It is a very nice scenic and less touristy area. You can move around on foot, on some roads in front of the area and on a scooter, but only if the roads are passable, because during the rainy season they can unfortunately be clogged with mud. I also recommend riding a motorcycle a short distance around the district of Tra Linh.
- There is a smaller tourist resort / homestay at the Thang Hen Lake, where it is possible to stay in the tourist season. In low season the accommodation can be closed, but the lake and surroundings + about 2 caves nearby for a fee open. Admission to Thang Hen Lake is about 40,000 VND, may vary over time. There are a few paths that can be taken, for example, to a smaller cave or a short walk to the Thung Na Ma Valley. Thang Hen Lake is relatively isolated in the village of Quốc Toản, there are about 2 villages in the area and there are no tourist hotels or complexes or funny attractions or bars and that is good.
▶ Núi Thủng Phja Piót – „Angle Eye Mountain“ is close to Thang Hen Lake.
▶ Thác Nặm Trá – Nam Tra Waterfall (river at the Phja Piót Mountain).
▶ Đèo Mã Phục – Ma Phuc Pass (about 8 km from Thang Hen Lake).
How to get and travel to Thang Hen Lake?
- Cao Bang has no railway or airport, and there is no bus to Thang Hen Lake. The best way to get to Thang Hen Lake is by motorbike / scooter from Cao Bang town. So unless you have your own private transfer. Or you can use a mototaxi with a driver. The journey on a motorcycle is quite easy, you will drive through a nice area through the Ma Phuc Pass. The travel distance from Hanoi to Thang Hen Lake is about 300 km, and from the city of Cao Bang to Thang Hen about 30 km. You can also take a bus to Cao Bang from Hanoi or from Lang Son. There is a railway to Lang Son from Hanoi and from Lang Son you can travel by bus to Cao Bang town (about 125 km). I recommend combining a visit to Thang Hen with a survey of Cao Bang province, just going to this place from Hanoi probably doesn’t make much sense.
- From Hanoi to Thang Hen Lake – bus / minivan to Cao Bang + by motorbike from Cao Bang to Thang Hen
- From Cao Bang town to Thang Hen Lake – private transfer, motorbike or scooter
- From Lang Son to Thang Hen Lake – bus + motorbike via Cao Bang town
What is the best time to visit Thang Hen Lake?
- The recommended time is paradoxically if there is more rain, as in the dry season the lake may be more dry. But I would rather not come to this place during the monsoon season (in summer), as some roads in Cao Bang may be less passable and there is also a risk of landslides. In summer, however, a boat on the lake may be in operation here, this may not be the case in the off-season and the area may be significantly less visited. I would recommend the fall or spring season, but be aware that the place may be deserted. The photo of Thang Hen Lake above is from November.
▶ Recommended time to visit of Thang Hen Lake – autumn or spring.
▶ In the summer months there should be a tourist season, more tourists on site.
▶ The official opening hours of Thang Hen Lake should be from 7 am to 6 pm.
Where to stay, in Cao Bang town or by the lake?
- Here it is probably up to you how much time you have, if you want to explore the area, etc. In the season, there may be a homestay at Thang Hen Lake or in a nearby village. Outside the tourist season, the resort may not be open (eg in winter). I recommend to accommodate in Cao Bang town and going out to explore the whole province. E.g. combine this visit with the route to Ban Gioc Waterfall and stay for example at these waterfalls. The city of Cao Bang has a number of different hotels, guesthouses and homestays of standard / average quality and the prices are low, certainly everyone will choose.
Tips for well rated accommodation in Cao Bang town:
FAQs + Tips — Thang Hen Lake + Resort in Cao Bang:
Where is Thang Hen Lake (Hồ Thang Hen)?
- Thang Hen Lake (Hồ Thang Hen) is located in Cao Bang Province, about 30 km from Cao Bang City in Tra Linh District, Quoc Toan Village. Thang Hen Lake is part of the Non Nuoc Cao Bang Geopark, which covers a large part of Cao Bang Province. Travel distance from Hanoi to Thang Hen Lake is about 300 km by road.
What makes Thang Hen Lake interesting and why to go there?
Thang Hen Lake itself may not be the only reason to come here.It is more appropriate to combine a visit with a survey of other places in the province of Cao Bang, such as on the way to Ban Gioc Waterfall.However, about 3 km from the lake there is the so-called „Angle Eye Mountain“ (Núi Thủng Phja Piót) and the area is very impressive and less touristy.The road also goes through the Ma Phuc Pass (đèo Mã Phục), the whole area is quite great for riding a motorcycle / scooter.
How to move around Thang Hen Lake?
- It is best to walk around Thang Hen Lake. There are some good trails, so there are not many of them, but from there you can also get to the Phja Piót Mountain. Surrounding paths or trails are more suitable for walking than for riding a motorcycle.
How to get from Hanoi and Cao Bang to Thang Hen Lake?
- You can take a bus from Hanoi to Cao Bang and then rent a motorbike to explore the whole province (I recommend). There is no bus to Thang Hen Lake, so you must have your own private transfer or a motorbike / scooter (at least a semi-automatic, not a small scooter). There is no railway in Cao Bang, so forget about trains. An alternative may be to travel through Lang Son, by train to Lang Son + by bus to Cao Bang and then by motorbike.
- From Hanoi to Thang Hen Lake – bus / minivan + motorbike (most suitable solution)
- From Cao Bang to Thang Hen Lake – private transfer, car / taxi or motorbike / scooter
- Bus Tickets from Hanoi to Cao Bang you can book online with Baolau
When is the best time to visit Thang Hen Lake and its surrounding?
- It’s a little tricky here. The dry season (autumn – winter) is more suitable for the province of Cao Bang, but during this period the lake may be more dry. The tourist season is a summer season for Vietnamese travelers, but monsoons may threaten again during this period. I recommend choosing autumn or spring.
How much is a ticket / entrance fee to Thang Hen Lake?
- Entrance fee to Thang Hen Lake is about 30,000 – 40,000 VND. Please note that the price may change over time. You pay on the spot.
What is the opening time of the area at Thang Hen Lake?
- Officially, the opening hours of the area at Thang Hen Lake should be from 7 am to 6 pm, please note that this time may change over time and season.
Where to eat at Lake Thang Hen?
- There is also a restaurant by Thang Hen Lake. Unfortunately, it is possible that the restaurant may be closed in low season. I recommend that you take at least a drink on the trip or stop somewhere on the way, for example near the town of Tra Linh or in the villages in front of the complex, there is always a shop and refreshments somewhere.
Where to stay if you want to visit Thang Hen Lake?
- In high season you can stay on site, there are some homestays. Again, however, there is a risk that they may be closed out of season. Rather, I would choose accommodation in Cao Bang town and then set out to explore the entire province of Cao Bang. Cao Bang town has various hotels, guesthouses or homestays.
- You can choose from this selection of hotels or homestays > Book hotel / homestay in Cao Bang
Where to go and continue from Thang Hen Lake?
- You can continue to Ban Gioc Waterfall, located 70 km from Thang Hen Lake at the Chinese border in Trung Khanh district. The road is very nice, scenic and village areas, the road is relatively in a very decent condition to the waterfall and therefore definitely suitable for motorcycles.
Route map from Hanoi to Thang Hen Lake in Cao Bang:
(Thang Hen Lake and Resort is located about 300 km from Hanoi and about 30 km from Cao Bang City)