If you’re looking for an amazing Southeast Asian travel destination that is off the beaten path, Lang Son, Vietnam should be at the top of your list. This beautiful city is located in northeast Vietnam near the border with China, and it offers a unique mix of Vietnamese and Chinese cultures. Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient temples or enjoying delicious local cuisine, Lang Son has something for everyone! In this travel guide, we will provide all the information you need to plan your trip to Lang Son. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your vacation today!
1. History of Lang Son
Lang Son province was one of the earliest inhabited regions of Vietnam, and its history dates back more than 2,500 years. Its strategic position on the Chinese border has been the cause of numerous invasions and battles, most notably the Battle of Lang Son in 1885 and the Sino-Vietnamese War in 1979. During this period, Lang Son was destroyed by bombing and shelling, but it has since been rebuilt and is now a thriving city.
2. What to do in Lang Son
– Visit Bac Son Valley
photo: Quang Nguyen Vinh
Bac Son is a valley located in Lang Son province, Vietnam. The valley has many beautiful sights, including Muong Thanh Lake (also known as Nam Ngua), which is famous for its clear water and rich fish population. The area around Bac Son has been inhabited since the Stone Age, and archeological discoveries indicate that the area was once a trading center for the ancient Chinese and Vietnamese people. The area is now home to the capital city of Lang Son Province.
The valley itself runs along the Red River and is surrounded by mountains on all sides. It contains many small villages that serve as home to farmers who grow rice, vegetables, and fruit trees. The majority of these farmers are ethnic Hmong people who have lived in this part of Vietnam since they were exiled from China during World War II.
– Visit the ancient temples and pagodas
When visiting Lang Son, one of the most popular activities is exploring the city’s ancient temples and pagodas. Tam Thanh is one of the oldest and most impressive sites in all of Lang Son, having been constructed more than two thousand years ago. This stunning temple complex features many beautiful carvings and sculptures that represent Vietnamese and Chinese religious beliefs. Other popular sites include the Lang Son Temple, Bich Dong Pagoda, and Banh It Tower.
– Visit the historic Citadel
The Citadel of Lang Son is a centuries-old fortress that was built by the Chinese in the late 19th century. Today, it is a popular tourist destination where visitors can explore the ancient walls and experience what life was like during the Chinese occupation. It is also home to a number of cultural relics, including the remains of an ancient temple.
– Explore the Tam Thanh Cave
The Tam Thanh Cave is a stunning natural cave believed to be millions of years old. It houses a variety of ancient stalactites and stalagmites, as well as an underground river. The cave is a great place to explore and take in the beauty of nature.
– Shop in the bustling markets
Lang Son is home to a number of vibrant and colorful markets. These bustling bazaars offer an array of goods, from traditional Vietnamese handicrafts to luxury items. It’s a great place to find souvenirs and experience the local culture.
– Explore the vibrant nightlife
Lang Son’s vibrant nightlife is one of the city’s most enjoyable attractions. Located in the heart of Lang Son, Night Market Ky Lua is the perfect place to find delicious local snacks and street food. After enjoying some hearty street food, you can explore the city’s various bars and clubs. With everything from karaoke bars to traditional Vietnamese pubs, Lang Son is sure to have something that suits your taste.
– Sample the delicious local cuisine
When it comes to food, Lang Son has a wide range of delicious local dishes that you won’t find anywhere else. Popular dishes include banh mi thit (Vietnamese baguette sandwich), pho bo (beef noodle soup), and cao lau (rice noodles with pork). Be sure to try some of the city’s famous seafood dishes, such as cha ca (turmeric fish) and bun rieu cua (crab soup).
3. How to get around Lang Son
– Rent a bicycle or motorbike to explore on your own
One of the best ways to explore Lang Son, Vietnam is by renting a bicycle or motorbike. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride through the city or an adventurous off-road excursion, renting a bike is one of the most convenient and affordable ways to get around. Be sure to obey all traffic laws and wear a helmet for your safety!
– Take advantage of the public transportation system
Lang Son has an efficient public transportation system that consists of buses and taxis. Buses are the most economical option, with fares starting at just 4,000 VND (less than $0.20). Taxis are also available, but fares can be expensive. However, you may be able to negotiate a better rate if you hire a taxi for the whole day.
– Take a taxi to get from one place to another
If you want to get around quickly and conveniently, the best option is to take a taxi. Taxi fares in Lang Son are usually quite reasonable, and most drivers will use their meters, so you don’t have to worry about bargaining. Just be sure to agree on a price before getting in the car!
4. Where to stay in Lang Son
– Choose from a variety of hotels, hostels, and guesthouses
When it comes to accommodation in Lang Son, there is an abundance of options for you to choose from. Whether you are looking for a budget-friendly hostel, a mid-range hotel, or a luxurious guesthouse, you will be able to find something that suits your needs. Popular luxury hotels in the area include Four Points by Sheraton, SOJO Hotel and Muong Thanh. Prices for accommodation range from $6 a night to as high as $60 a night.
– Experience homestay in a local family
For an authentic cultural experience, you may want to consider staying with a local family. Homestays allow you to have an up-close and intimate experience while staying in Lang Son. Many local families offer their homes as homestays, providing a comfortable place to stay and delicious home-cooked meals. Prices for homestays vary, depending on the family and the services provided.
– Enjoy camping in the surrounding countryside
If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, Lang Son is surrounded by stunning countryside and mountains. Camping in the area is a great way to explore the stunning scenery and experience the great outdoors. Be sure to bring all of your camping gear, as there are no campsites in the area. You can also rent camping equipment from local stores if needed.
5. What to bring with you when traveling to Lang Son
photo: Quang Nguyen Vinh
– Sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses for protection against the sun’s rays
– Comfortable shoes for all of your walking and hiking excursions
– Insect repellent to keep the bugs at bay
– Rainwear for the occasional shower
– A lightweight jacket to keep you warm in the evenings
– A good book or music player for entertainment during downtime
– A first aid kit with basic medical supplies
– Cash and/or a credit card for all of your purchases
– A camera to capture all of the memorable moments
– A map or guidebook to help you navigate your way around the city.
Lang Son is a beautiful city with plenty of activities and attractions to explore. Whether you’re looking for an adventure in the countryside, a luxurious stay at one of its many hotels, or just want to sample some delicious local cuisine, Lang Son has something for everyone. Be sure to bring all the necessary items on your trip such as sunscreen, insect repellent, rainwear and cash so that you can make the most out of your visit! With these tips in mind, all that’s left is for you to plan your next getaway and enjoy everything this vibrant Vietnamese city has to offer.