Bac Son Viewpoint Guide 2024 – Vietnam’s Hidden Gem

Bac Son Ricefields, Mountain, Sunshine

Are you looking for a hidden gem in North Vietnam? Bac Son is exactly that and more. It offers a breathtaking valley created by a beautiful river winding through lush rice fields, all surrounded by limestone mountains. This stunning landscape is best viewed from the Bac Son Viewpoint.

We visited twice, once in October 2023 (late afternoon) and in December 2019 (early morning), and both times we had the viewpoint all to ourselves. Lucky? We don’t think so. It’s proof that this place is completely untouched by tourism.

It’s the perfect destination for a day trip from Hanoi, Lang Son, or Cao Bang. This guide provides everything you need to know to make your visit to the Bac Son Viewpoint happen.

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Is Bac Son Worth visiting?

Bac Son has one of the most picturesque valleys in North Vietnam. The best part is, it has a perfectly situated viewpoint that offers the finest views of the rice fields, mountains, and river. You don’t even need a drone; as you’ll have a breathtaking bird view.

Still not convinced? Check out our YouTube video!

8 BEST Hotels in North Vietnam

North Vietnam has many amazing places to visit, each with its best places to stay. Here are some handpicked recommendations.

  • Ha Giang: Connect with adventurous travelers at the Lotus Hostel

Where is Bac Son located?

Vibrant Bac Son Ricefields, River, Mountains

Bac Son is a rural district of Lang Son Province in North Vietnam. It’s situated about 160 kilometers northeast of Hanoi and takes around 3-4 hours to reach from Hanoi and around 2 hours from Lang Son.

Best Time to Visit Bac Son

Bac Son River, Ricefields, Mountains

The best time to visit North Vietnam, in general, is during the dry season from October to April, with the best months being late September to October and April to May for warm and clear weather. Winters can be cold and summers can be wet.

To witness the breathtaking rice fields, it’s recommended to visit from late September to mid-October, when the landscape transforms from lush green to stunning golden.

5 BEST Tours in North Vietnam

Check out our handpicked tours in North Vietnam and tick off some must-see attractions.

  • Ban Gioc Waterfall: Explore Ban Gioc Waterfall and more in Cao Bang with this 2D/1N Tour
  • Hanoi Streetfood: Join a local Food Tour in Hanoi with visit to Train Street
  • Ninh Binh: Discover Ninh Binh on this small-group guided Full Day Tour from Hanoi

How Long to Stay in Bac Son?

Dusty Bac Son Village, Vietnam

If you’re coming to see the Bac Son Viewpoint, one day will be enough time. If you’re planning to do more hikes and immerse yourself in the local culture, two days are recommended.

When planning, consider combining your visit with other destinations in North Vietnam, such as Cao Bang and Ha Giang.

How to get to Bac Son?

You can reach Bac Son from Hanoi (a 3.5-hour drive) or from Lang Son (a 2-hour drive) in different ways, like by private car, bus or motorbike.

Private Car with Driver to Bac Son

The fastest and most comfortable option from Hanoi to Bac Son is booking a private car with a driver. This is an excellent choice, especially when traveling in a group.

Bus to Bac Son from Hanoi

The most economical way to reach Bac Son from Hanoi is by taking a local bus, which usually takes around 4-5 hours, depending on traffic. Although there isn’t much information available online about this, we came across a source mentioning the Hanoi bus terminals My Dinh, Yen Nghia, Gia Lam, Giap Bat, and Long Bien.

Bus to Bac Son from Lang Son

Alternatively, you can opt to spend the night in Lang Son and catch a morning local bus from the Lang Son bus station.

Riding a Motorbike to Bac Son

The most adventurous way to get to Bac Son from Hanoi is by renting a motorbike in Hanoi and riding to the north. This is a good choice if you’re an experienced motorbike rider and comfortable with Vietnam’s traffic. We were riding the North Loop and came from Cao Bang.

How to get around in Bac Son?

Walking: Bac Son is a relatively small district, and the viewpoint is conveniently situated near most hotels and restaurants. Walking is the ideal way to immerse yourself in the surroundings.

Bac Son River, Ricefields and Mountain
Local farmer on bicycle, Bac Son

Bicycles or Motorbikes: Renting a bicycle or a motorbike in Bac Son is a popular and adventurous way to explore. We recommend asking your accommodation for informations. You can also rent a motorbike in Hanoi and bring it here, like we did.

Private Car with Driver: For a more comfortable option, consider renting a car with a driver for the day. This can also be your choice of transport when coming from Hanoi.

Bac Son Tours

We couldn’t find any online tour provider offering a tour to Bac Son (Viewpoint) with reviews, which has its pros and cons. On one hand, you’ll need to plan this trip by yourself, but don’t worry, this guide has everything you need to know. On the bright side, you’ll likely have this place to yourself, just like we did when we visited in 2023 and 2019.

Best Accommodations in Bac Son

Bac Son River and Ricefields from Drone

There aren’t too many options for accommodations in Bac Son. One recommendation is to consider staying and dining with a local family at Bac Son Homestay. It offers a unique experience where you can learn about their daily life and culture. Keep in mind that some guesthouses in the area may only provide dormitories and not private rooms.

An alternative is to stay in Lang Son, where you’ll find a wider range of accommodation options, and then go on a day trip to Bac Son.

In Bac Son:

In Lang Son (2h from Bac Son)

Budget ($):

Mid-Range ($$):

Luxury ($$$):

How to get to Bac Son Viewpoint?

To visit the spectacular Bac Son Viewpoint, you’ll need to embark on a steep 40-minute hike. The trail begins at this location. There is a house; if you enter the property, someone may ask you to pay an entrance fee or a parking fee. You can avoid this by taking the path, just before the house, on the right of it. Or simply pay a reasonable fee.

Bac Son viewpoint entrance with house

We didn’t want to carry our backpacks on the hike, so we decided to have some drinks at Bong Cafe and then leave our bike and backpacks there. The passion fruit juice was very good, and the owners were very friendly. It’s only a 5-minute walk from here to the starting point of the viewpoint hike.

Hike to the Bac Son Viewpoint

Bac Son viewpoint, Vietnam: River, rice fields, mountains

If you visit Bac Son, you have to visit it’s Viewpoint. You’ll be treated with the most impressive 360-degree view of a valley filled with lots of rice fields, a river running through it, and surrounded by limestone mountains.

The viewpoint is a phone station built atop the Na Lay Mountain. The hike is intermediate and relatively short but involves steep and uneven steps, so hiking shoes are recommended. The climb up to the 600 meters high peak takes 40 minutes

Once you reach the summit, walk to the antenna tower and climb up the ladder to the top platform. Don’t forget to carry water, mosquito repellent, and sun protection.

Bac Son River, Ricefields and Mountain

The best time to go is early in the morning when it’s still cool for the climb, and you can witness the sunrise with its gentle, warm light. Remember it can be quite cool in the early morning, so dressing in layers will help.

Despite the challenging and tiring hike, the breathtaking panoramic vistas of the Bac Son Valley make it incredibly rewarding and worth it. Plus the photo opportunities are exceptional. 

Experience Local Culture

Bac Son River and Ricefields from Above
Local farmer with buckets in Bac Son

Quynh Son village is where the homestays in Bac Son District are located and it’s home to the Tay ethnic group, offering you an opportunity to immerse yourself in their culture.

  • Local Homestay: Choose a local homestay for your accommodation to have a unique experience and gain insights into their way of life.
  • Traditional Cuisine: Try local dishes like sticky rice and spring rolls, either at eateries or in your homestay.
  • Explore Quynh Son Village: Wander through this charming village to observe locals at work, children at play, and the rustic stilt houses.

Packing, Tips & Costs

Bac Son River Close-Up, Illuminated

After 2 months and 4000 km on a North Vietnam Motorbike Trip, we’ve put together the ultimate packing list, tips, and costs to help you plan your trip.

Where to go after Bac Son?

After enjoying Bac Son, there are more amazing places in North Vietnam to explore. Here are some we’ve been to and loved:

Depending on where you’re heading after Bac Son, you might need to go back to Hanoi first and then catch a bus to your next stop. You can check on 12go to see if there’s a direct bus option. If not, plan your journey through Hanoi.

If you like riding a motorbike, you could include Bac Son in a trip around the Cao Bang and Ha Giang area or a bigger adventure around North Vietnam. Our 2-week motorbike tour in North Vietnam was one of the most exciting trips of our two years of travel in Asia. You can easily rent a motorbike in Hanoi for this fun trip.

Conclusion

Bac Son in Vietnam is a breathtaking gem, unexplored by tourism, only 3h away from Hanoi. This agricultural region gives you the chance to experience the beauty of nature and immerse yourself in authentic rural life. The Bac Son Viewpoint is easily one of the best things to do in North Vietnam.

It’s the perfect destination for nature lovers, adventurers, photographer’s, and those looking to escape touristy spots, like Sapa and Halong Bay. 

If you have any questions or want to add something, please let us know in the comments below.

Bac Son sunset: Ricefields, mountains

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