Pac Bo is a small village 620 km north of Hanoi by road and 3 km away from the border with China in Cao Bang Province. Pac Bo has some fantastic scenery, however, the reason that Pac Bo is popular tourist destination, particularly for Vietnamese tourists, is that revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh spent 7 weeks hidden in cave here in 1941 having re-entered Vietnam after an absence of 30 years.
Ho Chi Minh’s Cave
Pac Bo cave is a place of huge historical significance at many Vietnamese people, as the location represents the starting point for Hi Chi Minh’s campaign to liberate Vietnam from French colonialism, and after than an invasion by American forces who people in the Communist north of the country perceived as foreign aggressors. Because of this Pac Bo Cave and the surrounding area is cleaner and better organised than many other tourist attractions in Vietnam. For example, visitors are not permitted to bathe in Lenin’s Creek which is beside the cave (Ho Chi Minh named the stream whilst he was staying there) nor sit on the limestone rock which he used as a table.
A small museum, car park, walking trails and a pagoda have all been constructed near Pak Bo cave go facilitate the many visitors who come here, particularly at the weekend. The entrance fee to the area where the cave is located is 20,000 VND and the parking fee for a motorbike is 10,000 VND. As you enter there are steps up for the pagoda inside which is a shrine to Communist leader Ho Chi Minh replete with statue of the great man where Vietnamese people go to light incense.
There is a pathway leading around Lenin Creek to the cave itself with signs indicating where Ho Chi Minh liked to sit, or fish or go swimming. The cave itself has been left spartan with only soft lighting added to enable visitors to better view the bed and campfire area which Ho Chi Minh used when he stayed there. The lights also help visitors see the rock formations on the cave ceiling which Ho Chi Minh named Karl Marx.
Travel to Pac Bo Cave
To get to Pac Bo cave you first need to travel to the regional capital of Cao Bang. Buses to Cao Bang depart from My Dinh bus station in Hanoi. The journey by bus from Hanoi to Cao Bang takes 6 to 8 hours. There are no public transport services to Pac Bo cave. You either need to join a tour group, hire a taxi, or drive yourself by car or motorbike. Many visitors choose to rent a motorbike to travel to Pac Bo as the journey is along a fairly well maintained road which runs direct from Cao Bang to Pac Bo. The distance is 51 km and by motorbike going at a relaxed speed it should take only a hour, maybe slightly longer if you stop to take photographs on route.