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Lang Son travel guide

Wondering how to plan a dream trip to Lang Son, a less visited by foreign visitors but it owns charm beauty. This ultimate Lang Son travel guide version 2019 provides you with detailed and up to date information about best time to travel, how to get there and around, where to stay, good restaurants to eat, things to do in Lang Son and so on

At a glance

Lang Son Travel Map – Right Click on the picture to see full size

 

Located in Northeast Vietnam, 112 miles away from Hanoi, shares the border with China with 2 international border checkpoint ;Tan Thanh and Huu Nghi. It is also one of the main trading area which makes good income for locals. Lang Son is less visited for foreign tourists even there are lots of gorgeous mountains, the stunning beauty of rice paddies, dense river system, amazing natural landscape, rich history and cultural identity of ethnic groups. 

If you going to tour Northern Vietnam, spend 1 night in Lang Son city to explore and enjoy yummy local food and another night in a homestay in Bac Son valley. Please see this Lang Son ultimate travel guide 2019

Best time to visit Lang Son

You can see it all year around. Make sure that you check the weather forecast before traveling, as long as it isn’t raining, will be fine. 

February is the period of local festivals, it is perfect for culture lovers.  Here is the schedule for those festivals

Bac Le temple festival (worshipping Mother Godness) : 18 to 20th of Jan lunar calendar

Tien Pagoda festival: 18th of Jan lunar calendar

Quynh Son festival: 12 to 13th of Jan lunar calendar, you can see traditional costumes of Tay and Nung ethnic as well as listen to folk songs. 

Tam Thanh pagoda festival: every 15th of January lunar calendar, praying for good health, good luck and safety

Long Tong festival, every 4th of January lunar calendar, the biggest one in Lang Son to pray for patrol and Shennong (god of agriculture)

If you want to be away from hot weather in Hanoi for an escape. Summertime from May to August is good. Remember to travel Mau Son mountain to get cool weather. 

Photo hunting during rice harvest season in Bac Son valley in middle and late November

If you want to see snow in Mau Son, from Nov to Feb but check the weather forecast because it happens occasionally

How to get to Lang Son from Hanoi

By train

There are several of them going to Lang Son. In order to buy a ticket, please go to Ga Le Duan (Hanoi train station at 120 Le Duan street) to purchase a ticket. 

Please see the timetable below for details

Ticket rate : 80.000VND to 115.000 per person depends on the type of train or seat. 

By local bus

There are a few bus stations: Giap Bat, My Dinh, Gia Lam but Gia Lam bus station seems to be closet to Hanoi Old Quarter.

From 6.15am to 11.45am every 45 minutes

Ticket rate: 100.000VND

Hotline: 0358.007.393    

You can also get to Doc Hang Bun (at the end of Hang Than street) near the petrol station, there is a cafe where people are waiting for the bus, every 30 minutes from 7.00am to 5.00pm

Ticket rate is 100.000VND

By limousine Dcar 9 seaters (Highly recommend for tourists)

Ninh Quynh limousine

I have traveled quite a lot with this company. They do offer to pick up from your hotel in Hanoi Old Quarter by a small car to take you to the outskirt of Hanoi where the limousine is waiting. 

Schedule: From 9.00am to 19.00pm every half an hour

Ticket rate: 200.000VND per person

Telephone: 0886.109.109. – 0982.88.55.15

They also offer 24 seaters sky bus which is really comfortable sleeping berth with a ticket of 160.000VND pick up and drop off door to door in both cities Hanoi and Lang Son. If you are travelling with a couple of baggage. This type of vehicle is the best choice. 

Duration: 3.5 to 4 hours 

Quynh Thanh Vip Limo

This is a new company for the transfer route from Hanoi to Lang Son offer door to door pick up and drop off service

Schedule: From 4.00am to 19.00pm, every 1 hour.

Ticket rate: 200.000VND per person

Hotline: 0868.260.260 – 1900.1196

Long Thinh car Vip

This is the only company offer transfer from Noi Bai airport to Lang Son

Type of car: Sedona 8 seaters car

Ticket rate: 220.000VND for Hanoi to Lang Son, 300.000VND from Noi Bai airport to Lang Son.

Hotline : 0961.655.655, 0965.866.833

You don’t need to swap to another car. 

By motorbike 

From Hanoi Old Quarter -> Chuong Duong bridge -> Nguyen Van Cu street -> Turn right to national way 5 > Turn left to Thanh Tri bridge > Phu Dong bridge  -> National way no 18 -> Bac Giang -> Lang Son

Please click here for details 

By car 

Ask for a travel agent in Hanoi to arrange private car rental service ranges from $130 to $160 depending on where you go. This rate is applied for 2 days 1-night trip. 

How to get around Lang Son

By taxi

Lang Son is a small city, traveling by taxi doesn’t cost much. There are a few taxi companies 

Taxi companies in Lang Son Telephone
Tam Thanh taxi 0205.3.72.72.72
Bac Son taxi in Bac Son valley 0205.3.838.838
Taxi in Binh Gia Dist 0205.3.835.835
Lang Son taxi 0205.3.766.766
Duy Quang taxi 0205.3.89.89.89
Tam Gia taxi 0205.3.81.81.81
Hong Hai taxi 0205.3.789.789
Khanh Linh taxi 0205.3.78.78.78
Taxi Tùng Việt 0205.3.79.79.79
766 Taxi  (0253) 766766
Taxi in Loc Binh Dist 0205.3.836.836

Taxi rate : 10.000 VND to 12.000 VND 

By motorbike

Tran Luc motorbike rental service

The best shops for motorbike rental service in Lang Son with hotel delivered. 

Address : 90 Ngo Quyen street, Lang Son (My Son intersection) 

Hotline : 083 626 8883

Rate : 70.000VND to 90.000VND per day. However, they also offer electric bike, bicycle for rent. Lang Son is a small city, you can also get around by bicycle.

Hoang Truong motorbike rental service 
Address : 219 Ngo Quyen street, Lang Son
Telephone : 0972 450 113

Trinh Tuan motorbike rental services
Address  248B Tran Dang Ninh street
Telephone :  0917 292 039

There is other shops opposite Vy Boutique hotel offer motorbike rental service

You can also ask for your hotel for motorbike rental services! There are a few hotels offer motorbike rental services such as Phu Quy hotel, Kim Son hotel, Van Xuan hotel

Local bus 

Take the bus no 1 if you want to get to Tan Thanh border gate via Dong Dang temple. 

There is no bus going directly to Mau Son. There is a bus no 3 takes you to Loc Binh town, from here, take a Xe Om “motorbike taxi” for 1-hour drive to Mau Son with $8 fee one way. From 2 people above, hiring a taxi is more economical. 

Go to Lang Son bus station, there are a few local buses going to Bac Son valley. Google “Ben Xe Phia Bac”, you could see it on the map 

What to see in Lang Son 

Tam Thanh Buddhist temples

One of the most famous pagoda cave as well as a holy place for Buddist followers to pray. Built-in 1777 by a Vietnamese mandarin. You need to get to 30 steps to get to its entrance. This limestone cave includes numerous stalagmites and stalactites with various shapes with Buddha statues make visitors feel like getting lost in a mysterious land. 

There is a white Amitābha statue over 2 meters high, modeled after Le – Mac Dynasty’s architectural design since 16 -17th century. 

Nhi Thanh Grotto

This is a natural limestone cave 500 meters long, discovered by a scholar Ngo Thi Sy, maintained to a open as a sightseeing spot. There are numerous limestone rock formation in various shape, colorful, stunning beauty. There is a nearby three religion pagoda, worshipping Confucius, Buddha, Laozi. There is also a portrait statue of the scholar engraved on a stone wall

Mac Dynasty Citadel

It is used to be a military base against King Le – Trinh Lord during 16 and 17th century. It is now 300 meters of its wall left, built by big piece of stones. From the bottom of the hill to the gate, climb 100 steeped steps where we can see a panoramic view of lush green rice paddies, rural villages and numerous houses next to each other. This is worth a visit place in Lang Son

Lady To Thi statue

There is a stone statue look like a lady holding a bay, waiting for her husband, a fighter against Chinese invader, returning home. After a long time affected by people and nature, the statue was damaged. The local authority had made a similar one to preserve a touching story of Vietnamese people.

Mother Goddess temple 

15 kilometers from Lang Son city, Dong Dang mother goddess temples is a famous attraction among Vietnamese, worship Buddha and Mother Goddess. The temple play a very important role in term of religious, historical value, where locals pray for good health, good luck, prosperity. It’s really interesting to see ritual Hau Dong performance. 

Chi Lang passage

40 kilometers from Lang Son city , Chi Lang passage is a well-known spot among Vietnamese during resistance war against Chinese invader. In order to get into Vietnam by the mainland via Lang Son, they all have to go through Chi Lang passage. The enemy had attempted a couple of times but all failed. The passage is 20 kilometers long, 3 kilometers wide, surrounded by 2 mountain ranges on both East and West side.

Unfortunately, the new highway makes the passage not seem to be a strategic location but still a stunning view. If you are traveling from Hanoi, the tour guide will show you as you travel pass.

Bac Son Valley

A rising destination for nature lovers, photographers, adventure travelers in Northeast of Vietnam, 80 kilometers from Lang Son city. Surrounded by the endless limestone mountain range, slope rivers, lush green rice field and little house on stilt of Tay and Nung ethnic group one after each other. Local inhabitants still stay in their traditional home, earn their living by growing rice, you can feel authenticity, the warm heart of local which make you feel like home.

Mau Son mountain

37 kilometers within 1.5 hours driver from Lang Son. It’s a great place to enjoy fresh air, spectacular scenery, cool climate, learn more about Red Dzao ethnic group. From its top, you could see China and panoramic view of mountain, villages. A great place for nature lovers. 

It is used to be a relaxing area for French during the colonial period with many abandoned villas. 

I suggest motorbike travelers, there’s lot of cool view along the way, stop and take some photos. 

Shopping guide in Lang Son

For shopping at most of the markets in Lang Son, bargaining is a must use skill. It’s hard to tell how much you should offer 30%, 50%, 70%. Basically, just offer a rate which is suitable for you. If you walkway but no one asks you to come back which means that you need to offer a higher rate. 

Dong Kinh market

Known as the largest market in Lang Son city with 3 floors, 1st floor for electric appliances, 2nd floor for grocery stuff, 3rd floor for fashion. It is used to be a trading area between Vietnamese and Chinese businessmen. A good place to shop in Lang Son city 

Ky Lua night market

Open from 8.00am to 22.00pm. A common market for tourists to shop souvenirs. They do have market days 2,7,12,17,22,27 in the lunar calendar where lots of ethnic people from all regions in Lang Son meet, shop, talk and share their stories. You can also see specialties from all parts of Lang Son sold on the market days. The market is also open during the day time. 

Where to stay in Lang Son

Muong Thanh Hotel

Established in 2010, the first 4 stars hotel in Lang Son, located in the heart of Lang Son closed to tourist attractions, bus station, train station and so on. There are 124 well-equipped rooms and many more ultinities such as onsite spa, sauna, restaurant, bar, swimming pool which makes your comfortable stay in Lang Son.

Address: No 68, Ngo Quyen St, Vinh Trai Ward, Lang Son city
Tel: +84 205 386 66 68 

Room rate : $45 per room per night 

Vin hotel Lang Son

The best hotel and also the very first 5 stars hotel in Lang Son offering 127 rooms, great panoramic city view. Daily buffet breakfast, onsite spa, sauna, restaurant, swimming pool which all you need for a great stay in Lang Son. 

Room rate: $40 per room per night – a good value of money

𝗔𝗱𝗱: 02 Tran Hung Dao str, Chi Lang Ward, Lạng Sơn
𝗧𝗲𝗹: 0205 3782 999 |

Vi boutique hotel

This is a 3 stars boutique hotel, located in the heart of Lang Son, offer 50 rooms with daily breakfast. This hotel is suitable for a short stay like traveling by motorbike, couple, solo traveler, businessman. Walking distance to Ky Lua night market, a nice local cafe, local eateries.

Address: 185 Tran Dang Ninh, Lang Son city

Telephone : (0205) 3-886689 

Room rate : $25 per room per night

Song Long Hotel

Located in Phu Loc area, considered as a new part of the city which is a bit away from the city center. This hotel is suitable for business man. There are local eateries for breakfast is about 800 meters from there and a riverside area where locals hanging out with kids at night.

Address: 122 Ly Thuong Kiet, Lang Son city

Telephone : 0886 865 588

Room rate : $22 per room per night

Budget accommodation in Lang Son 

There are 2 homestays which is best choice for budget travellers 

Then and Now homestay

Centrally located. They offer bunk beds which are good for backpackers. What makes it special is the host is so helpful and friendly, make you feel like home but speak no English. They do offer lunch and dinner as well at extra cost and upon request. 

Address : No 3/19, Ba Trieu, Dong Kinh, Lang Son,

Hotline : 098 895 09 86

Rate : $6 to $8 per bed

Happy homestay

Located in the heart of Lang Son city, offer private rooms, some of them are really spacious with a bathtub too. 

Address: 37 Tran Phu, Hoang Van Thu Ward, Lang Son city
Telephone :  0329 723 129

Rate : $9 to $15 per room per night, no breakfast

Nhat Son guest house

It is about 10 kilometers from Lang Son city. But right on highway 4B to Quang Ninh (Halong). It is good for motorbike travelers. You can also get around the city by your own transport. They do offer complimentary breakfast. Homecooked lunch and dinner at your request.

Hotline : 0205 3882 088

Address : 61, Street 4B, Group 1, Lot 5, Hop Thanh Commune, Cao Loc District, Lang Son Province

Rate : $15 per room includes breakfast

Thien Phu hotel

A new hotel, located near the riverside of Ky Cung river. There is a karaoke bar at the first floor of the building. If you like a quiet place to sleep then it isn’t the choice. 

Address : Thac Ma 2 street, Dong Kinh Ward, Lang Son city

Mobile : +84 869 906 868

Note : The mark on google map is incorrect, it is the same location with Dubai karaoke 

What do eat in Lang Son

Lang Son is perfect food paradise for foodies. There are lots of things to try such as roasted duck, rice noodle soup with roasted duck, sour noodle soup, steamed rice paper roll with egg, grilled pork on charcoal with fresh green and noodle, Lang Son style bread

Roasted duck and duck noodle soup

They used Vit Bau (fat duck with big feet) raised in That Khe Dist. After cleaning, marinated with spices, spring onion, black pepper, Clausena indicia (Daizell) fruits, add it inside and sew up. Marinated with honey on its skin in 10 minutes, roasts on charcoal about 10 minutes then deep fried about 15 minutes.

The key to make a good roast duck is not to make overcooked. The more you roast, the better flavor it is. The meat must be in honey color, strong flavor of spices, which means good flavor of roasted duck.

The fat broth after roasting used to add in duck noodle soup. Add some pickle sour bamboo shoot in the jar, fragrance smell of duck meat, its broth, sour flavor of bamboo shoot, make a yummy food 

Where to try 

Hai Xom Duck noodle soup on 94 Ba Trieu street. It is the best “Pho vit” in town, you can also try roasted duck here

Telephone : +84 25 3872 891

The store is behind the Central post office at Than Thua Quy street, Lang Son

MatMat store: 15 Bac Son street Telephone: 025.355.6086.
Hung Hung store : 13 Bac Son   Telephone  025.387.8654.
Huong Nga store 128 Bac Son Telephone 025.387.9819.
Ha Nga store 157 Hung Vuong Telephone : 025.387.6440.

If you want to take away roasted duck, there is a duck store at Dong Dinh markets on the left-hand side of Phai Ve gate. 

Pho Chua (Sour rice noodle soup)

Another local speciality in Lang Son. There are lots of places in the Northern region of Vietnam but That Khe noodle soup is the best so far. 

There is two main part: dry part and broth. The dry part includes rice noodle, pan fried pig liver spring onion, french fried, deep fried pork belly and pig stomach, roasted duck. The broth includes the one from inside part of a roasted duck. 

Everything has been prepared, starts mixing when it is ordered. 

Where to try

A store on Le Lai street
A store on Bac Son street near Hoang Van Thu middle school
Phuong Store at 73 Nhi Thanh street. Telephone : 0396 875703

Bun Cha (Grilled pork on charcoal with green herb and rice noodle) 

You’ve heard of Bun Cha in Hanoi. But to me, this dish is Lang Son is way better than Hanoi because of fragance smell of grilled pork and unique taste of its broth to make a flavorful dish. Simmilar ingredients like the one in Hanoi : rice noodle, grilled pork, fresh green herb, rice vinegar, pickle papaya and so on. 

Where to try

Lang Sinh store at 05 Nguyen Thai hoc Street. To me, the best place to try Bun Cha in Lang Son : clean, good food. 

Hotline :  091 548 54 79

Cho Tinh store (Inside Chi Lang market) :  Right at the gate of the market opposite Hoang Van Thu statue 

Please click here for googling map of this store

Rate : 25.000VND per portion excludes deep-fried spring roll

Banh Cuon Trung (Steamed rice paper roll with egg and minced pork) 

A very favorite dish among locals and tourists. What makes it special is its filling includes chicken egg, fried onion wrapped inside crust made of rice flour

Where to try

Next to Nam Ninh hotel, 40 Ngo Gia Tu Street, Lang Son
Mrs Tham’s store at  14 Nguyen Du street
Bac Hung store at 21 Nguyen Du 
Huong Phi store at 27 Nguyen Du street, Lang Son .
Thu Hien store at 13 Nguyen Du street, Lang Son
Lady Thao store at 13 Ngo Quyet street, Lang Son

Mrs Loan store at 119 Bac Son street, Lang son 

Banh Cao Xang 

One of the must-try dish in Lang Son. Its crust is made of ordinary rice, minced pork, dried fried onion. Add all fillings into a mold, make in into thin sheet and steam, add some braised pork with coconut juice when it is amost done to make it more flavorful.

Where to try : 223 Bac Son street

Baked bread in Lang Son

A very common snack in Lang Son. The unique flavor from its bread to the broth. Add cooking oil on the bread then grill it on charcoal for the first time, add more Oyster sauce and honey for the second time, then grill again. You’d better order some pork skewer which makes it very tasty. 

Where to try : There is one small stall open in the afternoon from 4.00pm at 62 Tam Thanh street. 

Good restaurant in Lang Son

Thao Vien restaurant in Lang Son

Located in the heart of Lang Son, only 500 meters from Dong Kinh market. They do offer Vietnamese food and Lang Son specialties. You might take a bit of time waiting for your order when it comes to a busy time.

Address: 57 Phai Ve street

Hotline : +84 253 872 278

New Century restaurant

This is considered the fanciest lakeside cafe and restaurant in Lang Son. Please note that

All menu is in Vietnamese

Their staff speak no English

The menu that they gave you hasn’t changed the price. The real rate on the bill might be higher 

You’d better not to eat there if there is a wedding party

Address: Phai Loan lake island, Tran Dang Ninh street, Lang Son

Hotline : +84 98 373 66 78 

Trung Xuan restaurant

The best restaurant in Lang Son city serves both Vietnamese food and local specialties. 

Address: 29 Tam Thanh street, Lang Son city

Hotline : +84 98 373 66 78

Green restaurant 

With a variety of dishes in their menu from chicken, duck, beef, goat meat, frog… This is a restaurant for those who love local food. 
Address: 42 Le Hong Phong street
Opening hour : 9.00am to 22.00pm
Telephone 0936 815 892

Minh Quang restaurant

Near Muong Thanh hotel. They offer good local food at a resonable rate. This is where local eat also. Good choice for real local food in Lang Son

Address: 44 Ngo Quyen street, Lang Son

Hotline : (0205) 3.870.417

Opening hour : 9.00am to 22.00pm 

Xua restaurant Lang Son

If you are traveling by car or motorbike from Hanoi, this restaurant is a good choice for those who like nice atmosphere restaurant, spacious over 2500 square meters and good local food.

Not many foreign visitors know about this restaurant. If you want something different, then it is a good choice. There is no English speaking staff so you might interact using google translate or body language. 

Address : Mai Pha T-Junction, Hung Vuong Street, Lang Son. Please click here for its location on google map 

Hotline : 0836.538.338 

Local eateries

There are a few of them on Minh Khai street where you can taste some buffet rice meal, rice noodle soup, fried rice, roasted duck… This is a truly local place to eat in Lang Son. 

Nightlife in Lang Son

Phai Ve mountain is a great place to hang out at night and take a bit hiking, the view up there is absolutely amazing. There are lots of local there as well. Try to get there before 9.00pm

Stroll around Ky Cung river and people watching at night is fun things to do

There are quite a few karaoke stores in Lang Son city if you want to sing and shout with locals.

There are 2 local bars that you can check out Kclub Luxury Bar and Bar Vu Thi Mai Phuong. Please click here to see details about its location 

Suggested itinerary for traveling Lang Son

Opt 1 : Hanoi – Lang Son – Mau Son – Bac Son valley – Hanoi

Day 1 : Hanoi – Lang Son – city tour (180 kilometers) – 3.5 to 4 hours drive 

Day 2 : Mau Son day trip. Overnight in Lang Son (80 kilometers) – 3 hours drive

Day 3 : Bac Son valley. Overnight in Bac Son (80 kilometers) – 2 hours drive

Day 4 : Bac Son valley – Hanoi  (180 kilometers) 4.5 hours drive

Opt 2 : Hanoi – Lang Son – Cao Bang –  Ban Gioc waterfall Ba Be – Hanoi

Day 1 : Hanoi – Lang Son – city tour (180 kilometers) 3.5 to 4 hours drive 

Day 2 : Lang Son – Cao Bang (125 kilometers) – 3 hours drive

Day 3 : Cao Bang – Ban Gioc waterfall – Ba Be (289 kilometers) – 7 hours drive 

Day 4 : Ba be lake – Hanoi (235 kilometers) – 5.5 hours drive 

Opt 3 : Hanoi – Lang Son – Mau Son – Halong Bay – Hanoi

Day 1 : Hanoi – Lang Son – city tour (180 kilometers) 3.5 to 4 hours drive 

Day 2 : Hanoi – Dong Dang mother goddess temple – Mau Son day trip. Overnight in Lang Son (80 kilometers) -3 hours drive 

Day 3 : Hanoi to Halong bay. Overnight on a cruise (170 kilometers ) – 4 hours drive 

Day 4 : Halong Bay – Hanoi (155 kilometers) – 3.5  hours drive, new highway only 2.5 hours drive

Pro tips for Lang Son 

+ There are limited English speaking in mini hotels, restaurant, prepare yourself for that and may be google translate or any translation app

+ Cash payment is the most common in Lang Son, make sure that you have Dong in your wallet.

+ Take a guided tour if possible because of the language barrier, there is hidden spots, local eateries only locals know

+ If you are vegan or vegetarian, make sure that you have something written in Vietnamese like “An chay” show it before ordering food. 

+ Don’t expect to get high-quality stuff when shopping in Lang Son because lots of them are from China at low quality. I have seen some foreign tourists are mad at a shoe shop because his shoes was broken after 5 weeks traveling even knew that was fake

+ Cash withdraw in local ATM is maximum of 2 million per transaction. 

+ Money exchange for Chinese currency at “Nga Ba Doi Tien”(T-Junction between Le Loi and Tran Dang Ninh street)  from local vendors 

Frequently asked questions about traveling Lang Son

Lang Son travel guide 2019

Independent travel guide Lang Son

How to get to Lang Son?

How to get around Lang Son

What is things to do and see in Lang Son?

Traveling tips and advice for Lang Son

Where to eat in Lang Son?

What to eat or specialties of Lang Son?

Good accommodation in Lang Son

Good hotels in Lang Son

Best homestay in Lang Son

How to travel to Hoa Binh lake

Where to stay in Hoa Binh lake

Travel Lang Son on a budget

Budget hotel in Lang Son

Good restaurant in Lang Son

Local bus in Lang Son

What is the good hotel or homestay in Lang Son?

Nightlife in Lang Son

Is it worth visiting Lang Son

Shopping guide in Lang Son

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Hynam Travel also offers tours to Lang Son. Traveling with us, you will have a hassle-free holiday and enjoy authentic local experience in Lang Son. Travel like a local!