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North Vietnam
Lang Son, border town with China

Lang Son in north Vietnam does not see many tourists. In fact, most tourists passing here come by train and don't stay in town. They move directly to the border, Pingxiang and Nanning. Few see Lang Son longer than 10 minutes.

Lang Son, north Vietnam at the Chinese border

Lang Son town center

Lang Son is not a bad town, it is very much a border town and it's nice enough to spend a night here. The market, the busy street life (especially in the morning) and the 2 temples give you enough to enjoy yourself.

The first thing I did when coming to town was finding a bank and change some money. After that done, I checked myself in at Hoa Binh Hotel, a little cozy hotel with spacious rooms in the town center (VTD 250K, US $11,50).

Lang Son, north Vietnam at the Chinese border

After a short rest I went out to have a lunch and I found a small restaurant where I could have rice. It was a kind of "economy rice", so you choose what you want and get it with rice. I also ordered a Vietnamese coffee. For a whole US $2 I could have my fill.

While walking around I found two interesting temples. As many Vietnamese are Buddhist, I expected these temples to be similar to the Chinese temples. And to some extend they were but they were also different.

Lang Son, north Vietnam at the Chinese border
Beautiful sunset right in the middle of Lang Son town.
This view is from the bridge that cuts the town in two parts

The old temples still contained the writing in Vietnamese characters, something that is nowadays replaced by the Vietnamese version of the alphabet (which to some extend I can read).

The first temple, Chua Thanh I visited seemed to be closed but opened its doors when a minibus with Vietnamese tourists arrived. I was waved inside too. The relatively new temple just across the bridge was beautiful not only on the outside ...but also on the inside.

Lang Son, north Vietnam at the Chinese border

Walking back across the bridge I decided to visit the temple on my right hand at the water side.

This one, Quan Lon Tuan Tranh, was even more beautiful.

Lang Son, north Vietnam at the Chinese border Lang Son, north Vietnam at the Chinese border

Inside there was much to see, from beautiful embroiled hats ...

Lang Son, north Vietnam at the Chinese border

to even more beautiful artwork... as this copper bell and the horse

I left Long San with a good feeling. It had been a very pleasant first day with some unexpected beautiful things, good food and lovely people at the Hoa Binh Hotel.

But after a nice breakfast of rice noodles, I left Lang Son and cycled further into North Vietnam using highway 1A which I expected would be crazy busy. It was not but the whole story you can read here and it ended up in Hanoi, the capitol of the nation.

Lang Son, north Vietnam at the Chinese border

If you decide to travel north into China, you may want to read the following articles:

The road from Nanning China to the border is more interesting than it looks likes.

Lang Son, north Vietnam at the Chinese border Lang Son, north Vietnam at the Chinese border

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Vietnam Maps

map of Vietnam
Map of Vietnam

North West Vietnam

This is the area that attracts many visitors, especially Sapa. And yes, it's a magnificent town to visit despite it's heaps of tourists coming here.

The North West with Dien Bien Phu and Sapa and Lao Cai

The road from Lang Son to Hanoi

Normally I don't like to cycle very long distances, 100km is far enough but I did cycle Lang Son to Hanoi in a day, here is the reason why:

Lang Son to Hanoi

Cycling from Hanoi to Vinh

It's not the most spectacular part of Vietnam but it's a nice bike ride of several days and there's enough to keep you busy.

Cycling from Hanoi to Vinh