A lavish resort that overlooks the world’s fourth-largest waterfall on a border, as well as Southeast Asia’s biggest, and also serves as a marker of Vietnam’s sovereignty in a northern province, promises its visitors myriad delights.
The Saigon-Ban Gioc Resort is a four-star facility which spans a total of 31.15 hectares.
It overlooks Ban Gioc Waterfall, one of Asia’s most resplendent rapids, which babbles through Trung Khanh District in the northeastern province of Cao Bang, which borders China.
Saigon-Ban Gioc is the first-ever four-star resort in the northeastern mountainous area, and Cao Bang Province in particular.
The facility boasts a modern style which harmonizes with its natural surroundings as well as the indigenous Tay and Nung ethnic minority groups’ unique lifestyles.
Part of the Saigon-Ban Gioc Resort. Photo: Tien Dat
The extravagant resort comprises a wide range of rooms, restaurants offering Asian and European delicacies alongside local specialties, and convention halls that can seat more than 200 guests.
These components, along with the reception area, have recently become operational in the project’s first phase.
Construction has begun on other structures including 80 rooms, sports and recreation areas, spas and areas intended for camping and other outdoor activities.
The four-star Saigon-Ban Gioc Resort boasts simple yet tasteful décor and gorgeous views of the awe-inspiring Ban Gioc Waterfall and its environs.
What is special about the facility is that up to 95 percent of its employees are from the Tay and Nung ethnic groups who were born and grew up in the neighborhood.
All qualified candidates are trained in large hotels in Ho Chi Minh City.
The majority of staffers at the Saigon-Ban Gioc Resort are members of ethnic minority communities native to the area. Photo: Tien Dat
The can't-miss delight is Ban Gioc Waterfall, which cascades from a height of more than 30 meters through multiple limestone layers.
At the rapids’ heart is a large, tree-covered stone slab which splits the cascade into three streams resembling three white silk strips.
The sheer volume of water flattens stone slabs day and night, sending countless particles of dust into the air.
On sunny days, streams create glistening rainbows.
At the foot of Ban Gioc Waterfall is a wide, mirror-like river lined with patches of lush grass and woods.
Right next to the fall, Nguom Ngao Grotto, which stretches approximately three kilometers, is considered one of the country’s most spectacular.
With a picturesque river, mountain and surrounding caves, Ban Gioc Waterfall is not only an alluring tourist attraction but will also serve as a considerable source of hydropower in the future.
The charm of Nong Thi Thao, an employee at the Saigon-Ban Gioc Resort. Photo: Tien Dat
Apart from offering visits to the rapids and Nguom Ngao Grotto, the Saigon-Ban Gioc Resort also launches tours to other scenic spots throughout Cao Bang Province, such as Pac Bo Special Relic, Lenin Spring and Thang Hen Lake.
Tourists will also be treated to performances of “hat then” (the Tay and Nung ethnic groups’ religious music) and traditional dances, then relish a taste of pilgrimage tourism by visiting Phat Tich Truc Lam Ban Gioc Pagoda.
The first pagoda on the border, the Phat Tich Truc Lam Ban Gioc Pagoda, which overlooks Ban Gioc Waterfall in one of its directions and leans against Phia Nham Mountain in the other, also opened on the same day as the Saigon-Ban Gioc Resort late last year.
The pagoda, which is rich in traditional Vietnamese religious architectural features, boasts a bell tower and shrines to the local hero Bodhisattva, among other structures. The cost of construction in its first phase was nearly VND40 billion (US$1.75 million).
The area has temperate climate, experiencing all four seasons per year.
Temperatures average 25-28 degrees Celsius in summertime and drop to 16-17 degrees Celsius in winter.
As night falls over Ban Gioc Waterfall, it is time to build a camp fire.
Visitors join an exchange over a camp fire at the Saigon-Ban Gioc Resort. Photo: Tien Dat
Such a service not only adds delight to holidays, but also bring tourists closer together.
In the refreshing air pervasive at the foot of the waterfall, vacationers dance hand in hand over flickering flames well into the small hours.
They will also join cultural and art exchanges with members of the Tay and Nung ethnic communities.
Delicacies unique to ethnic minority groups have invariably appealed to holidaymakers. Photo: Tien Dat
Unlike most other hotels and resorts throughout Vietnam, the Saigon-Ban Gioc Resort’s management have made it a point to encourage their guests to partake in a national flag salutation ritual held every Monday morning at the facility to demonstrate their patriotism and national pride in the area of special sovereign significance.
Saigon-Ban Gioc Resort
Dam Thuy Commune, Trung Khanh District, Cao Bang Province.
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