Hang Pac Bo Water Wheel Cave

HangPac Bo (Water-Wheel Cave) is just 3km from the Chinese border. The cave and the surrounding area is sacred ground for Vietnamese revolutionaries. Here, on 28 January 1941, Ho Chi Minh re-entered Vietnam ready to lead the revolution that he had long been planning during 30 years of exile.

Ho Chi Minh lived in this cave, writing poetry while waiting for WWII to end. He stuck close to China so that he would be able to flee across the border if French soldiers discovered his hiding place. He named the stream in front of his cave Lenin Creek and a nearby mountain Karl Marx Peak.

There's an Uncle Ho museum (admission free; S 7.30-11.30am & 1.30-4.30pm) at the entrance to the Pac Bo area. About 2km beyond this is a parking area. The cave is a 10-minute walk away, and a jungle hut, which was another of Ho's hideouts, is about 15 minutes' walk in the opposite direction, across a paddy field and in a patch of forest. On the way to the hut is a rock outcrop used as a 'dead-letter box', where he would leave and pick up messages. It's a lovely, quiet spot and has seen very little development compared with other parts of Vietnam.

Hang Pac Bo is about 60km northwest of Cao Bang; allow three hours to make the return trip by road, plus Wi hours to poke around. To do this as a return half-day trip by xe om, expect to pay around US$10. No permits are currently needed, despite the proximity to the Chinese border.

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