Visit Binh Lieu – Sapa of the Northeast


It is a place with beautiful natural scenery, rich ethnic cultural identity with folk festivals located in the border of Quang Ninh and China.

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Point of interest for travellers

At 5 am, we drove from Halong City to Binh Lieu District, a poor district in the border province of Quang Ninh, but is famous for the young people because the scenery is like “Sapa of the Northeast ” and ethnic people’s hospitality. After three hours of driving with more than 100 km distance, we were present at the junction of Tien Yen district (National Highway 18A), turn to road 18C to Binh Lieu. According to the earlier travellers, this is the starting point to Binh Lieu beautiful poetic land.

The distance of more than 40 km running into the center of Binh Lieu district gives the driver the extraordinary feeling of peace of land next to China. Binh Lieu is a beautiful picture with a flat curved road winding like a silk strip, the two sides of the road are the green hills covered with dreaming white clouds.

Slowly driving the motorbike and sightseeing on both sides of the road, you can also stop and cross the large land along the road to enjoy watching the vast green of the cinnamon, anise forests, terraced fields, the folds of the roof-house of the Tay … and hunt beautiful photos.

At 9.30 am, we were in Binh Lieu town center. After crossing into a breakfast eatery along the road for warm meat porridge with hot radish of the Tay hostess, we visited the temple named Luc Na in Luc Hon commune. In the past, Luc Na communal house was the largest one in the region. The house has 5 compartments, wooden pillars with a diameter of 40-50 cm, brick walls, roofs made of local tiles, also known as yin-yang tiles. Luc Na communal house was built to serve community activities and worshiped the royal tutelary of the village. It also marked the revolutionary history of Binh Lieu district.

Khe Van waterfall via Foody

Border landmark 1317 Hoanh Mo

Binh Lieu district is famous for Hoanh Mo border gate. Here, besides visiting the border area, we also stand on the border crossing 1317 Hoanh Mo, where border soldiers still guard day and night to protect the frontier of the country.

After visiting the border gate, we went to Khe Van waterfall in Huc Dong commune. The name of the waterfall is difficult to read as the road with many bumpy rugged parts. On the way, you also have the opportunity to explore the craggy streams, terraced fields and the ancient houses of the Tay with white smoke on roofs hidden behind trees. The unique beauty of Khe Van waterfall is three layers of clear white water from the height of nearly 100 m. Each cascading waterfall continually changes shapes according to each person’s imagination. At the foot of the waterfall is a system of rocks with many shapes to create a unique landscape, the water vapor and cool wind from the waterfall brings a relaxing feeling.

The most magnificent landscape of Binh Lieu hills is Dong Van commune. Here is the highlight of “dinosaur backbone”, the phrase just expressing the road to landmark 1305 Vietnam – China border. The mountain ridge is covered with green grass, wild flowers, especially white reed plants covering the path. Walking on this “dinosaur backdrop” has made it feel like walking in the air with wind and cloud.

Camellia oleifera in Binh Lieu via Bao Quang Ninh

Pure white color of camellia oleifera

We come to Binh Lieu not only to be immersed in the green of the mountains, the yellow of terraced rice fields, the brown of star anise, cinnamon flowers, colorful costumes of young women of ethnic groups but also fascinated by the pure white of the thousands of camellia oleifera flowers.

For the ethnic people here, camellia oleifera is an economic tree and close to the life of the people. The plant belongs to the tea family, but people do not harvest the leaves and buds but take the seeds to make the essential oil that smells good, pleasant as the smell of grass. The special feature of the plant is that it is suitable for rocky terrain and is only grown in the highland of Binh Lieu. In the season, the white flowers with yellow pistil often bloom into periods, forming the flower walls, the carpet of flowers stretching with subtle fragrance. Standing on the high hills and looking down, we are surprised by a forest full of white flowers along the horizon. Therefore, the characteristic of Binh Lieu is the pure white flowers of camellia oleifera.

Because of the unique rare beauty of these flowers in the mountainous district, Binh Lieu has decided to organize annual camellia oleifera festivals. It is known that, coming to the flower festival, you can not only enjoy the natural beauty of the mountains, especially the white flowers with soft aroma but also experience the cultural space of ethnic groups, admire the traditional costumes of ethnic groups, join with the dance and singing of ethnic people, attend the folk games such as pounding rice, ethnic sports such as play spinning tops, push the stick, shoot the crossbow.

For more information about things to do, please visit our website.