Ban Gioc-Detian Falls

Ban Gioc-Detian Falls
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Ban Gioc-Detian Falls are a spectacular sight, that comprises twin waterfalls on the Quay Son River, almost perfectly straddling the Sino-Vietnamese border.  One half of Ban Gioc-Detian Falls is located in the karst hills of Daxin County, Guangxi (Chinese side), and in Trung Khanh District, Cao Bang Province on the Vietnamese side. This places it approximately 169 mi (272 km) north of Hanoi. In Vietnamese, the two falls which comprise the marvel of geology of Ban Gioc-Detian Falls are considered as two parts of one waterfall with the sole name Bản Giốc. The two parts are called as: thác chính (Main waterfall) and thác phụ (Subordinate waterfall).

 

Ban Gioc-Detian Falls
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Ban Gioc-Detian Falls Description

Chinese texts sometimes name both falls from the Détiān falls on the Chinese side. During the summer rains the two waterfalls may join together.The waterfall drops a total of approximately 98 ft (30 m). It is separated into three falls by numerous rocks and trees. On most days, the thunderous effect of the water hitting the cliffs can be heard from a great distance. Ban Gioc-Detian Falls is currently the 4th largest waterfall along a national border, after Victoria Falls, Iguazu Falls, and Niagara Falls.  It was one of the crossing points for the Chinese army during the brief Sino-Vietnamese war.

 

Ban Gioc-Detian Falls
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Ban Gioc-Detian Falls Ecology

Nearby there is the Tongling Gorge, which is  accessible only through a cavern from an adjoining gorge. Rediscovered only recently, it has many species of endemic plants, found only in the gorge. Often in the past, this cavern was used as a hideout by local bandits, whose treasure is occasionally still found in the cliff-side caves. A road running along the top of the falls leads to a stone marker that demarcates the border between China and Vietnam in both Chinese and French.  Modern disputes arose as there are discrepancies as to the correlating legal documents on border demarcation and the placement of markers between the French and Qing administrations in the 19th century.

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Todd Sain Sr.

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