Ban Gioc-Detian Falls are a spectacular sight: twin waterfalls on the Quay Son River, almost perfectly straddling the Sino-Vietnamese border. One-half of the falls sits in the karst hills of Daxin County, Guangxi (China), and the other half – in Trung Khanh District, Cao Bang Province (Vietnam).
The place is approximately 169 mi (272 km) north of Hanoi.
These falls are currently the 4th largest waterfall along a national border, after Victoria Falls, Iguazu Falls, and Niagara Falls.
Vietnamese people consider the two falls as two parts of one waterfall with the sole name Bản Giốc. Furthermore, the two parts are as thác chính (Main waterfall) and thác phụ (Subordinate waterfall).
Ban Gioc-Detian Falls Description
Chinese texts sometimes name this place the Détiān falls. During the summer rains, the two waterfalls may join together. The waterfall drops a total of about 98 ft (30 m) and is separated into three falls by numerous rocks and trees.
During the summer rains, the two waterfalls may join together. Then, the waterfall drops a total of about 98 ft (30 m) and is separated into three falls by numerous rocks and trees.
On most days, the thunderous effect of the water hitting the cliffs is audible from a great distance.
The place was also one of the crossing points for the Chinese army during the brief Sino-Vietnamese War.
Ban Gioc-Detian Falls Ecology
Near the falls is the Tongling Gorge, accessible only through a cavern from an adjoining gorge. Rediscovered only recently, it has many species of endemic plants that exist only in the gorge.
In the past, this cavern was a hideout by local bandits. In fact, the treasures are 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. However, 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.