Mong Cai – Gateway to Splendor

 In Best Time to Visit, Holidays, How To Guide, places to eat, Places To Visit, Travel Journal, Vietnam

Welcome to Mong Cai, a land of boundless beauty and cultural richness located along the border with China. From majestic mountains to lush valleys, this country offers a tapestry of stunning landscapes to explore. Immerse yourself in a journey of discovery as you uncover ancient traditions, vibrant cities, and hidden gems that showcase the unique charm of this enchanting destination.

Whether you seek adventure in the great outdoors or cultural immersion in bustling markets and historical sites, Mong Cai promises an unforgettable experience for every traveler. So as you book our Vietnam tour packages, join us in exploring the remarkable wonders that await within this captivating land.

Mong Cai Town is one the hottest travel destinations in Vietnam and is situated along the beautiful Ka Long riverbank and is home to the international Bac Luan Border Gate, linking Mong Cai to Guangxi, China. The Mong Cai Border Gate Market serves as a hub for economic, trade, and cultural interactions between Quang Ninh Province and Guangxi Province, as well as facilitating exchanges between Vietnam and China. Additionally, it acts as a vital link connecting tourist destinations in both Vietnam and China. So let us dive into these Mong Cai Vietnam travel tips.

History of Mong Cai


For a considerable time, Mong Cai has been a focal point of contention between Vietnam and China, each seeing strategic value in the city for different reasons. Vietnamese view Mong Cai Vietnam as a hub for acquiring Chinese goods at reasonable prices, while Chinese regard it as an emerging resort destination featuring amenities like golf courses and upscale resorts.

However, well before Mong Cai emerged as a tourist hotspot, both nations had vested interests in the region. In 1979, amidst the Sino-Vietnamese War, China launched attacks on Vietnam’s Quang Ninh Province, aiming to seize control of Vietnamese cities and assert Chinese authority.

How to reach Mong Cai

How To Reach by road

Embarking on a journey to Vietnam holds the promise of an exhilarating adventure, particularly for those opting to traverse the country via land routes or border crossings. Familiarising yourself with the visa regulations and procedures for entering Vietnam through these avenues is paramount for a seamless and stress-free trip.

To travel from Hanoi to Mong Cai without a car, the optimal method is by bus and taxi, which typically takes around 7 hours and 20 minutes. The journey duration, including transfers, is approximately 7 hours and 20 minutes.

Travelling by road: Mong Cai in Vietnam lies at distances of 135 km from Halong and 360 km from Hanoi. There are frequent bus services connecting Hanoi, with numerous buses linking Mong Cai to Hon Gai daily. Additionally, regular bus routes extend from Mong Cai to various provinces such as Hai Phong, Nam Dinh, Lang Son, Thai Nguyen, and more. Tourists have the option to reach Mong Cai via buses.

To reach Mong Cai from Bac Luan International Border Gate, travellers can take Road No. 4B through Hai Ha, Dam Ha, and Tien Yen, then continue onto Road No. 18 A through Cua Ong, Cam Pha, and Halong.

Travelling by boat: Daily high-speed hydrofoils depart from Dan Tien Pier and Mui Ngoc (Mong Cai) to Bai Chay and Hon Gai Pier. Additionally, there are ship services from Dan Tien Pier to Hon Gai Pier.

Mong Cai Vietnam boasts not only numerous natural beauty spots and historical sites but also a rich cultural heritage. It forms part of the eco-tourism complex encompassing Halong, Cat Ba, and Tra Co.

Best time to visit Mong Cai

The best time to visit Vietnam falls between November and April, characterised by reduced rainfall. Mong Cai located in Northern Vietnam exhibits two distinct seasons: a hot and humid phase from May to October, and a cooler and drier phase from November to April.

Vietnam in October is a considerably better time to visit and is marked by substantial precipitation. December and January emerge as the coldest months, with temperatures plummeting to as low as 10°C across many regions.

Shopping in Mong Cai


The market in Mong Cai in Vietnam comprises three zones, all located in Hoa Lac Ward, approximately 1 km from the Bac Luan border crossing. Nearly all households in this area are bilingual in Chinese and Vietnamese.

A diverse range of goods is traded within the market and across the border. Imported Chinese products in Vietnam encompass specialty fabrics, ready-made clothing, mosquito nets, footwear, electronics, toys, confectionery, and fruits. Conversely, Vietnamese exports to China primarily consist of seafood and agricultural produce such as tea, coffee, and sesame. Additionally, traditional northern medicinal ingredient stalls are present, where Chinese physicians assess your pulse and prescribe appropriate medication.

The Mong Cai Border Market has evolved into more than just a trading hub, it serves as a venue for cultural exchanges between China and Vietnam, making it one of the best places for shopping in Vietnam. Mong Cai facilitates direct trade, as well as economic and cultural interaction between Quang Ninh and Guangxi provinces.

What to Eat in Mong Cai in Vietnam

After shopping, tourists can indulge in Vietnamese food and Chinese cuisine, and the nightlife in Mong Cai. Several renowned Chinese restaurants offer a variety of dishes and wines, ranging from famous Mao Dai wine to regular wines, along with Chinese specialties like Beijing roasted duck and soy cheese.

With its significant tourism potential and rich cultural heritage, Mong Cai presents an ideal destination for relaxation, shopping, and cultural immersion within the realm of Vietnam travel. Some of the prominent places to eat are:

  • Dong Hoa Restaurant – located in Khu dan cu bac, D. Dai Lo Hoa Binh
  • Nha Hang Lam Hung – located in P. Tra Co, Mong Cai, Quang Ninh, Vietnam
  • Madame Phuong – located in 100 Da Tuong, P. Ka Long, Mong Cai, Quang Ninh, Vietnam

Places to visit in Mong Cai Vietnam

  • Tra Co Beach

Situated in the northeastern region of the province, approximately 170 km from Ha Long Bay, Tra Co is a stunning beach adorned with golden sands, azure waters, and captivating ocean views. Stretching along the coastline are rows of beefwood trees, creating a scenic divide that extends toward the horizon and may be considered one of the best beaches in Vietnam.

Viewed from a bird’s-eye perspective, these beefwood trees form verdant streaks, delineating the landscape into two distinct parts. One side features the picturesque beach with gentle waves caressing the shore, while the other side hosts the bustling Tra Co Town, sprawling across miles of terrain.

Tra Co is an essential destination for those seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in the sand, basking in the warmth of the sun’s rays, recline on the beach while listening to the soothing sounds of the ocean waves, or simply enjoy moments of serenity while witnessing the sunset and sunrise. A leisurely afternoon spent lounging here will undoubtedly instil a sense of tranquillity, swiftly rejuvenating travellers after periods of stress or work-related pressure.

Best time to visit Tra Co Beach

Any time of the year presents a favourable opportunity to visit a stunning beach like Tra Co. However, the summer months typically boast the most agreeable temperatures for beach activities, making it the prime time to go.

One of the best things to do in Vietnam is imbibe the rich culture of this country, and the Tra Co area helps you discover just that.

Festivals in Tra Co Beach

During the summer, the Tra Co Festival takes place where you can enjoy the beach to a greater extent, and may be considered one of the most amazing festivals in Vietnam to celebrate. However, you should note that the festival dates vary annually, so it’s advisable to verify them. This event commemorates and pays tribute to the protective spirits of the community, enshrined in a 600-year-old pagoda constructed during the Le Dynasty in 1511.

Key highlights of the festival include a vibrant procession leading to the beach and a pig competition, where the victorious pig is sacrificed to honour the ancestors. Additionally, attendees can partake in traditional games, cooking demonstrations, and a chess tournament, among other activities.

  • Vinh Thuc Island

Vinh Thuc Island lies within Mong Cai City, Quang Ninh province, encompassing Vinh Trung and Vinh Thuc communes. Covering a vast area of 5000 hectares, it sits approximately 10 km from the mainland’s centre. Despite its proximity to the bustling city of Mong Cai, Vinh Thuc Island remains secluded, boasting untouched natural beauty under the expansive blue sky.

Home to around 800 households engaged in farming and fishing, Vinh Thuc Island offers visitors a serene and pristine environment. While not widely recognized as a tourist hotspot in Quang Ninh, this beautiful island provides an opportunity for travellers to relish tranquillity and immerse themselves in unspoiled nature.

In the summertime, Vinh Thuc Island becomes an appealing destination for swimming and camping adventures, attracting tourists seeking solace amidst the captivating landscapes.

  • Sa Vi Cape

Sa Vi Cape is located in Tra Co ward, situated approximately 10 kilometers from the center of Mong Cai City in Quang Ninh province, Northern Vietnam. Celebrated as the first spot to greet the morning sun in the northern region, Sa Vi Cape holds the distinction as the northeasternmost point of Vietnam and stands as a significant historical site, marking the initial contour of Vietnam’s extensive 3260 km coastline.

Attracting attention are the border market and square, notable features of the destination. The central structure within the square showcases eight popular trees reaching skyward, symbolising the resilience and fortitude of the Vietnamese people.

Given its blend of historical and natural significance, Sa Vi has emerged as a must-visit attraction in Vietnam, drawing in over 3,000 visitors daily during peak seasons.

Top 5 Places to Stay in Mong Cai


Here we have a curated selection of accommodations in Mong Cai Vietnam. Whether you’re seeking luxury, comfort, or affordability, there are options to suit every traveller’s preferences and budget. Explore this range of hotels, resorts, and boutique stays, each offering a unique experience and unparalleled hospitality. From panoramic views to convenient city-centre locations, your perfect stay awaits in Mong Cai.

  • Grand Mong Cai Hotel

Cost – INR 2400 onwards

  • Khach San Luxury Mong Cai

Cost – INR 3500 onwards

  • Viktor Legend Hotel

Cost – INR 2200 onwards

  • Bien Bac Hotel

Cost – INR 2700 onwards

  • Majestic VGR Hotel

Cost – INR 2900 onwards

A destination waiting to be discovered


As we conclude this Mong Cai Vietnam Travel Guide, the things that should inspire us are creating memories of awe-inspiring landscapes, vibrant cultures, and warm hospitality. From the towering peaks of the mountains to the bustling streets of its cities, this country has revealed itself as a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered.

Whether exploring ancient temples, savoring exquisite cuisine, or embarking on outdoor adventures, Mong Cai offers something for every traveler. Remembering the amazing places you discovered, carry with you the spirit of exploration and the promise of returning to unravel more of its hidden wonders. May the memories of Mong Cai continue to inspire and beckon travelers from around the world to its breathtaking embrace.

What are the best times to visit Mong Cai?

Despite the hot weather and frequent rainfall, the period from April to July stands out as the ideal time to visit Mong Cai. This time frame coincides with the celebration of the Lunar New Year, marked by vibrant festivities and ample opportunities for immersion and celebration.

How can travelers navigate the border crossing between Mong Cai and China?

Travelers can navigate the border crossing between Mong Cai and China with the use of an e-visa.The e-visa allows travelers to enter Vietnam through designated ports of entry, like border gates.

What are the must-visit attractions in Mong Cai?

Some of the must-visit attractions in Mong Cai are Tra Co Beach, Vinh Thuc Island, Cape Sa Vi, Black Rock Beach, Tra Co Church

What makes Mong Cai a unique destination in Vietnam?

Mong cai acts as a vital link connecting tourist destinations in both Vietnam and China therefore there is an intertwining of two cultures present in one location, making Mong Cai a unique and amazing destination to visit.

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