Looking an angel in the eye in Cao Bang

When it comes to sightseeing in Cao Bang Province, everyone thinks of the majestic beauty of Ban Gioc waterfall but forgets this place also has a unique mountain in the middle of a beautiful valley, Mắt Thần (Angle Eye) Mountain.

Looking an angel in the eye in Cao Bang
In the Tày language, Angle Eye Mountain is locally known as ‘Phja Piót’, meaning a mountain with a hole. — VNS Photo Doan Tung

The mountain is about 50km from Cao Bang City and while you can go by car, motorcycles are the most convenient means of transport as the end of the road leading to the mountain is quite narrow and only motorbikes can go this deep inside the valley.

The Angle Eye Mountain – a name that suggests many mysteries – is located in the valley of Ban Danh Hamlet, Quoc Toan Commune, Tra Linh District, Cao Bang Province.

This mountain is also known as Nui Thung, meaning a mountain with a through-going hole, which is 50m in diameter and 50m above the lake.

The mountain is located in the heart of the valley between Thang Hen Lake complex of the Non Nuoc Cao Bang UNESCO Global Geopark, which features a charming landscape with immense grasslands and green lakes.

Looking an angel in the eye in Cao Bang
Angle Eye Mountain is located in the valley of Ban Danh Hamlet, Quoc Toan Commune, Tra Linh District. — Photo halotravel.vn

Green all year round, visitors can come to Cao Bang to explore the mountain whenever they want.

The mountain is located in the area of ​​Thang Hen Lake system with 36 interconnected lakes, some dry and some full.

This gives the place beauty through the harmony between sky and water. Every season of the year, the scenery surrounding the mountain brings a different beauty. All combine to create a masterpiece.

Coming here in the early morning, visitors will have the opportunity to admire a unique sunrise. At that time, the light rises from the east behind the mountain, shining brightly through the ‘Angle Eye’ at the top of the mountain to create a unique sparkle that creates a kind of natural magic.

Every year, during the rainy season from June to August, the water from the headwaters fills the valley, forming a large lake of about 15ha. This is when carp and catfish go from the underground cave to swim to the surface of the lake to feed, meaning it’s the fishing season for locals.

During this time days, the mountain proudly reflects itself with its giant ‘angle eye’ printed in the water’s bottom in the space of the mountains, far away from the blooming wildflowers spread across the valley.

Through to September, the lake suddenly burst into bubbles, and the water quickly retreats underground. This phenomenon is usually seasonal, but sometimes can be quite sudden, creating an indescribable mystery.


In the dry season when winter is over and spring comes, at the foot of the Angle Eye Mountain, there is a green grass carpet like velvet.

Looking an angel in the eye in Cao Bang
Angle Eye Mountain attracts tourists with green grass carpets like velvet. — Photo luxury-inside.vn

Horses and cattle leisurely graze and between the rocky mountains coinciding with the white dew and sunshine, the mountain stands out in the poetic, peaceful landscape like a nomadic steppe.

Climbing mountain

After an hour of climbing, Thung Cave which is about 45m high, 50m wide and nearly 100m long, appears after a huge rock. The unique feature of the mountain is the forest of iron trees that grow rampant inside the cave. Their cluster of roots cover the limestone rocks or crawl on the cave foundation like a bunch of snakes.

However, the forest is not dense enough to block sunlight, so the space is airy.

It is very interesting to sit on a large rock in the middle of the cave and gaze around, with the door to the southeast in Quoc Toan Commune in which the scenery is wide open with many low, rolling green hills stretching until the misty mountain ranges. If you look at the northwest door of Cao Chuong Commune, you can see the wooden houses of the Mong people lying in the middle of the mountains.

According to Hoang Van Le, head of Ban Danh Hamlet, since the mountain was promoted and included in the list of nine tourist sites in the Non Nuoc Cao Bang UNESCO Global Geopark, the number of tourists coming here has increased but not significantly.

As conditions here are inadequate, the people are not interested in exploiting community-based tourism services, except several households transporting tourists for a walk on the lake.  VNS

Lam Giang