Ban Gioc–Detian Falls

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Coordinates: 22°51′23″N 106°43′19″E / 22.8564°N 106.7220°E / 22.8564; 106.7220

View from China in dry season
View of the falls from Vietnam during the rainy season when the flow is at its maximum

Ban Gioc – Detian Falls (Vietnamese: thác Bản Giốc, Chinese: Détiān pùbù, Bǎnyuē pùbù 板約瀑布, 德天瀑布) are two waterfalls on the Quây Sơn River (Chinese: Guichun River), straddling the Sino-Vietnamese border, located in the Karst hills of Daxin County, Guangxi (Chinese side), and in Trùng Khánh District, Cao Bằng Province on the Vietnamese side, 272 km (169 mi) north of Hanoi.[Ref 1]

In Vietnamese, the two 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). Chinese texts sometimes name both falls from the Détiān falls on the Chinese side. During the summer rains the two waterfalls may join together.[1]

The waterfall drops 30 m (98 ft). It is separated into three falls by rocks and trees, and the thundering effect of the water hitting the cliffs can be heard from afar.[Ref 2]

It is currently the 4th largest waterfall along a national border, after Iguazu Falls, Victoria Falls, and Niagara Falls[2] and was one of the crossing points for China's army during the brief Sino-Vietnamese War. Nearby there is the Tongling Gorge accessible only through a cavern from an adjoining gorge. Rediscovered only recently, it has many species of endemic plants, found only in the gorge, and in the past 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 French and Chinese. 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.[Ref 3]

Disputes regarding the border demarcation at this location were settled in 1999 Viet Nam-China Treaty on Land Borderline. Additional talks were held as late as 2009 to clarify the treaty.[3] However, there are controversies regarding the border demarcation around the Falls. One faction[who?] holds that the entirety of these falls belongs to Vietnam, and that the stone tablet had been moved there some time during or after the brief Sino-Vietnamese war of 1979.[4] Also, these falls were not documented in any Chinese texts until recently.[citation needed] To the southeast, the land dispute also along the Sino-Vietnamese border also includes Nam Quan Gate (Ải Nam Quan) which the Vietnamese claimed as well. Historically,[5][6][7] Nam Quan Gate served as the border maker and entry point to Vietnam between Vietnam & China (hence there's also a Vietnamese historical saying,[8] that Vietnam stretched from Cape Cà Mau to Ải Nam Quan).


  1. ^ "Vietnam Destinations: Ban Gioc (Cao Bang)". Archived from the original on 17 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-12. 
  2. ^ "Cao Bang - the land of mountains and water". Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  3. ^ Vietnamese Embassy: On the settlement of Vietnam-China border issue


  1. ^ 韩欣 中国名水 (Han Xin, Famous Waters of China) 2005 Volume 2 "德天瀑布位于广西南宁地区边陲大新县,在中越边境交界处.归春河上游,瀑布气势磅薄、银瀑飞泻.三级跌落,蔚为 ... 夏季,德天瀑布和板约瀑布会连在一起,应该是整个德天风景区一道最为奇特的景观。它们浩浩荡荡地飞奔而下,像是凭空而降的一支巨大的 ..."
  2. ^ "Top 10 most beautiful Chinese waterfalls". China Central Television. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  3. ^ Vietnam and China's land demarcation itinerary
  4. ^ The implementation of Vietnam-China land border treaty: bilateral and regional implications. Do Thi Thuy 5/3/2009 PDF
  5. ^ Han Nam Quan 3 (English)
  6. ^ "In Westminster, an Internet Bid to Restore Viet Land" Los Angeles Times
  7. ^ Interview On Territory And Territorial Waters - General
  8. ^ Asia Finest Discussion Forum > Ai Nam Quan - An example of communist sellout of Motherland

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