My wife and I travelled to Cao Bang region with Vietnam Top Trading and Travel Company. The trip was an excellent blend of scenery, history, and cultural immersion. Regarding the scenery: Most of the travel is through the limestone mountains. They are simply beautiful, particularly when sprinkled with terraced rice farms and the like. Much of the drive is through twisting mountainous road providing a variied landscape around each bend. The waterfall at the border is the 4th largest in the world and has multiple layered drops which are unlike anything I have seen. The Ba Be National Park was traveled across on the last day and is simply beautiful. I took a dip and that alone was worth the price of admission.Regarding the village experience: Both villages were very welcoming and scenically situated. One community, consisting of 40 or so homes, was totally geared to producing incense. The entire product is manufactured here which I found quite interesting. Both homestays were somewhat rustic, but not to the extreme. The food was excellent and sanitation was not a concern. Bathroom facilities were western toilets. The opportunity to stay in an ethnic Vietnamese rural village was quite extraordinary. The history of the border between China and Vietnam has been a flash point for conflict between 1 AD and 1988. The guide took us to some of these sites and explained their historic significance. I came away with a much better understanding of the French and American wars of 1946-1975 as well as the Cambodian and Chinese war of 1978-1979. Our guide, Luan, was excellent- well organized, knowledgeable, sociable, prompt, and reliable. He had a great sense of humor as well. Since a lot of time is spent in the car, it was a great opportunity to chat about life in Vietnam. A word about the driver--- this is a long trip along mountainous winding roads with the usual Vietnamese road rules (none). A bad driver could ruin the trip. Our driver, Trong, was great. I only looked at the road to see the sights and never once got a case of white knuckles. Remarkable. So for us the trip exceeded our high expectations. One caveat however. A lot of time is spent driving to get to these great destinations. It is made enjoyable by the guides banter and the scenery. For those who tend towards car sickness and do not like long trips, this excursion may not be for you.