Ba Be Lake excursion, travel diary
- on Feb 8, 2020       By: BN
With an exceptional ecosystem and a rich natural setting, Ba Be National Park is an ideal destination combining discovery and healing. Registered as an ASEAN heritage in 2004, the green lung of Bac Kan shelters several rivers namely Cho Leng, Bo Lu, Ta Han, Nang… and in particular Ba Be Lake, a rare pearl blessed by Mother Nature.
Guide for Ba Be Lake in Vietnam
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Nestled in the heart of the national park, Ba Be Lake is located in the Nam Mau commune, 240 kilometres from Hanoi. The site is among 100 largest and 16 of the world's most beautiful freshwater lakes according to MNS. Located at an altitude of 150 metres and formed in a limestone mountain around 200 million years ago, the lake is the meeting of three bodies of water, Pe Leng, Pu Le and Pe Lam, hence the name "Ba Be" which means Three lakes.
This reservoir covers 500 hectares and is 8 kilometres long and 2 kilometres wide at the most. With a depth varying between 20 and 30 metres and its 90 million cubic metres of water, Ba Be Lake and its rich surroundings present special values in terms of geology, morphology and biodiversity. Its pure beauty and open air will be a delight for the Hanoi and summer holidaymakers from the North. It’s a green oasis where you can get away for a weekend.
Established in a region hiding lakes, rivers, springs, forest and caves, the lake has an average annual temperature of 22 degrees. Its pleasant climate all year round is therefore favourable for outdoor visits and activities, in winter as in summer.
The climate in Ba Be is characterized by two distinct seasons, the rainy season, between May and October, and the dry season for the rest of the year. Note that it is between June and August that the rains are the most abundant and this makes the lake more tumultuous and delightful.
Your route consists of two stages: Hanoi - Bac Kan (166km) and then Bac Kan - Ba Be lake (75km).
Hanoi - Bac Kan route
- By bus, departure from My Dinh bus station for Cho Ra, Bac Kan. The ticket price is 150,000 VND per person, around 4 hours away.
- By motorbike or private car, take the national road 3 for Bac Kan passing Thai Nguyen, around 5 hour drive.
Bac Kan - Ba Be route
- On a motorbike, you will have 2 options to reach the lake from Bac Kan, pass either Cho Don or Cho Ra.
- By bus, from the bus stop in Cho Ra, take a "xe om" or motorcycle taxi to reach the lake.
Ba Be Lake is surrounded by karst mountains and primaeval forests where multiple water currents and varied caves abound. An excursion in a "doc moc", a traditional Tay canoe, allows you to calmly appreciate this picturesque and relaxing place.
Take a canoe ride through the 300 metres of Puong Cave to admire a majestic world of many mystical stalagmites.
Dau Dang waterfall
Found 4 kilometres from Ba Be Lake and fed by the Nang River, the Dau Dang waterfall has a green and wild setting. You can stroll along the multifaceted rocks caressed by a noisy stream of water one kilometre long.
Hua Ma Cave
Located on a mountainside at an altitude of 350 metres, this dry cave overlooks sublime emerald water. Its beauty and historical legend make it a memorable stop not to be missed in Ba Be.
Pac Ngoi Village
Found below the Pu Phi Miang mountain, this village invites you to immerse yourself in the life of the Tay people living by the lake. Discover traditional activities such as fishing, brocade weaving, meeting people and having warm meals in a house on stilts... everything is on the program to make you live authentic moments.
Other interests on and around the lake: An Ma temple, Phya Khao mountain, Fairy pond...
Three types of accommodation to choose according to your desires:
- "Nha khach Vuon quoc gia", state-owned hotel in Ba Be National Park, Nam Mau commune, Ba Be district,
- Cheap and private hotels, Cho Ra district,
- Homestay, Pac Ngoi village by the lake.
Treat yourself to very fresh and tasty specialities from the lake, like grilled fish, fish fondue, grilled chicken and goat cheese, young bamboo, sticky rice…
Kayaking on Ba Be Lake
If you fancy a water-based adventure at your own pace, kayaking is the best way to enjoy the beautiful water of Ba Be and its lush surroundings.
Motorboat or canoe ride
For those who leave in a group, a motorboat for up to ten people makes it possible to take a tour of different places of interest in the lake. Many travellers prefer a canoe trip while being led by young Tay women in an indigo tunic.
What could be better than extending your excursion with a fantastic hike in Ba Be National Park? Explore the richness of its flora and fauna and embark on countless mountain trails for all levels, ranging in length from 20 to 50 kilometres.
Motorcycle or bicycle trip
Renting a two-wheeler to explore beautiful lake rides is definitely worth the detour. The opportunity to feel its peaceful environment and to meet locals in nearing villages like the Tay and Dao, Coc Toc, Bo Lu, Lung Quang...
Enjoy the traditional shows of the Tay
Discover the preserved heritage of the Tay by immersing yourself in a folk evening animated by the Then singing and the dances of Sap.
Notes: do not forget to bring mosquito repellents in order to go off to explore the lake and the ethnic villages.