Thac Ba lake, a treasure of the Northern mountains
- on Apr 21, 2020       By: BN
The north-west paths unfold to the rhythm of the majestic mountains and the abundant rivers. The land of Yen Bai, where the rice terraces in Mu Cang Chai are honoured, is ideal for hiking due to its beautiful waterfalls and rivers. It’s a shame to go there without walking around the Thac Ba lake, famous for being "Halong Bay in the mountains". One of the three largest artificial lakes in the country, it will impress you with turquoise water in which countless green islets are set. In the surrounding area, the picturesque landscapes punctuated by caves and villages on the mountainside invite you to take a stroll combining relaxation and discovery.
As a result of the construction of a dam on the Chay River for the establishment of the first eponymous hydroelectric power station in the North which was completed in 1970, Thac Ba lake was recognized as a national historic relic in 1996. Spanning an area of 23,400ha, it has a water table of more than 19,000ha, measuring 80 kilometres in length, between 8 - 12 km in width and between 50 - 60 m in depth. In addition to the Chay River as the main food source, the lake is also supplied by large rivers like those of Hanh and Cat. This explains the abundance of flora and fauna it shelters and in its surroundings. Sculpted by more than 1,300 multiform islets, its exceptional natural setting is endlessly admired for a relaxing cruise at any time of the day.
"Halong Bay in the mountains" in Yen Bai seen from above
What to do around the Thac Ba lake?
Renting a boat is the best way to enjoy a relaxing day, soaked in fresh air while admiring the peaceful and wild nature. In this pastoral landscape, the daily life of fishermen spread peacefully and the thatched houses dotted around its banks. In the midst of thousands of raised peaks, the image of a person paddling on foot in his boat reinforces this bucolic atmosphere of Thac Ba. To fill your curiosity, we can perfectly teach you this unusual local technique.
Along the water, you will have the opportunity to discover the cultural and religious vestiges that line the Thac Ba lake, like the Thac Ba and Thac Ong temples, the Sao pagoda… Not far away, the Cao Bien mountains, dominating the surrounding landscapes, will reveal beautiful caves, Thuy Tien and Xuan Long with magnificent millionaire limestone concretions. The most sparkling spot of Thuy Tien will amaze you by telling legendary tales of nine fairies who strolled there. Seen from a peak, a panoramic view of the Chay River flowing calmly at the foot of the mountains, sumptuous vegetation and houses on stilts upstream of Yen Binh will amaze you.
Production of shrimp traps, a fruitful activity of the Dao and Cao Lan living near the Thac Ba lake
A shore trip around the landscapes of Thac Ba lake cannot be fulfilled without visiting some of the ethnic villages that border it. You will meet the men and women of Tay, Nung, Hmong, Dao, Phu La and Cao Lan who live from fishing and artisanal manufacturing. Ethnic colour enthusiasts will have plenty to celebrate with local traditional celebrations, congratulations on the new rice, the transition to adulthood and the folk dance party.
Finally, how can we resist the flavours of the soil that are made up of, among other things, opulent fish that are tasted delicately with bamboo shoots and salad with banana flowers? What unique culinary discoveries!
How to get to Thac Ba lake?
Thac Ba lake is 180 km from Hanoi and 13 km from Yen Bai City. Take national road 2 to the west, you will reach the site located between the districts of Yen Binh and Luc Yen.
Activities: boat trip, fishing, swimming, hiking.
Other interesting destinations of Yen Bai: Mu Cang Chai, Pu Nhu waterfall, Lim Mong village, Giang spring, Muong Lo valley…