Geographically, Ba Be National Park is a reserve in Bac Kan Province, northeast Vietnam, whose role is to protect a freshwater lake (Ba Be Lake) along with surrounding limestone and lowland evergreen forests. It is located about 240 kilometers northwest of the capital city – Hanoi.
- Location: Bo Lu, Ba Be District, Bac Kan Province
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
1. How Is Ba Be Unique?
Ba Be offers a wide range of interesting to explore, from geology, landscapes to fauna and flora.
Flora and Fauna
If you are keen on the ecotourism activities, Ba Be National Park is the ideal place to visit because it is featured by the diversified and specious fauna and flora. The vegetation in Ba Be National Park mainly consists of limestone and evergreen forest. There are approximately about more 417 species of plant. Climbing bamboo is a regional endemic plant common on the hill slopes near the lake shore.
Furthermore, Ba Be National Park also attracts those tourists that are interested in animal life with plentiful animal system. There are 600 species, in which 66 are specious; some were recorded in Vietnam Red Book.
Scenic Landscape Features
There are some interesting places that you should not leave out when coming to Ba Be National Park.
- Ao Tien Lake
You will feel healthy with the cool and fresh climate when coming to Ao Tien – a small lake on the top of the mountain. This lake is filled with clear water which seeps through the surrounding limestone rock. The primary for the name Ao Tien (the lake of fairy) is based on a legend that the fairies always go down in this place to swim and play chess.
- Ba Be lake
Ba Be lake is 8 kilometers long in total, about 400 meters wide, and has the deepest point of 35 meters. There are 3 freshwater lake running together to make Ba Be Lake, which names are Pe Lu, Pe Lam and Pe Leng. Whenever coming here, visitors will have a chance to see lots of sightseeing including rivers, waterfalls, lakes, valleys and caves which are allocated amidst picturesque landscapes.
Additionally, the lake is home to more than 30 animal species such as wild, pigs, bears, panthers, monkeys and birds as well as many ancient trees, from which several varieties of precious wood are obtained.
- Pac Ngoi commune
Pac Ngoi Commune is home to the Tay ethnic minority community in Ba Be National Park. It is a small tourist village and has recently been a popular venue for foreign and local tourists to experience home-stay and unique culture.
In Pac Ngoi, there are about 20 made-of-wood stilt houses, which cater home-stay service for tourists. Each house preserves unique traditional features of Tay ethnic people, giving a glimpse of Tay culture to tourists, especially the foreign ones. Although modern architecture has presented, the traditional stilt houses in Pac Ngoi commune are still highly values and well-preserved.
- Dau Dang waterfall
In about 3 km to the west from Ba Be Lake, there exists a stunning waterfall named Dau Dang. It straddles the border between Tuyen Quang and Bac Kan provinces. Here, Nang River flows through a rocky section containing numerous sized stones and form a long stretch of 1km between 2 lakes.
In Dau Dang waterfall, water fall down with dazzling white bubbles throughout the year, creating an impressive music in the splendid jungle.
There are wide varieties of fish in this waterfall, some even weigh around 10 kilograms. After the first rains in March and April, schools of fish will race with each other to pass the waterfall. If you are lucky enough, you will have a chance to witness this scene whilst leaning on the mossy rocks and immersing in the cool atmosphere.
- Thac Bac waterfall
Thac Bac is 8 km south from Ba Be Lake. In the area of 200 m width and 40 m height, Thac Bac creates such a beautiful nature with the formation of so many small lakes. According to some documents from Ba Be National Park, underneath this waterfall, there are crystal clear puddles along with stacked stones, which is perfect for tourists to take photographs.
- Hua Ma cave
Anyone visiting Bac Kan will never forget the remarkable feelings about Hua Ma cave. Located in Quang Khe Commune, Ba Be district, the cave is said to be shaped naturally during many years of geological changes.
Hua Ma cave has a depth of around 700 m with the average ceiling height is 50 m. There are various stalactites and stalagmites in different shapes such as terraced fields, lotus throne, stone gate, stone curtain and so on. Despite being discovered recently, Hua Ma cave now is considered the most spectacular intact natural cave in this region.
- Lo Mo cave expedition
Lo Mo cave expedition is a large area of clear lakes, dramatic mountains and verdant forests in the North of Ba Be national park. The cave’s main body stretches underground for around 3000m and its limestone karst is created by water erosion over a long period of time.
Inside the cave, there are bats as well as many other plants and insects living to interest every naturalist. The cave’s entrance is concealed in the middle of the mountains so it is very hard to discover at first.
2. Tourist Activities
Ba Be is well known not only for its beautiful nature but also for its several activities.
Ba Be is one of the best trekking areas in Vietnam thanks to its richness of fauna and flora, the relationship between nature and ethnic minority and the vegetation of the karst outcrops. A common route that tourists often choose is through the jungle and reach some ethnic villages like H’mong one. Or else, you can go along the trail near Nang river to contemplate the Dau Dang waterfall.
It is recommended to use sport bikes to start your cycling tour. The rental price is not so expensive, just about $10 per day. Then, you can go to visit Thac Bac waterfall, Hua Ma cave and some ethnic villages. The road here is well constructed so you don’t need to worry about your safety.
If you want to explore the stunning beauty of Ba Be lake, the ideal activity you should try is kayaking. Kayakers can discover every corner of Ba Be such as fishing villages, small islets, limestone karsts, hidden caves and even more. Just remember to wear a life jacket during the trip along with suitable clothes like shorts, T-shirts or swimsuits for summer and warm costume for winter.
Ba Be National Park was established to conserve important ecosystems, rare plant, animal species, and the special landscapes as well as manage the sustainable use of natural resources. It also assists local communities to improve their current living conditions and mitigating pressures on forests and biodiversity.
4. What to Eat
What tourists should never miss in the Ba Be trip is experiencing local ethnic food by joining locals to make traditional dishes.
- Grilled fish
People catch fresh fish by hand or by simple tools from Ba Be lake, then some bake them with alcohol while others use a charcoal stove. This food is like Tay people’s daily snacks. They often eat the meat from the fish with a little chilli and sip corn wine or beer.
- Bamboo-tube rice
It is a very typical dish of every ethnic minority in Vietnam. Of course, the main ingredient is rice which is put into a fresh and young bamboo with enough water. In order to make the rice more pleasant, people will add a little coconut water. Then, they will use banana leaves to wrap the tube and burn the bamboo tube on fire until it smells good and is ready to be served.
- Pork hanging on the kitchen
It is a very unique delicacy of the Tay people here. The pork is sliced into small pieces, then it is rubbed with rice wine, water, and salt. People will leave the meat for 3 or 4 days before smoking it in the wood stoves. The food is ready to eat when you see a yellow-black color on the pork’s skin.
5. Where to Stay
In Ba Be, there are a huge number of homestays, hotels, villas and resorts available for tourists to choose. They are all safe and possess security certificates granted by Vietnamese governments. The local people are very hospitable and always ready to welcome every customer.
- Ba Be Legend Villa
Location: Khang Ninh, Ba Be, Bac Kan
Tel: 097 730 29 10
- Ba Be Lakeside Bungalow
Location: Coc Toc village, Nam Mau Commune, Bac Kan
Tel: 091 226 7559
- Anh Khiem Hotel
Location: Na Mam, Ba Be district, Bac Kan
Tel: 0399 422 681
6. How to Get There
In order to get to Ba Be National Park, people should go by car or bus because the distance is a little bit far. Renting a private car is faster but the price is more expensive. On the contrary, going by bus can save you a certain amount of money, which can be used for other purposes.
In short, Ba Be National Park is an ideal spot for a cruise to touch the world of crystal blue stream, magnificent limestone cliffs along with mysterious caves!