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Visit Ba Be: The travel guide

As legend had it, Ba Be Lake in Bac Kan province was the result of a dragon’s wrath that transformed a whole vast valley into a freshwater lake. Vietnamese people have been calling Ba Be the ‘pearl of northeast Vietnam’ for its refreshing, nature rich landscape and an ethnic local culture. Ba Be has it all – primitive natural systems, indigenous cultural background and a lot of things to do.

To have a deep view of Ba Be, we’ll show you all the information that supports your journey.

If you want to plan your trip, let’s contact Hanoi Voyages!

Top 8 things to do & see in Ba Be

Ba Be Lake

Ba Be means literally “Three Lakes”, 250 kilometers north of Hanoi, is rimmed by a vast limestone mountain range. The lake is at the heart of Ba Be National Park, which has been officially recognized as a national tourism site boasting a pristine landscape of mountain peaks, caves, streams, and underwater springs.

Lying at north of Bac Kan Province, deep in the core zone of Ba Be National Park, the three freshwater lakes of Ba Be (Pe Lam, Pe Lu, Pe Leng) spread over a total area of 5 million sq km. The lakes are covered with a cave and an underground stream system. With this vast body of water and diversity in biology and geology, Ba Be Lake has important values in nature preservation in North Vietnam. The centerpiece of the park is Ba Be Lake, a large freshwater lake surrounded by karst limestone mountains. You can take a boat tour of the lake to explore its emerald waters and visit the numerous caves and grottoes that dot the shoreline.

Ba be lake

Puong Cave

The cave is 300 meters long and more than 30 meters high. It was formed when the Nang River flows through Lung Nham limestone mountain. It’s stunningly beautiful inside the cave with cliffs and many stalactites of different shapes and colors. Inside, many stalactites and boulders with different shapes and colors make visitors admire and touch. You have to sit on a boat going along until it is near, and you are truly amazed at the majestic mystery that makes visitors eager to discover. This is one of the most famous caves in the park and can be explored by boat.

Dau Dang Waterfall

The waterfall is 2 km long, in harmony with the original forest landscape, creating an unforgettable impression. Dau Dang Waterfall is located on the Nang River, which is adjacent to Bac Kan and Tuyen Quang Province. The Nang River is blocked by large and small rocks stacked on each other with a slope of about 500m, creating a spectacular waterfall, blending with the landscape of primeval forest to create an unforgettable impression.

Located on the Nang River, this waterfall is known for its beauty and is a great spot for swimming. It’s especially stunning during the rainy season when the water flows vigorously. When traveling here, you can watch the falls on the big stones or the wooden balcony, and take a boat trip to Ba Be Lake or trek to Dau Dang waterfall.

Hiking and Trekking

There are several trekking trails in the national park that will take you through dense forests, terraced rice fields, and remote villages. The trails vary in difficulty, so you can choose one that suits your fitness level and interests.

Pu Luong Trekking - Vietnam Nature Tour with Hanoi Voyages

Visit Ethnic Minority Villages

Ba Be National Park is home to more than 3,000 residents of 5 different ethnic groups. Ba Be is home to several ethnic minority communities, including the Tay, Nung, and Hmong. Over the past 2000 years, Tay people have settled in this place and become the majority ethnic group in Ba Be. The Nung and Dao people came to live about 100 years ago. Meanwhile, the Kinh and Mong people have just migrated.

In the Ba Be National Park area, there are a total of 13 villages, some of which are inhabited by only one ethnic group. Normally, Tay residents live in lowlands along rivers and streams. Dao residents live halfway up the mountains. Mong residents live in high mountain areas. You can visit these villages to learn about their traditional way of life, try local dishes, and purchase handmade crafts.

visit to ethnic village

Thac Bac (Silver Waterfall)

Coming to Silver Waterfall, you will feel the majesty of the peace and wilderness of the mountains and forests, the fresh, pure air with the scent of forest flowers, all of which will be unforgettable moments to visit once.

Coming there, visitors can not only visit and enjoy the amazing beauty of Silver Waterfall but also learn about and visit the ancient villages of the Tay people, still preserving their way of eating, and living. Unique customs with many cultural traditions and identities. Visitors will feel interested in the natural landscape, living customs and villages of the people here, the wild beauty and rich national traditions such as Brocade weaving, making leaf yeast wine…While not inside the national park, the Silver Waterfall is a short drive away and is worth a visit. It’s a picturesque waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation.

Wildlife Watching

Ba Be National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including rare and endangered species such as white-cheeked gibbons and Asian black bears. In Vietnam, Ba Be National Park is an excellent location for wild animal viewing. The park is rich in wildlife, including a wide range of bird species, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

You can see colorful birds soaring through the trees, mammals such as deer and wild boar, and intriguing reptiles and amphibians. The forests and lakes provide a natural habitat for these animals, making it easy for visitors to view wildlife. Remember to bring your binoculars and keep an eye out for these creatures when hiking or boating.

Ba Be National Park

Surrounding mountains are made up of limestone karst, consist of mostly evergreen forests, and caves, and are home to many ethnic villages.

The lake’s richness is demonstrated by the fact that it is home to 100 distinct kinds of freshwater fish, while caves and mountains provide habitat for 65 mammal species, including red giant flying squirrels, macaques, langurs, Chinese pangolins, slow lorises, and 18 different species of bats. There are 43 different species of reptiles, including lizards and snakes, in the park. In the park, butterflies and birds are thriving as well.

What to eat in Ba Be?

Ba Be National Park, located in northern Vietnam, is known for its stunning natural beauty and is a great place to experience local cuisine. Here are some dishes and foods you should try when visiting Ba Be:

Grilled Fish (Cá Nướng)

Ba Be Lake is famous for its freshwater fish, particularly the ca lang (humpback carp). Grilled fish with local herbs and spices is a must-try dish. Grilled fish, a specialty, is a result of a meticulous process that involves selecting, washing, and cooking fresh fish. Bamboo splints are used to form clamps, with each clamp containing 8-10 fish. The fish is then dried in sunlight for consumption. The fish can be baked or grilled over charcoal, with charcoal being the preferred method. The fish’s taste is aromatic, fleshy meat, and chewy, with a spicy corn alcohol flavor. The scenic Ba Be Lake offers a unique experience for those seeking a taste of the country’s culinary delights.

Banana Flower Salad (Nộm Hoa Chuối)

Wild banana flowers combined with herbs will make the salad more eye-catching green in addition to the purple color of banana flowers, the white color of meat, and the bright red color of chili peppers. The typical flavor of banana flower salad is the crispy taste of banana flowers, the strong aroma of herbs, the spicy taste of chili, and the nutty taste of roasted peanuts… Everything blends like a polyphonic song, enjoy a delicious meal, and you can crave food again. So if you come to Ba Be, this is a dish you should experience because you may fall in love with it.

Pig Meat Upstairs Kitchen, smoked sausage

Unlike some other ethnic groups, the Tay people living around Ba Be Lake have a dish with a strong national identity, which is meat hanging from the stove and sausage and ribs. The meat, after being marinated with salt, wine, and ginger, is hung in the upstairs kitchen. Pork ribs are made from finely chopped meat, marinated with highland spices, then stuffed into intestines. The smoke from the wood stove every day turns the meat yellow-black. When eaten, it has a very unique taste that cannot be found anywhere else.

Thang Co

This is a traditional dish of the Tay and Nung ethnic groups in the region. Thang Co, one of the renowned specialties in the mountainous Sapa, Lao Cai province, is not an easy dish to eat for many tourists at first. However, no trip to Ba Be would be completed without knowing or tasting the flavor of this very special dish. Thang Co is a popular dish among travelers as a specialty recipe of the H’Mong ethnic minority group. This dish means “a big pot of water” in the H’Mong language. In Thang Co, the main ingredient is horsemeat, but in fact, Ba Be local people cook “Thang Co” made with various types of meat (often including horse or goat), herbs, and spices.

Local Corn Wine (Rượu Ngô)

Leaf yeast corn wine is a type of corn wine of the Tay people in Ba Be brewed with leaf yeast. If you drink it once, you will not forget its rich and unique flavor. The medicinal plants used to make yeast leaves for making wine that the Tay Ba Be people choose are nutritious medicinal plants. Corn wine here is made from the water source halfway up Phja-Bjooc mountain – an extremely pure water source that nature has bestowed on this land. That’s why even though there are many places that brew corn wine, only corn wine produced in Khua Quang village, Dong Phuc commune, Ba Be district is the most popular wine. It’s a strong and potent drink with a unique flavor. If you visit Ba Be, this is one of the specialties that you must try.

Where to stay in Ba Be?

Ba Be Legend Villa

Ba Be Legend Villa is located right at the gateway to the primeval forest of Ba Be National Park. This resort will definitely contribute to making your trip to explore Bac Kan more poetic. With the motto of creating a friendly resort space to help visitors feel at home, Ba Be Legend Villa takes care of a system of beautiful rooms, fully equipped and with great views. You just need to stand at Ba Be Legend Villa to see the gentle Na Kieng stream, green rice fields, or majestic limestone mountains in the distance. The Villa also serves attractive specialties of the Viet Bac mountains and forests such as roasted pork, Ba Be Lake fish, wild vegetables, and fragrant zucchini… guaranteed to be delicious and suitable for tourists’ tastes.

Ba Be Eco Lodge

Ba Be Eco Lodge is nestled in a beautiful, pristine natural landscape and is a place where visitors can return to the rustic, friendly nature of the mountains and forests and people of Ba Be. 14 km from the center of Ba Be National Park, this is a large resort with more than 30 luxurious and comfortable bungalows. Ba Be Eco Lodge has many types of rooms suitable for many different types of tourists from individuals, groups, families, students… Besides, there is a dining area serving a variety of dishes typical of local food. In particular, visitors to Ba Be Eco Lodge can participate in many special programs at preferential prices including full services of boat tours to the lake. In addition, they also have performances of “Then” singing, guitar playing, bamboo dancing, or organizing social events to save culture and art with Tay ethnic girls.

Ba Be Resort

Ba Be Resort area is located in Buoc Lom village, Khang Ninh commune, Ba Be district, Bac Kan province. The rooms at Ba Be resort are airy and have views of the natural landscape of Ba Be National Forest. Especially the Deluxe rooms located at the front of the hotel have beautiful views of the majestic mountains. All rooms of the resort are elegantly and luxuriously designed with full amenities. Moreover, the resort’s The Pine restaurant is also airy, designed with views of the garden and fish pond, and serves a variety of dishes. In particular, when enjoying meals, visitors can also admire the beautiful natural landscape outside.

When is the best time to visit Ba Be?

October to December (Cool and Pleasant):

  • October is still somewhat warm, with pleasant temperatures.
  • November and December see cooler temperatures, making outdoor activities like hiking and trekking more comfortable.
  • The landscape is lush and green, and the water levels in Ba Be Lake are relatively high, creating beautiful scenery.

January to February (Cool and Dry):

  • These months are the coolest in Ba Be, with temperatures occasionally dropping to near freezing at night.
  • The weather is dry, which means less rainfall and a lower chance of encountering muddy or flooded trails.
  • Clear skies provide excellent conditions for stargazing.

March to April (Warm and Dry):

  • March and April mark the transition to the warmer season.
  • The temperatures are comfortable, making it a great time for outdoor activities.
  • The vegetation is lush, and the flowers are in bloom, adding color to the landscapes.

The best weather to visit Ba Be National Park in Vietnam is during the dry season, which typically occurs from October to April. Visiting during the dry season generally ensures better weather conditions for hiking, trekking, and boat trips on Ba Be Lake. The lush greenery and pleasant temperatures make it a more enjoyable experience for exploring the park and its surroundings. However, do keep in mind that Ba Be can be crowded with tourists during the peak season, especially around holidays and festivals. So, plan your trip accordingly to avoid large crowds if you prefer a more tranquil experience.

How to get to Ba Be?

Getting to Ba Be National Park in Vietnam involves a combination of transportation methods, as it is located in a remote area of the country. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get to Ba Be:

Travel to Hanoi

Most travelers start their journey to Ba Be in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.
Hanoi is well-connected to other major cities in Vietnam and has an international airport, Noi Bai International Airport (HAN).

From Hanoi to Ba Be

By Bus

Take a bus from Hanoi to Bac Kan Province. Bac Kan is the nearest town to Ba Be National Park.

The bus journey takes approximately 4-5 hours.

Once in Bac Kan, you can arrange for transportation to Ba Be National Park, which is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) away. This may involve hiring a taxi or a local driver.

By Private Car or Shuttle Service

You can also hire a private car or book a shuttle service from Hanoi directly to Ba Be National Park.
This option offers more convenience and comfort, but it can be more expensive.

From Bac Kan to Ba Be National Park

Once you arrive in Bac Kan, you’ll need to continue your journey to Ba Be National Park.

Ba Be Lake is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Bac Kan, and the drive takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
You can hire a taxi, a local driver, or arrange for transportation through your accommodation in Bac Kan or Ba Be.

Local Transportation within Ba Be

Once you arrive at Ba Be National Park, you can explore the area using local transportation options, such as rented bicycles, motorbikes, or guided boat tours on Ba Be Lake.

It’s advisable to check with your accommodation for local transportation options and guided tours of the park.
Keep in mind that the road conditions in some areas may be challenging, especially during the rainy season. It’s a good idea to plan your trip during the dry season (October to April) for more favorable road conditions and weather. Additionally, consider booking your accommodations in advance, as lodging options within the national park area can be limited, especially during peak tourist seasons.

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