Located in the mountainous region of North-Western Vietnam, Bac Kan tops the list of must-go destinations for many backpackers. Because of its relatively remote location, Bac Kan boasts its untouched natural beauty of natural rivers, lakes, fountains, caves, and forests. Among these sceneries, Ba Be Lake, comparable to “sea on the mountain”, is one of the twenty most beautiful lakes in the world.
Ba Be Lake is a component of Ba Be national Park. It is located about 230km away from Hanoi city, toward the northern mountainous region of Bac Kan. The total area of this lake is surrounded by mountains and primeval forests.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to travel to Bac Kan is from February to April. The reason is that this period of time in Bac Kan has normal and comfortable weather with cool and dry atmosphere. The period of time from November to February is the cold season in Bac Kan with the temperature is often below 0o C, therefore the scenery looks very gray and unattractive.
The hot and wet season lasts from April to October with almost all rainy days, so visitors won’t have chance to visit outdoor destinations which are some of the most fascinating aspects of Bac Kan such as Ba Be National Park or ATK. Also, as it rains heavily, reaching Bac Kan by buses and other vehicles is more difficult.
Things to see
Ba Be Lake (local ethnic name is Slam Pe meaning the joint of three river’s branches) is honorably to be listed in Top of 16 most beautiful lakes in the world. Ba Be Lake is also the largest lake in northern of Vietnam. The following attractions are also waiting for you to discover: Puong Cave, Dau Dang waterfall, Hua Ma Cave, Ao Tien (Fairy Pond).
Things to do
These are some interesting activities that we recommend you experience in Ba Be Lake. The most common thing is to hire a boat to do sight-seeing on the lake. In case you love advantageous sailing, a choice of a dugout would be very excited. Besides, you can do biking along the lake side or trekking into the primeval forest of the lake.
Ba Be is considered by both native Vietnamese and visitors to be one of the best trekking areas in the country. The whole district is dominated by the Pia Booc mountain range rising to a height of 1527m. It is the combination of the scenery, from the karst outcrops clad in rich vegetation to the paddy fields carpeting the lower slopes of the Na Nghe mountains; the rich variety of flora and fauna; and the rich cultural diversity which together make this a unique and rewarding location. Travelling with a local knowledgeable guide is highly recommended because they know which routes to take for the best sightseeing and wildlife spotting.
Kayaking is the best way to explore the breathtaking beauty of Ba Be Lake. Paddle through the islets; discover hidden caves; visit fishing villages. You can get closer to the limestone karsts, and find some secret corners of Ba Be lake and the Nang river.
When kayaking, suitable clothing is a must; it is essential to wear a life jacket, and we recommend wearing a t-shirt and shorts or a swimming suit in summer, warmer clothes in winter, wet shoes, hat, sun cream and sunglasses. A dry bag is extremely useful for storing your camera, insect repellent, water.
Ba Be is great for exploring by bicycle. Sports bikes can be rented for around $10 per day. The main roads around the national park are mostly in good condition and don’t see much traffic. One day cycling around the park should enable you to visit Hua Ma Cave, Thac Bac Waterfall and some villages.
Things to eat
Ba Be’s dishes are another reason to relish your stay in the area. One of the most special dishes to be mentioned is boiled chayote cooked with sesame or lon cap nach (literally pig carried under the arm) which are home pigs raised in the field or forest. Besides, barbequed meat and fish and a huge variety of vegetables, together with dumplings, bamboo tube rice, noodles and eggs may all be part of the feast you can enjoy at the table of your host.
Ba Be Lake is definitely a place to remember, well worth the effort of the journey. It is breathtakingly beautiful, serene, culturally fascinating, whilst also offering a range of adventure activities. We look forward to seeing you here and sharing our little piece of heaven.
Tips for First Time Visitors:
If you’ve never been to Vietnam before, I kindly provide some helpful tips to make your trip easier.
Prepare your passport in advance, and make sure that your passport has at least 6 months validity, with left space for visa stamping
- Check to see whether you are citizen of a country listed in the Vietnam visa exemption list or not. If you are required to have a Vietnam visa, and want to get a visa in a very urgent case, you can use Urgent Vietnam visa to get it and fly to Vietnam on short notice
- The currency in Vietnam is Vietnam Dong, but you can bring USD and exchange this to VND before getting onboard a plane or at one of the exchange counters at the airport, upon arrival
- Make sure you book your flight tickets, a tour if you would prefer one, through the reliable agency