The Best Things to Do at Ba Be Lake

Exploring Ba Be Lake: Vietnam’s Hidden Gem

Tucked away in the mountains of northern Vietnam lies a real natural treasure – the mystical Ba Be Lake. Over my 5 years of traveling through Southeast Asia as a nature writer, Ba Be has remained one of my favorite hidden gems to explore.

Surrounded by steep karst peaks blanketed in verdant jungle, three interconnected lakes make up Ba Be National Park. Their glassy emerald waters shine under the sunshine, occasionally disrupted by the splash of fish. The largest lake stretches over 500 hectares, its name meaning “Three Lakes” in the local Tay ethnic language.

As you trek through the jungle or glide across the calm lake by wooden canoe, keep an eye out for some of the endangered wildlife species calling Ba Be home. Rare black-crested gibbons swing through the forest canopy. Over a hundred bird species flock here like the vibrant green peafowl and majestic crested serpent eagles. Endangered Vietnamese salamanders, otters, and golden monkeys also inhabit the diverse ecosystem.

Delving into the local villages scattered around the lakes provides another glimpse into Vietnamese minority culture. Many of Ba Be’s 1,500 residents belong to the Tay ethnic group, living in traditional stilt houses made of wood and bamboo. Visiting the hundred-year-old An Ma temple and watching a performance of Tay water puppetry gives some cultural context to harmonious human coexistence alongside pristine nature here.

As Vietnam bolsters its tourism industry, destinations like Ha Long Bay now overflow with tourists. Yet Ba Be retains its peaceful atmosphere. Its remoteness two hours west from the nearest airport makes access a bit challenging but rewards those who persevere with breathtaking scenery devoid of crowds. Hardy backpackers can embark on demanding mountain treks to cascading waterfalls straight out of a fairytale. Families enjoy boating excursions on the lake and strolls around local villages.

So if you’re looking to get off-the-beaten-path and connect with nature and culture in northern Vietnam, add the extraordinary Ba Be Lake to your travel list. respect this corner of the world by adhering to sustainable tourism. Then its ancient forests, glittering waters, and welcoming minority communities will captivate your heart for years to come.


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The Best Things To Do At Ba Be Lake

Over my five years traveling through Vietnam as an adventure travel writer, I’ve discovered the unspoiled natural wonder of Ba Be Lake tucked amidst the rolling peaks of Ba Be National Park. Its shimmering waters, lush jungle, and ethnic minority villages have cemented it as one of my favorite Asian destinations. If you’re planning a trip to this emerald lake, here are my expert recommendations on the best things to experience:

Trek Through Ancient Rainforests

Lace up your hiking boots and delve into verdant jungle teeming with wildlife. Follow trails left by resident endangered black-crested gibbons as they brachiate through ancient trees draped in moss. Listen for bird calls echoing through the canopy like the vivid green peafowl’s haunting cry. Spot rare langurs and pygmy slow lorises on a night walk. And admire 800-year-old strangler fig trees that provide habitat for fascinating ecosystems. Qualified Tay guides will shed light on medicinal jungle plants during demanding uphill treks to cascading waterfalls like Puong or Dau Dang.

Paddle Through Three Interconnected Lakes

One of Ba Be’s top highlights is exploring its tranquil waters via traditional wooden canoes. Tay boatmen expertly paddle visitors through lush channels connecting the park’s three lakes, the largest spanning over 500 hectares. Watch for otters splashing on the shores lined with tiny farming villages. Stop on hidden beaches to swim in refreshing waters. As the sun sparkles over gentle ripples, it’s easy to see why “Ba Be” translates to “Three Lakes” in the Tay language.

Experience Tay Culture

Several Tai ethnic minority villages lie nestled around Ba Be Lake, providing visitors a window into traditions honed over centuries living harmoniously alongside nature. Stay in a homestay to try specialties like savory five-color sticky rice or ruou can fermented from rice. Learn ancient fishing methods during a canoe trip with former hunter Turn Vu. Visit villages like Pac Ngoi with hundred-year-old stilt houses made of wood and bamboo. And watch a charming water puppetry performance bringing myths and legends of the Tay people to life.

Ba Be National Park remains one of Vietnam’s most magical natural sanctuaries, where minority culture thrives alongside diverse wildlife. From trekking through mist-shrouded jungle to gliding across shimmering lakes, its peaceful beauty will linger long after your Vietnam journey ends. So embark on these top adventures to discover the captivating spirit of Ba Be for yourself.

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