If you're looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure in Vietnam, Ba Be Lake is a stunning natural wonder not to be missed. Situated in the northern province of Bac Kan, Ba Be Lake offers a unique experience surrounded by lush greenery and tranquil waters.
Here is a short travel guide that includes everything you need to know about visiting Ba Be Lake. From the best time to visit, how to get there, where to stay, and the best things to do.
Find out why this stunning lake is one of Vietnam's most beautiful and unique destinations.
Ba Be Lake in Northern Vietnam
Ba Be Lake is an undiscovered gem in northern Vietnam's Bac Kan Province. It is Vietnam's largest freshwater lake and also the highest, standing 150 meters above sea level. The lake is surrounded by karst cliffs and dense forests, while limestone islands rise out of the water.
"Ba" is the local number for three, and "Be" means lake in the Tay language. Ba Be Lake is made up of three lakes: Pe Leng, Pe Lu, and Pe Lam. You can enjoy activities such as kayaking, trekking, and exploring the nearby ethnic minority villages.
How to Get to Ba Be Lake from Hanoi
The best and most convenient way to get from Hanoi to Ba Be National Park is to take a private transfer. Especially if you’re traveling in a group or with family and friends. This gives you more flexibility and control over your itinerary, allowing you to explore different sights and attractions along the way at your own pace. Private transfer to Ba Be Lake will cost you around 200 USD.
Mr. Linh’s Adventure runs a shuttle bus that departs daily from Hanoi directly to Ba Be National Park. The drive takes around 5 hours and costs 15 USD.
Call +84986016068 to book.
Another option is to take a 16-seater minivan, which departs three times a day from Hanoi Center (12:30pm, 3:00pm, and 5:00pm). The drive takes 5 hours and costs around 20 USD. This option is ideal for those who prefer a more comfortable and convenient way of traveling.
One of the most scenic ways to travel to Ba Be National Park is by motorbike. As you leave the main roads of Hanoi, the scenery begins to change, giving you a glimpse of rural life in Vietnam. The winding roads and lush green landscapes make for a memorable journey to the lake.
Tip: Make sure you have a valid driver's license and travel insurance. Get your insurance with Heymondo today and save 5% just for being a reader!
You can also consider booking a tour that will take you to different parts of the northern region, including the Ban Gioc waterfall in Cao Bang or the Ha Giang loop. These tours usually include transportation, accommodations, and a guide who can provide insights into the local culture and history.
Here are the most popular tours you can book:
Where to Stay
Staying with a local family around Ba Be Lake is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture and daily life of the Tay ethnic minority.
Pac Ngoi village is one of the best places to stay. This area is situated on a mountain hill and features Tay stilt houses. The village has a beautiful view of the rice fields and karst mountains. It is a great base to stay as it’s walking distance to the lake. Find all accommodation near Ba Be Lake here.
Things to Do in Ba Be Lake
1. Boat Tours
Taking a motor boat from the dock is one of the best ways to explore the lake. It's about a 15-minute walk from Pac Ngoi village, passing dense foliage and grazing buffaloes along the way.
You can arrange your boat tour either at your homestay or at the port. The cost of a boat ride can range from 10 to 30 USD, depending on the type of tour and the stops you make along the way. Some of the popular stops include the fairy pond, An Ma temple, and caves.
Tip: Book this 3-Day Ba Be National Park Discovery Tour from Hanoi for the ultimate experience!
In addition to boat trips, you can rent a kayak to explore Ba Be Lake. Kayaking allows you to get up close to the natural beauty of the lake and its surroundings, and it's a great way to get some exercise while enjoying the scenery.
You can rent kayaks at the boat dock. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and sunscreen!
3. Visit Dau Dang Waterfalls
Dang Dau Waterfalls is one of the places you can visit on the boat tour. After about an hour from the dock, you'll arrive at a small village where you'll begin your short trek to the waterfalls. You won’t be able to get close to the waterfalls but there’s a viewing platform where you can take in the views and relax before returning to the village.
Tip: Buy some drinks and snacks at the village to enjoy at the waterfalls. Don't forget to carry your garbage with you and dispose of it responsibly.
Or, combine Ba Be Lake with a tour to Cao Bang’s most popular waterfall, the Ban Gioc Waterfall!
4. Explore Caves
Apart from the waterfalls, Ba Be National Park has several caves to visit, each with beautiful rock formations formed over millions of years. This includes Puong Cave, Hua Ma Cave, and Tham Phay Cave, which can be visited on guided tours.
Tip: Discover Ba Be Lake with a 2-day tour, including cave stops.
Trekking through the jungles, mountains, and valleys of Ba Be National Park is an experience not to be missed for adventure seekers. The Pia Booc Mountain ranges and rice fields that cover the foothills of this beautiful natural gem make it one of the best places to go trekking in the country.
In addition to its beautiful natural features, Ba Be National Park offers a chance to learn about the culture and traditions of the area. The area is home to several ethnic minority communities that have lived off the land for generations. Trekking through their villages provides a unique insight into their traditional way of life.
Here are some Ba Be trekking tours you can book ranging from 2 to 4 days:
6. Walk Around the Village
A great activity to get to know the locals is to cycle or walk around the village. You'll see traditional stilt houses, local fishermen cleaning their nets, and children running around the neighborhood.
This is a wonderful opportunity to experience the daily life of the community and learn about their culture and traditions. You can also stop by local food stalls to taste traditional dishes and interact with the friendly locals.
7. Watch the Sunrise by the rice fields
Watching the sunrise overlooking the mountain village of Pac Ngoi is a must when visiting Ba Be Lake! During our visit, we set out early in the morning and walked along the water canals, crossing rice fields and heading towards the lake.
The tranquility of the village in the early morning, combined with the breathtaking view of the sun's rays piercing through the fog, makes for an unforgettable experience. It's a perfect opportunity to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of Vietnam's countryside.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Ba Be Lake depends on what you want to do. The weather is usually hot and humid from July to September, making it the perfect time for kayaking or swimming in the lake.
Visit between October and June for a much cooler and more pleasant temperature for trekking. If you want to see rice fields at their best, the months of April to May and September to October are ideal.
And that’s the guide to visiting Ba Be Lake in Vietnam!
Ba Be Lake is definitely a sight to behold - from its majestically beautiful landscape, to the wonderful culture and hospitable locals.
Whether you're an avid nature enthusiast or simply looking for some peace and quiet away from the city, Ba Be Lake offers plenty of exciting activities such as hiking, boat rides, and more!
Looking for more off the beaten path experience in Vietnam? Read our guide to visiting Nui Thung, the Angel Eye mountain in Cao Bang.
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