Splash into adventure: Discovering Dau Dang Waterfall, Ba Be National Park’s hidden gem

Craving an adventure that’s both breathtaking and refreshing?
Hike through the lush jungles of Ba Be National Park and discover the cascading beauty of Dau Dang Waterfall!

Embrace the thrill
of nature’s symphony

Step into the lush embrace of Ba Be National Park, nestled in the enchanting landscapes of Bac Kan province in northern Vietnam. Prepare to be captivated by one of its most dazzling jewel – Dau Dang Waterfall, an aquatic wonder that will leave you spellbound and exhilarated.

Dau Dang waterfall
Dau Dang Waterfall - Ba Be National Park - Source : Collected

A Three-Tiered Water Curtain Beckons

Picture a crystal-clear torrent cascading down three tiers, orchestrating an unforgettable visual and auditory symphony. Stretching nearly a kilometer along the Nang River, Dau Dang unveils a multitude of stunning viewpoints. The thunderous roar of the water, harmonizing with the wild beauty of the surroundings, makes it an essential highlight of the park.

The enchanting waterfalls of Ba Be National Park

Cultural Bonus:
Explore the Enchanting Villages

Embark on a cultural expedition to the picturesque villages of the Tay, Red Dao, White Dao, and Hmong ethnic minorities. Don’t miss the charming hamlet of Hua Tang, comprising five Tay houses, nestled near the Tat Ma waterfall. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of local traditions!

Discovering the Ethnic Villages Around Ba Be Lake

Family-Friendly Trek:
Adventure at Your Fingertips

  • Duration: 3-4 hours round trip
  • Distance: 5 km of pure natural bliss
  • Departure: Na Nghe village (Dao Tien ethnic group)
  • Difficulty: Accessible from 10 years old, ideal for regular hikers
  • Elevation gain: 200 meters to tone your calf muscles
  • Highlights: 360° panoramas, lush biodiversity, complete immersion in nature

Caution: When the weather is damp, the trail gets slippery! Equip yourself accordingly.

Hua Ma cave - Source : Collected

Tat Ma:
The Secret Sister Cascade

Seeking a more intimate experience? Seek out Tat Ma Waterfall, also known as Thac Bac – the “Silver Waterfall.” This lesser-know and less-frequented gem deserves its spotlight: located 10 km from Ba Be Lake and 3 km from Hua Ma Cave, it’s perfect for a day hike combining caves, waterfalls, and ethnic villages. Difficulty: Easy to moderate, ideal for a varied adventure!

Pro Tips for All Your Treks:

  • Sturdy hiking shoes are mandatory
  • Pack ample water and snacks
  • Mosquito repellent: your best ally against bites
  • Check the weather, be smart, and adapt your gear!
Silver waterfall - Source : Mr Linh's Adventures

Options for Every Taste:

  • One-day guided trek: Perfect for the curious, enjoy the insights of a local guide on fauna, flora, and culture
  • 2-3 day trek: For the adventurers at heart, a deep immersion into nature and local life
  • Boat-trekking combo: The best of both worlds, navigate Ba Be Lake and embark on short treks to the waterfalls

Top 5 trekking routes in Ba Be National Park

Practical Information:

Transportation

Direct bus from My Dinh bus station in Hanoi (Thuong Nga or An Binh companies)

Duration: 4.5 hours travel time

Price: 250,000 to 280,000 VND (11-12 USD) per way

Best Time to Visit

October to April for dry weather and passable trails

May to September for raging and awe-inspiring waterfalls

Where to Stay

Opt for the authenticity of a homestay or the eco-friendly comfort of a lodge. Immersion guaranteed! We warmly recommend Ba Be Jungle Houses, where Nature meets Luxury.

Ba Be National Park and its waterfalls offer a unique experience amidst pristine wilderness. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a family seeking gentle adventure, Dau Dang and Tat Ma promise moments of pure natural magic. So, are you ready to plunge into the Ba Be adventure?

A rejuvenating weekend in the fabulous Ba Be National Park

Feeling burnt out? Rejuvenate your soul in 48 Hours: A Ba Be National Park Itinerary

Nature-lovers, I have found the perfect hidden gem for a weekend of total relaxation: Ba Be National Park in northeastern Vietnam. Now, I must warn you, this paradise is still relatively unknown to tourists, but that’s precisely what adds to its charm!

Boat on Ba Be lake

A preserved natural haven

Imagine this: nestled in the heart of the northern Vietnamese mountains, Ba Be National Park is a true haven of peace. With its breathtaking landscapes of lakes, caves, and forests, it offers a complete change of scenery, perfect for a weekend getaway away from the hustle and bustle of cities. All of this in an incredibly preserved environment, thanks to the efforts of local communities and park authorities to develop sustainable tourism.

To be more specific, we’re talking about over 6,000 hectares of pure nature, with an incredible biodiversity (over 2,000 recorded species!). Primary forests, mysterious caves, crystal-clear rivers…

Did you know? Ba Be Lake is one of the largest natural lakes in Southeast Asia.

Ba Be National Park: an exceptional biodiversity reserve in the heart of Vietnam

Eco-friendly and relaxing activities

On the agenda for your relaxing weekend: a traditional boat ride on Ba Be Lake, hiking in the tropical forest to observe the local fauna and flora, and a visit to Puong Cave, a vast natural cavity inhabited by thousands of bats. Exploring its dark twists and turns is a true adventure, amidst stalactites, stalagmites, and bat colonies.

If you’re more of a hiking enthusiast, the park offers numerous trails through lush tropical forests. One notable trail leads to the village of Pac Ngoi, a several-hour excursion that allows you to discover the exceptional biodiversity of the site, with the possibility of spotting rare species such as the Malayan bear or the white-cheeked gibbon.

But regardless of your preference, Ba Be provides a beautiful immersion in nature, in harmony with the communities who have lived here for generations.

And to top it all off, all these activities are managed in an eco-responsible manner by the local inhabitants themselves. Indeed, Ba Be National Park is committed to sustainable tourism, working closely with local communities. This allows you to participate in eco-responsible activities, managed by the locals themselves. It’s a superb opportunity to discover local traditions, savor authentic dishes, and support the local economy.

Not only will you have a great time, but you’ll also contribute to the park’s conservation efforts. Truly sustainable tourism!

Discovering the Ethnic Villages Around Ba Be Lake

Come and relax with your family in Ba Be!

In addition to hiking and boat rides, Ba Be National Park offers several activities and facilities suitable for families with children. Educational workshops and activities are regularly organized to raise awareness among the younger ones about environmental protection. They can learn more about the park’s animal and plant species or participate in reforestation projects, for example.

Practical information for a successful weekend

When to go?

The best time to visit Ba Be is between October and May when temperatures are mild and the landscapes are green. Avoid the rainy season from June to September, which can make certain activities more difficult.

How to get there?

You can take a bus or a car from Hanoi, which takes about 5 hours to cover the approximately 240 km that separate the capital from the national park. Once there, the best way to explore the park is by opting for gentle transportation such as traditional boats or hiking.

Where to stay?

The park offers several eco-friendly accommodations managed by local communities, or you can choose Ba Be Jungle House with its breathtaking view of Ba Be Lake.

What to eat?

The local cuisine is delicious and highlights the fresh produce of the region. You can enjoy traditional dishes made with fish from the lake, sticky rice, and seasonal vegetables. It’s a delightful way to indulge while supporting the local economy!

Going green is good for the soul

Honestly, after a few days in this little piece of paradise, you’ll leave feeling completely rejuvenated. The fresh air, tranquility, and contemplation of these dreamlike landscapes… They do wonders for the body and mind!

So don’t hesitate any longer, quickly plan a weekend getaway to Ba Be in your schedule. It’s the kind of place you’ll want to return to, again and again. You’ll see, it will change your outlook and rejuvenate you deeply!

Ba Be Lake: A Photographer’s Paradise

Are you an amateur photographer or a master of composition? If so, Ba Be Lake in Vietnam is the perfect destination for you! Nestled in the heart of a magnificent national park, this hidden gem offers breathtaking landscapes.

Ba Be lake

Breathtaking Landscapes:
A Grand Natural Setting

Just 240 km from Hanoi, this crystal-clear body of water is surrounded by stunning karst formations. Wooded islets emerge from the surface, creating enchanting reflections during sunrise and sunset. In the morning, gentle mists float above the calm waters, revealing the towering cliffs that stand like sentinels. And on the hillsides, peaceful villages punctuate this grand natural setting. It is an ideal haven for photographers seeking unique shots and unforgettable adventures in pristine nature.

Ba Be Lake:
A Changing Palette of Colors

Ba Be Lake presents a palette of changing colors throughout the seasons. In spring, wildflowers bloom in a multicolored carpet, while autumn adorns the hills with shades of ochre and red. The lush green rice fields mirror the deep jade of the lake, creating a striking panorama that will delight your lenses.

Ba Be lake photographers

Exceptional Wildlife and Flora

Ba Be National Park is home to a unique biodiversity, with over 500 bird species and 100 mammal species. Multicolored butterflies flutter above the lush vegetation, playful monkeys frolic from branch to branch, and rare birds soar through the air. These natural wonders are waiting to be captured through your lens.

Ba Be National Park: an exceptional biodiversity reserve in the heart of Vietnam

Magical Light: A Source of Photographic Inspiration

Ba Be Lake offers photographers a true paradise of light. In the morning, mist blankets the landscapes in a fairy-tale atmosphere, while the rays of the setting sun create spectacular shadow and light effects on the karst mountains.

Beyond Capturing Images:
An Immersive Experience

Ba Be Lake is not just a photogenic destination; it is an invitation to adventure and discovery. Beyond capturing images, it offers an immersive experience in a breathtaking natural environment. Meet local communities and learn about their ancient traditions. Savor authentic dishes made with fresh local produce. Immerse yourself in the tranquility and be lulled by the birdsong and the whisper of the water. Ba Be Lake is a wonderful opportunity to capture vibrant images of villagers in traditional attire or engaging in activities such as fishing or weaving. It’s a chance to enrich your travel journal with unique and authentic snapshots.

Discovering the Ethnic Villages Around Ba Be Lake

A Haven of Peace:
A Place to Recharge and Focus

Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, Ba Be Lake provides a peaceful setting conducive to creativity. Let yourself be carried away by the gentle lapping of the water and immerse yourself in the serenity of the surroundings, accompanied by the birdsong and the murmuring streams. Explore this haven of peace nestled in the heart of the wild nature and be enchanted by its untamed and serene beauty. This idyllic getaway offers an opportunity to recharge away from the world’s distractions and rediscover the wonders of this green jewel.

Whether you are an amateur photographer searching for your first masterpiece or a seasoned professional seeking new inspiration, Ba Be Lake will fulfill your desires. So, don’t wait any longer and embark on an exploration of this earthly paradise!

Practical Tips for Photographers

  • Best time to visit: October to April to avoid the rainy season
  • How to get there: Take a bus from Hanoi (approximately 6 hours journey)
  • Where to stay: Bungalows and hotels along the lakeshore
  • Necessary equipment: Camera, wide-angle and telephoto lenses, tripod

Be prepared to capture moments of pure magic!

Tales and legends of Ba Be Lake

Ready to plunge into the wonderful world of Ba Be Lake legends? Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a magical journey!

Three Sisters - Three Lakes

The legend of the three lakes

Did you know that Ba Be Lake is made up of three linked lakes?

Once upon a time, these lakes were three inseparable sisters, known for their beauty and kindness. When a terrible flood hit the region, they sacrificed themselves to save the inhabitants by transforming themselves into lakes.
Another version of the legend recounts that they escaped a forced marriage thanks to the intervention of the gods, who transformed them into lakes to keep them together forever, forming the magnificent Ba Be.

The legend of the old beggar woman

A legend not unlike the one just mentioned.

A poor woman arrived in the village, but was rejected by everyone except a widow and her son. Do you know who she really was? A celestial dragon! To thank them, she warned them of an impending flood. Thanks to her advice, they were able to survive by boat as the valley turned into a lake, giving birth to Lake Ba Be.

For the long version, click here

The fairy with long golden hair

The legend of the fairy with long golden hair

Listen to the story of the fairy with the long golden hair.

A young fisherman fell in love with her melodious song. They met at the lake, but she had to leave, promising to return. The poor man waited for her all his life… It is said that the golden reflections on the lake at sunset are the hair of the fairy who is still searching for her lost love. Romantic, isn’t it?
A less glamorous version sees these reflections as the fairy combing her hair.

The legend of the golden fish

How would you like to catch a talking golden fish?

That’s what happened to an old fisherman. In exchange for his freedom, the fish granted him 3 wishes: food, company and peace for his village. It’s been said ever since that the golden fish still watches over the lake and its inhabitants.

The talking golden fish

The legend of Pearl Island

A beautiful young girl named Nàng Tiên possessed a magic pearl. One day, an evil spirit, jealous of her beauty and the villagers’ prosperity, flooded the village. Nàng used her pearl to save everyone, sacrificing herself to become the island of the lake. The villagers erected a temple in her honor, and it is said that her sweet song can still be heard floating on the waters.
A variant of this legend tells of an enchanted island covered in pearls and gold, guarded by spirits or supernatural creatures, accessible only to the pure of heart.

The legend of the Tree of Spirits

Let me finish with the legend of the Tree of Spirits, known to the locals as “Cây Thần”.

An abused young boy named Lang took refuge under a sacred tree sheltering benevolent spirits. These spirits gave him a magic seed which grew into a new protective tree, bringing prosperity to the village. Lang became a respected leader, teaching the importance of respecting nature.

The legends of Ba Be are filled with fantastic creatures, wondrous transformations and beautiful life lessons. They celebrate nature and goodness, and encourage respect for ancestors and traditions.

A real treasure to discover during your visit to this enchanted region!

Images generated by AI (or by fairies, who knows?)

Discover the family paradise: An unforgettable stay at Ba Be lake

Dreaming of a family vacation with a difference? Then head for Lake Ba Be in northern Vietnam! Nestled in the Ba Be National Park in Bac Kan province, this magnificent freshwater lake surrounded by verdant mountains and dense forests is the ideal setting for a memorable family adventure. Let us take you on a tour of this little corner of paradise and help you plan your stay.

► Learn more about Ba Be National Park

Ba Be local llife
Exploring local life in Ba Be - Source : Mr Linh's adventures

Why choose Ba Be lake?

Ba Be lake, which means “three bays” in Vietnamese, is an oasis of tranquility and natural beauty. It’s the largest natural freshwater lake in Vietnam, stretching over 650 hectares and approximately 8 kilometers in length. Surrounded by rainforest-covered karst mountains, Ba Be lake is a protected nature reserve, renowned for its exceptional biodiversity. It’s the perfect place for families who love nature and adventure.

5 reasons why Ba Be National Park should be on your visit list in Vietnam

Boat trip on Ba Be lake - Source : Mr Linh's adventures

Activities for young and old

Boat trip

One of the best ways to discover Ba Be lake is to take a boat trip. These excursions take you through the calm waters of the lake, where you can admire spectacular scenery and visit natural sites such as Puong Cave, famous for its stalactites, stalagmites and colonies of bats.

Swimming and diving

Ba Be Lake is renowned for its crystal-clear, pleasantly warm waters, ideal for swimming and diving, whether for children or adults.

Hiking and trekking

The area around Ba Be Lake offers hiking and trekking trails for all levels. An 8 km hiking trail circles the lake, offering breathtaking views and the chance to observe a rich and varied flora and fauna. It’s an adventure accessible to all, with several stopping points for resting, swimming and observing nature. For the more adventurous, longer and more challenging trails lead through karst mountains and rainforests. You can observe a variety of flora and fauna, and maybe even spot some wild animals.

► More info:Top 5 trekking routes in Ba Be National Park

Hiking around Ba Be lake
Hiking with family around Ba Be lake - Source : Mr Linh's adventures

Kayak and Paddle

Explore the lake, with all its nooks and crannies, by kayak or paddle – a perfect activity for families with children, allowing you to discover the lake at your own pace.

►Read also Kayaking Experience at Ba Be Lake

Fishing

Ba Be Lake is also a great place for fishing. You can catch local fish such as catfish and tilapia, a relaxing and fun activity that will delight young and old alike.

Caving

For thrill-seekers, caving is a great option. The region’s karst formations offer unique opportunities to explore little-known caves such as Tham Phay, the Son Doong of North Vietnam.

Discovering local culture

Ba Be Lake is home to ethnic villages where the inhabitants, mainly Tày, Nung and Red Dao, perpetuate ancestral traditions. To visit these villages is to immerse yourself in authentic cultures and observe craftsmen weaving, embroidering and making bamboo objects.

And last but not least, the area around the lake offers many open spaces where children can run, play and explore in complete safety. Parents can keep an eye on them while enjoying the peaceful surroundings.

►Read also : Discovering the Ethnic Villages Around Ba Be Lake

Kayaking Ba Be lake
Kayaking with kids on Ba Be lake - Source : Mr Linh's adventures

Access and accommodation

Ba Be national park is about 240 kilometers from Hanoi. There are several ways to get to Ba Be lake from Hanoi:

By bus:

  • Direct bus: Direct buses leave from the My Dinh bus station in Hanoi and arrive directly at the entrance to Ba Be lake. The journey takes around 5-6 hours and costs around VND100,000 (approx. €4.50).
  • Bus with connection: You can also take a bus from Hanoi to the town of Bac Kan, then take another local bus to Ba Be Lake. This option is cheaper, but takes longer.

By cab:

A cab from Hanoi to Ba Be lake can be an expensive but convenient option. The journey takes around 4 to 5 hours and costs around VND 1,000,000 (around €45).

Good to know:

  • It’s best to book your transport in advance, especially if you’re traveling during the high tourist season.
  • Be sure to check bus and cab schedules before you leave.
  • Don’t forget to take water and snacks for the journey.

For a family holiday, you’ll find a variety of accommodation options, from traditional guesthouses to comfortable eco-lodges. The lakeside villages of Pac Ngoi and Coc Toc offer homestays and an incredible cultural immersion. Our favorite? The Ba Be Jungle Houses (formerly Mr Linh’s Homestay), a comfortable resort with a breathtaking view of the lake.

Jungle Resort
Ba Be Jungle Houses - Source : Mr Linh's adventures

Best times to visit Ba Be lake with your family

Dry season (October to April)

The dry season, from October to April, is ideal for visiting Ba Be Lake. Temperatures are pleasant and rainfall low, perfect for outdoor activities.

October to December: Enjoy moderate temperatures (20-25°C), lush green landscapes and a dry climate.

January to April: Winter and early spring offer a mild climate and a quieter period, with fewer tourists.

Rainy season (May to September)

The rainy season, from May to September, is less recommended due to heavy rainfall, but it also has its charms.

May to June: showers are generally short and the lush landscapes ideal for photographers.

July to September: The rainiest months, perfect for those who appreciate a lush, tropical atmosphere.

Tips for planning your visit

  • Avoid Vietnamese holidays: Holiday periods like Tet can be busier, and accommodation can be booked well in advance.
  • Prepare for hiking: If you’re planning to hike, the dry season is ideal. Make sure you have suitable hiking boots and bring water and snacks.
  • Book in advance: If you’re traveling during the high season (October to April), it’s advisable to book your accommodation and activities in advance to avoid disappointment.

Conclusion

A family holiday on Ba Be Lake is an adventure rich in discovery and unforgettable experiences. Between the lake’s natural beauty, outdoor activities and the warm welcome of the locals, this destination offers the perfect setting for an immersive, rejuvenating vacation.

So why wait? Book your stay at Ba Be lake and create unforgettable memories with your family!

Discovering the Ethnic Villages Around Ba Be Lake

Embark on a captivating journey into the heart of the ethnic villages that fringe the magnificent Ba Be Lake. Witness a rich cultural diversity and guardians of ancestral traditions, these villages are an irresistible invitation to immerse yourself in the unique lifestyles of each ethnic group.

Prepare for an enriching educational and sensory experience as you meet the main local communities living around Ba Be Lake!

Tay Ladies Ba Be lake
Tay ladies - Ba Be lake - Source : Mr Linh's Adventures

The Tay:
Guardians of Lakeside Tradition

Among the ethnic groups present in the Ba Be Lake region, the Tay occupy a prominent place. Their traditional way of life is intimately linked to the waters of the lake.

For generations, the Tay have developed unique expertise in navigation and fishing. Their ancestral know-how in this field is passed down from father to son, perpetuating proven and respectful techniques for this aquatic environment.

The typical Tay habitat is characterized by wooden stilt houses, perfectly adapted to the lakeside environment. This vernacular architecture reflects a harmonious integration of their way of life with the surrounding nature.

Visiting a Tay village means discovering their rich craftsmanship, blending traditional know-how and contemporary creativity. Vibrantly patterned weavings and the manufacture of typical musical instruments are among the local specialties not to be missed.

Several Tay villages dot the shores of Ba Be Lake, offering you multiple gateways to their culture:

  • Bo Lu, one of the main villages on the west bank, is home to magnificent wooden stilt houses. The dwellings are oriented towards the lake, with the mountain range at their rear. Among these are modern, raised houses, interspersed with older ones. Despite these changes, locals continue to fish in the lake, using this practice as a foundation for their tourism industry.
  • Pac Ngoi, nestled by the southeastern edge of Ba Be Lake, is a large village. The stilt houses harmoniously merge with the lush green forest backdrop, creating a picturesque sight. The villagers toil away throughout the day and later gather in the evening to enjoy homemade meals and share stories.
  • Coc Toc village is nestled in a serene forest, showcasing the dwellings of various ethnic minorities. The peaceful ambiance of this place is undeniable, with fishing as the primary livelihood. The locals lead modest, hospitable lives and welcome guests with delectable food made from locally sourced ingredients. It’s a place where one can embrace nature and live an authentic experience.

Discover more about the Tay – Thai Ethnic Group

Bo Lu Village
Bo Lu Village - Source : Mr Linh's Adventures

The Dao:
Masters of the Mountain

The Dao are another ethnic group present in the Ba Be Lake region, recognizable by their finely embroidered clothing and elaborate hairstyles, true works of art. Their villages are located in the mountainous heights surrounding the lake.

For the Dao, agriculture and the collection of medicinal plants are at the heart of their age-old way of life. Their daily lives are punctuated by field work and the perpetuation of traditional practices closely linked to the surrounding nature.

During your visit to the Dao villages, you will be warmly welcomed with benevolent smiles. This hospitality will allow you to taste their typical gastronomy rich in flavors, or even to benefit from the relaxing effects of a bath in aromatic and medicinal herbs.

Around Ba Be Lake, several Dao villages stand out for their preserved beauty and authenticity:

  • Na Nghe, a small village known for the warm welcome of its inhabitants, is also well worth a visit once you’ve ventured into the forests. You’ll be enveloped by the sounds of nature and the breathtaking images of the valley below the village. Na Nghe village consists of conventional Dzao wooden structures where families live, sleep and eat, when they’re not busy sorting freshly harvested medicinal herbs.
  • Him Dam, immersed in its rural setting.
Ethnic Village
Ethnic Village, Ba Be lake - Source : Mr Linh's Adventures

The Nung:
Artisans of the Earth

Another important ethnic group around Ba Be Lake is the Nung. They stand out for their ancestral mastery of terraced farming, offering cultivated landscapes of striking beauty. The Nung are seasoned farmers, mainly cultivating rice, corn and vegetables on these cleverly landscaped artificial plots.

But the Nung’s talents don’t stop there. They also excel in craftsmanship, perpetuating centuries-old know-how in forging and pottery. During your visit to their villages, you will be able to admire and acquire unique pieces, entirely hand-fashioned with passion by these exceptional artisans.

Around Ba Be Lake, the renowned Nung villages are named:

  • Tham Hai, a typical village offering an authentic insight into the traditional way of life of ethnic minorities in this mountainous region of northern Vietnam.
  • Khuon Khut, a fishing village where the local economy is historically based on fishing in the lake and its tributaries

Read also this article : Ethnicity | Ba Be National Park

H'mong people, Ba Be market - Source : mr Linh's Adventures

The Hmong:
Guardians of the High Mountains

In the most remote and mountainous areas surrounding Ba Be Lake, live the Hmong, a people with a rich cultural heritage, often considered the guardians of age-old traditions.

Their culture has a very rich artisanal and musical dimension. The Hmong are indeed talented weavers and goldsmiths, creating unique clothes and jewelry that tell their story and ancestral beliefs. Their famous polyphonic chants and traditional music also enliven village festivities.

Proud of their roots, the Hmong also stand out for their legendary sense of hospitality. Visiting one of their villages is an authentic immersion into the heart of a way of life that has been preserved for generations.

Around Ba Be Lake, you can discover:

  • Khau Qua, offers an idyllic glimpse of traditional Hmong housing amidst wild landscapes.
  • Nam Dai, located on the banks of the Nang River, in an environment of dense forests and karst mountains. The village’s economy is based mainly on terraced farming on the hillsides.

Learn more about the H’mong Ethnic Group

Pac Ngoi
Pac Ngoi, a Tay village on the edge of Ba Be lake - Source : Mr Linh's Adventures

An Invitation to Adventure

Exploring the ethnic villages around Ba Be Lake is more than just a trip, it’s a true immersion into the heart of ancestral cultures of unsuspected richness. This region is home to a mosaic of peoples with age-old traditions, harmoniously combining traditional lifestyles with respect for the surrounding nature.

At Ba Be Jungle House, we are committed to helping you discover all the facets of this exceptional destination through tailor-made and unforgettable experiences. We invite you to step into the heart of the Ba Be region and discover its hidden treasures. Our experienced guides will lead you through the villages, introduce you to the locals, and share with you the secrets of their traditions.

Learn more about the ethnic minorities of Ba Be National Park

Learn more about the Minority Groups in Vietnam

Map of Ba Be National Park/Ba Be lake with the main ethnic villages - Source : Mr Linh's Adventures

Ba Be cuisine, a gustatory journey to the heart of local communities

Venturing into the Bac Kan mountains and along the shores of magnificent Lake Ba Be, travelers are transported into a world of culinary delights. Tasting the specialties of the Tay, Dao and Nung communities, as well as the fresh wonders of the lake, they discover the true essence of this region and the richness of its culinary traditions. It’s a true paradise for food lovers in search of unique and authentic taste experiences.

So, my gourmet friends, get your taste buds ready and set off to discover these incredible culinary delights!

Banh-cuon-Cao-Bang
Banh cuon Cao Bang - Source : internet

A culinary journey to the heart of Ba Be’s ethnic groups

Let me reveal some of its most delicious gastronomic secrets.

Let’s start with the unmissable stars: the famous bánh cuốn Cao Bằng! These thin steamed rice pancakes, filled with a succulent stuffing of pork, black mushrooms and green onions… A real treat for the taste buds! Dipped in this sweet and sour nuoc mam sauce, they’re a pure delight.

And what about trying xôi ngũ sắc? This glutinous rice cooked with turmeric and pandan leaves will offer you an explosion of colors and flavors! It’s a festive and symbolic dish, often served on special occasions. A feast for the eyes and the taste buds!

But don’t stop there! Also try thịt chua, a fermented pork meat spiced up with aromatic herbs and spices. Its unique taste and melt-in-your-mouth texture make it an absolutely delicious side dish or appetizer.

And snack lovers will appreciate the lạp xưởng, dried and smoked pork sausages, sprinkled with salt, pepper and chilli. A delicious snack for your mountain hikes!

Peng Pha, the taste of Ba Be - Source : Internet

Discovering Tays flavours

But that’s just the beginning of your gustatory journey!

Among the Tay, you’ll discover such marvels as bánh cuốn mò, a sticky rice cake with a melting texture and delicate taste. Or khâu nhục, a stew of purple taro and pork belly, simmered in a mouth-watering sauce. Tay cuisine is also renowned for its Pẻng phạ, glutinous rice cakes previously ground to a powder, then mixed with a cup of wine and strong tea, instead of pure water. Dumplings are then baked and rolled in toasted glutinous rice powder. The cakes are then stuffed with minced pork, mushrooms and other ingredients, and grilled. Did you know? In the Tày language, “peng” means cake and “pha” means sky. Thus, peng pha is also known as sky cake (bánh trời). Because of this meaning, the Tày generally make it for important occasions, such as New Year’s Day or the Lông Tông festival (the festival of going down to the fields).

I almost forgot to tell you about lợn tộc đen, the meat of free-range black pigs raised in the mountains. Slow-cooked with herbs and spices, its tender flavor and strong taste are a perfect match for rice dishes.

Read more :
Ethnic Cuisine in Bac Kan

Diving into the culinary world of the Daos and Nung

But that’s not all!

The Dao and Nung also have some delicious surprises in store. Like bánh áp chao, fried fritters made from glutinous rice flour and mung beans. Or xôi ngũ sắc, multicolored glutinous rice cooked with edible flowers and leaves. An explosion of colors and flavors, to be enjoyed at parties and celebrations!

And what about the fresh fish caught in magnificent Lake Ba Be? Grilled, simmered or in fondue, they offer an unforgettable culinary experience. Take, for example, cá lăng nướng: this wood-grilled catfish is a classic of local cuisine. Its tender, flavorful flesh is enjoyed with a spicy sauce and fresh herbs. What’s not to love about canh chua cá lóc? This sweet-and-sour snakefish soup is a refreshingly fragrant dish, ideal for hot days. The light acidity of the broth and the freshness of the fish make it a must-try. And when it comes to fondue, try the unmissable lẩu cá tầm, a unique culinary experience based on sturgeon fish. The fish is cooked in a fragrant broth, accompanied by vegetables and rice vermicelli… a truly convivial feast.

So get ready for a real taste odyssey in the heart of Bac Kan! Let yourself be tempted by these authentic specialties, discover local products such as wild honey or cashew nuts, and soak up the culinary richness of this region. You’ll leave with a heart (and belly!) full of wonderful memories. Bon appétit, my gourmet friends!

banh-ap-chao-cao-bang
Banh ap chao, a speciality from Cao Bang - Source : Internet

If you’re hungry after hearing all these flavors, let me give you the recipe for Bánh Giò, a dish typical of North Vietnam and especially Hanoi. But, in Ba Be, they have an interesting version where they use “dó” leaves to wrap the dough and stuffing. But that’s not all. The leaves are dried and then reduced to ash before being sieved into a fine powder, which is then mixed with the rice paste to give Ba Be’s Bánh Giò a grayish color and slightly smoky flavor. The filling can also include additional ingredients such as mint leaves, basil or ginger.

But don’t worry, we’ll keep it simple. By the way, we don’t really know where Banh Gio comes from, but it probably dates back to the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945) and is said to be an adaptation of a similar Chinese dish, Jiaozi.

Learn more about the Authentic flavors in Ba Be National Park

So much for today’s anecdote! Now for the recipe!

banh gio
Banh Gio - Source : internet

Recipe for Bánh Giò
(easy to prepare)

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1 cup tapioca
  • 6 cups chicken or pork stock (at room temperature)

For the stuffing

  • 500 g ground pork
  • 50 g dried black mushrooms
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt, sugar, pepper to taste
  • Banana leaves
  • Fish sauce
  • Fresh chili pepper

Instructions

Prepare the dough: In a large bowl, mix the rice flour and tapioca. Gradually add the chicken or pork stock, stirring constantly until a smooth paste is obtained. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Prepare the filling: Soak the black mushrooms in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain and finely chop. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and shallots and sauté until tender. Add ground pork and cook until browned. Add black mushrooms, salt, sugar and pepper. Stir well and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Assemble the Bánh Giò: Cut the banana leaves into 15 cm x 15 cm squares. Take a tablespoon of rice paste and place it in the center of a square of banana leaf. Add a tablespoon of filling to the center of the dough. Close the banana leaf, forming a cone or pyramid. See below for other assembly options.

Cook the Bánh Giò: Arrange the Bánh Giò in a steamer basket. Steam for 20-25 minutes, until the dough is translucent and the filling is cooked through.

Serving the Bánh Giò: Serve the Bánh Giò hot with fish sauce and fresh chilli pepper.

Enjoy your meal!

wrapping-banh-gio
How to wrap Banh gio in a banana leaf - Source : Internet

Tips

If you don’t have banana leaves, you can make banh gio in a bowl. Brush the bowl with oil, add the dough, the filling, another layer of dough and spread evenly. Cover with cling film to prevent condensation during steaming. Alternatively, use silicone muffin moulds.

If you have them, use glutinous rice flour instead of ordinary rice flour.

You can add other vegetables to the filling, such as carrots or peas.

Banh Gio can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in steam before serving.

Tham Phay Cave: A Hidden Gem of Ba Be National Park

Hidden in the bowels of Vietnam’s Ba Be National Park, just outside the village of Na Slai in Hoang Tri commune, the mysterious cave of Tham Phay exerts a fascination for adventurers and lovers of unspoiled nature. Although less well-known than its spectacular neighbour Son Doong, Tham Phay distills an enchanting charm and preserves still untouched depths, promising an unforgettable caving experience.

Set a course for
Ba Be National Park

Nestled in the heart of the mountainous province of Bac Kan, about 240 km from Hanoi, the Ba Be National Park is home to an exceptional underground gem: the Tham Phay karst cave, the largest in Vietnam. This biosphere reserve, classified by UNESCO in 2004, is a veritable paradise on earth. In addition to the impressive Tham Phay Cave, accessible by boat or on foot, it is home to natural wonders: the three eponymous lakes, a maze of mysterious caves and a lush rainforest. To immerse yourself in these breathtaking scenery, travelers can take the scenic road by bus or opt for a private car transfer, both of which offer breathtaking views of the Vietnamese countryside after about 6 hours of travel.

Enjoy Ba Be Jungle Houses

For a total immersion in the natural splendour of Ba Be, stop at Ba Be Jungle Houses, a charming accommodation with breathtaking views of Ba Be Lake. Nestled in a verdant jungle, this tranquil setting combines rusticity and comfort, perfect for rejuvenating after a day of exploring the wonders of the national park. The Jungle Resort also offers a range of escape-friendly activities, such as hiking, kayaking and bird watching. Thanks to its attentive staff and its soothing atmosphere, this haven of serenity will reserve you an unforgettable stay, in perfect communion with the surrounding nature.

Ba Be Jungle Houses
View from Ba Be Jungle Houses

Dive into the depths of
Tham Phay Cave

Nicknamed the “Son Doong of North Vietnam“, Tham Phay Cave represents an unsuspected natural gem eager to be explored. Stretching for more than a kilometre, this millennial cavity reveals titanic galleries topping 30 metres high, testifying to the earth’s power at work for millions of years. After a 1h30 hike through a verdant jungle, the traveler finally reaches the majestic entrance, guarded by impressive rocks reminiscent of dinosaur teeth.

Once inside, a unique karstic universe unfolds, where there are endless rooms with walls sculpted by water and time, studded with shimmering stalactites and stalagmites, still untouched by any geological exploration. A real spectacle of natural light is played out, the rays of the sun filtering through the openings of the vault. On the ground, the two branches of the underground river converge in a hypnotic flow. Further upstream, innumerable bats, including the rare horseshoe species, hunt under the rocky domes, while other unsuspected forms of life seem to have taken up residence in this preserved Eden, a true paradise for the naturalist. The adventure intensifies as you sink, the air becomes fresher and the creek more abundant, sometimes requiring an aquatic immersion to continue the exploration…

Tham Phay Cave Entrance

Uncover the mysteries of
Tham Phay Cave

The name “Tham Phay” comes from the Tay language, where “Tham” means cave and “Phay” means fire, thus giving its name to the “cave of fire”. But where would this enigmatic qualifier come from? The most fanciful local legends continue to fuel the most haunting suppositions…

It is undeniable that Tham Phay Cave has a rich historical and legendary heritage. According to local folklore, it was once the home of a dragon-king guarding its entrance with a powerful army. There are even rumours that some of Chiang Kai-shek’s troops took refuge in the surrounding mountains of Tan Lap and Ba Be forests to hide their wealth during the Chinese Civil War.

Tham Phay Ễpdition

Unleash your inner adventurer with Mr Linh’s Adventures

While the Tham Phay Cave is the flagship attraction of Ba Be National Park for hikers and speleologists, visitors can also engage in a variety of other outdoor activities within this vast unspoiled natural area. Experiences include hiking, kayaking on the surrounding lakes, and bird watching. The local agency Mr Linh’s Adventures offers a variety of guided excursions, such as hikes in the lush jungle, bike rides in the heart of Tay and Nung villages, kayaking or river cruises, allowing you to explore the riches of this biosphere reserve from all angles.

Hiking in Ba Be National Pảk

Conclusion

An expedition into the depths of the Tham Phay Cave is a must-see adventure for thrillers. This demanding and exhilarating speleological hike will plunge you into the very heart of the cavity, where you will be surrounded by secret waterfalls, breathtaking rock formations and the thrill of treading a virgin territory. Tham Phay promises an unforgettable experience, in an exceptional natural setting, a must during a stay in northern Vietnam.

Thrill and wonder guaranteed for this immersion in the depths of the Earth!

♥ Did you know that ? Tham Phay is not the only cave in Ba Be…
Have a look to : Caving in Ba Be National Park: A journey to the heart of the Earth

What’s the best time to visit Ba Be?

Ranked as Vietnam’s 8th national park, Ba Be is fast becoming a must-see natural destination in the north-east of the country. With its lush tapestry of rivers surrounded by karst mountains adorned with jungles and hidden caves, the Ba Be region welcomes visitors with simplicity and rugged beauty.

Season Ba Be Lake

Presentation

Ranked as Vietnam’s 8th national park, Ba Be is fast becoming a must-see natural destination in the north-east of the country. With its lush tapestry of rivers surrounded by karst mountains adorned with jungles and hidden caves, the Ba Be region welcomes visitors with simplicity and rugged beauty.

Bac Kan’s two seasons

Ba Be’s climate is characterized by two distinct seasons.

The dry season

From November to April, the weather is generally dry and cool, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C. This season is perfect for hiking, cycling and exploring ethnic villages.

The wet season

From May to October, rains are frequent, accompanied by higher temperatures (25°C to 30°C) and high humidity. The lush vegetation is at its best, offering a breathtaking spectacle, but beware, some activities may be affected by the weather.

Choosing the right season

✓ October and November: these two months offer a good compromise between the beauty of lush vegetation and less intense rainfall.

✓ From November to January, you can look forward to a cool, dry climate, ideal for hikers and trekkers. The landscapes may be less green than in other seasons, but the sunny days and cool nights provide pleasant comfort.

✓ March and April: Temperatures gradually warm up, days get longer and nature wakes up. Sunny days and pleasant temperatures invite you to enjoy orchid blooms and outdoor activities.

✓ May to October: The rainy season brings dense vegetation and verdant landscapes. While hiking may present more of a challenge, kayaking and water sports enthusiasts will be delighted by the lake’s swollen waters.

Ba Be Ethnics

Avoid the following periods

January and February: The cold can be biting, limiting some activities.

July and August: Torrential rains can disrupt excursions and boating on the lake.

Good to know

Public holidays and festivals: Têt Nguyên Dán (Vietnamese New Year) and the Ba Be temple festival attract large numbers of tourists, resulting in higher prices and increased visitor numbers.

Depending on your interests: If you prefer hiking, choose the dry season. To admire the beauty of the green landscapes, the wet season is ideal.

Bonus Tips

Book your accommodation at Ba Be Jungle Houses in advance, especially during the high season.

Be sure to bring clothing appropriate for the season and the activities planned.

Don’t forget mosquito repellent during the wet season.

Our top Ba Be attractions and must-see sites

  • Thach Long pagoda
  • Pac Ngoi village
  • Ba Be Lake
  • Ba Be National Park
  • Long Tong Festival
  • Ba Be Spring Festival

And do not forget to visit our activities page!

To conclude

Although the region’s climate is pleasant all year round, with an average temperature of 22 degrees, it’s best to visit Ba Be in early spring or autumn, or even in summer, between April and November, during the rainy season. Ba Be National Park offers an unforgettable experience whatever the season, but if you can choose the period that suits you best, you’re sure to have an authentic and emotionally rich stay.

The Mandarin ducks of Ba Be Lake: an ode to love and beauty

Spring at Ba Be Lake is a magical time. It’s the perfect time to see Mandarin ducks, the flamboyantly colored birds that migrate from the north to escape the winter cold.

Mandarin Duck

From spectacle to symbolism

These ducks, present from mid-February to the end of March, fascinate by their beauty. The male, with his brightly-colored plumage, and the more discreet female form a united couple, a symbol of love and fidelity in Vietnam. Popular language has kept many traces of our colorful bird:
  • Uyên ương: A married couple.
  • Uyên ương tơ: A young couple in love.
  • Cầu uyên ương: An “S”-shaped bridge symbolizing the union of two souls.
  • Vòng uyên ương: A necklace with two pendants in the shape of Mandarin ducks, offered to couples.
  • Tranh uyên ương: A painting depicting Mandarin ducks, often given as a wedding gift.

An inseparable couple

Uyen and Uong, as they’re affectionately known, are never apart. They sleep, eat and swim together, a model of marital bliss. Their presence at Vietnamese weddings symbolizes the union of the spouses and their commitment to remain united.

A lucky charm

The Mandarin duck is also a symbol of fertility and happiness. Giving a pair of ducks to a couple wishing to have a child is a common tradition. Its presence in a home is considered a lucky charm, bringing joy and prosperity.

Legendary love

The Mandarin duck is also present in Vietnamese folklore. There are many stories and legends about these birds and their symbolism.

Let me tell you the legend of the mandarin duck and the fairy

Long ago, in a peaceful village in Vietnam, there lived a young man named Trương Chi. Poor as Job, his only possession was his immense beauty. One day, while strolling nonchalantly, he spotted an extraordinarily beautiful fairy, Mỵ Nương, descending from the sky to bathe in a lake.

Instant love at first sight! Trương Chi fell in love with her at first sight, and so did she. And so began a love story worthy of the greatest fairy tales. They married and lived happily ever after, as if in a daydream.

But, as in every good story, there is always a villain. One day, a cruel village mandarin, an arrogant and unscrupulous bigwig, fell under the spell of Mỵ Nương. Desiring to possess her at all costs, he ordered Trương Chi to give him his wife.

Trương Chi, a courageous man and mad lover, flatly refused. The mandarin, furious at his refusal, had him killed without mercy.

Mỵ Nương, inconsolable and devastated, went to the lakeside where she had met her lost love. There, she miraculously transformed herself into a Mandarin duck, the symbol of eternal love. She swam across the lake singing a sad song, expressing her pain and immense sorrow. One day, a kind-hearted fisherman heard the melancholy song of Mỵ Nương. Touched by her sadness, he caught her and took her home. Mỵ Nương lived with the fisherman for many years, telling him the tragic story of her lost love.

When Mỵ Nương died, his soul once again took the form of a Mandarin duck and flew up to heaven. The story goes that, in the afterlife, she was finally reunited with her beloved Trương Chi, and they now live happily ever after, far from injustice and evil mandarins.

Moral of the story? True love is stronger than death, even in the face of insurmountable obstacles. It’s a force that crosses time and space, capable of overcoming all hardships.

 

There are other versions of this love story… Tran Trong Kim and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai’s (or Le Van and Nguyen Thi, depending on the version) is a veritable concentrate of love, tears and magic, all sprinkled with a zest of Mandarin duck.

Under the Tran dynasty, these two lovebirds fall for each other like pepperoni pizza fresh from the oven. But their families are enemies, as ruthless as hungry ninjas. Marriage is out of the question!

That’s where the Mandarin duck comes in. A bird like no other, capable of miracles. Wounded or magically appearing (we’re not sure), he bides his time. And when the lovers are on the verge of despair, paf! The duck steps in and fixes everything.

The result? Tran Trong Kim and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai (or Le Van and Nguyen Thi) finally get married, and live happily ever after, accompanied by their lucky duck.

All of which goes to show that love is stronger than anything, even enemy families. And if you’ve got a Mandarin duck in your family, take good care of it! He just might save your ass one day…

Uyen Uong - Ho Ba Be

Ba Be Lake, a natural sanctuary

Let’s come back down to earth, or rather to the shores of Ba Be Lake, for a chance to spot yellow-headed ducks (scientific name: Anas penelope – Eurasian Wigeon), a migratory bird species that is rarer than Mandarin ducks in Vietnam.

In addition to Mandarin ducks, Ba Be Lake is home to a rich and varied biodiversity. It’s the largest natural freshwater lake in Vietnam, with 500 hectares and 10,000 hectares of virgin forest. A true haven of peace for nature lovers.

So, if you’re looking for a unique experience, come and watch the Mandarin ducks of Lake Ba Be. Be enchanted by their beauty and discover the deep symbolism attached to them.

A word of advice: get up early to observe the Mandarin ducks in their natural habitat. Enjoy the calm of the morning and the beauty of the landscape for an unforgettable experience.

Learn more about Ba Be National Park: an exceptional biodiversity reserve in the heart of Vietnam

Photos : Dan Tri online magazine
From : Dịp hiếm ngắm nhìn chim uyên ương khi du Xuân hồ Ba Bể