Ba Be Lake: Backpacker’s Paradise
Published: 02/25/2012 by Pat
If you’re a backpacker or simply an adventurer in search of the ultimate nature getaway, Ba Be Lake is the perfect destination for tourists and locals alike.
Known as Vietnam’s largest lake and now the subject of a massive national park, it is both a tropical and semi-tropical evergreen forest nestling in a region of spectacular natural limestone topography. Lakes, waterfalls, caves, and unique rock formations inhabit the place. The lake is home to a rich biodiversity of about 50 animal species, more than 400 plant species, and a myriad of insect, reptile and bird species. Moreover, Ba Be Lake also nurtures ten critically endangered species, including two primates, the Black Gibbon, and the Tonkinese “Snub-Nosed Monkey.”
Ba Be Lake is about 234 kilometers from Hanoi, a six to eight hour land travel through car or motorbike. A shuttle bus is also available for tourists which departs from Mi Dinh Station to Bac Kan City. From there, visitors can either take a xe om or a boat and travel another 15 kilometers before finally arriving at the awe-inspiring Ba Be Lake itself. What the road lacks in smoothness and comfort, the breathtaking scenery all through the trip more than makes up for it and makes it all worth it.
A guesthouse is available at the lake itself to accommodate its visitors, but most tourists prefer taking home-stays at either Pac Ngoi, Bo Lu or Coc Tai Villages where they are treated with utmost warmth and hospitality by the local villagers.
Ba Be Lake is composed of three small lakes: Pe Lam, Pe Lu, and Pe Leng, which all run through the Nang River. It’s about seven kilometers long and one kilometer wide at the widest point. It is home to about fifty species of freshwater fish, and the lake itself is so beautiful and serene one feels a certain peace being there.
Ba Be Lake is filled with so many wonders of nature that a day may not be enough to explore the place with all the amazing caves, waterfalls, ponds, islets, and people inhabiting the area. The Dau Dang Waterfall is a 50-meter tall drop of majestic beauty. The Tien Pond resembles a magical fairy at the top of the mountain. The Puong, Na Phong, and Pac Chan caves are both mysterious and beautiful.
The local people are things of interest and admiration in themselves. Residing in Cam Village, they live a simple life of farming and fishing. Their only means of transportation is the thuyen doc moc, a small wooden boat which has become a status symbol of Ba Be Lake.
Before and after the exploration, guests are treated to food and entertainment by their hosts. The food is always sumptuous with all the fresh fish, chicken, vegetables, fruits and wine available in the area. Sang then, a type of local folk songs, are then sang to the visitors during their meal, played on the local musical instrument tinh.
With the perfect blend of nature’s beauty and the local people’s hospitality, it’s no wonder that Ba Be Lake is a worthy tourist destination, a true paradise on earth.