Designated as Vietnam’s eighth national park in 1992 and covering an area of about one hundred square kilometres, Ba Be is a region of astounding beauty, from the lush vegetation mirrored in the lake’s still waters to towering limestone pinnacles that reach over 1500m.
Ba Be National Park is in Bac Kan province not far from the borders of Cao Bang province and Tuyen Quang province. The lakes are 280km from Hanoi, 61km from Bac Kan and 18km from Cho Ra. Within 2 – 3 days, you will be able to enjoy sightseeing to beautiful ethnic villages in the region around the national park; this will be via an easy bike ride from the local village where you are having your home stay. There will also be a tranquil boat trip on Ba Be Lake and the River Nang to view romantic and imposing landscape.
Most visitors to the national park get there by chartered vehicle from Hanoi. The one-way journey from Hanoi takes about six hours; most travellers allow three days and two nights for the trip.
Reaching the park by public transport is possible, but not easy. There no direct bus to Ba Be Park. You can take a bus to Bac Kan at My Dinh bus station and off at Cho Ra town (it will take you about five hours). In Cho Ra, you arrange a motorbike (about 50,000VND) to cover the last 16km to Ba Be. You can stay in Ba Be guest house or homestay inside the park.
This motorbike trip will take you from the hectic roads of Hanoi to winding rural trail of Ba Be National Park where you can experience unspoilt natural beauty and authentic, traditional villages.
After 100 km from city centre, you will ride on the small and winding road through the forest and mountains. It takes almost one day by motorcycle riding. Some roads are tough and easy to get lost so you need to be well-prepared. After one day motorbike ride, you will be in the heart of the biggest National Park in northeast Vietnam – Ba Be. You can spend 1,2 or 3 days here to discover the Ba Be lake – the largest natural lake in Vietnam, to do trekking in the park, motorbike ride around to see the villages of the hill tribes and to visit some “off-the beaten” limestone caves.
If you need to rent bikes for the trip, please contact Rentabike. We have a range of bikes for touring and you can see them here.
WHEN TO GO?
The best time to visit Ba Be Lake is during the dry season (winter and spring). In the wet season, the lake takes up water from the Nang River and regularly flooded. If travel at the time of Long Tong Festival on the 10th and 11th days of the first lunar month, there are traditional games and performance of surrounding ethnic tribal groups.
WHAT TO DO?
Visitors to Ba Be National Park have their choice of a variety of experiences — lazy boat tours on the lakes, treks to caves and waterfalls, homestays in minority villages and kayaking trips through the park. The park also boasts surprising biodiversity, with some 550 plant species, 65 species of mammals, 353 butterflies, 233 birds and more than 100 types of fish. While some of the wildlife can be quite shy and difficult to spot, it’s common to see macaque monkeys, colorful parrots and herons near the banks of the lake.
Highlights of Ba Be National Park are peaceful boat trips on the lake, visits at nearby tourist spots such as Puong Cave and Dau Dang Waterfall and trekking to minority villages. Basic homestay at villages in the park is also a great experience. Further north of Ba Be is Cao Bang Province , a remote area where you can see authentic ethnic minority lifestyle as well as the famous Ban Gioc Waterfall .
There is no hotel inside Ba Be National Park but there are many homstays. All the accommodations in Ba Be National Park are stay safe and security certificate by government! The Tay people is very friendly and always welcome you!
A popular homstay in Ba Be: Mr Linh’s Homestay. Located outside of the main village on a quiet street, Mr Linh’s Homestay is a luxury style homestay. Clean, modern, new mattresses, hot water. Good food available. Can also book lake tours and ethnic minority village treks. Free wifi. Mr Linh also has a budget homestay in the village.
MAPS: HANOI – BA BE