Ba Be Lake, 250 kilometers north of Hanoi, is rimmed by a vast limestone mountain range. The lake is at the heart of Ba Be National Park, which has been officially recognized as a national tourism site boasting a pristine landscape of mountain peaks, caves, streams, and underwater springs. Besides the lake, there are at least 20 other tourist sites inside the park.
Ba Be literally means “Three Lakes”. It’s called Slam Pe in the Tay language because it encompasses three smaller lakes called Pe Leng, Pe Lu, and Pe Lam. Covering 500 hectares at 150 meters above sea level, Ba Be Lake has crystal clear water and a cool climate all year round. There are two small islands: An Ma, a place of worship, and the smaller Ba Goa (Widow), which features in a legend which explains how the lake was formed millions of years ago.
|Ba Be Lake (Photo: VOV)
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Anh, a tourist from Hanoi, told VOV, “I was told about Ba Be Lake a long time ago, but this is the first time I’ve been here. I’m amazed at how large the lake is. I’m really into the magnificent landscapes and pure air.”
Another tourist from Hanoi, Dang Tuan, said it’s his second time here. “Paved roads and quality homestays and food are added bonus points for Ba Be National Park, where the local ethnic minority people are really friendly. The high points are the unspoiled natural scenery and the clean environment. I believe Ba Be will attract more and more tourists,” Tuan said.
Ethnic food is a big hit at local homestays, where the hosts are the chefs and the waiters. Nguyen Thi Hang, who operates the Chi Hoa homestay, said, “This is grilled fresh fish. We catch the fish in the lake ourselves. This soup is made of squash, our quality farm produce that is sold in Hanoi. Fermented shrimps are a specialty of Bac Kan province. Cage-free chickens can be either grilled or fried with ginger and turmeric. All taste really good.”
|The temple on An Ma islet (Photo: baophapluat.vn)
Today there are a lot more things to do at Ba Be than just paddle a canoe around the lake. Visitors can enjoy “Then” singing, demonstrations of “Tinh” – a traditional stringed musical instrument – and a night market.
Hoang Ngoc Tham, Director of the Management Board of the Ba Be Lake tourism site, said, “We have revived products unique to Ba Be Lake, such as wooden boats that carry visitors on a tour of the area and a folk art troupe. Bac Kan province is working with neighboring provinces of Tuyen Quang and Cao Bang to operate tours linking the three localities. Ba Be district is planning to pilot cultural villages.”
Three new roads leading to Ba Be Lake are being built and should be completed by 2025. One of them will link Bac Kan city to Ba Be, shortening the drive time to one hour. 20 luxurious eco-resorts, tours to local farms, an amusement park, an adventure tour to explore Ba Be National Park, and other exciting entertainment services are seeking permission in this area.