Ba Be Lake is a natural paradise and a cultural gem in northeast Vietnam. It is the largest natural freshwater lake in the country, and also a part of the Ba Be National Park, which covers an area of over 23,000 hectares. Ba Be Lake is famous for its stunning scenery, rich biodiversity and diverse ethnic communities. In this blog post, we will explore some of the attractions and activities that Ba Be Lake has to offer, as well as some of the history and culture that make it unique.
The Attractions of Ba Be Lake
Ba Be Lake has many attractions that appeal to different types of travelers. Some of the most popular ones include:
- The lake: Ba Be Lake is a 8 km long lake that consists of three smaller lakes connected by wide channels. Its name means “three lakes” in Vietnamese, and they are named Pe Leng, Pe Lu and Pe Lam. The lake has a depth of up to 29 m and a surface elevation of 145 m above sea level. The lake is surrounded by limestone cliffs, evergreen forests and waterfalls. It also has many islands, caves and springs that add to its beauty and mystery.
- The national park: Ba Be National Park is a protected area that encompasses the lake and its surroundings. It is home to over 1,200 species of plants and 470 species of animals, many of which are rare and endemic. Some of the notable species are the Francois’ langur, the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey, the Asian black bear and the pangolin. The national park also has many trails and routes for hiking, biking and birdwatching.
- The ethnic villages: Ba Be Lake is also a cultural destination, as it hosts many ethnic villages that preserve their traditional customs and lifestyles. The main ethnic groups are the Tay, the Nung, the Dao and the Hmong. They live in stilt houses, wear colorful costumes and practice various crafts such as weaving, embroidery and bamboo carving. They also celebrate many festivals throughout the year, such as the New Rice Festival, the Long Tong Festival and the Fire Jumping Festival.
The Activities in Ba Be Lake
Ba Be Lake has many activities that cater to different interests and preferences. Some of the most popular ones include:
- The boat ride: One of the best ways to enjoy Ba Be Lake is to take a boat ride along its calm waters. Visitors can rent a boat from one of the local operators or join a tour group. They can admire the scenery, visit some of the attractions such as Puong Cave, Fairy Pond and Widow’s Island, and interact with some of the locals who live on or near the lake.
- The kayaking: Another way to explore Ba Be Lake is to kayak on its surface. Visitors can rent a kayak from one of the local operators or join a tour group. They can paddle at their own pace, discover some hidden corners and coves of the lake, and enjoy some peace and tranquility.
- The homestay: One of the most authentic experiences in Ba Be Lake is to stay at a homestay with one of the ethnic families. Visitors can choose from different options such as Pac Ngoi Village, Bo Lu Village or Coc Toc Village. They can enjoy some local hospitality, taste some delicious home-cooked food, learn some cultural insights and join some daily activities.
The History and Culture of Ba Be Lake
Ba Be Lake has a long and rich history and culture that date back to centuries ago. Some of the highlights of its history and culture include:
- The name: Ba Be Lake derives its name from the phrase “Ba Bể”, which means “three lakes” in Vietnamese. This refers to the three smaller lakes that form the larger lake. However, according to a legend, the name also comes from an old woman beggar who was actually a fairy. She warned a mother and son about an impending flood that would submerge their village, but only they believed her and built a boat to survive. The village then became Ba Be Lake.
- The festival: Ba Be Lake celebrates many festivals throughout the year, but the most important one is the Spring Festival, which is also known as the Tam Thanh Pagoda Festival. It is held every year from January 15th to February 15th according to the lunar calendar. It is a time when people visit Tam Thanh Pagoda to pray for peace, prosperity and happiness, and also enjoy various activities such as music, dance, art, sports and games.
- The museum: Ba Be Lake has a museum that showcases the history, culture and nature of the lake and its surroundings. It has four main sections: the natural section, which displays specimens of animals and plants; the historical section, which displays artifacts and documents from different periods; the cultural section, which displays costumes, instruments and tools of different ethnic groups; and the revolutionary section, which displays weapons, uniforms and photos of the wars.
Ba Be Lake is a natural paradise and a cultural gem in northeast Vietnam. It has many attractions and activities that appeal to different types of travelers. It also has a long and rich history and culture that make it unique. Ba Be Lake is more than just a lake, it is a destination that offers a memorable and authentic experience.