Ba Be- Cao Bang

Ba Be- Cao Bang

Things to do - general

Ba Bể Lake (Vietnamese: Hồ Ba Bể, Ba Bể meaning “Three Lakes” in the local Tay language) is the largest natural fresh water lake, stretching about 8 kilometers in the north-south direction. The surface area of the lake fluctuates between 3 and 5 km² between dry and wet season. Unlike many lakes in Karst limestone areas, Ba Bê Lake never falls dry. Its average depth varies between 17 and 23 meters, the maximum depth is 35 meters. The lake lies about 150 meters above sea level, making it also Vietnam’s highest. The name “Three Lakes” refers to the three parts of the lake named Pe Leng, Pe Lu, and Pe Lam. All these three parts are connected into a single continuous body of water, however.

The Ta Han, Bo Lu, and Leng Rivers feed into the lake from the south and the west. During the dry season, water is drained from the lake northwards into the Nang River. During high floods in the wet season, the latter flow is reversed however, and the lake takes up water from the Nang River thereby acting as a buffer regulating flooding.

 

Flora and fauna

Limestone cliff in Ba Be

Limestone cliff in Ba Be

The vegetation in Ba Bể National Park mainly consists of limestone and evergreen forest. The former covers steep mountain slopes on which the soil cover is thin. The latter depends on thicker soil cover and has a higher species diversity. The dominating tree species of the lime stone forest are Burretiodendron hsienmu (Tiliaceae) and Streblus tonkinensis (Moraceae). Climbing bamboo (Ampelocalamus) is a regional endemic plant common on the hill slopes near the lake shore.

65 mammal species have been recorded in the park, among them: Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla), Slow loris (Nycticebus coucang),Rhesus macaque, Stump-tailed macaque, François’ langur, Asian black bear, European otter, Owston’s palm civet, Asian golden cat,Mainland serow, Red giant flying squirrel, Particolored flying squirrel (Hylopetes alboniger), Hairy-footed flying squirrel as well as 27 batspecies.

Furthermore, 233 bird species, 43 reptile and amphibian species among them the king cobra and the Vietnamese Salamander (Paramesotriton deloustali), have been recorded. In Ba Be lake, 106 fish species from 61 genera, 17 families, and 5 orders have been recorded. The park is also noteworthy for its diversity in butterflies for which 354 species have been recorded.

 

Country Vietnam
Languages spokenVietnamese, Tay
Currency usedVND
Area (km2)678

Interesting palaces & Activities

Puong cave

Puong Cave in Ba Ba Lake

Puong Cave:  

is located in the Nang River of Ba Be district, Bac Kan province. It is about 5km from the Cha Ra town. The Puong Cave attracts visitors with its strange and unique stalactites and the bat community of ten thousands. The Nang River flows under the limestone among the vertical cliffs of Lung Nham Mountain that is Puong cave. The small boat floats in the cave with the ethereal lights. Beside this magical scene with color and sound of water and light, visitors would be fascinated by the strange stalactites in the gate of the cave. There is a community of bat inside the cave with the number of tens of thousands. On the east north of Ba Be Lake, in the hillside of the Lung Nham range, Puong cave is one of the favored destination with the height of 50m. It creates a splendid entrance with the Nang river flows for 300m through the cave, which creates one of the most magnificent limestone landscapes of Ba Be national park. The cave is the residence of many night creatures. Typically, there are 18 types of bats with the amount of thousands, which covers the vast number of national park of Ba Be. They often run in the twilight and dawn time. There are three types of bat, which are important in pollination, and distribution of the seed. The bats, which eat insects, also help with protecting the local crops from many harmful insects. However, the noise for visitors and bothering for local people to gather its dung are affecting the down number of bats.

Dau Dang water fall in Ba Ba lake

Dau Dang water fall

Dau Dang Waterfall

is 16km from Ba Be District, 3km from Ba Be Lake,  is an interesting place with the magnificent scenery for tourists in Vietnam travel to explore and enjoy.
Dau Dang Waterfall is located where the Nang River enters Tuyen Quang Province. It flows for 2km where the Nang river is blocked by various sized stones slopping for nearly 500m. The pleasant look of the waterfall and the primitive nature of the forest are extremely impressive. Furthermore, there is a special rare and valuable species of fish called ca chien living in the river, some of these fish weight over 10kg.

Pac Ngoi Village: 

According to the local government, it is not the lack of money that keeps the inhabitants from building new and convenient houses but the love for their ethnic heritage. They strive to preserve and protect those cultural values from disappearing forever, because without these beautiful stilt houses, Pac Ngoi Village is no longer Pac Ngoi village.
Tourists in Vietnam travel coming to Pac Ngoi are not only entitled to witness with their naked eyes the most wonderful scenery of Northern Vietnam: a plethora of austere yet interesting stilt houses blending themselves with the glimmering mist and the shinning Ba Be Lakes, but also to stay in the rhythm of the Tay culture.
This claim can be easily proven by the fact that visitors joining tours in Vietnam have to remove their shoes once they step the very first steps on the staircase of a stilt house. Inside the house, ethnic people gather around the gleaming fireplace, forgetting themselves in the sophisticate stories about the economy or the politic.
They create a world that shares nothing in common with the big cities where electronic lights and high buildings are ubiquitous. They are just there, in their beautiful social center, waiting to share their most interesting stories about life with you.

Nang river in Ba Be national park

Nang river

The Nang river

is part of a large drainage system that brings water from China to Cao Bang via Ba Be, eventually flowing to the Lo river (Tuyen Quang province).
The section of the Nang river between Puong cave and Dau Dang village offers a wonderful opportunity to view tropical limestone forest and numerous limestone formations. Keep your eyes open for birds, especially kingfishers and small forest species.
Here is also a good place to meet some of the local residents going about their daily lives; planting maize on the narrow river banks, fishing, or travelling to or from one of the numerous local markets.
Not far from Ban Cam, the Nang River meets the waters flowing slowly north out of Ba Be Lake. At this point the lake has narrowed such that the meeting point of these two water courses can be difficult to see from the Nang river approach.
However, for several months of the year there is a clear distinction in colour between the clear lake waters and the soil-laden and reddened waters of the Nang. At these times a line forms at the confluence where the waters blend together, indicating that Ba Be lake is yet to suffer from soil erosion on the scale of the Nang River. This point is also marked by a white brick national park ranger post, which can be seen clearly from the river.
At the northern end of the lake, there are numerous orchids and interesting plants to be seen overhanging the water. This is also the best point at which to start looking for larger water birds like egrets and herons.

Cam villages in Ba Be National park

Cam villages

Ban Cam

is a small Tay village spread along one kilometre of the northern bank just before the Nang river meets Ba Be lake.The ‘centre’ of the village occupies a small valley, which is perpendicular to the Nang River and contains a small freshwater stream.The people of Ban Cam are traditionally users of the local dugout canoes — doc moc — for which Ba Be is famous. These are carved from single trees, and although precarious-looking are capable of carrying several people in safety.

Bo Lu villages

Bo Lu villages

Bo Lu and neighbouring Coc Toc, directly opposite the main landing, are a great place to take a short walk through history. There is now road access between all of these villages and the park reception, although boats still offer the most relaxing and enjoyable way to make a visit.
Refreshments are available in all of these villages, and there is the option of arranging home-stays in a number of traditional Tay stilt houses. This is a great way to get a feel for local life, as well as see some traditional dance and song or enjoy local foods.
Situated on “lake three” of Ba Be lake, Fairy Pond is a small water body in a rock basin isolated from the main lake. A short walk from the lake shore brings you to the pond. The pond is fed from waters seeping underground through the surrounding rock, making Fairy Pond the same level as Ba Be.

Fairy pond

Fairy pond

Fairy Pond

is home to a number of local fish and other aquatic animals. Local fishermen sometimes come here to try their luck, though this is surely as much for the quiet and seclusion as it is the hope of a large catch.Like the other special features of Ba Be, Fairy Pond is evoked in local legend; the name is in reference to the story of a local hunter who visited the island and became bewitched by fairies whom he found bathing at the pond.

Hua ma cave

Hua ma cave

Hua Ma Cave,

new addition to Ba Be National Park. New cement steps have been built outside and inside Hua Ma Cave, paving an easy way for travelers to stroll up and down the new tourist destination in Ba Be National Park in the northern province of Bac Kan.Hua Ma in Quang Khe Commune is ranked among the most beautiful and interesting caves in the national park because of its magnificent stalactites and the legend that has been told for generations.

This legend has put it that a king and his entourage once approached an area near the Hua Ma Cave, and the horse of the king was unable to cross a stream in the area. After several unsuccessful attempts to cross the stream the king got off his horse and asked locals for the reason. Then he found out that the area was home to wandering souls of the casuists, whose merciful cry was often heard from the cave at night.The king told his soldiers to kill horses and let the heads drift along the stream. The king also ordered the erection of a temple nearby and made his way into the cave to sit there and recite Buddhist scriptures in the hope that the wandering souls would be released. From that day, no-one has heard the merciful cry from Hua Ma Cave.It is from this legend that the name of the cave came into existence as Hua Ma means the horse’s head in local dialect. Nowadays, visitors can see the stalactites that more or less resemble a throne where the king was seated on.
More magnificent stalactites shine under the electrical lights along the path in the cave. The old and young stalactites look like towers, lotus flowers, stone poles and other shapes depending on the imagination of visitors.To visit Hua Ma Cave, visitors can walk or travel by small passenger car through eight kilometers from the administrative section of Ba Be National Park. On arriving at the cave, they have to walk up 300 meters to the three-meter-wide, five-meter-high entrance, and then stroll down into the cave, which is more than 500 meters long and 40-50 meters wide. Do not forget to bring a flashlight to see more stalactites far from the path or in areas which are in darkness.Ba Be National Park is about 300 kilometers from Hanoi and 50 kilometers from Bac Kan Municipality. Tours to Hua Ma Cave and other attractions in this national park can be booked at the travel office of the park or the travel firms in Han

Useful information

Travel to Ba Ba by car around 250 KM from Hanoi, the road is some times bumpy. On the way visitor can visit Thai Nguyen Ethology museum. Guest house in Ba Be is standard. Visitor also can stay in home stay in Ba Be The houses in the area are built in traditional fashion, from wood and bamboo, raised on stilts above the ground and with a central kitchen hearth. The accommodation is simple but comfortable, and facilities modest but clean. You’re sure to be smitten by the warmth and hospitality of your hosts.T his is a community of fishers and farmers and the meals you will eat are made from local produce. If you stay in a home stay in Vietnam the food here may prove to be the best of your stay: steamed rice accompanied by numerous small portions of fresh vegetables, tofu and fish and chicken, all grown, caught or reared locally and cooked and spiced to perfection. Visitor can visit Ba Be by motor boat. The lush forest clinging to the surrounding mountains is your backdrop as you explore the lake. During the boat trip you will visit the Puong Grotto and the Dau Dang waterfall. The scenery surrounding the lake is simply breathtaking, with the huge, old forest domina -ting in this landscape. During the walk in the afternoon, you will be able to observe the local communities going about their daily life, which includes buffalos and their owners tending the fields.

Culture and history info

Ba Be National Park lies 250 kms north of Ha Noi and is the capital of Ba Be District in Bac Kan Province. The10,048ha park is a great example of biodiversity being home to 1268 species of flora and

fauna, and it includes a series of caves and a gigantic fresh water lake. It lies at an altitude of 145-1080m above sea level and with temperatures ranging from -7C to 32C, Ba Be's climate is mostly moderate throughout the year.
Ba Be National Park was established in 1992 by the Vietnamese Government to preserve forest ecosystems in the northeast. Prior to that the first permanent French civilian residents arrived in 1940 and by 1940 there were a number of boats on the lake and a fortress built in the forest area.
Nowadays Ba Be is becoming a favoured destination for discerning travellers seeking peace and quiet, cultural enrichment or a spot of activity and adventure.Whilst there are other locations in Vietnam such as Sapa and Ha Giang where visitors may easily meet local ethnic minorities, these have become very tourist orientated. Ba Be is home to a great diversity of ethnic people including three main groups of Hmong, Dao and Tay. They do not live in a central town but live in hamlets scattered through the valleys, still living by fishing and farming. Ba Be lake shore is where the ethnic minority people gather to trade, selling their farming products such as fish, rice, corn and fruit in addition to some local handicrafts.
Spending time boating on the lake, visiting ethnic minority villages, observing their daily activities and living in a homestay will enable visitors to understand more about their culture, and taking the opportunity to help with farming or making handicrafts would enhance their appreciation. A local guide will show you around the lake, the jungle, the villages, telling wonderful stories about their culture and traditions, and may even invite you to join their family activities

Unfortunately there are no accommodations at this location at the moment.

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