Ba Be Lake – a gem of the northern uplands
About 230km from Hanoi, Ba Be Lake is an attractive destination for both domestic and foreign tourists when coming to Bac Kan.
Away from the hustle and bustle in urban areas, Ba Be Lake is the perfect place to escape worries and immerse oneself in nature. Visitors have many options on how to experience Ba Be Lake, but the most comprehensive way is to sail a boat on the lake itself.
As the "green heart" of Ba Be National Park, Ba Be Lake was formed from the tectonic evolution of Southeast Asia more than 200 million years ago, and features many unique geological and geomorphological aspects.
At 145m above sea level, Ba Be Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in Vietnam, with a length of more than 8km, a water surface area of about 500ha made up of three connected lakes including Pe Leng, Pe Lu and Pe Lam. This is also the origin of the name "Ba Be", in the local language is "Slam Pe" (three lakes).
Ba Be Lake is also listed in a list of the 20 most beautiful natural freshwater lakes in the world in need of protection, and is recognised by UNESCO as the third Ramsa site of Vietnam, with its diverse ecosystem featuring many rare and precious animals and plants named in the Vietnam Red Book.
In the midst of the grandeur of surrounding limestone cliffs and primary forests, Ba Be Lake bears many charming features, blended with the surrounding scenery.
Dubbed the “jade of the northeastern mountains”, Ba Be Lake is beautiful all day, dim in the morning mist and brilliant in the golden sunshine.
The charming beauty creates a shimmering, fanciful picture.
As the early winter rays of sunlight dispel the morning mist, the lake surface appears with brilliantly emerald green colour, imprinted with the silhouettes of mountains and clouds.
In the midst of the sky and water, it is not difficult for visitors to choose a suitable angle for a snap of themselves. Taking photos on the bow of a boat is the must-have activity for many tourists during their trip on Ba Be Lake.
Not only a quiet lake in the middle of the mountains, it is also famous for many natural, cultural and historic sites, such as Puong cave, Hua Ma cave, Dau Dang waterfall, Tien pond, and An Ma and Ba Go islets in the heart of the lake.
Coming to Ba Be Lake, visitors have a chance to enjoy famous local specialties such as steamed bamboo shoots, sour shrimp paste, wormwood cake, Cooc Mo cake and in particular the famous Ba Be grilled fish.
Small fish like fingers, caught in the lake and elaborately processed by the local people here, the rustic grilled fish has become a precious gift to attract visitors.
After being caught, the fish are cleaned and dried under the sun. After 3-4 days under the sunshine, the fish is clamped on an A-shaped bamboo stick and then grilled over charcoal until it turns golden brown with an attractive aroma, although there is no need to marinate with any spices. It tastes sweet, fragrant, crunchy, and firm bite by bite. In the cold weather, the rustic but attractive grilled fish dish that is as bold as the soul of the local people who have lived by the lake for generations will surely leave an unforgettable aftertaste in the hearts of their guests.
After a day of lake discovery, visitors can stay at the Tay people's community tourism villages of Pac Ngoi, Bo Lu or Coc Toc around the lake to explore further the typical cultural features of the local people, as well as enjoying traditional local dishes and immersing themselves in songs full of hospitality.
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