One of the best ways to experience the incredible beauty of Ba Be is from the water, from here you can explore the rivers, lakes and caves that make up this area of stunning beauty. You can take a boat trip on one of the small boats to take in the highlights of Ba Be or, if you are feeling more adventurous, you can take a kayak and explore the area. Kayaking has the added benefit of being able to get closer to nature which will give you a more intimate experience.
One of the places to visit on your waterborne adventure is An Ma Temple which sits peacefully next to the lake creating a serene ambience. Here you can bathe in the relaxing atmosphere and learn about the religion and rituals of the local people.
Ba Be National Park , Vietnam Travel – View from a boat on the lake.
Another peaceful spot on the lake is known as Fairy Pond, which is situated in the third section of the lake. The name is well suited to the area as it certainly has a magical feel about it. Legend has it that some fairies, who had been bathing in the secluded waters, lured a local huntsman and put a spell on him. The local fishermen, however, are not put off by this mystical tale and often enjoy fishing peacefully in the waters.
One more spot shrouded in local legend is Widow’s Island which sits in the middle of the lake, inviting you to explore its tangle of rocks, roots and branches. The large chunk of rock topped with a thick green forest has an air of mystery surrounding it as it sits alone in the middle of the lake. The name of the island originates from the story of a kind widow and her son who once lived on the island. It is believed that they saved many people from the natural disaster that created Ba Be using only two husks of rice from a fairy.
Ba Be National Park , Vietnam Travel – Puong Cave is large and dark.
Ba Be also has a fascinating collection of caves just waiting to be explored. One of the most impressive caves in Ba Be is Puong Cave with a height of 30m and length of 300m. This large, dark cavern sits at the bottom of Lung Nham Mountain and was created by years of erosion by the Nang River. This tunnel cave looms over the river and visitors can explore the cave by boat. The dark mouth of the cave leads to a magical maze of stalactites and stalagmites which cast shadows across the tall limestone walls. This amazing hidden world is also the home of thousands of bats. The colonies living amongst nature’s sculpture are made up of an impressive 18 species.
Another extraordinary cave is Hua Ma Cave, which is not only stunningly beautiful but also has a haunting and fascinating back story. Local people named the cave Hua Ma, meaning horses head because of the legend that precedes it. The story is that a king and his staff were travelling through the area, but when the king’s horse approached Hua Ma cave it became paralysed with fear and refused to cross a stream near to the cave. Frustrated by the horse’s behaviour, the king asked the local people about the area and discovered that the cave was inhabited by the spirits of innocent people who had been killed. The locals described the harrowing cries that emanated from the cave after dark and the King, moved by the tragedy, decided he would find a way to free the lost souls from the dark cave. He ordered his soldiers to behead horses and send their heads downstream and he himself took to a temple to recite Buddhist scriptures. Since the King freed the souls, no cries have been heard from the cave. For many years this haunting tale kept many local people away, but now, those brave enough to enter the cave will be rewarded with stunning views of rock formations. Recently, developments to the cave have made more easily accessible and the 300 m climb to the entrance is well worth the effort. As you ascend into the dark recesses of the cave you are met with an otherworldly melee of stalactites and stalagmites which appear to morph into different objects as you pass by.
Ba Be National Park , Vietnam Travel – Lo Mo Cave, a river cave discovered.
The karst cavern of Lo Mo Cave follows an underground river for around 3000 meters. In the dark recesses of the cave, stalagmites and stalactites cut through the cool air, some reaching up to 40 meters in height. The towering columns shimmer in the lights used to light the way and cast shadows which appear to morph seamlessly from one thing to the next. The cave is also a flourishing ecosystem, providing a habitat for some rare species of flora and fauna. Although this cave is not yet open to the public, due to its very recent discovery, plans are underway to have the cave open to budding explorers in 2017.
Ba Be National Park , Vietnam Travel – Roaring Dau Dang Waterfall
A short journey from Ba Be Lake, approximately 3km away, are the sublime Dau Dang Waterfalls. This 1km stretch of rapids is located at the point where the Nang River enters Tuyen Quang Province. Large boulders topped with erratic plantlife block the Nang River creating a flowing cascade. Here the water turns from green to white as it crashes off the rocks. This area also has magical origins as it is believed that a giant discarded the stones here after he hollowed out Puong Cave. As well as the waterfalls, you may also have the chance to spot the rare Ca Chien fish that inhabit the waters, some of which can grow up to 10kg in size.