Ba Be Lake & Northeast Region of Vietnam
Parts of the Northeast are particularly isolated and difficult to visit. However, this isolation adds to the region's beauty as many areas are still extremely unspoiled and distant from the popular tourist trails. To reach Ba Be lakes in Bac Can province is a challenge but one well worth pursuing. The road between That Khe and Lang Son, whose beautiful plunging ravines and is riddled with caves, hides a grim and bloody past and is also worth the effort to visit.
Rich in culture and history, The North East area of Vietnam offers the most spectacular scenery. It is really an unforgettable experience to travel the North East, with very hospitable and friendly Montagnards, the Northeast of Vietnam is also the home of numerous ethnic minority tribes. They live in some of the most isolated places while subsisting through traditional means. Some of the tribes you may encounter on a visit to the Northeast are the Tay, Nung, Dzao, H'mong, and the San Chi tribes.
BAC KAN PROVINCE
Ba Be Lake is the largest and perhaps the most beautiful natural lake in Vietnam. It is formed by three lakes connected into a single continuous body of water, stretching nearly 8 km north to south. As one of the world's biggest natural lakes, the surface area of Ba Be expands of 500ha during the wet season and never falls dry even at the peak of the dry season. The lake features crystal green water, beautiful islands, spectacular limestone cliffs and caves. It may take you a whole day boat trip to discover all the splendors the land has to offer.
Having been formed approximately 200 million years ago, the lake is surrounded by limestone cliffs, which in turn are covered by primary forests. The lake comprises three zones named Pe Lam, Pe Lu, and Pe Leng. Three rivers, named Nang, Ta Han, and Nam Cuong, are the main inflows of the lake.The Nang River enters the lake through a large waterfall called Dau Dang. In the lake there are also three islands, named An Ma, Khau Cum, and Po Gia Ma(literally "Widow's Island").
Ba Be Lake is a featured geographical science centre and a biodiversity reservoir. It makes a part of the Ba Be National Park.
Hua Ma Cave, literally "head of a horse", is a cave inside a peak of 300m above sea level, about 5km from Ba Be Lake. Hua Ma measures more than 500m long and 50 m high with beautiful stalactites of various shapes like lotus flowers and castles.
CAO BANG PROVINCE
Cao Bang Town: Around 270km from Hanoi, Cao Bang is a mountainous province in far-north Vietnam, near Vietnamese-Chinese border. Cao Bang is mostly covered by the jungle and that was the reason why Uncle Ho chose it as the base for the country revolutionary in 1950s. It is a mysterious land of spectacular sceneries and historical significance. Cao Bang has a number of scenic attractions like Ban Gioc waterfalls, Nguon Ngao cave, Lenin stream,Thang Hen Lake and many others.
Ban Gioc Waterfall cascading down the vast valley from green mountains. The waterfall is right on the border between Vietnam and China. Ban Gioc Waterfall is about 136 km far from Cao Bang. The road from Cao Bang Town to Ban Gioc offers stunning nature scenery.
Nguom Ngao Cave - a must-see natural wonder: an astonishing cave with numerous formations, is the most famous limestone grotto in the northern mountain province of Cao Bang due to its distinctiveness and scale. Nguom Ngao literally means “tiger’s cave” in the language of the local Tay ethnic minority. It is said that a long time ago, many fierce tigers sheltered in the cave and would enter the nearby village to hunt for livestock and even villagers. The main entrance to the cave is 2km from Ban Gioc waterfall, just off the road to Cao Bang. The wonderful beauty of Nguom Ngao spreads throughout the cavern. A British study in 1995 found the grotto to be 2,144m long,reaching heights of up to 60m, with three main entrances known as Nguom Ngao,Nguom Lom and Ban Thuon.
LANG SON PROVINCE
Lang Son is a far north mountainous province of Vietnam that has longest trade history with the neighboring China. Travellers drop by Lang Son upon crossing Vietnam-China border. The town itself has some interesting spots to visit with an old citadel vestige, beautiful caves and local ethnic minorities.
Nhi Thanh Grotto lies beneath the Pagoda of Triple Regions. This grotto is a natural cave. The length of a corridor from front entrance to back entrance is over 500 metres with many beautiful and picturesque landscapes.Inscriptions can be seen today on grotto, which were engraved by famous personalities and poets over different epochs. These inscriptions serve as sources of precious historical documents, literary works, information on the history and historical vestiges of Lang Son province. There exists also a very beautiful portray-statue of Ngo Thi Si, engraved in 1779.