Discovering Thac Ba Lake in Northwest of Vietnam And Its Cultural Diversity


With the tranquil beauty and spectacular surrounding landscapes, Thac Ba Lake – one of biggest artificial lakes in Vietnam – is definitely a must-go destination. Referring to the amazing worth-to-visit destinations of the Northwest part of Vietnam, we cannot ignore Yen Bai province. The scenery of Yen Bai is more beautiful than a painting and even more beautiful than the local people.

In which, the best outstanding landscape in Yen Bai province is Thac Ba Lake which is located in Luc Yen and Yen Binh districts, only 180km from Hanoi, along Highway 2 and Highway 32 to the North West. Therefore, it is a truly ideal place for a private Vietnam motorcycle tour which totally fit the limited budget of 2 or 3 days.

Thac Ba Lake is one of biggest artificial lakes in Vietnam as well as the water supply for Thac Ba hydro power plant. It was formed in 1970 during the construction of the dam on the Chay River. With the total area of 240 square km and the length of 80 km, Thac Ba is a huge, tranquil lake in Yen Bai Province.
There are more than 1,300 islands and islets with the astonishing diverse ecology. Beautiful caves as well as ancient pagodas surrounding the lake contain mythical, legendary stories that will arouse your curiosity.

Before the dam construction, there were two waterfalls with strong and energetic flows called “Thac Ong” and “Thac Ba”. After it was finished, these waterfalls were filled up, and the lake was named Thac Ba (Madam Waterfall) while the nearby bridge was called Thac Ong (Sir Waterfall). In addition, the lake attached to the fierce battle named Thu Vat in 1285. Tran Nhat Duat, was the command of the battle, defeated against Mongolian invaders in here. During Vietnam resistance war against the American, Thuy Tien cave was chosen as the military base by Yen Bai provincial committee.

When coming here, the blue crystal water in the lake will make you want to jump into. However, to rent a boat for a tour around the lake to enjoy the fresh cool air when being submerged in lush green forests mixed with magnificent islands is always a great choice. The water is so calm and cool that can make many tourists imagine that the Loch Ness may arise from here. What a thrilling thought!

You can visit Thuy Tien Cave, one of the most outstanding caves with stalactites system inside. The cave was nestled in the mountain that make you feel like being lost in a fairy land with glittering water reflecting on the cave walls.

Climbing along the rocky trail leading to the top of the cave, a panorama view of Chay river will stretch out before you. The river likes a soft silk band surrounding the mountains with the pasture fields and stilt houses looming far beneath. The scene was so peaceful, and your mind will be totally rested in a rustic place.

There are 12 ethnic minorities including the Dao, Cao Lan, Phu La, Nung, Tay inhabiting surround Thac Ba Lake. They have their own distinctive colors and traditional festivals, building the culture diverse in the surrounding area of the lake.

If you come to Thac Ba Lake, you should spend time on exploring the cultural village of Ngoi Tu, where Dao people live to experience a relaxed life under the tiled roofs among the palm trees, learn the traditional weaving craft, look at the pretty Red Dao girls with red cheeks in the traditional costume dancing around the warm fire.

Please do not miss the chance to try one night in homestay of ethnic tribe; it won’t let you down. The generous locals will treat you the specialties of the lake – the fish dishes including Bagrid catfish, turtles, grilled whole chicken, etc. Enjoying some gulfs of strong herbal wine in dark, quiet mountainous landscape, you will understand how the Northern “taste” is.

Community-based tourism not only plays an important role in promoting local tourism, but also contributes to preserving cultural values and protecting the ecological environment. This is a condition for the Yen Binh district to reach 1.5 million visitors in 2020, of which about 8,000 international visitors. Income from tourism – services will reach 1.5 – 2.5 billion per year.

If you want to discover Thac Ba Lake, don’t hesitate to join a Vietnam motorbike trip to get amazing experiences on two wheels.