Ba Be Lake and travelling onwards (13-17 Feb)

Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
Trip End Dec 29, 2008

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Where I stayed
Duy Tho Guesthouse

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Thursday, February 14, 2008

We had booked a tour in Hanoi to get us to Ba Be Lake further north in Vietnam.  It was quite hard (and expensive) to find the tour that we wanted as we wanted to spend a little more time in the Lake area than just the one day normally allowed.  It would have been impossible to independently travel here  -  so far and so remote -  the drive took all day to get to the National Park in a very mountainous area, where we stayed overnight before driving on to the village in the morning.  

Ba Be is Vietnam's largest natural lake and is at the centre of an extensive National Park. The park and the surrounding area is limestone country, so lakes, waterfalls, caves and unusual rock formations abound. The whole area is richly forested and home to many ethnic minority communities. The scenery was stunning even in the cold and damp weather and we spent the whole day exploring the vast lake (8kms long) on a longtail boat, seeing no other tourists at all, just oone or two fisherman along the way. The lakes were incredibly beautiful in an ethereal sort of way.

The following day, a local took us on a guided walk  -  we had a choice of 28 km or 7km and we chose the 7km route.  This was practically an uphill climb all the way and was really hard work, but once again the scenery was amazing and we saw some very remote village homes at the height of the walk before returniong to our homestay and wandering off alone to a few other places here and there.

We stayed in a local homestay, where all the meals were cooked by the family and were some of the best food we tried in the whole of Vietnam.  The homestay was built of wood on stilts and all the rooms were upstairs  -  including the open fire in the kitchen (for cooking) on.  The family were really nice and the host insisted on supplying us with copious quantities of a rice wine complete with a vial of Snake Bile in it,  to help us keep warm.   According to the owner of the house it is to "fortify" us men - can't say I noticed any particualr effects! Our bedroom consisted of a pile of quilts on a floor with more quilts piled on to to keep us warm. Quite chilly but cosy at the same time.

Afterwards, we had along drive back to Hanoi Airport for our flight to Da Nang for an overnight stop before heading onwards to Hue by train
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