Established in 1992 as Vietnam’s eighth national park, Ba Be National Park protects nearly 39 square miles (100 square kilometers) of rainforest, lakes, limestone peaks, caves, waterfalls and a sprinkling of ethnic minority villages, many of them part of the Tay minority. What’s often referred to as Ba Be Lake is in fact three interconnected lakes linked by wide channels.
Visitors to Ba Be National Park have their choice of a variety of experiences — lazy boat tours on the lakes, treks to caves and waterfalls, homestays in minority villages and kayaking trips through the park. The park also boasts surprising biodiversity, with some 550 plant species, 65 species of mammals, 353 butterflies, 233 birds and more than 100 types of fish. While some of the wildlife can be quite shy and difficult to spot, it’s common to see macaque monkeys, colorful parrots and herons near the banks of the lake.
If you want to enjoy Ba Be National Park at its most peaceful, avoid visiting in July and August when most Hanoians take their vacations.