Thac Ba Lake


Thac Ba Lake is located in Yen Bai province, 140 km in the west of Hanoi. One part of the lake belongs to Yen Binh, while the other stands on Luc Yen District.


Initially, the lake is formed by two waterfalls, Thac Ba and Thac Ong. Since the making of the dam, these two are no longer exist. As a reminder of the old site, the place has taken the name Thac Ba.

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The Lake also stands witness to a great battle against the Mongolians in 1285, when Tran Nhat Duat led the army and expelled the northern invaders out of our country.

How to get there

Visitors traveling from Hanoi by private vehicles can choose to follow the 32 national Road (QL32) to Yen Bai or ride the Hanoi - Lao Cai highway and exit at the Yen Bai intersection. It will take about 1 hour to cover a 30km road from there to Thac Ba Lake.

Photo by @Thanh Miền

Wanting to take public transportation, travelers can take a bus from My Dinh station to Yen Bai city. Many companies provide two-way transit between Yen Bai city and Hanoi. From there, hire a motorbike or call for a taxi to Thac Ba Lake. The road is 50km in total. Another option is to take the direct bus from Hanoi to Thac Ba Lake. There is only one company that runs this direct route. Come to My Dinh station and find the Bao Ngan bus that departs at noon.

The unique role of Thac Ba Lake

Built as a part of hydropower plant construction on Chay River in 1970, Thac Ba Lake has remained its role as one of the largest artificial lakes in Vietnam. The lake runs about 80km in length and about 58m in depth. The existence of Thac Ba Lake has helped to boost the surrounding environment. With a cool temperature all year round and high humidity, Thac Ba Lake has become the home of many green floral and green vegetation.

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With its enormous area, Thac Ba has more than 1300 green islands covering the lake's surface. They contributed to the breathtaking natural view and made Thac Ba become Northwest's Halong Bay on the mountain.

Things to do in Thac Ba Lake

Floating on the water

The best way to enjoy Thac Ba Lake's mysterious beauty is by riding on a boat trip. Floating on a boat, you are now one step closer to the clear water and the beautiful landscape. With the reflections of many islands and mountains, you will feel like you are in the middle of two parallel worlds.

Travelers can stop in halfway and paying a visit to the local's temple at the same time. Some of the famous temples are Doi Ca temple, Mau temple, and Song Pagoda. You will have the chance to pray for luck from the ancient gods and explore the long history culture of the minority people.

Photo by @V.E.O

After visiting spiritual sites, a limestone caves tour is not so bad of choice. There are many caves in Thac Ba Lake, some of them have a colorful history, but the most well-known is Thuy Tien cave. Hiding deep inside the mountain, this used to conceal the war committee during the Vietnam War. Thuy Tien cave is also attached to an ancient local legend. It is said that a fairy had visited the place without the Heaven King's permission and fell in love with a prince in this beautiful cave.

Climb till sunset

Visitors can also choose to climb Cao Bien Mountain's peak, the highest point of Thac Ba lake, to experience a panorama view of the whole lake. This activity is suitable for those who enjoy a little sweat and tear trekking, but in return, it will pay off well when you finish the trail. The best time to climb up the mountain is late in the afternoon. From 5 pm to 6 pm, the sun is ready to hide behind the hills, and the sunrays will put out their last strength to shine over the water's surface. You can witness the marvelous existence of 'Halong on the mountain' while letting the wind and the sun release your stress.

Immerse in the ethnic group culture

There are over 13 ethnic groups that still live off by Thac Ba Lake. Some of them are Tay, Nung, Mong, Dao, Cao Lan, and they always keep the customs and old traditions passed down by their ancestors. The majority of people settle in small communities in the mountain, while others choose to move down the river and earn a living by fishing. Every year in early January, the people will host spiritual festivals to celebrate the last year and hope for a better season. Travelers can participate in the locals' daily lives and understand more about how they live in this rural area.

Eat and stay in Thac Ba Lake

Not only famous for the majestic nature, but visitors coming to Thac Ba also fell in love with its culinary culture. Many ethnic groups have contributed to the variety of delicious dishes in Thac Ba, such as mountain grill chicken, five-colored sticky rice, bamboo-tube rice, and smoked buffalo meat.

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For accommodations, it is suggested to stay at the Ngoi Tu village homestays or Vu Linh eco-lodge. These areas stand beside the lake with a great view and high service. Spending the night here, you can experience the special culture and at the same time, have the chance to try out their unique foods.

Useful Information

  • Location: Ho Thac Ba, Yen Bai
  • Best for: All visitors
  • Entrance: N/A
  • Hours: Day time visit is recommended
  • Distance to city center: 12.8km (8.0 mi)

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