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December 20, 2012
Vietnam travel guide

Ba Be Lake and National Park

Located among striking limestone landscapes, Ba Be is the largest natural lake in Vietnam is currently the center section of an extensive National Park. Since the park and the surrounding area is limestone region, lakes, waterfalls, caves and unusual rock formation abound. Surrounded by evergreen forests, the area is home of many ethic minority communities.

Covered by tropical and semi-tropical evergreen Thai monsoon forests, the National Park has the rich bio diversity of about 50 animal species, more than 400 plants and many species of insects, reptiles and birds. The ten seriously endangered animals in the park include two primates, the Black Gibbon and the Tonkinese ‘snub-nosed’ monkey.

Flat-bottomed boats slide easily across the still water. The latter is one of the world’s rarest species and on the brink of extinction. Flora and Fauna International is working with the park authorities and other agencies to save this attractive creature.

Actually, Ba Be Lake includes three separate lakes connected together by wide channels. In whole, it is about 7km long and 1km wide. This giant lake is home of about 50 species of freshwater fish. The surface is nearly always still that makes a boat trip a smooth experience. Moreover, there are islands and caves to visit.

Living in the National Park area are many small villages of ethnic minority inhabitants such as Tay, Red Dao, Coin Dao and White H’Mong people. There just have a few chances for visitors to see the colorful traditional costumes of those groups excepting in the performances and demonstration for tourists.

Coming there, visitors can occasionally find several families that offer homestays. An alternative is the park’s guesthouse, which facilities basic accommodation only. Besides, there is limited local standard accommodation in Cho Ra town, about 18km away outside the park.

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