Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ba Be Lake - Day 2

We awoke to the sound of roosters. The outside air was fresh and the village peaceful; the perfect setting to dig into a tasty plate of hot pancakes. At around 8am we left the guest house to walk about kilometer to our awaiting boat. Fog hugged the mountain tips while the still water on the lake reflected the serene landscape to perfection. It was a photographers dream; hence I was not given photo duties. Young kids played near their house and animals roamed freely while villagers were working diligently.

We were the only two on the boat and despite the roars of the motor it was relaxing. As we travelled along Ba Be Lake we were surrounded by limestone mountains on either side, all covered in thick vegetation. Apart from an occasional boat of villagers or a lone fisherman the lake was ours. The first stop was a 300 meter long and 30 meter high cave. The cave is called Puong cave and the hundreds of stalactites resemble a detailed art work (Celine’s words) however it is the screeching sound of the bats hovering above that first capture our attention.

It was the cave where we run into our Spanish friends; the only foreigners we meet on this boat trip and as it turns out the only foreigners in Ba Be Lake for our whole visit. We have a chat about the beauty of the cave, the tranquil ride here and how lucky we are to have this stunning part of the world all to ourselves. January was a great time to visit if avoiding the tourist rush is your thing.

The next stop was a small village of the Tay minority where he had lunch. Our Spanish friends joined us and we soon found out they have all been in jail for close to 20 years; turns out they work for jails in Barcelona, not inmates. They were good guys and it was nice to have some company. After lunch we walked a few hundred meters to the Dau Dang Waterfall. By now the sun is belting down and it hard to believe we are in the middle of winter. We ask for a swim on the way back which seemed like a good idea at the time. Half way back the driver stopped in the middle of the lake and Juan was first to brave the water. “Arrrrrrrrrr….Its fucking cold”, I guess sums it up perfectly. Julian was second and despite not being to keen on ice cold water I had my reputation as an Aussie to uphold. I didn’t have shorts so I stripped down to my undies, only a small bit of fabric separating the world and me. The first thing I remember is the burn. The burn didn’t stop either and it was without a doubt the coldest water I have been in. A few quick bursts of freestyle didn’t improve the situation. I lasted a few minutes then had to call it quits.

I sat in the sun on the way back to our village and was close to dry by the time we arrived. We enjoyed another great meal with the family that night and spent the early evening playing with Anh Sun’s daughter, Hien. She is an adorable 4 year old and Celine and I would have had no issue bringing her back with us to Hanoi. The Spaniards joined us for a drink and we organised a trek together for the following day. Content and satisfied with the days festivities we soon called it a night.


  1. Dan se baigne dans une eau glacée et toi tu te pèles sur une barque à moitié coulante..... c'est pas le club Med..... mais je sens bien que vous vous éclatez beaucoup plus qu'au Club !!!!

  2. We all had a great day, probably one of the best in our Vietnam trip. It is impossible to explain in words or photos all that beauty, to catch all the smiles and good feelings we enjoyed that wonderful day in the mountains... but Dan gets very near in his words!

    My best regards to the brave Aussie (yes, water was really frozen!!!) and to the catalonian-french english teacher, Mrs Ferrer

    Juanjo (on parole)