• Thac Ba Lake - The emerald of Yen Bai

Mu Cang Chai might be the first destination that pops up in your mind when mentioning Yen Bai. This small rural district of Northwestern Vietnam with its rice paddy terraces, spectacular views of Water Pouring Season and the famous paragliding festival in Khau Pha, has left a deep impression in visitors’ minds. However, there is another place in Yen Bai where travellers can go green and go to peace. That’s the Thac Ba Lake.

Thac Ba Lake is one of the three largest man-made lakes in Vietnam that were formed during the construction of Thac Ba Hydropower Plant. The lake is located in two districts of Yen Binh and Luc Yen. Covering nearly 20,000 hectares of water surface, including more than 1,300 large and small green islands, and a beautiful cave system hidden deep in the heart of limestone mountains. Being surrounded by lush green mountains and stunning limestone cliffs, Thac Ba Lake is now a fresh new destination for travel lovers to explore besides Mu Cang Chai. 

There are about 13 ethnic minority groups, including Tay, Nung, Mong, Dao, Phu La, and Cao Lan, all of which live on the mountainside or along the lake. In addition to activities such as fishing, boating, visitors can visit local villages to learn about the traditions, festivals, traditional homes and way of life of the ethnicities.

Thac Ba Yen Bai


Feel free to visit Thac Ba Lake at any time of the year since the climate here has four clear seasons and the temperature is quite stable. For festival goers, January is the perfect time to enjoy the great festival of Thac Ba Temple. Thac Ba Lake is also a great destination for a day trip or weekend getaway.

The lake is located about 130 km from Hanoi, travelling from Hanoi to Thac Ba Lake is a relatively straightforward journey. The most convenient way to reach the destination is by car. Alternatively, visitors can take a bus, taxi or motorbike.

Boat trip

A boat ride around the lake is the best way to take in the stunning scenery and spot wildlife. There are also several islands in the lake, which can be explored by boat. During the boat trip, don’t forget to visit Thac Ba Hydropower Plant, which is the first hydroelectric project of Vietnam. Boats can be arranged in the village of Huong Lu in Yen Binh

Get a special viewpoint

For those looking for a more active experience, Thac Ba Lake offers a variety of activities. Swimming, kayaking, and fishing in the lake or taking a hike on. several hiking trails around the lake, admiring stunning views of the surrounding landscape. 

Embracing a bunch of islands in its body, Thuy Tien cave is a must-visit in Thac Ba Lake. Located on an island in the middle of the lake, the cave offers a beautiful view over the lake. Another place where you can enjoy the panorama of the lake is in Cao Bien Mountain - the highest mountain surrounding Thac Ba. Take a 3.5-hour hike to the top and here you are, a panoramic view over the green islands in Thac Ba lake.

A cultural walk at Ngoi Tu Village

A home to 5 ethnic groups (mainly the Dao people of the white pants), visitors will experience a relaxed life under the roofs of stilts hidden in the palm forest, learn the traditional craft of knitting shrimp baskets, and watch the red-cheeked Dao girls in brilliant traditional costumes.

When night falls, be a local, sit by the fire camp, listen to folk songs echo the whole village and enjoy Lam sticky rice, forest banana flower salad, chicken cooked with sour bamboo shoots or fish salad, shrimp salad…

All these experiences might seem too touristy but if you truly enjoy them by yourself, go with the flow and be the travellers, they are worth your time.