Peaceful charm of Thac Ba Lake

There are few better ways to while a day under the scorching sun away than on a scenic boat tour admiring the beauty of Thac Ba Lake.

Peaceful charm of Thac Ba Lake

Thac Ba Lake is characterised by the image of the white storks returning to their nests at sunset. 

Recently, we took a two-day tour to Thac Ba Lake with some friends. 

Located 180km from Hanoi, Thac Ba Lake in northwestern Yen Bai Province is one of the three largest artificial lakes in Vietnam, covering 23,400ha, of which more than 19,000ha is water area. The lake took shape after Thac Ba Hydropower Plant was built between 1964 to 1971.

The vast lake is comprised of 1331 green islands emerging on calmly blue and clear water surface of the lake, reminding one of the beauty of Ha Long Bay.

The most interesting way to discover the lake is a scenic boat tour. The boat ride was a fantastic way for us to contemplate its tranquillity and pristine beauty with stops between for photos of islands, experiencing locals fishing by net on the lake and visiting beautiful caves on some of the islands.

It is great to feel the cool air when boating on the lake and to be immersed in stunning natural landscapes of beautiful skies, mountains and countless islands.

We greatly enjoyed watching the sunset on Thac Ba Lake and when that ended, white storks returned to their nests.

It is a good chance for nice shots of the sun setting down on the lake with the image of the storks. The best time of year to capture a perfect lake sunset is from June to September at about 6pm.

Peaceful charm of Thac Ba Lake

Grilled fish is among well-known Yen Bai local specialities. 

More than a lake

At the lake, you can also take a boat tour to visit various interesting tourism hotspots.


As we took a two-day tour, we had the opportunity to visit Thac Ba Hydroelectricity Plant from Huong Ly Port. This was the first hydro-power station of Vietnam electricity industry and was constructed from 1964 to 1971 with the support from Russia.

During construction, the plant was often bombarded by American planes, killing many of the engineers and workers. The completed plant supplied electricity to Hanoi and elsewhere in the north of Vietnam.

Our visit to the plant brought home how tough it must have been to build, and also gave us a chance to admire the majestic view of the lake and surrounding mountains.

It’s also worth visiting Thuy Tien Cave, a natural cave several hundred metres deep, which is home to magnificent and giant stalactites. A climb to the top of the cave offered us a beautiful view of the isolated green islands on the lake.

Peaceful charm of Thac Ba Lake

Thac Ba Lake is comprised of 1331 green islands emerging on the calmly blue and clear water surface of the lake. 

We also had the opportunity to visit the houses of different ethnic groups living in the surrounding region, discover their traditions and customs, and enjoy their local dishes including wild banana flower salad, hill chicken cooked with lemon leaves, salad fish, shrimp and buffalo meat.

In this green and peaceful nature, we found peace by observing the simple lifestyle of local people on the lake.

The image of a small fishing boat moving on the calm waters, with the fisherman putting his traps at the end of the day or a house on stilts leaning on a mountainside, all urge one to return someday soon.  VNS

Nguyen Viet Hung & Bach Lien