Ba Be Wildlife guide – update 2023

Ba Be National Park is located in the northeastern province of Bac Kan, Vietnam. The park covers an area of 10,048 hectares and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. It is centered around Ba Be Lake, which is the largest natural freshwater lake in Vietnam. The park is surrounded by rugged limestone mountains, dense forests, and cascading waterfalls, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

The park’s rich biodiversity includes over 550 plant species, 65 mammal species, and 353 bird species. Some of the park’s notable wildlife includes black bears, civets, macaques, and various bird species, including the rare Black-throated Laughingthrush.

Visit Ba Be National Park can enjoy a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, kayaking, swimming, and exploring the local villages. The park’s hiking trails offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains, forests, and waterfalls. Kayaking on the lake is a great way to explore the park’s waterways and see the local fishing communities. Visitors can also take a boat tour of the lake and visit some of the park’s caves, such as Hua Ma and Puong.

The local villages around Ba Be National Park are home to the Tay, Hmong, and Dao ethnic groups, who have lived in the area for centuries. You can learn about the local culture and traditions, such as traditional weaving and farming practices, and enjoy the delicious local cuisine. Home-stays are available in the villages, allowing visitors to experience the local way of life and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the park

Find out about: Vietnam Birding Tours & National Park Tour

Fact: One interesting fact about Ba Be National Park is that it contains a system of underground rivers and caves, which are still being explored and mapped by cavers. The most famous cave in the park is Puong Cave, which is over 300 meters long and home to thousands of bats. The cave is also an important habitat for many species of insects, including rare and endemic species. Visitors can take a boat tour of the lake and visit Puong Cave to see the impressive stalactites and stalagmites and observe the bats.

Ba Be is a must-visit for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. Here are 9 highlights to look forward to:

Here are 9 highlights for wildlife and nature enthusiasts to look forward to when visiting Ba Be National Park:

  1. Ba Be Lake: Ba Be National Park is centered around the stunning Ba Be Lake, which is the largest natural freshwater lake in Vietnam. You can enjoy kayaking, swimming, and taking a boat tour of the lake to explore its natural beauty.
  2. Waterfalls: The park is home to several impressive waterfalls, including Dau Dang Waterfall, which cascades down a steep rock face and is surrounded by lush greenery.
  3. Caves: The park is home to a system of underground rivers and caves, including the famous Puong Cave, which is over 300 meters long and home to thousands of bats.
  4. Forests: The park’s forests are dominated by tall trees, including Dipterocarps, Fagaceae, and Lauraceae, which provide habitat for many of the park’s wildlife species.
  5. Hiking: You can explore the park’s hiking trails, which offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains, forests, and waterfalls.
  6. Birdwatching: Ba Be National Park is home to over 350 bird species, including many rare and endemic species. You can enjoy birdwatching and observe the park’s many different bird species.
  7. Butterfly watching: The park is home to a diverse range of butterfly species, including rare and endemic species. You can enjoy butterfly watching and observe the park’s many different butterfly species.
  8. Wildlife watching: Ba Be National Park is home to a range of wildlife species, including rare and endangered species such as the Asian Black Bear, the Clouded Leopard, and the Owston’s Civet.
  9. Cultural experiences: You can learn about the local culture and traditions of the Tay, Hmong, and Dao ethnic groups who have lived in the area for centuries. Homestays are available in the local villages, allowing You to experience the local way of life and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the park
Ba Be National Park
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Visit Ba Be for wildlife.

Ba Be National Park is a great destination for wildlife enthusiasts, as the park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Here are some of the wildlife highlights you can look forward to when visiting Ba Be National Park:

  1. Birds: Ba Be National Park is home to over 350 bird species, including many rare and endemic species. Some of the notable bird species you may see in the park include the Black-throated Laughingthrush, the Blue Whistling Thrush, and the Sooty Babbler.
  2. Mammals: The park is home to 64 mammal species, including some rare and endangered species such as the Asian Black Bear, the Clouded Leopard, and the Owston’s Civet. Other notable mammal species in the park include the Sambar Deer, the Wild Boar, and the Red-and-White Giant Flying Squirrel.
  3. Butterflies and insects: Ba Be National Park is also home to a diverse range of butterfly and insect species, including rare and endemic species. Visitors can enjoy butterfly watching and observe the many different insects and other invertebrates that inhabit the park.
  4. Plants: The park is home to over 550 plant species, including many rare and endemic species. The park’s forests are dominated by tall trees, including Dipterocarps, Fagaceae, and Lauraceae, which provide habitat for many of the park’s wildlife species.

You can explore the park’s hiking trails and take a boat tour of the lake to observe the park’s wildlife. It’s important to remember that many of the park’s wildlife species are rare and endangered, so visitors should respect their habitats and observe them from a safe distance

Tips

Visit Ba Be

Ba Be National Park is not just for wildlife enthusiasts, there are many other things to see and do in the park that make it a great destination for all kinds of travelers. Here are some highlights for visitors who are not primarily interested in wildlife:

  1. Cultural experiences: The park is home to several ethnic minority groups, including the Tay, Hmong, and Dao people. You can learn about their traditions and way of life through homestay experiences in the local villages.
  2. Boating: Ba Be Lake is a beautiful and peaceful place to take a boat tour, where You can explore the stunning natural scenery of the park.
  3. Hiking: The park has a variety of hiking trails that offer different levels of difficulty, from short walks to multi-day treks. The trails offer stunning views of the park’s forests, waterfalls, and mountains.
  4. Waterfalls: The park is home to several impressive waterfalls, including Dau Dang Waterfall and the Widow Waterfall. You can hike to these waterfalls and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
  5. Caves: The park is home to several caves, including the impressive Puong Cave, which is over 300 meters long and home to thousands of bats.
  6. Photography: Ba Be National Park offers many stunning natural landscapes and cultural experiences that make it a great destination for photographers.
  7. Relaxation: The park’s natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere make it a great place to relax and unwind, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

You can enjoy a variety of activities in Ba Be National Park, making it a great destination for travelers with different interests and preferences.

There is no ATM here so its better that take cash with you

Go with local guide

We don’t tell you this to sell more tours, but simply because it’s the best way to see more wildlife.

And not to get lost…

The local guides know the park from the inside out and know where the animals often forage. More importantly, the guides have well-trained eyes that will help you to discover everything from the smallest to the largest wonders of Ba Be national park. You will be surprised what you would have walked past without noticing had you been visiting on your own!

Visit on weekdays

Ba Be national park is Vietnam’s most popular national park. 80% of the visitors in Ba Be are Vietnamese. It is great to see that locals are enjoying their own nature parks, which will only make them more aware of what still survives there. And hopefully helps in the protection of these wonderful places. But you might be looking for a place to get away from your busy daily life.

Try to avoid weekends and national holidays. If your planning only allows a visit on the weekend, it is definitely still worth visiting. But you will have to share the roads and the main attractions like the trails with many locals.

Like in other parks around the world with high visitor numbers, wildlife has learned that people are not to be feared. That’s why the popular parks often offer better wildlife observation opportunities than nature reserves with very low visitor numbers and therefore often bigger problems with poaching. The good news is that generally speaking, Vietnamese do not really like walking. Even less when it is in a jungle. So, even on busy weekends, you might still have the forest to yourself.

Do NOT feed the animals

Most people understand you should not feed the wildlife. In Ba Be, the wildlife is quite shy but if you find some young macaques or mammals “DON’T FEED THEM”

Feeding wild animals can significantly change their behavior. Feeding or leaving unattended food to large animals, such as bears, can lead them to aggressively seek out food from people, sometimes resulting in injury. Feeding can also alter animal behavior so that animals routinely travel in larger groups, which can make disease transmission between animals more likely.

Bring a Outdoor clothings

Updating….

Bring a compass

This really only applies if you are visiting without a guide. Even though there has been some improvement on the more popular trails, still some trails there are not well-marked. And besides that, there are no good trail maps available. Often (wildlife) trails branch off the original tourist trails and might cause confusion.

All people we have met who thought they had a good sense of direction, get totally disoriented in these jungles. It is easy when following e.g., a river. But once you get into the continuous forest it is really hard. Even the most basic map can help you if you bring a compass. Study the map before you start the trek.

If you do get lost, and know there is a road to the east that cuts through the entire park, a compass will help you find it. Without it, you are completely lost and will rely mostly on luck!

A compass and some basic study of the area/map would have solved this situation. Phone signal has improved a bit in recent years. But still, once you are deeper in the jungle, you won’t be able to call for help. With an analog compass, you do not rely on battery life.

The souvenir shop in the park at the visitor center might have cheap compasses in stock. But to be sure, better bring one from home or buy it before you enter the park, and test if it indeed points in the right direction…

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What is there to see?

Ba Be National Park in Vietnam is a beautiful and diverse natural area, offering visitors a wide range of things to see and do. Here are some of the top sights and attractions in the park:

  1. Ba Be Lake: This is the largest natural freshwater lake in Vietnam and is the centerpiece of the park. Visitors can take a boat tour of the lake to explore its natural beauty, as well as swim and kayak in its clear waters.
  2. Waterfalls: The park is home to several impressive waterfalls, including the Dau Dang Waterfall and the Widow Waterfall. These cascading falls are surrounded by lush greenery and offer great photo opportunities.
  3. Caves: The park’s underground river system is home to several caves, including the impressive Puong Cave, which is over 300 meters long and is home to thousands of bats.
  4. Forests: The park is dominated by tall trees, including Dipterocarps, Fagaceae, and Lauraceae, which provide habitat for many of the park’s wildlife species. Visitors can enjoy hiking through the forest and taking in its natural beauty.
  5. Wildlife: Ba Be National Park is home to a wide range of wildlife, including many rare and endangered species such as the Asian Black Bear, the Clouded Leopard, and the Owston’s Civet. Visitors can go on guided wildlife tours to spot some of these elusive creatures.
  6. Ethnic minority villages: The park is home to several ethnic minority groups, including the Tay, Hmong, and Dao people. Visitors can learn about their traditions and way of life through homestay experiences in the local villages.
  7. Hiking: The park has several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains, forests, and waterfalls. Visitors can choose from short walks to multi-day treks, depending on their fitness level and interests.

These are just some of the many things to see and do in Ba Be National Park. Whether you’re interested in hiking, wildlife, cultural experiences, or just enjoying the natural beauty of the area, this park has something for everyone

Ba Be National Park
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Other activities

There are many activities to do in Ba Be National Park that don’t involve wildlife, such as:

  1. Kayaking or boating on Ba Be Lake: The lake is a beautiful spot for a scenic paddle or a leisurely boat ride.
  2. Trekking or hiking: The park has many trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels, so you can choose a route that suits your abilities and interests.
  3. Visiting local ethnic minority villages: The park is home to several ethnic minority communities, and you can visit their villages to learn about their way of life and culture.
  4. Swimming in the lake or waterfalls: The park has several waterfalls and natural swimming holes where you can cool off on a hot day.
  5. Exploring caves: The park has several caves, such as Puong Cave, that you can explore with a guide.
  6. Cycling: You can rent a bike and explore the park at your own pace, enjoying the beautiful scenery and fresh air.
  7. Visiting historical sites: The park has several historical sites, such as the ancient Duom Temple, where you can learn about the area’s history and culture

How to get to Ba Be?

Ba Be National Park is located in the Bac Kan province of northern Vietnam, about 220 kilometers from Hanoi. Here are some ways to get there:

  1. Private car: You can hire a private car from Hanoi to take you directly to Ba Be National Park. The journey takes around 4-5 hours.
  2. Public bus: You can take a bus from My Dinh bus station in Hanoi to Bac Kan City, which takes around 4-5 hours. From Bac Kan City, you can take a taxi or motorbike taxi to Ba Be National Park.
  3. Shared minibus: There are shared minibus services that run from Hanoi to Ba Be National Park. These minibuses depart from the Old Quarter and take around 6-7 hours.
  4. Motorbike: If you’re an experienced rider, you can rent a motorbike in Hanoi and ride to Ba Be National Park. The journey takes around 5-6 hours.

Once you reach the park, you can arrange for a guide or boat tour to explore the park’s attractions

Weather & Climate in Ba Be

Ba Be National Park has a subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. The weather and climate can vary depending on the time of year, but here is a general overview:

  1. Spring (March to May): This is a popular time to visit Ba Be National Park as the weather is mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C. There may be occasional rain, but it’s usually not too heavy.
  2. Summer (June to August): The summer months can be hot and humid, with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 35°C. There may be occasional thunderstorms, and the humidity can make it feel even warmer.
  3. Autumn (September to November): This is another popular time to visit the park as the weather is cooler and drier. Temperatures range from 15°C to 25°C, and the foliage starts to change colors, making for beautiful scenery.
  4. Winter (December to February): Winter in Ba Be National Park can be chilly, with temperatures ranging from 5°C to 15°C. It can also be quite dry during this time of year, with occasional cold snaps.

Overall, the best time to visit Ba Be National Park is during the spring and autumn months when the weather is mild and the scenery is beautiful. However, the park is open year-round, and each season has its own unique charm

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