The enchanting waterfalls of Ba Be National Park

Nestled in the heart of Bac Kan province, in northern Vietnam, Ba Be National Park is a true natural gem. Among its countless natural treasures, the Dau Dang and Tat Ma waterfalls stand out, attracting adventurous travelers in search of spectacular landscapes.

Dau Dang Waterfall - Source : Collected

Dau Dang: A Symphony of Water and Greenery

Imagine yourself on a hillside, facing the majestic Dau Dang waterfall. Its name, which means "Bald Head" in the Tay language, refers to its bare top, sculpted by the tumultuous waters over time. But the locals also have another nickname for it: Thac Ruoi, the "Grasshopper Cascade." Why? Perhaps because of the many grasshoppers fluttering around, or maybe because of the shape of the waterfall, resembling a giant grasshopper leaping from the foot of the cliff. And that's not all! An interesting anecdote tells that French explorers, impressed by the beauty of the waterfall, celebrated their discovery by drinking local rice wine. Since that day, it is also nicknamed "Thac Ruou," the alcohol cascade. Some even say that a jar of rice wine miraculously transformed into a waterfall... Which version do you prefer?

Depending on the seasons, the crystal-clear waters of the Nang River cascade into a series of natural pools carved into the limestone rocks. Sometimes, they create a soothing melody, and other times, they offer an impressive display of power that can be heard long before they are seen. Stretching for nearly a kilometer, these waterfalls cascade down the rocks in a breathtaking spectacle. Children will love paddling in the natural pools that form below, while parents can relax to the soothing sound of water. Whatever your relaxation option, swimming in the natural pools at the foot of the waterfall is an unforgettable experience. The fresh and invigorating water provides a moment of communion with nature. The most daring can even indulge in daring jumps from the rocks overlooking the pools.

To reach this oasis of freshness, an easy 30-minute hike is required through lush jungle. The trail, lined with dense and varied vegetation, promises a total immersion in the wild nature of the park. Upon arrival, hikers will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the waterfall and its green surroundings.

Tat Ma Waterfall - Source : Collected

The Discreet Charm of Tat Ma

Now, let's talk about Tat Ma, the waterfall for seasoned adventurers. Less accessible than Dau Dang, it is still worth a visit. Its name, "Cloud Cascade," evokes the thick mist that often envelops it, giving it an aura of mystery and grandeur. But Tat Ma can also be translated as "Stone Horse," in reference to a local legend. It is said that a magical horse turned into stone to protect the waterfall and its surroundings.

Although less known than its big sister, Tat Ma is just as charming. Located on the Nang River, a tributary of the Gam River, this 15-meter-high waterfall is a true haven of peace. Surrounded by lush vegetation, Tat Ma is the perfect place for a refreshing swim or a memorable photo session. The green setting and tranquility make it a perfect spot for a family picnic.
The path to Tat Ma is a challenging 2-hour hike through rugged terrain and dense vegetation. Although technical, the path to the waterfall is an invitation to discover the exceptional flora and fauna of the park. Multicolored butterflies flutter in the sunlight, while the songs of birds resonate in the canopy. The physical effort will be greatly rewarded by the striking beauty of the waterfall, with its clear waters gushing from the rocky cliff, creating a refreshing curtain of water that divides into several natural pools.

Dau Dang and Tat Ma: More Than Just Waterfalls

Beyond their intrinsic beauty, the Dau Dang and Tat Ma waterfalls hold significant cultural importance for the ethnic minority communities living in the park. They are considered sacred places, inhabited by ancestral spirits.
Did you know? The water from the Tat Ma waterfall is renowned for its healing properties. It is said that sick people have bathed in the water and been cured of their ailments. This belief reinforces the deep connection between the community and the waterfall, perceived as a source of life and well-being.
Visitors are invited to respect local traditions and behave respectfully towards these sacred sites. By immersing oneself in the peaceful and mystical atmosphere surrounding the waterfalls, one can easily understand why they hold such an important place in local culture and beliefs.

Villages to discover in the surroundings

To complete your stay, don't miss visiting the charming villages that surround the park:
Pac Ngoi: This traditional Tay village will immerse you in the local culture. Make a detour to the stilt house of "Ông Sẩu," a former village chief, for a fascinating glimpse of traditional architecture.
Bo Lu: Renowned for its craftsmanship, especially weaving, Bo Lu is a cultural treasure. Observe the H'mong women perpetuating ancestral weaving techniques and perhaps leave with a unique souvenir.
Ban Cam: This picturesque hamlet nestled on the shores of Ba Be Lake is the perfect place for a sunset boat ride. A magical experience that will delight both young and old.

On the road to Tat Ma Waterfall - Source : Collected

Practical tips for all your hikes

Let me give you some practical advice to make your experience as enjoyable as possible.
Sturdy hiking shoes are mandatory
I cannot stress enough the importance of a good pair of shoes. Imagine yourself climbing slippery rocks or crossing muddy trails with city sneakers... No, thank you! Opt for sturdy hiking shoes with good grip and proper ankle support. Your feet will thank you.
Bring enough water and snacks
Dehydration and hunger can turn a pleasant hike into a real ordeal. Make sure to bring an adequate amount of water for the duration of your excursion. A reusable water bottle is ideal to reduce plastic waste. And don't forget energy snacks: dried fruits, cereal bars, or even a well-filled sandwich will do the trick. You'll need that little boost to reach your destination.
Mosquito repellent: your best ally against bites
There's nothing more annoying than getting bitten by mosquitoes during a hike. A good mosquito repellent is essential, especially if you're crossing humid or wooded areas. Apply it generously on your skin and clothes to avoid bites. This way, you can fully enjoy your adventure without scratching yourself every five minutes.
Check the weather, be smart, and adapt your gear!
The weather can be unpredictable, and it's crucial to prepare accordingly. Before you go, check the weather forecast for the region where you'll be hiking. If it's going to rain, bring a waterproof jacket and spare clothes. In case of intense heat, opt for lightweight and breathable clothing, and consider wearing a hat to protect yourself from the sun. Always adapt your gear to the weather conditions to avoid unpleasant surprises.

With these few tips in mind, you are ready to embark on your adventure with peace of mind. Hiking is a wonderful activity that allows you to discover breathtaking landscapes and recharge.

Boats in Coc Toc Village - Source : Collected

Practical information for a successful family trip

Access: The park is located approximately 240 km northeast of Hanoi, which is about a 5-hour drive. Plan a day for the journey and enjoy the scenery.
Direct bus from My Dinh bus station in Hanoi (Thuong Nga or An Binh companies)
Duration: 4.5 hours
Price: 250,000 to 280,000 VND (11-12 USD) per trip
Best time to visit
From October to April for dry weather and passable trails
From May to September for impressive and raging waterfalls

Accommodation: Choose a homestay in one of the villages for a total immersion, or opt for an eco-lodge in the park for more comfort.
Activities: Besides swimming in waterfalls, the park offers many activities such as hiking, kayaking on Ba Be Lake, wildlife observation (over 1000 species recorded!), or guided boat tours.
Don't forget: Mosquito repellent, comfortable walking shoes, swimwear, and a camera to capture your memories.
Safety: Keep a close eye on children near waterfalls and respect local safety guidelines.
Where to stay: Choose the authenticity of a guesthouse or the ecological comfort of a lodge. Immersion guaranteed! We warmly recommend Ba Be Jungle Houses, where nature meets luxury.
Enjoy the Ba Be Jungle House !

Final words

Ba Be National Park and its waterfalls are like a hidden treasure in the heart of wild and preserved nature. Imagine yourself surrounded by green mountains, winding rivers, and lush forests. Whether you're an experienced hiker or a family seeking a gentle adventure, the Dau Dang and Tat Ma waterfalls promise moments of pure natural magic.
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