A road at Ba Be National Park
A road at Ba Be National Park

Travel Ba Be (Bac Kan) by Motorbike: Escape from Hectic Life Part 2

I wake up by crows of the cocks in the early morning. It's still dark and cold outside and I have nothing to hurry for today. It's lovely lying in bed gazing mindlessly out of the window into the infinity of darkness. Things seem to be changing slowly as the mountains begin to reveal its green color gradually from the thick fog.

 After dozing off for a while, the day light brings me up again and the coffee is yelling my name. It's good time to start the day now. It's still cold and things are drying up quickly. There must have been a shower in the night. Everything is so quiet all around, most people are still in bed, I guess....

Early morning by the lake of Ba BeEarly morning by the lake of Ba Be



Breakfast at the homestay by the lake of Ba BeBreakfast at the homestay by the lake of Ba Be

The hosts get me yummy breakfast with pan cakes and bananas. My hot coffee is indispensable as usual. On my adventures, I normally allow for a couple of days to relax and to engage into the local life. There is no plan today, it may be to ride into the countryside or maybe a hike into the forest. I've explored enough of the lake of Ba Be, so no boat trip this time then. Whatever could be decided upon later. A moment like this is so precious...

ba-be-lake-sceneryScenery by the lake of Ba Be in the morning

It's half past nine and everything around comes to life again. The sun is getting more glary and people take to the farm for harvesting. The hostess gets to me to ask about my favorite food for lunch that I don't even know myself. I tell her to get whatever convenient for her. I know it's good and I love local food all on my trips anyway. She says to cook the food only when I show up back here again; she's not sure I'll come back in time for lunch! And neither do I! It's good time to get the bear rolling again. I pack up lightly for my day adventure and get to my motorbike. It's so refreshing a morning and I feel full of energy. It has to be a marvelous day today...

A road in Ba Be National ParkA road in Ba Be National Park

Leaving the village, I follow the Leng River onto a small dirt road which looks more like a muddy trail after the rain last night. Some ethnic people encountered on the road keep yelling that the it is very muddy and slippery ahead. I'm very glad that I'm making a loop and won't come back the same way. To the left, the Leng River with crystal clear water keeps playing joyful music which makes the beautiful day even more special...

The Leng RiverThe Leng River

 After thirty minutes on the motorbike, the road gets better and I come across the market of Quang Khe. The market gathering takes place on certain lunar calendar days of a month only. Local ethnic people, mostly the Tay, come to trade in agricultural produce. Visiting a local market is always a great experience, as it provides you with more understanding of the local economy and local life. Ba Be area is yet to be a popular tourist destination and foreign travellers are not often seen here as in other areas in Vietnam. Most would have barely a full day around the lake within the national park and not often venture to the nearby countryside and villages.

Quang Khe MarketQuang Khe Market

Passing the market, the  road goes up and I quickly find myself in the middle of a beautiful valley. The green mountains and trees line the horizon, the withered stubble in the field. There are some horses grazing relaxingly; they must be having great moments too!

Dong Phuc, Ba BeDong Phuc, Ba Be

 At another side of the valley, there are a few houses on stilts. It's great living in those houses with beautiful view of the valley and mountains. The sun is getting brighter and stronger is the wind.

Dong Phuc, Ba BeDong Phuc, Ba Be

Passing the valley, the road goes further into the mountains and turns into a very steep gradient. I have to shift the gear to lowest level to have enough power for the push. Struggling for a while, I get to the top anyway. The sweeping view of the surrounding nature is just breathtaking. Down the valley, I can see a village with smoke billowing from here and there. People must be burning off the stubble for the new crop...

Bang Phuc, Ba BeBang Phuc, Ba Be

It starts getting cold standing on top of the mountain for a while, it is time to go down. The road passes a beautiful valley with houses on stilts on mountainsides and horses roaming by a stream. It'd be lovely to have a horse ride around the valley some day! The communities living here have so peaceful a life!

Phuong Vien, Cho DonHorses at Phuong Vien, Cho Don District, Bac Kan



Phuong Vien, Cho DonEthnic houses at Phuong Vien, Cho Don, Bac Kan

 Then, it comes to an incline which is so steep that I can't stop my motorbike for photos of the breathtaking scenery. Again, I have to bring the gear to the lowest level which helps to reduce the speed much better than using the brakes. The descent is just as much of an adventure as the ascent. When it's over midday, over one hour from the top, I come to a valley in Ra Ban Commune. It's good time for another coffee break here. The road is quiet and no one is around. People must be having siesta now. The sun is bright but the air is quite chilly...

Ra Ban, Cho DonRoad at a valley in Ra Ban, Cho Don, Bac Kan