Thac Ba Lake Vietnam – Complete Travel Guide 2024

Island groups in Thac Ba Lake, Vietnam - a beautifully composed sight.

Have you ever heard about Thac Ba Lake in northern Vietnam? It’s a true hidden gem.

It’s one of Vietnam’s biggest man-made lakes surrounded by lush mountains and limestone cliffs, with over 1000 islands to explore.

In this travel guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about Thac Ba Lake in Vietnam before visiting.

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Convince yourself of Thac Ba Lake

8 BEST Hotels in North Vietnam

North Vietnam has many amazing places to visit, each with its best places to stay. Here are some handpicked recommendations.

  • Ha Giang: Connect with adventurous travelers at the Lotus Hostel

Where is Thac Ba Lake located?

Island groups in Thac Ba Lake, Vietnam, with a backdrop of mountains.

Thac Ba Lake is roughly 150 kilometers away from Hanoi. Yen Bai is the perfect starting point, just a short distance away from the natural wonder.

Best Time to visit Thac Ba Lake

Some island groups seen from above in Thac Ba Lake, Vietnam.

In North Vietnam, the dry season stretches from October to April, while the rainy season spans from May to September.

The best time to visit Thac Ba Lake is either in September-October or April-May. These months offer pleasant weather. In contrast, winter can be quite chilly, and summers often bring heavy rain.

If you want to combine this destination with a visit to Mu Cang Chai, the best time to visit is late September to early October. This is when you’ll see the stunning rice fields transform from green to golden.

5 BEST Tours in North Vietnam

Check out our handpicked tours in North Vietnam and tick off some must-see attractions.

  • Ban Gioc Waterfall: Explore Ban Gioc Waterfall and more in Cao Bang with this 2D/1N Tour
  • Hanoi Streetfood: Join a local Food Tour in Hanoi with visit to Train Street
  • Ninh Binh: Discover Ninh Binh on this small-group guided Full Day Tour from Hanoi

How to get to Thac Ba Lake?

Timo sits on a motorbike at Thac Ba Lake in Vietnam.

You can easily reach Thac Ba Lake from Hanoi or other places in Vietnam by car, bus, train or motorbike.

Check out your transfer options on 12go. Just go to Yen Bai first, then plan your visit to the lake from there. 

We took the motorbike route from Hanoi, which took us 4 hours. This is because motorbikes aren’t allowed on the highways. Remember to choose the “avoid tolls and motorways” option in Google Maps.

COFFEE TIP: stop at Caffe Doppio on your way out of Hanoi.

During our ride to Yen Bai, we made two stops. One was at Mixue for some drinks, and the other was at a local restaurant for a quick com rang (fried rice) lunch break.

How Long to Stay at Thac Ba Lake?

A tiny island in Thac Ba Lake, Vietnam, as seen from above.

We recommend staying for a minimum of 1 night, and if you have the time, 2 nights at Thac Ba Lake. You can experience most of the activities in just one day.

Where to Stay Near Thac Ba Lake

For accommodations and food, we recommend staying in Yen Bai town.

And if you’re a coffee lover, don’t miss out on Young Tea & More – it’s one of the best coffee places we found in North Vietnam.

Check out top-rated and handpicked accommodations near Thac Ba Lake in different price ranges.

Best Things To Do at Thac Ba lake

Now, for the fun part! At Thac Ba Lake, you can go boating, fishing, hiking, and explore local villages. Here are some must-dos:

1. Viewpoints

Sunset at one of many Thac Ba Lake viewpoints in Vietnam.

Explore the viewpoints. Some are marked on maps like Google Maps and, but others you’ll need to discover on your own.


We recommend downloading offline maps on google maps, especially if you don’t buy a SIM card. But even if you do, it’s a good idea to have them just in case you lose connection.

2. Boat tour

A small fishing boat between two islands in Thac Ba Lake, Vietnam.

Take a boat tour to get up close to the islands and wildlife at Thac Ba Lake. Head to the pier at Cang Huong Ly for a shared boat trip (50k VND per person) or ferry to another village.

3. Local villages

There are many ethnic minority groups living around the lake. Explore a local village, like Ngoi Tu Village for a cultural experience. 

Packing, Tips & Costs

After 2 months and 4000 km on a North Vietnam Motorbike Trip, we’ve put together the ultimate packing list, tips, and costs to help you plan your trip.

Where to go After Thac Ba Lake?

Here are some fantastic places in North Vietnam we’ve been to and highly recommend:

Depending on where you’re heading after Thac Ba Lake, you might need to go back to Hanoi first and then catch a bus to your next stop. You can check on 12GO to see if there’s a direct bus option. If not, plan your journey through Hanoi.

If you enjoy riding a motorbike, you could visit Thac Ba Lake as part of a North Vietnam Loop. Our 2-week motorbike tour in Vietnam was one of the most thrilling experiences of our two years of travel in Asia. 

You can easily rent a motorbike in Hanoi for this adventure.


Thac Ba Lake, nestled in the heart of North Vietnam, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Surrounded by lush mountains and dotted with picturesque islands, it promises unforgettable adventures. 

Remember to check out our favorite viewpoints for breathtaking views when visiting.

If you have any questions or want to share your experience, just leave a comment below.

Two small islands in Thac Ba Lake, Vietnam, connected to each other.

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