Ba Be National Park - A world natural heritage
Published: 17/12/2012 10:44
In addition to the Huong Pagoda and Sa Pa ancient stone ground, Ba Be National Park in Ba Be District, Bac Kan Province has also been submitted to UNESCO for being recognized as a world natural heritage.
With unique geology and beautiful landscapes – its two greatest values, the Park is not only an object of scientific research but also an attractive site for discovery tours.
Unique geographical and geomorphic values
The boatman took us along the Nang River to Ba Be Lake. The karst terrain with limestone mountains on the two sides of the river reminded us of the mythological stories about the river and a plateau that experienced many changes to create Ba Be Lake, a blue gemstone with unique geomorphic and geological values amidst the forests in the north-eastern area.
According to Vietnamese scientists, Ba Be National Park lies in the arc-shaped Gam River and surrounds the Chay River . This area is a convergence of the fault systems in the north-eastern area.
The Park was split into sections and experienced block-generating movements, which lifted up the Ba Be limestone block to be separated from the surrounding non-karst terrains, changing the terrain and scenes and creating flat grounds and plateaus.
The geomorphic analysis shows that the limestone islets in Ba Be Lake, such as the An Ma and Ba Goa Islets might be broken parts of the nearby limestone mountains.
According to initial surveys, Ba Be Lake has 20 caves and grottos. Due to the structural and tectonic characters of the area, the caves and grottos developed only breadthwise. Collapses occurred regularly.
Most of the caves are simple and short and have few branches, but they are large and beautiful, typically the Dong Troi, Na Phong and Pac Chan. Each cave has two storeys or more, which are connected with one another via waterfalls, 1-3m high.
Hundreds of millions of years ago, a strong earthquake happened, making many caves collapse on an area of dozens of kilometres, from Puong Cave to Dau Dang Waterfall. The earthquake exposed an underground river and formed the Nang River branch with a 400m-high cliff. The bed of the river branch was filled and lifted up and became a natural dam, creating Ba Be Lake.
The lake has the name Ba Be because it is made up of three large pools including the Pe Lam, Pe Lu and Pe Leng which are connected to one another by the Nang River. Seen from a high mountain, Ba Be Lake lies amidst a range of lime mountains, so it looks small and surrounded by high abrupt cliffs.
It is about 9km long, 200 to 1,000 metres wide and 17 to 23m deep, with the deepest point being 29m. Doctor Nong The Dien, Director of Ba Be National Park said that through the exploration boring, the geologists discovered a 200m-thick layer of muddy soil, which was both pliant and solid, on the bottom of the lake. It was this layer that prevented the water going out, making the lake full of water all year round.
On sunny days the lake looks like a water-colour painting, fascinating every visitor. Its water is calm, blue and clear, reflecting the mountains, clouds and sky. The lake is usually dotted with Tay ethnic girls in black dress, rowing the tourist dug-outs, making a romantic scene. Ba Be Lake is really attractive due to its diverse geology and beautiful landscapes full of legendary characteristics.
Pham Duc Toan, head of the tourism committee said that with unique geography and geomorphology plus the specific colour of the water, Ba Be Lake attracts a large number of people who are interested in discovery tours, especially foreign visitors. Every year, about 25,000-30,000 tourists visit Ba Be National Park for tourism and convalescence purposes.
Attractive sites for discovery tours
From Buoc Lom Wharf we took a cruise for about one kilometre and reached Puong Cave , an attraction in terms of geomorphology and ecology. It is a limestone cave, 30m high, with stalactites of different shapes. Inside the cave, it is dim and the deeper the cave, the darker it is, but tourists are very excited because the arch of the cave is the habitat of tens of thousands of bats.
On the top of the cave still remain two flat platforms, one is 60m high and the other is 100-120m high. Scientists think that the Nang River had once run via the top of the cave.
Through millions of years the water of the river eroded the lime mountain, thus forming this magnificent cave. The two ends of the cave are open, making it ventilated. Outside the cave, there are blocks of marble and thick carpets of green moss.
A group of foreign tourists were very interested during the tour. Jaques (French) and Murat Yakin (Swiss) said that they had visited many countries and saw many caves but the caves in Ba Be National Park left great impression on them.
Leaving Puong Cave, we took a boat ride to Dau Dang Waterfall, a renowned landscape of Ba Be National Park. It falls from a height of 53 metres and runs among big limestone blocks overlapping each other.
In this area there are zones of breccia as a result of the faults. Foreign tourists were delighted in the beautiful landscape and they made videos and took photographs of it.
Dominique Rocheteau, a French tourist said that he knew Dau Dang Waterfall via a book but he could not imagine it was so beautiful and attractive. Perhaps, in the old days a very strong earthquake took place in this area.
Ao Tien (Fairy Pool) is the name of a small lake of three hectares lying on the top of a high mountain. Due to having special geological characteristics the lake never dries up. Its water is always blue and clear and the atmosphere is cool. Legend has it that fairies from Heaven used to come to this area for bathing and playing chess.
Visitors to Ba Be Lake area could not miss visiting Hua Ma Cave in Quang Khe Commune of Ba Be District, 6km southwest of Ba Be Lake, because it has great geological, cultural and tourist values. Hua Ma in the local language means head of the horse.
The Cave lies on a stone mountain, at a height of 300m above the ground, but visitors can go up by car for 150m, and then follow the steps to reach the cave. It is over 500m long, 50m high and 30-50m wide.
Inside the cave there are beautiful stalactites of different shapes, which look like Tang Zeng and his disciples going to seek Buddhist scriptures, lotus flowers, pen-shaped tower, etc. All these stalactites were naturally formed over millions of years.
With a long history of geographic development, unique geomorphic identities and beautiful landscapes, Ba Be National Park is really a wonder worthy of being a world natural heritage site.
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