Love paddle boarding? There are so many beautiful places in the Northern of Vietnam for enthusiastic paddlers to explore. Go SUP boarding and find yourself in the great wild of rocky mountains and rivers, and enjoy the true freedom.
Here is 6 of the best destinations for paddle boarding in Northern of Vietnam
1. Hoa Binh Lake
SUP paddling in Ba Khan area, Hoa Binh Lake
Hoa Binh Lake is the largest artificial reservoir in Vietnam. You can reach the lake with ease from Hanoi by taking the bus from My Dinh bus station. It is a good getaway from the city, the driving is just about 2hrs from Hanoi. This is considered one of the best location for paddle boarding in Vietnam. The lake is enormous and you can choose where to start your paddle. In my opinion, there are two ways that you should start you exploration:
Come to the first one, from Hoa Binh city, you can turn right and head to Da Bac Town. Find your way to Huu Thao Homestay in Hien Luong Commune. From there you can start your exploration of Hoa Binh Lake. The scenery is astounding-guaranteed, with the enormous peaceful lake and greenery. Stick to the right side of the lake and you will reach Paradise Cape, which is a peninsula and a perfect spot for camping. However you can only camp here from March to July, which is the dry season. From August to February, the water is high and you can’t even see the cape. If you decide to go in rainy season, I recommend going back to Huu Thao Homestay to spend the night, since it’s a long way to get to an accommodation if you keep going (about 10km paddling from the cape).
Camping in Paradise Cape in Hoa Binh Lake
You can start your paddle from Thung Nai wharf as well. Take left at Hoa Binh city and you will get there in about 1hr. Thung Nai is on the opposite side of the lake from Hien Luong Commune. Start there and stick to the left, you will see a very different scenery from the other side of the lake. You can see karst formation with impressive limestone rock cliffs. It is quite similar with what you can experience in Ha Long Bay – one of the World Heritage Site. There are two places for accommodation if you follow this route. You can stay in Ngoi Hoa Village, which is not very far from Thung Nai. This option is for novice paddlers, looking for a relax and easy trip. But if you are an experienced paddler, you can continue your paddle to get to Ba Khan Commune and earn your rest at Ba Khan Village Resort. In Ba Khan, you can do some trekking around the area. Tourism is new in the region. You will find beautiful mountain scenery with vast corn field and peaceful local villages of Muong people, waiting for you to explore.
Stunning rock cliffs along the way
Corn fields in Ba Khan
Do we have tours in Hoa Binh Lake? Sure we do. We provide daily tours to Hoa Binh Lake starting from Hanoi. You can check them out here.
2. Lan Ha Bay
One of our club trip to Lan Ha Bay
Ha Long Bay is one of the World Heritage Site recognized by the UNESCO – this is what every tourists coming to Vietnam has already known. However, not many people know that Ha Long Bay has a twin – as you guess it, it’s Lan Ha Bay. It is located in the south and east of Cat Ba Island, where you can easily travel from Hanoi by shuttle bus. Despite the fact that Cat Ba Town is becomming overwhelmed by tourism, Lan Ha Bay is pretty isolated and untouched, with many secluded beaches and lagoons to explore. Paddling in the bay would be a life-time experience for any paddle lover. In the bay, they provide kayak for rent, you can easily book one and explore the bay yourself or hire a guide to go with you. However, paddle boards are not available. If you want to do paddle boarding in Lan Ha Bay, you need to bring one from Hanoi. For that matter, we recommend Umove SUP Club as the provider of paddle board rental service in Hanoi. You can check out the link for more info.
Or you can join our tour to Cat Ba from Hanoi and let us take care of that for you. It is a special trek and paddle trip in Cat Ba Island and Lan Ha Bay, on which you will trek through Cat Ba National Park to the other side of the island, spend a night at the local village and paddle to explore Lan Ha Bay in the next day. For more information, check the link above or contact us.
3. Ba Be Lake
Ba Be Lake
In my opinion, Ba Be Lake is one of the best destination for any water activity, including paddle boarding. However, they do not provide paddle board for rent in the area, so you will have to hire one from Hanoi. The lake is lovely and beautiful, but tourists don’t come here very often since it is pretty far away from Hanoi. You should at lease spend 3 days to discover everything it has to offer. Take your time explore the lake itself, because it is vast and can take a day to explore. In addition, there are some places to visit such as An Ma Temple, Ao Tien (Fairy Pond) and Dau Dang Waterfall, all of which is accessible by paddle board. For accommodation, you can stay in Pac Ngoi, a village of local ethnic minority. They have many great homestays for tourists, so pick the one you like and enjoy the friendliness of Tay people.
Nang River – The entrance to Ba Be Lake
Personally, I really love my first trip to Ba Be Lake. It is the most memorable trip that I have had recently. I have a post sharing my experience when I first came to Ba Be Lake which you can have a look here.
4. Nho Que River
Nho Que River in Ha Giang
Recently, Ha Giang has become a booming destination for tourists. People enjoy the rocky look of Ha Giang, in which nature is mostly untouched and the local people are still friendly and unspoiled by over development. You can take the shuttle bus to Ha Giang city from My Dinh bus station in Hanoi, and then take the motorbike to experience the winding road and stunning mountain view of the region. In addition, there are some tourist sites where you will have a better understanding about the culture of local inhabitants and the history of the land. For more information, check out our blog post about Ha Giang – what to do, where to visit, what to eat.
And, let’s not forget about the deepest canyon in South East Asia – Tu San Gorge. If you take Ma Pi Leng Pass from Dong Van to Meo Vac or vice versa, you can see the gorge from the far away, with the emerald water of Nho Que River flowing through. Back then, people can only contemplate the gorge in such distance, but now it can be accessed and discovered by waterway. A boat station has been established in Meo Vac, where they provide tourist boat, as well as kayaks and paddle boards to explore the gorge. Although, we recommend using kayaks and paddle boards to visit the place, since they are enviroment-friendly.
Tu San Gorge – View from the river
Not only you can do paddle boarding in Tu San Gorge and Nho Que River, you can also spend a night camping by the river and waking up to a beautiful scenery in the middle of the mountain. Check out the daily camping & paddling tour starting from Dong Van for more details.
Our campsite by the river
5. Thac Ba Lake
Thac Ba is an impressively large reservoir of Thac Ba hydroelectric dam. The lake preserves the beauty of nature with nearly 1300 of small islands, making this a perfect place for paddle boarding and camping. You can just pick one of the island, set up your campsite and go exploring the vast lake. There are not many tourism activities in the area, though there is a village that provides homestay accommodation in Ngoi Tu. Getting to the lake is a bit tricky, since they don’t provide any bus that go straight to the it from Hanoi. You have to take the bus to Yen Bai city, then another one to Huong Ly port. And don’t forget to bring your SUP board since they have none for rent in the area.
6. West Lake
Sunset in West Lake
If you don’t want to travel too far and still want to do paddle boarding in Hanoi, West Lake is the place to go (locals call it Ho Tay). Located right in the middle of the capital city, the vast lake is the familiar get-together place for both novice and experience paddlers in Hanoi. If you are lucky enough, you can get a very poetic scene of the lake at the time of sunrise and sunset. Right now, you can head to Paddle Station, pick a SUP board for your own and the lake is free for you to explore.
So, which destination do you like best? Let us know in the comment below.
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