Thung Nai Travel Experiences

by Sonny L on January 15, 2014

Thung Nai is a romantic destination considered as “Ha Long Bay on land”. Located by Da River Lake, Cao Phong district, Hoa Binh province, Thung Nai is right place for short trips at weekends. The beauty of Thung Nai River is a blend of water, mountains and lovely gentle people. It’s about 2 days for a trip from Hanoi to Thung Nai. To be well prepared for the trip, you had better read through some of the information compiled to have the satisfied trip to Thung Nai.

Thung Nai

When to visit Thung Nai ?

Because the travel time is only 2 days, so it is better for you to go on at weekend. Also you should go on full moon days, to enjoy watching the moon on Da River Lake, one of the most attractions of Thung Nai. It will be the best time to visit the Coast waterfall (Thác Bờ) in dry season. In a short, you can take day trips to romantic Thung Nai for all year round.

Go Thung Nai, it is suggested to have a visit to Hoa Binh hydropower where in the wet season, or storms, you will get a spectacular view of water outlet locks of Da River.

How to get to Thung Nai ?

Windmill on Thung Nai

From Hanoi, you follow Highway 6 to Hoa Binh (about 76km). Peace to the city, you can go straight to Hoa Binh hydropower for a random visit. If not, then passing petrol station near by the city, you turn into a bypass road at which there is a direction to Son La. At the end of the road, it comes Cun steep. You turn right and then ask the locals for the way to Thung Nai (turn right and go straight for about 500 meters, turn left into a lane). At Thung Nai stop, there are bike keepers who keep your bikes all day and night. So you can have your bike safely kept there.

Motels in Thung Nai

Near the lake, there are a lot of motels and resorts. Among them, there are two outstanding ones that highly recommended by backpackers. The first one is Windmills motel (built in the early days). This hostel is close to the harbor, room rates are higher than others, and often they do not get retail customers.

One other motel is in Coconut Island. The host of this motel is uncle Tuy. You can get a phone call to chat with him (sometime his daughter will receive your call). These two motels are highly recommended for its friendliness and reasonable prices. Retail customers are always welcome. While staying here, you will be treated friendly and can eat local fruits freely. You can have a look at the Island location below.

Services at the lodges are usually full board packages which include accommodation, meals, boat ride to visit Da River Lake. You should pre-book accommodation early for at least 2 to 3 days. Freight to the island is quite difficult and strenuous. If you are late, or do not come, it will cause damage to their home. So, you must not miss or be late for the booked time. If going on holidays, you should call ahead for 2 weeks.

For those who do not desire to stay in motels, they can travel around Thung Nai all day and in the evening ask for home-stay in Giang Mo village, located right on the harbor. Tourism at village is off the beaten path travel, which is not quite commercialism but professional. Most attractive point of the village can be delicious food with smoky taste, characteristic of wood stove. Villagers are so friendly and approachable. Muong people take the largest part of population here, so that it is called Muong Giang Mo village.

Where to visit at Thung Nai ?

Go to Thung Nai, most interesting activity you should not miss is walking around. It gives you chances to watch the spectacular scenery of mountains. Sometimes you come across small islands that make you feel like in Ha Long Bay. If you go on at weekend, you can join meeting markets of the ethnics in early morning on Sundays.

In addition, you can also visit some other places as listed:

Ba Chua Thac Bo Temple: This is a famous holy temple always crowded with pilgrims who come to worship. People living around come here to pray for their ups and downs life on the river.

Ba Chua Thac Bo Temple

Thac Bo Cave: It has a big gateway.  A lot of stalactites formed over the years were founded inside. This cave has become tourist attraction for tourists to visit and study.

Thac Bo Cave

Trach Spring:  This is a bathing place for delegations. With crystal clear water and natural, cool sights; this is a destination not to be missed if you go for a vacation in summer.

Going with group, it will be a great idea to organize a campfire party in the evening. Then, if the moon is full, you had better not to forget to hire a boat to on the lake to watch the pure moon. Free your soul; relax your body in such a peaceful space so that you can momentarily forget how the pressure of your everyday life is.

What to eat?

As mentioned above, your catering services are also included in your motel booking. While you are on Coconut Island, your meal will be severed with specialties:

Specialty in Thung Nai

Lợn Mán: is a kind of pig bred entirely by corn, potatoes, cassava. One-year pig only weights about 6-7kg, so its meat is darker, sweeter, and more aromatic.

Thung Nai chicken: chicken are raised on the hill at Thung Nai. They run a lot so that its meat if tougher and fresher.

Fish on Da River: barbecue of fresh fish caught by fishermen on Da River. Grilled fish are severed with vegetables and some side dishes. Da River grilled fish is Thung Nai’s specialty that people once coming here should not miss.

Fish from Da River


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