Located 110 km from Hanoi, Thung Nai is a large valley surrounded by forests and mountains which are home to a large number of deer. In the afternoon, the deer come to the Da river to drink.
The construction of the Hoa Binh hydro power plant in 1994 created a large lake in the valley. Seen from above, the valley is spectacular.
Thung Nai is most crowded in the spring because that’s the best time to admire its beauty. Visitors can also explore Thac Bo cave and temple, Thac Bo market, and villages of the Muong ethnic minority.
From Thung Nai wharf, visitors can take boat tours around the lake. Their first stop is Thac Bo temple which honors two women of the Muong and Dao ethnic minorities who helped King Le Thai To cross the river to fight enemies in 1431. The two women are now worshiped as Thac Bo genies.
Dang Thi Lien from the Thac Bo temple said, “You need a boat to reach the Bo temple. You can never forget a tour of Thung Nai and Thac Bo temple. The scenery is so marvelous that Thung Nai is dubbed as a miniature of Ha Long Bay. “
It takes about 10 minutes to travel by boat from Thac Bo temple to Thac Bo cave which is 100 meters deep and has imposing stalactites and stalagmites which produce a bronze bell sound when struck. On weekends and during festivals, you can buy local specialties at the Thung Nai market.
There are several hotels and restaurants near Thung Nai. The Coi Xay Gio (Windmill) Hotel is one of the most popular. It has a windmill on its rooftop. Nguyen Thi Y, the hotel’s manager, said, “Tourists love the natural setting of Thung Nai and the small island on which our Windmill Inn is located. In the evening, they can gather around a campfire and enjoy Muong culinary specialties like roast honey pork with banana leaves, grilled fish, chicken and wild vegetables. "
Visitors can also explore ethnic minority culture at Mu and Gia Mo village, 3km from Thung Nai wharf or walk another km to visit other scenic spots along the Trach River.