Cruise on Hoa Binh Reservoir
The cruise on the reservoir takes about three hours. The boat rental with driver varies depending on boat types and your ability to haggle with the owner. It is advised that you should hire a big boat for your safety and for more space for you to lie down to relax or sleep during the trip.
Usually, the boat trip starts at a wharf near the Hoa Binh Hydropower Plant in Thai Thinh Commune after a short tour of the eight-turbine plant, which was built under a mountain in the town of Hoa Binh and commissioned in 1994, and to a mountain where a huge statue of Uncle Ho stands and where you can have a panoramic view of Hoa Binh.
Its up to you to choose the departure time but the best time is when the sun rises high in the sky so that you can have a clear view of attractions around the 100-square kilometre reservoir on the Da River.
You need to make sure you book the boat trip on a day with good weather as mist often covers the reservoir during the morning, making it difficult for you to take beautiful pictures of the fascinating scenes of the lake.
On a clear day, what you can see around the wharf is the scene of women using their feet to row small boats to and from their houses around the reservoir. Around an hour and a half upstream stand imposing mountains with limestones that can take the form of figures depending to your imagination. Here and there are ethnic people farming on hills.
The hills and mountains that dot the Hoa Binh Reservoir might remind you of the UNESCO-recognised Halong Bay in the northern province of Quang Ninh, where tourist and fishing boats regularly traverse the turquoise water.
At Hoa Binh, you will experience calm and quiet the further your boat travels upstream as a quite few boats are in your line of vision. What you can hear is the sound of the boats engine, birds singing far away and winds whistle through trees.
As the boat runs the same route on the way back, you can sleep inside or on the deck of the boat to recover your strength before you discover other attractions of the northern province, about 73 kilometres southwest of Hanoi.