It’s the perfect place to bring a bunch of friends on a hot summer’s day for a road trip, swim and a picnic.
Dai Lai Lake, located in Vinh Phuc Province, is about 46km from central Hanoi.
It takes an hour to get there if you drive from point A to B, but considering it’s such an easy drive, try to challenge yourself and when you get closer to the lake by taking the smaller roads that turn up as white on the maps, instead of the bigger yellow ones.
Stopping to breathe the clean air, you can feel and smell the difference between here and Hanoi. The smaller streets offer a romantic view of the countryside. Here you can see the vibrant green rice paddies and the ladies working in them.
Take the even smaller roads, up the rocky hills and through cool streams that the farmers walk their livestock through, and the ‘roads’ are just paths made over time from people and animals. If you speak enough Vietnamese, you’ll be lucky enough to get some directions from the farmers, and maybe even exchange a few pleasantries.
Resorts and golf courses have privatized much of the lake, so the places that you can park are limited. However, Dai Lai isn’t a popular destination, so you will probably have no problem finding a place to yourself.
Unfortunately, some of the bigger areas are littered with trash, fire pits, and bones. But seeing evidence of others eating and drinking made us think that this would be the perfect location for a summer’s day picnic.
The lake is in good condition for swimming, and if you bring some food, drinks, a portable speaker and good company, it can make for an ideal place to escape the city for a day.
There aren’t too many places to eat around the lake. In some instances we couldn’t make out what was being sold. But we did find a com restaurant that served some average my xao.
The recommendation would definitely be to bring your own food for the trip.
A great activity offered at the lake is the swan boats. We were quoted VND60,000 for an hour’s ride, but it can definitely be talked down to VND40,000 or VND50,000. Parking at the boat dock will set you back VND10,000.
The swan boats offer a fun, relaxing experience on the lake’s waters. You can paddle out and enjoy the mountainous views and relaxing atmosphere.
A day out to Dai Lai Lake is slow-paced and relaxing. We left at 9.30am and were back by 3pm. Had the weather been hotter, we would’ve taken the chance for a swim.
From Au Co, head north onto Nhat Tan Bridge. Go straight along AH14 (Vo Nguyen Giap) for 25km until you come to the intersection just after the airport. Turn right onto QL2A. Shortly after this, turn right onto Nguyen Tat Thanh where you will see signs for the lake (Ho Dai Lai). At the next roundabout take the first exit onto Tran Phu. From here, you can continue straight to Dai Lai Lake.
Photos by Julie Vola