Initially constructed in 1959 for irrigation purposes, Dai Lai Lake in the northern province of Vinh Phuc has evolved into a popular resort and green tourism area.
Surrounded by hills and forests, the lake spans 5.2 square kilometers and features Ngoc Island at its center. Visitors can enjoy a range of recreational activities, indulge in local cuisine, and choose from various accommodation options.
Dai Lai is also one of the most convenient out-of-town locations less than two hours drive from Hanoi.
WHEN TO GO
Dai Lai Lake is an ideal getaway throughout the year. Summers offer a pleasant escape from the city heat, with temperatures averaging 3-4 degrees Celsius lower than Hanoi. Late summer and early autumn are recommended, as that’s when room rates are generally lower than during the peak summer season.
WHAT TO EXPLORE
Visitors to Dai Lai Lake can engage in a variety of recreational activities. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round of golf, while others can go boating, kayaking, or camping amidst the green surroundings. It’s important to note that certain areas, especially those within resorts, may require the purchase of entrance tickets.
Day Visit to Flamingo Dai Lai
For those not staying overnight, Flamingo Dai Lai offers day tickets allowing access to the resort’s facilities. With a day ticket, visitors can enjoy activities such as swimming, visiting amusement parks, kayaking, mountain biking, and exploring popular photo spots. Ticket prices for adults range from VND190,000 to VND290,000 ($8.09 to $12.35) depending on age.
Situated in the middle of Dai Lai Lake, Ngoc Island was once a wild bird island but has now been transformed into a resort. It features various architectural attractions and tourism services, including the reconstructed Linh Thong Pagoda, a children’s play area, a camping ground, and a 900-square-meter outdoor swimming pool. To access the island resort, visitors must purchase mandatory island and train tickets, each costing VND100,000. An extra VND100,000 ticket is required to enter the water park.
WHAT TO EAT
There are numerous restaurants near Flamingo Dai Lai, the golf course, and along the road leading to Dai Lai Lake via Provincial Road 302B (DT302B). These establishments offer a variety of local dishes, with buffalo meat being a standout specialty. Recommended buffalo meat dishes include dried buffalo meat, stir-fried buffalo meat with vegetables, and buffalo meat served with fermented rice dipping sauce.
Man pork is a specialty of the Muong ethnic group. What sets these pigs in Dai Lai apart is that they are raised naturally, without the use of packaged food. These pigs feed on natural plants, resulting in leaner and more flavorful meat compared to pigs from other regions. Dai Lai offers a variety of enticing dishes featuring Man pork, such as fig leaf-wrapped pork rolls, and Indian wampi leaf-wrapped pork rolls.
Salt fried chicken
In Dai Lai, chickens graze fee range in the vast mountainous terrain. These chickens’ meat has an aroma and firm texture, setting them apart from market-bought chicken breeds.
Local restaurants in Dai Lai have their own special method of cooking chicken by using salt instead of water. This technique enhances the chicken’s color and flavor, resulting in dishes like salted fried chicken and salted lemongrass braised chicken.
Water dropwort salad
Water dropwort salad features shrimp, meat, herbs, and spices. What makes it truly special is the use of freshwater dropwort combined with shredded buffalo meat. The combination is unique and flavorful. Diners can enjoy water dropwort salad with rice or pair it with a glass of beer.
WHERE TO STAY
Dai Lai Lake offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets. From affordable guesthouses to luxurious 5-star resorts, visitors can find the perfect place to stay.
As the largest and most luxurious resort in the area, Flamingo Dai Lai offers a range of accommodations. Room rates vary depending on the type (hotel or villa) and range from approximately VND2 million to VND10 million ($85.15 to $425.73) per night. Guests can indulge in the resort’s numerous amenities, including a four-season swimming pool, tennis court, sports club, massage services, game area, cinema, karaoke, and a variety of dining options.
Ngoc Island Resort
Situated in the middle of Dai Lai Lake, Ngoc Island Resort provides various lodging options. Guests can choose from homestays, camping grounds, or day accommodation by the hour. The price range for homestays is typically between VND1.2 million and VND2 million ($51.09 to $85.15) per night, while tent rentals are priced at VND350,000 ($14.90).
Near Dai Lai Lake, there are also several motels and smaller hotels available. These establishments offer a range of prices, starting from VND200,000 and going up to VND700,000 ($8.51 to $29.80).
HOW TO GET THERE
Dai Lai Lake is 40 kilometers from Hanoi. Traveling by car, motorbike, or bicycle is recommended. From Hanoi, you can reach the lake by crossing either the Nhat Tan Bridge or Thang Long Bridge and following National Highway 2A. For those preferring public transportation, buses are available. Take bus 58 from Hanoi to Nguyen Trai Street, Phuc Yen City, then switch to bus 08VP to reach Dai Lai.
– Adhere to the prescribed speed limits when driving around the Dai Lai Lake area.
– Help keep the public areas around the lake clean and maintain their natural beauty.