Are you looking for the most beautiful church in Vietnam? No, I’m not talking about St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hanoi nor Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica in Ho Chi Minh. I’m talking about a deserted church at the outskirt of Hanoi. This is a place that few tourists have heard of, not to mention haven been there before. This place is called Ba Vi National Park.
How I got to know Ba Vi National Park?
I’ve been to Vietnam a couple of times and seriously love the country, the people and the food. This year June, I went back there again to give a talk on Value Investing, sharing with Vietnamese how to make passive income from the stock market. Since I got a day to spare, I decided to visit the outskirt of Hanoi and ventured into places I’ve never been before. Apart from that, I also did Vietnam Motorbike Tour and visited Le Mat Snake Village on a seperate day.
As I was googling, I came across this place called Ba Vi National Park on BestPrice Travel. The tour company organizes tours to visit parts of Vietnam, and out of so many, I picked Ba Vi National Park due to its proximity to Hanoi and its exotic attractions.
Ba Vi National Park Day Trip
On the day of the trip, our tour guide Lin picked us up at 8am from the hotel. She shared with us how surprised she was when she found out that we had picked Ba Vi National Park out of so many destinations. “Very few tourists are interested in Ba Vi National Park. You guys are really special. But trust me, you won’t regret over your decision.”
During our 1.5 hour drive to Ba Vi National Park (about 65km from Hanoi), Lin was enthusiastically sharing with us what we were going to do – hiking, visiting viewpoints, cave, pagoda and temple… “There’s also a very beautiful church, very holy,” she said.
As our car driving up deep into the mountain, the air became cooler and cooler. Located at an altitude 1,100 m above sea level, the climate in Ba Vi is fresh and cool all the year round. Being far of the bustling Hanoi, the sound of nature also grew louder. Birds were chirping and bugs were singing. It was very delightful to hear.
Ba Vi National Park Attractions
After alighting from our car, we walked about 20 minutes to reach the scenic viewpoint. There is a huge lake at the bottom of the mountain. According to Lin, there’s a beautiful resort by the lake.
Our next stop was a cave. After walking for another 20 minutes, we found the entrance to the cave. However, there was an old man asking for entrance fee, claiming that he needed the money to maintain the cave.
“But I thought we already paid for the entrance fee to the national park?” Lin asked him in Vietnamese.
Still, the guy insisted on us paying for extra and Lin had no choice but to do so. “The cave better be nice,” I muttered.
However, it was a total disappointment. It was so small and in fact, I didn’t see any cave except for some stone covering the ceiling. If you are heading to Ba Vi National Park, give it a miss. You won’t miss out anything!
Next comes the Ba Vi National Park temple and pagoda. I’m not a huge fan of temple and pagoda. But I guess there was no harm visiting it and understanding more about their history and culture from the local guide.
Ba Vi National Park Abandoned Church
Finally, here came the highlight of the trip – the abandoned church. To be frank, I wasn’t really looking forward to it at first. I was thinking: “What’s the big deal? Just another church right?” But boy, I was so wrong.
Situated in the middle of the forest, the church was built by the French back more than 130 years ago. After the French left Vietnam, the church has since been abandoned. After so many decades of isolation, the church has been transformed by the nature.
Trees grew on top of the church. Their branches and leaves intertwined on the stone wall, forming beautiful natural calligraphy everywhere.
You can also find many interesting carvings on the wall. Those are marks left behind by the past visitors. Although I don’t advocate leaving marks on historical sites, the drawings made the church look even more artistic and special.
Everywhere you look, you will see a perfect harmony between manmade architecture and mother nature. It’s particularly Instagrammable with the church’s open window at the backdrop.
From certain angle, you may even mistake this place with certain scenes from Lord of the Ring. It’s that pure and divine.
Ba Vi National Park Food
After taking tons of pictures, we went for lunch before moving on to the last destination – to savour local made milk and yogurt. I always love dairy products, so when Lin said she was going to bring us to try goat milk yogurt, I got really excited.
I had never had goat milk yogurt before and it was delightfully good! The texture was a lot richer than the cow milk yogurt, which tasted creamier. I enjoyed it so much that I ordered the second one. 😊
All in all, we had so much fun from the Ba Vi National Park trip. The national park is peaceful and clean, and church just made the whole experience so memorable. Our guide Lin was super friendly and informative too. Highly recommended if you want to explore something different outside of Hanoi.
Fine Dining at Hanoi Old Quarter
For dinner, my husband Calvin and I chose one of the fine-dining French fusion restaurants at Hanoi Old Quarter – Red Bean Restaurant. We seldom spend money on fine-dining, but we wanted to use this occasion to celebrate our little success in our investing education business.
As expected, the food was good and service was excellent. If you don’t mind spending a bit more, go for it too!