Yen Bai Overview
Yen Bai is a mountain province, characterised by rugged mountainous scenery and green rice paddy fields in the valleys. The Hoang Lien Son mountain range runs through the province. The Red (or Thao) River and Chay River flow the province. Their origin is in the Yunnan, China. The valley created by these two river systems in the Yen Bai Province is fertile, though an uneven territory; Muong Lo plain is the rice bowl of the province. The topography is steep, rising from east to west and from south to north. The average elevation is about 600 meters (2,000 ft) above sea level and can be divided into two regions: low-lying regions on the left bank of the Red River basin and the high right bank of the Red River and in the plateau between the Red River and Da River there are many mountains. Besides the two main rivers, the Red and the Da, the province has about 200 canals, small streams and large lakes and swamps.
The main ecozones of the province are rainforest, subtropical and temperate mountainous zones. It experiences a tropical monsoon season. The mean temperature in the province at elevations above 1500m is about 20°C (68°F) and drops to 0°C (32°F) with frost and snow in some parts. December and January are winter months when the climate is dry. Frequent drizzle is experienced during late winter months; this type of rain has earned Yen Bai the epithet "drizzle centre of the country”. April to December are summer months and the rainy period. The mean temperature is stable for the district as a whole and is in the range of 18°C (64°F) to 28°C (82°F).
Thac Ba is an artificial lake of Yen Bai Province. The lake consists of 1,331 hill-islands, varies vegetation cover and a diverse ecological setting. The caves and grottos in hill-islands on the lake such as Hum (Tiger) Cave, Cau Cuoi Cave and Thac Ba Temple are attractive to tourists. Thac Ba Lake is not only a scenic spot but also a historical place. In 1285, this area witnessed a battle in which General Tran Nhat Duat defeated Yuan-Mongolian troops. In the Upper Lake, there remain several vestiges of the offices of Central agencies in the anti-French resistance. In the middle of the lake stands the Mong Son Grotto which housed the Yen Bai Party Committee during the anti-American resistance. Coming to there, tourists are able to relax in the lake, climb the mountain and explore the forests. Visitors are attracted to Dong Cuong and Dai Cai temples. Archaeologists have found many remains of the Son Vi culture in the Dong Cuong Temple area. Dai Cai Temple was built on a large area covered with many green trees and beautiful riverside roads. Every year, the Dong Cuong Temple Festival is held after the Lunar New Year Festival, at the first Mao day (Cat Day). The worshipping ceremony is solemn and the festival features many local traditional folk games.
Yen Bai City is 180km from Hanoi. The province is on the railway from Hanoi to Yen Bai then Lao Cai. There is National Highway No.32 linking to Lao Cai and National Highway No.37 connecting to Tuyen Quang.