Travelling almost 6 km to the west of Chau Doc Town, An Giang Province, you will have a chance to view the 230 m-high Sam Mountain with beautiful landscapes and many historic remains.
- Location: An Giang Province
What to See at Sam Mountain?
Sam Mountain is the highest mountain in the Mekong Delta. On the way there, you can enjoy the sights of the two rice fields along the road, and drop by for a short visit to a small Khmer village. On the mountain side, you will also see how mountain people live on a regular basis.
The mountain does not only offer beautiful landscapes, but it is also where many historic remains deeply loved by the inhabitants of Nam Bo plain are located. Ba Chua Xu Temple, Tay An Pagoda, Thoai Ngoc Hau Tomb, Tao Ngo Garden, and Bach Van Hill are among the most famous sites to visit near Sam Mountain. To the top of the mountain, there is a shrine with good views of the surrounding countryside.
1. Tay An Pagoda
Tay An Pagoda was constructed in 1847 at the base of Sam Mountain in An Giang. Then it was restored extensively in 1958. Standing on the top of Sam mountain with an overview of the whole town and surrounded by lots of ancient trees, this pagoda has become a must-visit attraction amidst nature.
Tay An Pagoda is beautifully decorated with many elements from the Cham, Vietnamese, Chinese and Indian cultures. The interior and main gate follows Vietnamese design, having figures of 2 dragons and lions fighting for chrysanthemums, pearls, lotus blossoms and apricots trees on the roofline romp. Meanwhile, the front of it follows Indian temples’ architecture with a unique oval dome.
Once entering the pagoda, you will see a large statue named the Mother Holding Child and two other large statues of black and white elephants. There are also an array of numerous religious wooden figures representing Buddhist philosophical attitude. The most lively ones include Virupkka, Dhatarattha, Virulhaka and Kuvera.
2. Ba Chua Xu Temple
Ba Chua Xu Temple, also known as the Holy Mother of the Realm is a solemn and ancient architecture built in 1820. The layout of the temple looks like the writing of the Chinese characters with the shape of a blooming lotus and 4 blue tiles roofs.
There is also a main house, west and east corridors and a guest house in the area of Ba Chua Xu Temple. According to An Giang Records Book, in 2009, this temple was recognized as the oldest sandstone statue in Vietnam.
Legend tells that the Holy Mother helped the villagers to fight back the Siam Army in the past while blessing good weather and rich harvesting seasons to them. Thus, worshippers often come here a lot to touch her statue and ask for her blessing and protection, especially at the annual festival from 23rd to 27th in the 4th lunar month.
3. Thoai Ngoc Hau Tomb
Thoai Ngoc Hau (1761-1829), a mandarin serving Nguyen Dynasty, was the pioneer to exploit this Chau Doc’s virgin soil, establish living settlements as well as dig Thoai Ha and Vinh Te channels. After his death, local people built a tomb to commemorate his dedication of developing agriculture in the 1930s. He was buried with his 2 wives together with a temple in his honor.
Thoai Ngoc Hau tomb was designed by a harmonious architecture. There are many thick stone walls around the tomb. In the middle of it, there are temples and tombs for worshipping. Besides, numerous tombs of officials who had supported Thoai Ngoc Hau in the past were also constructed.
Today, visitors to Thoai Ngoc Hau Tomb not only to contemplate a unique structure in such a tranquil atmosphere but also to show their gratitude for the predecessors.
4. Tao Ngo Garden
Tao Ngo Garden is near Bach Van Hill in Chau Doc town. It is a way point for visitors to relax, especially in the hot summer days. They will be amazed by the breathtaking view from here. Then, they can take some photos to capture their moments.
What to Do at Sam Mountain
1. Climbing the Peak
Of course, the highlight of a visit to Sam Mountain is climbing the mountain. The views from the top are spectacular if weather permitting and you can easily look out over Cambodia. There is a military outpost on the summit, which is a legacy of the days when the Khmer Rouge made cross-border.
The outpost is still functional and the soldiers are quite used to tourists’ activity of taking photos; however, you should ask permission and perhaps ply the soldiers with cigarettes before taking photos of them or anything considered militarily sensitive.
2. Drive Motorbike to Mountain Summit
If you want to chill, let’s have a motorbike take you to the summit. The road to the top is on the east side of the mountain. You can walk down along a peaceful, traffic-free path on the north side which will bring you to the main temple area.
There is an amusement park at the summit road so visitors can play fun games during their time here.
How to Get to Sam Mountain
Sam Mountain is located in a remote area so it is understandable that there is no flight, boat or rail taking you to this place. The only way to get to Sam Mountain is through the road from the main Chau Doc city. You can catch a taxi or hire a private car to go, then walk for a while until you reach Sam Mountain.
Where to Stay
You can have a look at Victoria Nui Sam Lodge. This is a high-end hotel which offers great services to visitors visiting Sam Mountain. When choosing to stay here during the trip, you will have a chance to admire an extraordinary view from the hotel.
Tips on Visiting Sam Mountain
- If you decide to visit Sam Mountain, do not forget to bring food like snacks, fruits and water to eat in case you get hungry and you can’t find anything on the mountain
- Always put on sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun damage
- Try not to buy anything recommended by local hawkers if you don’t really want to buy
- Don’t throw trash on the top of Sam Mountain because this will cause bad damage to this mountain
Sam Mountain is a beautiful place. So, if you are in Chau Doc, it is really worth a visit!