Sam Mountain - a place of pilgrimage for the Vietnamese
Travelling almost 6km to the west of Chau Doc Town, An Giang Province, you will have a chance to view the 230m-high Sam Mountain with beautiful landscapes and many historic remains.
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. You will have a short walk up on the mountain side to see the daily life of mountain people. There are dozens of pagodas and temples, many of them set in caves, around Sam Mountain. The Chinese influence is obvious and Sam Mountain is a favourite spot for ethnic Chinese (both pilgrims from Vietnam and abroad).
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 famous sites to visit near Sam Mountain. To the top of the mountain, there is a shrine with good views of the surrounding countryside.
Climbing the peak is, of course, the highlight of a visit to Sam 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, 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 taking photos now; however, you should ask permission and perhaps ply the soldiers with cigarettes before taking photos of them or anything that could be considered militarily sensitive.
Walking down is easier than walking up, so if you want to cheat, 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 trail on the north side which will bring you to the main temple area. The summit road has been decorated with amusement-park ceramic dinosaurs and the like. But there are also some small shrines and pavilions, which add a bit of charm and also remind you that this is indeed Vietnam and not Disneyland.
People from all over Vietnam make the pilgrimage to Sam Mountain. If you are in Chau Doc, it is worth a visit...