View Ha Long Bay from above

Nga Do
Travelling in Ha Long bay, travelers can kayak, travel by bamboo boats or cruise ships to explore the beauty of the islands, caves and unspoiled beaches, yet to have a panoramic view of this world heritage site, one should not miss Bai Tho (Poem) Mountain.

Bai Tho Mountain is a hill. The path leading to the only 200-metre-high.mount is located in Hang Noi Street of Ha Long city. The trek, which may take half an hour, is pretty easy.

On reaching the top, the scenic view of Ha Long city and the bay are breathtaking. One sees small islands dotting the bay. Rocks come in a range of shapes and sizes, some looking like dragons descending to the bay. A resident told me that it is from here that one understands why this bay was named Ha Long (Descending Dragon).

Bai Chay Bridge, fast-paced Hạ Long city with its high rises, busy Cai Lan Habour, the newly opened Tran Quoc Nghien Street, and Co Tien Mount are all spread out in front of our eyes.

Young travelers dub this a new "check-in" spot for the city, and it is definitely a favourite of photography lovers. “There are not many places where we can take such a good panoramic view of the whole of Ha Long city like this,” said Bui Huy Hung, 27, who travels around the country to take photos and film videos.

The ideal time to climb the mountain is early morning or late afternoon, 4.30am or 4pm. Ha Long city is at its best in the dawn or twilight that color the city.

The reowned Long Tien pagoda at the foot of the mountain is also worth a visit, leaving behind the bustling city and touristry destinations to enjoy calmness and peace.

One can also visit a local seafood market to see and buy different types of fish or octopus, squid, crab, snail and oyster.

While Bai Tho Mountain attracts travelers for its scenic view, its name also reveals interesting stories.

Bai Tho (Poem) Mountain was once named Roi Den (Illuminating) or Truyen Dang (Light Transmitting Mountain). It is said that in old times, when the guards on the mountain saw enemies nearing, they would burn a torch to signal the royal palace - hence the name Truyen Dang.

In 1468, when King Le Thanh Tong led a patrol in the northeastern region, they stopped at the foot of the mountain to have a rest and discuss literature and poems. Moved by the poetic scenery, the king carved a poem in a mountain rock to praise the beauty of this area.

The carving is now faded, yet it was fortunate that the poem was recorded in old books and subsequently gave the mountain the current name, "Poem".

To get there, one catches a bus to the crossroad of Cao Xanh and Loong Toong streets near Bai Chay Bridge and takes a taxi or motorbike taxi to the foot of Bài Thơ Mountain

The path leading up starts at 104A Lê Thanh Tong Street and is open from 5.30am to 7pm. One can also trek to the top by a path on Long Tiưn Street, near Long Tien pagoda.

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