Sam Mountain - The Peak of Chau Doc, An Giang

Following 91 national highway to the west for around 60km from Long Xuyen City centre, you will come to Chau Doc commute, the home of Sam Mountain which is a popular mountain that many people want to visit. The name of the mountain mean the king-crab due to the fact that seen from a distance, the mountain looks look like a king-crab sticking on a vast green field.

Besides, there is a legend saying that this place used to be an island jutting out from the sea when sea covered the whole area. That island is the living place of many king-crabs, so it is called the mountain of King-crabs. 

Sam Mountain is a young mountain at 280ha in acreage and 241m high. There are lots of trees shading the mountain. In summer, the green background of tree leaves is decorated with Poinciana flowers that makes the island more beautiful and natural. Another interesting thing is the watercourse system surrounding the island as well as ancient temples and pagodas system on mountainside which create the pretty scene between the prosperous plateau.
 
Many pagodas and temples on the feet of Sam mountain.
The famous pagodas & temples on the feet of Sam mountain.

Under Nguyen Dynasty, Sam Mountain belonged to the area of Vinh Te Village, Tuy Bien District, An Giang Province which is now Vinh Te commute, Chau Doc Town, An Giang province. That romantic landscape has gone into poem by Thoai Ngoc Hau as a Feng shui painting. That was also the first time this attraction appeared on history. For a long time, the image of Sam Mountain have buried in the souls of people in An Giang and people in the South in general. The mountain is also the gathering place of many architecture works and historical and cultural relics recognized by the Ministry of Culture including Tay An Pagoda, Ba Chua Xu Temple, Thoai Ngoc Hau Temple, Hang Pagoda and some attractions like Bach Van Hill, Tao Ngo Garden, etc,.  
 
Ba Chua Xu temple - a famous spiritual destination of Chau Doc.
Especially, Ba Chua Xu temple - a famous spiritual destination of Chau Doc.

Thoai Ngoc Hau Tomb - a holy spot for visiting on the feet of Mt. Sam Tay An Pagoda
Thoai Ngoc Hau Tomb & Tay An Pagoda - the holy spots for visiting on the feet of Mt. Sam

Among the pagodas and temples on Sam Mountain, Ba Chua Xu Temple is a sacred place with gorgeous architecture. This is the place where Via Festival takes place every April, from 23rd to 27th in Lunar calendar which attracts various local and international tourists. Accordingly, Sam Mountain has long become the destination for many people coming to pray for luck, as well as admire landscapes. 
 

Legends recorded on the stone mountain 

On the cave entrance, there is a hole passing through cliff to outside with the diameter of almost 1 meter square. According to a legend, this cave is the living place of the eagle which kidnapped the princess and got to the cave through that hole. On the cliff, there is an image of a person in white who carries a large animal that looks like a python. His left hand carries the princess, so he is said to be Thach Sanh in a fairytale of Vietnam.

According to legend, after killing the eagle, Thach Sanh set free to the princess and go with her. Ly Thong is jealous and wants to get the girl. He asks people to fill the cave entrance to kill Thach Sanh. Thach Sanh then finds another road to get out which comes to the sea, where he sees a person with fish tail. 

Besides the caves rumoured as “eagle kingdom”, we can also see the second cave on walking on the large path. There is an altar for Thuy Te on the cave’s entrance and 3 small roads inside the cave. Under the cave, there is a strange type of rock which does not reflex the light and when light come in, it is absorbed. Only oil lamp can be used here, but this lamp does not work without air in the cave. Up to now, this secret cave has not been explored. 

By the time, the calcium stone layers were puffed due to absorbing much rain water, creating very strange images. On a Southern entrance nearby Dai Hong Chuong Stone, there is a large rock in the shape of a lion flying down from above. There is a Buddha statue located on its head. According to Phap Hoa Prayer, the statue on the lion is Van Thu Bodhisattva with gentle and warm voice which symbolizes talent. 

The rock is said to be appeared together with the appearance of the cave and is bigger and bigger. Talking about Dai Hong Chuong, it is, when looked at carefully, created from different separated smaller rocks with very loud sound. However, since the bell handle made by Cambodia was brought back to that country, we cannot produce any handle that can make the bell ring. 

The dark is coming, birds are calling each other to come back their nets. The last visitor has left the mountain. The sound of bell in the pagoda resounds from a distance place. We say goodbye to Sam Mountain and hope to have time coming back to continue discovering the untold legends. 
 

The best time to go to Sam Mountain

Each season will have its own beauty, if you go in the sunny season, you can take photos. As for the rainy season, the climate is cool and pleasant. Therefore, if you travel to Sam Mountain but unfortunately see the rain, you should not be sad because the scenery after the rain is very beautiful.

Normally, there are three ripe rice seasons in a year:

  • From April to early July.
  • August to early November.
  • From December to early March.

During these 3 ripe rice seasons, you should go to Sam mountain because the scenery is very beautiful.

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