Sam Mountain Map
Map of Chau Doc: Sam Mountain Area- hand drawing map by Thomas Guya
Click here to download and print this map
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… you can see by the number of Guest Houses in the village below.I based myself in Chau Doc, and the motorcycle taxi got me to the top of the mountain in 20 minutes. It is basically a shrine on the top of a mountain,with good views of the surrounding countryside.
If you are in Chau Doc, it’s worth a visit, but I wouldn’t divert especially to see …
Another comments from my friend:
Sam Mountain is about 6 kilometers outside of Chau Doc. We negotiated a ride from Chau Doc with two local motobike riders, who were trolling for tourists outside a café. They wanted four dollars each for taking us there, waiting and then bringing us back to town. We didn’t bother with the price, but if you want to haggle there’s certainly room for it, as they seemed rather surprised we accepted their price.
The mountain itself is not that much to talk about. Of course there’s a great view, you can see for miles I’m sure, weather permitting. The thing is, the view is just flat, flat, green, green land as far as you can see. Nothing else. On top of the mountain there’s a number of viewing balconies, a few shops selling tacky trinkets, a few places where you can buy local food, and a very small temple. We spent maybe twenty minutes on the top at the most.
About half way up the mountain however, there’s a a much more interesting temple, which is currently undergoing or just finishing some sort of construction, as it’s not painted but otherwise looks finished. There’s a nice pond or well inside of it, and the view is magnificent. Well worth a look I’d say, if your in Chau Doc anyway.
Overall, I’d say Sam Mountain wouldn’t make me recommend staying a day in Chau Doc, just to see it, but if you’re passing through (probably coming from Cambodia or going there) spend two hours going there, have a look around and go back. If you want the exercise, you can easily walk there from Chau Doc, as it’s only five kilometers but there’s nothing to see on the way except highway and fields…
What to do in Chau Doc
A highlight of a visit to Chau Doc is a boat trip on one of the small paddle boats that collect near the western end of the park to many floating raft houses and fish farms. A second attraction, just outside Chau Doc, is Sam Mountain — more of a hillock in fact — which has reasonable views over the surrounds. The views are pretty rather than spectacular, though when combined with a visit to the pagodas around the hill’s base, this makes a worthwhile afternoon jaunt. Chau Doc is also the closest large town to the Vietnamese/Cambodian river border crossing. If you’re heading to or from Phnom Penh by boat, you’ll pass through Chau Doc, so try to allow for an overnight stay. Cruise the Mekong River between Chau Doc and Phnom Penh takes 5 hours.
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