Nestled in the lowlands of Long Xuyen, Sap Mountain or so-called Thoai Son Mountain has splendid landscapes filled with history of the opening of the Mekong Delta.
Thoai Ngoc Hau, a general during the Nguyen Dynasty, led the army and thousands of residents to dig the Thoai Ha Canal in 1818 with rudimentary tools. The canal is 30 kilometers long and runs through the foot of Sap Mountain, linking Long Xuyen City in An Giang Province and Rach Gia City in Kien Giang Province.
Nui Sap Town in An Giang Province’s Thoai Son District is about 25 kilometers away from Long Xuyen City on Road 934. To reach the top of the mountain, one may climb or rent a bike for VND5, 000 per person to ride on a 4 meter-wide concrete path that winds and zigzags up for 1, 500 meters.
Many pagodas varying in size, architecture and design are scattered on the road from halfway up to the peak. The most striking is a pink statue of Mitreya Buddha, eight meters in height and located at Duyen Phuoc Pagoda. The traditional pagoda with towers and curved roof has existed for many years, and was rebuilt in 1994. It is decorated with statues of dragons, lions, turtles and phoenix.
On top of the mountain the path ends at Doi (Bat) Cave, where many rocks are piled up on one another. Above the cave is a stone yard where passersby can sit and enjoy the fresh air and tranquility, viewing the scenery of immense green fields, far away rivers and canals, orchards and houses glistening in the sun.
On the way back down visitors will see what looks like a man-made painting, with Lake No.1, Lake No.2 and Thoai Lake linked together and crossing caves and tunnels in the mountain. Those are vestiges of stone exploitation that was developed into a tourist site.
Other noteworthy attractions to visit include Thoai Son Temple, site of the statue of General Thoai Ngoc Hau and a stele featuring the origin, landscapes and history of the mountain, and, in Nui Sap Town, the Thoai Ha Canal, Ong Bon Pagoda, Vong Dong stone mountain and Ba Pagoda.
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