Best view of Ha long Bay - How to get to Bai Tho (Poem Mountain) || Story time
Ha Long Bay ( “Descending Dragon”) is a truly magical place. It is easy to see why it has become a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its beautiful emerald waters & the thousands of limestone islands dotting the horizon.
These rock formations were said to be formed by dragons spitting out jewels into the sea to create a protective barrier form invading ships. To fully appreciate the wonder of Ha Long you can always take a junk cruise; however, if you’d rather get an aerial viewpoint of Ha long bay at sunset then look no further than Poem Mountain. In this blog I will tell you how to get to Poem Mountain as its entrance is located in a residential area in a locals home.
How to get to poem mountain
Poem Mountain is located in the heart of Ha Long City on the other side of Bãi Cháy bridge. To gain access to the mountain you will need to bribe a local lady to walk through her home into her back yard. The street you will need to go to is called Hàng Nồi.
If you arrive on motorbike a local lady will charge you 10K to park on the curb. Usually the gatekeeper lady is sitting on a chair waiting near the parking space. When we arrived in that street the first time (not wanting to climb the mountain, just looking) many of the locals pointed at the lady anticipating our wanting to climb. If the gatekeeper is not there you will either have to wait for her or come back another day. There is an entrance to the mountain that is said to be free, but I would rather give the local economy a little boost.
CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN
If you have been on google reviews you will find that most people say gaining access to Poem Mountain through the ladies backyard is a piece of cake. I beg to differ. After paying our bribe we walked through her house & up some stairs to the backyard.
We came to a gate that was covered in barbed wire & had a lock on it. We thought she would have the key and we would make our ascent in a matter of seconds. We were wrong. She did not have the key & our entry hole was a little hairy. We were faced with with a hole in a tree that jutted out the side of a set of overgrown stairs, dangling over a chasm. Not only this, but the tree & gate were covered in barbed wire.
First I had to climb over the railing of the stairs, precariously holding onto the fence where there was no barbed wire. I stuck my left foot through the hole in the tree (which we named the devil’s butthole because it was truly evil) and then straddled the tree with my feet dangling on either side. I then had to squeeze the rest of my body & head through the hole which had a nice string of barbed wire through it to make things interesting. I then had to pull myself up the other side by some tree roots & using the metal fence. It was not easy.
You may have seen pictures on Instagram of girls in flowy dresses sitting at the top of Poem Mountain. Don’t be fooled by these inaccurate depictions of reality. I wouldn’t be wearing anything nice as it would probably be torn to shreds by the wire (as my shirt was) & the climb is not easy; rendering you a sweaty mess.
After making it through the Devil’s Butthole of a tree we then started our climb. The lady told us to be back before dark as it is very dangerous. If you are planning on going up for sunset like we did; I would recommend taking a headlamp or torch for the climb back down. The stairs were very steep & the step height was large in some areas.
I would not recommend this climb for anyone with a heart condition or who does not have some degree of physical fitness. Some people have taken their children up but it does change from stairs to rock climbing near the peak.
Despite all these dangerous setbacks the view is very much worth it. Ha Long Bay at sunset is truly amazing. From the peak of the mountain we could see the bustling city below as well as the many limestone jewels dotting the bay. When we arrived at the local ladies home there were some children beating drums on the street. This music carried all the way up to the top of Poem Mountain & made it that much more magical.