Bai Tho Mountain: Discover Ha Long From The Top!

When referring to Ha Long, people often think of Halong Bay – the UNESCO World Heritage site with thousands of islands, white sandy beaches, and delicious seafood. It’s certainly packed with things to see – check out our list of top 20 Halong Bay attractions!

Bai Tho Background

Bai Tho Mountain is a limestone mountain 200 meters high, located in the heart of Halong city. This mountain is quite special: half of its foothills rove over the land, and the other half are immersed in the ocean. People have a long history of interpreting the mountain’s shapes to look like a lying tiger, a preying lion, or a dragon preparing to fly.

Culture and History

Not only does the mountain have a high value in regard to tourism, Bai Tho Mountain also has a rich, storied role in the culture and history of this province.

A long time ago, Bai Tho Mountain was called Truyen Dang Mountain (Lighthouse/Light Projecting Mountain). Legend has it that soldiers perched atop the mountain would use their high vantage point to announce oncoming aggressors by lighting up the top of the mountain to warn the city below.

In 1468, King Le Thanh Tong patrolled the northeast coast by boat and stopped at the foothill to drink wine and recite a poem. Touched by the charming scenery of natural mountains and sea, King Le Thanh Tong had the poem carved into a cliff face.

From that time forward, people have chosen to call this place Bai Tho Mountain (Poem Mountain).

How to Get to the Best Viewpoint

This is not the highest mountain in the city, but it is an ideal location for you to admire the entirety of the bay and the city from above. From the central post office downtown, one can easily find their way to climb the mountain.

– Go straight along Le Thanh Tong Street to see Nam Phong Coffee at Hang Noi Town.

– Turn into the opposite road. Bai Tho Mountain road is a small lane and you have to go up through the local houses there. You can ask people here and they are enthusiastic to show you the way to go up.

on the Top

After 30 minutes of hiking, you can rest your feet on the top of Bai Tho Mountain.

Apart from the poem engraved in the stone; you will also be able to enjoy the impressive vista stretching out below. Standing at the top of Bai Tho Mountain, you can see the whole city of Halong.

A small note: if you see signs warning of a misty sky or potential rains, you probably should not go up because there is no shelter. Moreover, when you see the sky is very cloudy, your visibility will be very limited, which makes it difficult to see the sights below.

Have you been up Bai Tho Mountain? Send us in your pics for a chance to be featured in a future post!

How To Get To Bai Tho Mountain For The Best Views In Ha Long Bay

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If you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen this viewpoint on instagram before and you’re wondering if it’s still open or if it’s possible at all to get there (spoiler: it is!).

This viewpoint is located in Bai Tho / Poem mountain. Here’s our experience climbing to the best viewpoint in Ha Long Bay.

How to get to Bai Tho Mountain for the best views in Ha Long Bay

Storytime: what people said vs. reality (in 2023)

Don’t let others fool you about getting to Bai Tho mountain.

Before we went to Bai Tho viewpoint, we were told that the access was totally closed, that you had to bribe a lady, that she wouldn’t let you access most of the times, that you had to climb over a wired fence and that you have to be careful with angry dogs barking at you. Sounds a bit like a nightmare, doesn’t it?

And oh my, it was truly epic.

This is how everything happened. We arrived the day before for sunset time at Halong Boutique Hotel, the hotel we chose for our stay so we could go to Bai Tho mountain for sunrise – 100% recommended! There we met Cody, the hotel manager, who decided to join us at 4 am to show us how to get to the entrance once he knew our plans. And off we went!

The lies we were told before going to Bai Tho mountain

We were told that we had to bribe a lady (around 2$) to access Bai Tho mountain. We started our hike at night and we didn’t see her, not even when we came down later in the morning. Cody told us she was not always there.

We were told that this same lady forbids the access to this viewpoint most of the times.

We were told that we had to climb a wired fence. The wired fence does exist at the left side of the former entrance to the viewpoint as it’s officially closed nowadays. You actually have to climb the rock in the right end side and sneak through a hole on top of it. More on this later.

We were told that there were frightening dogs barking at you on the way up. Instead, we had the company of a lovely puppy all the way to the top and again on the way down. He was so lovely!

We were told you can nearly die on the way up. I believe it’s harder on rainy days as it can get slippery, but unless you have any physical difficulty, I believe you can make it: just go at your own pace.

How to climb to Bai Tho mountain

I’ve pointed the exact entrance spot on this map. It’s a narrow entrance with stairs.

If you go for sunrise as we did, you’ll have to climb twice:

If you go for sunrise as we did,

Firstly, you need to climb the blueish fence you see in the first photo, as it was closed for sunrise. It’s not too difficult to get to the other side climbing by the tree on the left. This door was widely opened when we arrived back later in the morning and no-one was around.

A few steps after this door, you’ll get to the wired fence (second photo).

You need to climb the rock next to the closed entrance and sneak through the hole on the top of it (third photo). The hole is not as small as it seems in the picture, it’s big enough for one tall person. The rock is around 3 meters high and it’s not too difficult to go up if you’re careful, but it’s harder on the way down as you have to jump a bit.

After climbing these 2 doors, you have to go all the way up using the stairs. At some point there are no more stairs, just rocks, but it’s still doable.

Tips on climbing Bai Tho Mountain

Go to Bai Tho for sunrise

I totally recommend going to Bai Tho for sunrise. 

Firstly, the lady you’re supposed to bribe to access the entrance won’t be there. She only asks for 2$, but you know, bribing for a photo is not really responsible tourism!

Secondly, the light is perfect for sunrise! And I’m not talking only about photos. If you choose to go for sunset, it can be dangerous on the way down – don’t forget to bring a flashlight if you do so!

Plus, it can get scorching hot in Vietnam so sunrise is the perfect timing weather-wise.

Finally, I highly recommend staying at at Halong Boutique Hotel which is located just a couple of minutes walking from the entrance point. Ha Long Bay is around 15 minutes away by taxi.

We totally forgot to bring any water with us! We were so jet lagged and sleepy to even think about it.

But you know I’m always lucky! A kid gave us one of his bottles of water before we started going down.

Don’t forget a flashlight if you’re planning to visit for sunset

If you’re visiting for sunset, keep in mind that it will be dark on the way down so using a torch is vital! Make sure to bring one or to have enough battery in your phone!

Wear the right shoes

As you need to climb at several points on the way up, I highly recommend you using sneakers. If you’re visiting on a rainy day, then be extra careful and wear hiking shoes if you packed them.

Bring a different outfit if you plan to take photos

You will get to the top as a dirty and sweaty mess. I changed my clothes at the top for pictures and it felt really good to remove all those sweaty clothes!

Hiking to the top of Bai Tho mountain was really epic and the best way possible to start our trip in Vietnam,. If we listened to the ones saying it was impossible we wouldn’t have even tried. Instead, we kindly asked about the situation to our hotel’s manager and once at the top, we discovered that locals usually come here just to start the day with a view.

I totally recommend visiting Bai Tho mountain when in Ha Long Bay. There’s no better viewpoint in Vietnam!

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Bai Tho Mountain: Discover Ha Long City, Vietnam On The Top

Bai Tho mountain (núi Bài Thơ) is one of Ha Long’s highest mountains, located at an altitude of 200 meters with half lying on the mainland, half lying on the sea. Bai Tho is a limestone mountain, which is originally called Truyen Dang mountain (núi Truyền Đăng) because this is the place where soldiers in the old days often set fire to alert the citadel every time there was an enemy (“truyen dang” in Sino-Vietnamese means “giving light”). Nowadays, people often call the mountain as Bai Tho due to the existence of 9 poems carved on the cliff, including Chinese characters by Le Thanh Tong in 1468 and Trinh Cuong in 1729. Each poem is invaluable, which remains almost intact until today and has become the pride of Ha Long city (thành phố Hạ Long).

Bai Tho Mountain: Discover Ha Long City, Vietnam On The Top I. How To Get To Bai Tho Mountain?

Ha Long is 160 kilometers far from Ha Noi, and possible transport means are motorbike/car or coach.

For those who want to drive themselves, Google maps is certainly a best friend. The most straightforward route is to follow National Highway 1A (Quốc lộ 1A) from Ha Noi, through Ha Noi – Hai Phong Highway/QL5B (Cao tốc Hà Nội – Hải Phòng) and Noi Bai – Ha Long Highway/QL18 (Cao tốc Nội Bài – Hạ Long).

People who do not have personal vehicles or prefer to relax can catch a coach at My Dinh station (bến xe Mỹ Đình), the first trip departs at 6:00 am and the last at 17:00 pm. Fares range from 100.000 VND/person for seat ticket to 200.000 VND/person for sleeper ticket.

2. From Ha Long To Bai Tho Mountain

From the center of Ha Long, a bunch of choices is there for you, like continue with self-driving, catch a taxi straight to the foot of the mountain if traveling with a large group, or rent a motorbike at various cheap rental spots available all around the city. There are two ways for you to start your climbing journey. The first is along the path next to the house number 104A on Le Thanh Tong street (đường Lê Thánh Tông), and the second is through the path beside Long Tien pagoda (chùa Long Tiên) on Long Tien street.

The mountain road of Bai Tho is made from concrete and quite easy to go, but the higher the road, the more dangerous it is with many broken staircases, requiring visitors to cling to steep limestone slabs to continue climbing. It takes 20 to 30 minutes to climb up depending on the number of people being together at a time, and 15 minutes to go down.

II. Suitable Time Of Climbing Bai Tho Mountain

The best time to climb Bai Tho mountain is around 4:30 am and 16:00 pm to enjoy gorgeous moments at dawn and sunset. However, you can choose to climb the mountain at any time of the day, the scenery viewed from the top is still very fascinated.

III. Admire The Whole Landscape Of Ha Long From Above

After reaching the top of the mountain, you will admire the modern beauty of Ha Long city, as well as the colorful picture of Ha Long Bay (Vịnh Hạ Long) with lots of boats and islands of all shapes and sizes. You will take in your sight Bai Chay bridge (cầu Bãi Cháy), Cai Lan port (cảng Cái Lân), Co Tien mountain (núi Cô Tiên), and the bustle of the city. If you are lucky, you can also meet the lovely mountain goats grazed here.

Climbing Bai Tho mountain, you will get the feeling of conquest. It is not just a sense of victory over yourself but also a satisfaction of winning nature. This will be an interesting experience for you on your journey to discover Ha Long because when referring to Ha Long – Quang Ninh, people will immediately think of beautiful beaches without imaging that Ha Long has such an attractive location.

IV. Where To Stay In Ha Long?

Below is the introduction to some hotels and homestays in Ha Long, which to consider based on your budget and plan.

It is not too much to say that this is the most opulent hotel in Ha Long with a prime location, high-class interior design, and exceptional services. Wyndham Legend claims the international five-star standard, provides outdoor pools, European – Asian restaurants, bars, club lounge, fitness center, airport shuttle, ATM machines, and currency exchange. The hotel is only a few minutes walk from Sun World Ha Long Complex, Ha Long night market, and not too far from Ha Long Vincom Mall and Quang Ninh museum.

Address: No.12 Ha Long street, Bai Chay ward, Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province

Prices: From 2.530.000 VND to 4.600.000 VND/night

Muong Thanh Luxury Quang Ninh is also situated in an affordable location which allows tourists to view Ha Long panoramically. The hotel possesses a swimming pool, tennis court, fitness and spa center, restaurants, lobby lounge and bar, and fully equipped rooms. For local sightseeing options, Bai Chay beach, Bai Chay bridge, Bai Chay tourist wharf, and Typhoon Water Park Ha Long are worth mentioning.

Address: Block 1, Area 2, Bai Chay ward, Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province

Prices: From 1.700.000 VND/night

Located next to Bai Chay beach and Sun World Ha Long Complex, Novotel Ha Long Bay offers the comfort and pleasing service for every visitor. Each room in the hotel is designed for the purpose of bringing the most comfortable lifestyle. With large windows, guests can enjoy a wide view of Halong Bay from above. Like other hotels at the same class, Novotel Ha Long Bay comes up with swimming pools, spa center, restaurants and bar, meeting halls, and airport shuttle.

Address: No.160 Ha Long street, Bai Chay ward, Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province

Prices: From 1.700.000 VND/night

Amazing Ha Long homestay is right in the center of the city, which makes it convenient in traveling and shopping. The homestay has an apartment style, which is suitable for both large group and individual guests. According to the owners, the standard capacity of the homestay is 6 people, and you will have to pay an extra fee for a maximum of 4 added people.

Address: Apartment no.1801, Floor 18, Block B, Newlife building, Hoang Quoc Viet street, Bai Chay ward, Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province

Prices: From 600.000VND to 3.000.000 VND/night

Address: Tuan Chau Island, Ha Long Bay, Quang Ninh province

Prices: From 950.000 VND/night

This is also an apartment homestay on Hoang Quoc Viet street, belongs to the famous Momento chain in Ha Noi. Come into operation recently, Momento Ha Long has 3 independent rooms and 2 bunks, serving about 10 guests at a time. In the summer, the homestay prioritizes groups and families; during other times, guests can rent a bed or a private room.

Address: Apartment no.12, Floor 14, Green Bay towers, Hoang Quoc Viet street, Bai Chay ward, Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province

Prices: 200.000 VND/night for a bed, from 500.000 VND to 800.000 VND/night for a room, 2.000.000 VND/night for the whole apartment

V. Some Useful Tips To Conquer Bai Tho Mountain

Do not go on foggy days but choose sunny ones to make it easier in moving and to capture more adorable photos.

Necessary things to bring: A hat if your trip is in the summer, a flashlight, water, snacks, garbage bags, and insect repellent.

One important point to keep in mind is that mountain climbing is not appropriate for children under 10 years old.

Bai Tho Mountain (Poem Mountain) – The Mountain Of Wonderful Mysteries

Bai Tho Mountain (Poem Mountain), The mountain of wonderful mysteries

What is Bai Tho Mountain?

Referring to the place of Halong, many people will immediately think of Halong Bay, one of the 7 new natural wonders of the world. But this is not the only destination that attracts you when coming to this coastal city. This famous mountain is a familiar check-in place for young people to dragon land. For the people of Quang Ninh, Poem Mountain is located in the heart of the romantic Halong Bay, a proud historical place with beautiful natural scenery.

The mountain is 200m high compared to the sea level, although not too high, it is enough for tourists standing on the top of the mountain to have a panoramic view of Quang Ninh city as well as the entire Halong Bay. Conquering Poem Mountain is not too hard or exhausting as many people think. Because this mountain is not too high, it will only take you about 30 minutes to be able to set foot on the top of the mountain. The best time to see the scenery is at sunset and at sunrise. If you intend to catch the sunrise, climb from about 4:30 am and around 16:00 if you want to catch the sunset.

On the highest peak of Poem mountain, there is a red flag with a yellow star fluttering from the years of resistance against France, a reminder of the tenacious tradition of the Vietnamese people. On the journey to conquer the summit of Poem Mountain, visitors can see hundreds of undulating limestone mountains associated with the legend of the Dragon land. At the foot of the mountain, tourists also visit Long Tien Pagoda and Duc Ong Temple.

At night, you can not only watch the moon shining brightly in a corner of the sky, the twinkling stars are flashing, but also the mysterious Bay in the dark night. Besides, Halong City is shimmering with lights. The air here is fresh and cool all year round, so at any time you can take a climbing trip, conquering the peak of Bai Tho. You will enjoy, immerse yourself in nature, feel peaceful and take shimmering, unique photos!  


Bai Tho Mountain (Poem Mountain)

The climb to the Halong Bay secret viewpoint involves bribing, puppies, rock climbing, blood, sweat, and tears. If you’re ready for the best view in Ha Long Bay, then you’re in the right place

Jump to 🤔 What to Expect 🔎 How to find the hidden entrance 🧗🏼 How to climb Bai Tho Mountain ⛰️ The BEST view ☠️ Things to be aware of ⁉️ FAQ’S 🏨 Where to stay

What To Expect At Bai Tho Mountain

Once you begin the hike, the path consists of stairs until halfway up. From there it is rocks which you have to climb over, which can be difficult. The whole ordeal is completely worth it. You are rewarded with the best view of Halong Bay at the top.

Once you reach a small building, you can climb onto the roof, please take extra care when doing this, it is totally worth doing. It was the best view of Halong Bay we have witness. You will see the limestone formations and the tiny boats below, it is honestly the best experience we did in Vietnam.

Fancy having your own clothes made in Hoi An? Check out our Peace Tailor Guide

The entrance to Bai Tho Mountain or Poem Mountain as it is also known as can be found here.

Find the blue door pictured below, this is the entrance to the house that will lead you to the Halong Bay Viewpoint. There will be a few dogs behind the door so be careful.

We read a lot about the scary dogs but the owner came out to calm them down. The only reason the dogs are barking so much is because she had given birth to puppies the day before. She was being a protective muma!

There are several puppies as you walk through the house and one even joins some climbers on the hike. We got to the top and a group of backpackers had the owner’s dog guiding the way.

We walked through the house, into the garden, and found the homeowner. We paid her 1000,000 VND [$3.38] and she was not open to anything lower. As we were shocked we had got this far so we happily paid her.

Not only did this make her happy but she helped us climb up. Without her help, I (Milly) wouldn’t have been able to do this climb. As we got to the wall other people were turning back, claiming it was too difficult for them to do.

Previously there was a gate to the left which most people climbed around. Since then the government has placed barbed wire around the edge to stop people doing this. This has resulted in people scaling the rock face and UNDER the gate, which someone has kindly cut a hole in.

How To Climb Bai Tho Mountain 🧗🏼

The first step was to bribe the homeowner, the next step is the rock face. You will have to scale this wall and slide under the fence at the top. If you are lucky like us, the homeowner will come and help you get up.

When I started to climb, she grabbed my legs and put my feet into the right holes. She also pushed me up until she couldn’t reach me anymore. I stupidly wore a playsuit, so she got a great view while I was climbing up. She was amazing and without her help, I wouldn’t have been able to climb this wall.

She doesn’t speak a word of English which is why she is very hands-on, but she wears gloves!

The final step is to climb up the stairs. The ground can be uneasy so take care where you are stepping. Halfway up, the stairs stop and the path consists of rocks which you will have to climb over.

The photos really do speak for themself as to how amazing this viewpoint in Halong Bay is. Even though this was a tough climb for me, I was so proud of my self for completing it. Even though we looked exhausted and defeated at the top, we didn’t care that we were dripping with sweat.

We sat on the edge and watched the eagles sore below us. It was insane to be the same height as these birds we had admired from the ground.

↠ The climb to the Halong Bay secret viewpoint depends on your personal fitness level. We read it could take anything between 20 minutes to an hour to reach the top. It took us two hours from start to finish, which included sitting at the top for a while and taking chúng tôi yourself enough time to get up and back down before it’s dark. You do not want to climb back down in the dark.

↠ Another thing to beware of is the house you must walk through to reach the Halong Bay Viewpoint is someone’s home. She might not always want people walking in and out so don’t be alarmed if she turns you away. We had no problem with her but we have read others have.

↠ This climb can be dangerous, the rocks are not secure and there are very steep drop-offs. Don’t do this alone but if you are planning to, then tell someone where you are going.

↠ Make sure you bring plenty of water! Like anywhere in Vietnam it is hot and humid and hiking up a mountain makes it that much worse.

How do I get to Bai Tho Mountain? Simply order a grab to this location. Once here, find the blue house to enter and up the stairs.

What do I wear to climb Bai Tho Mountain? Wear trainers and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.

Is it hard to climb Bai Tho Mountain? The initial rock climb is hard but doable. The walk-up is also doable, but take your time and don’t rush.

How long does it take to get up to the Halong Bay Viewpoint? It took us an hour and a half to climb up, sit at the top, take photos, and get back down again.

How much do I need to bribe the homeowner? This really depends on her mood, we paid 100,000VND each, others have paid less.

A lot of people who visit Halong Bay not stay within the town as they are here for a cruise, and will be sleeping on a boat. But if you want to visit Bai Tho Mountain you will most likely end up staying in Halong Town. Here are some accommodation options in Halong Bay.

The best time to visit Vietnam is in the dry season. Typically the dry season in Vietnam is between November – February, the temperature is a little cooler and their humidity and mosquitos are a lot less intense.

Things To Do In Halong Bay

There is so much to do in Halong Bay, most of which involve boat tours around the bay. We have listed some of our favorite things we did.

Vietnam is very easy to get around, from riding a motorbike across the country to using the extensive bus and train networks. Not only is an affordable but a lot of the time, “notice we didn’t say ALWAYS”, they are efficient and on time. We like to use 12Go to get around Vietnam and most of Asia. You can easily book online and check all of the bus and train time tables.

Wifi and Sim Card’s

If you are spending a long time in Vietnam then you are going to want to stay connected. The free Wifi you find in restaurants and hotels is reliable. But when you are out exploring having data on your phone is a must. We order out Sim Cards online so it is ready and waiting for us when we arrive.

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