For a unique perspective on Halong Bay, climb Bai Tho Mountain or Peace Mountain.
The Bai Tho viewpoint has become famous on instagram, and for good reason. The view of Halong Bay from here is truly breathtaking. Karst structures and open water as far as the eye can see and nothing from the over commercialised city of Halong comes into view. You can appreciate the true beauty of Halong Bay from the trail, and the now famous green roof on the summit.
As it’s currently closed to the public, the trail is a little hard to find if you don’t know where to look. So, read below for a step by step guide on how to climb Bai Tho mountain.
Step One: Go to Hang Noi road
How to find your way to the Bai Tho Mountain entrance is easy. Everyone in Halong City knows where to go. Just mention it to your taxi and the driver will take you to Hang Noi road. Taking tourists through to this trail is big business for the local residents. As soon as you emerge from your taxi, someone will approach you asking you if you’re looking for the Bai Tho entrance. Say yes and they’ll invite you to follow them to the person managing the key for the locked gate. You don’t have to pay this person for their assistance.
Step Two: Go Through the Passageway
Don’t be alarmed when you are led to a narrow entrance that leads to a dimly lit passageway. This is the most common entrance to the trail. We’ve heard some people go through a house, but this is the more direct entrance. Locals are friendly and pleasant. Many waved and said hello as we passed by along the passage. At the end, you’ll be asked to pay the entrance fee.
Step Three: Pay the Entrance Fee
The price varies depending on who invites you through, their mood and whether you look like you can afford it or not. We met people who paid 10k VND each, and we’ve heard of other people paying 50k VND each for another entrance. We paid 25k VND each or 92 cent (euro). It’s a very nominal fee, but if you want to try to haggle, you could say you only have a certain amount on you. It’s completely up to you.
Step Four: Climb through the Gate
To start the trail, you’ll need to pass through the gate, which can be a little tricky.
Before, the gate was simply locked, and people had to climb up on the fence to go around it.
Recently, a barbed wire fence has been added to stop people doing that. Of course, a hole has since been cut in the fence that you’ll have to pass through.
It’s a little tricky, but doable. Just take your time, and be careful.
Step Five: The Hike
The hike up Bar Tho Mountain is not too difficult, but keep in mind that while the first three quarters of the trail are steps, the rest turns to rocks, and climbing them at an almost vertical angle is going to be more difficult for some than others. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 45 minutes to reach the summit.
Please take care not to do this hike for sunset. The trail is not lit up, so I can only imagine the great difficulty you would have to climb down the steep section at the top in little to no light.
Step Six: Get Snapping
It’s no secret that photos from this famous viewpoint will do wonders for your instafeed. I posted two photos from here on @agirlwhoblooms and got a record number of ‘likes’. More than I’ve ever had for any other picture. So, it’s well worth taking your time to get that perfect snap.
The famous shot here is from the green roof of the shed, so get as many variations as you can, but a little lower down there is a rock, and with the right perspective, can be a beautiful alternative shot to this famous place.
I highly recommend you spend one night in Halong city to do this hike, and the other on on a Halong Bay cruise. That way, you get to experience Halong Bay from both perspectives.