Thiên Cấm Sơn or Núi Cấm (forbidden mountain) lies in An Hảo commune, Tịnh Biên district, An Giang province, 30km far from Châu Đốc town in the West. The mount is 710m high nick-named Đà Lạt in the Mekong Delta with fresh and clean air. Núi Cấm is best known in late summer, early Autumn when the seasonal rains leave the region a green carpet of plants and flowers.
Thiên Cấm Sơn Photo: Trọng Hiếu
Story has it that, the mountain was named Cấm when lord Nguyễn Ánh sought the hiding here to escape the Tây Sơn army. He lived on the mountain and allowed nobody to come but locally, it’s known for its mysteries and sacredness.
The road upward is very sloppy and zigzagging, there’s a stream Thanh Long (very clear water) running through grass, bushes and mossy stones. The mountain peak is vồ Bồ Hong (vồ means peak) where the whole scene of Hà Tiên town could be viewed in the foot of Tô Châu and Đông Hồ mountains. A little further in the South is Ba Thê area and núi Sập in the greenery of rice fields.
If traveling North-East, we come to Thuỷ Liêm cave where there’s a cool stream year-round. After crossing rocky road, we come to Thiên Tuế peak, Đá Dựng peak to observe the natural landscape or to see the green valley beneath with fruit-tree gardens.
The last venue is Phật Lớn pagoda built in 1911, and Vạn Linh pagoda built in 1997. From distance, it looks like thiền viện Trúc Lâm in Đà Lạt. Vạn Linh pagoda is famous for its 7-story tower with curve roofs like a lotus flower. On the 7th storey, one can see the whole region Thất Sơn with mounts: Trà Sư, Bà Đội
Om, Cô Tô, Két, Dài, Tượng... On a 30km long track where from a great statue Di Lặc is seen shining in the sun with his happy and thoughtless smile. The Buddha is 32m high, inside is a multi-storey house where pilgrims can come and meditate.
At the foot of the mountain is Lâm Viên tourism service area (100ha large) always merry in games, sports, entertainment and restaurant specializing in local products of Bảy Núi region.