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.
- Storytime: what people said vs. reality (in 2019)
- How to climb to Bai Tho mountain
- Tips on climbing Bai Tho Mountain
Storytime: what people said vs. reality (in 2019)
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?
We were a bit discouraged by all these comments, but we remained positive, tried to make it anyways and prove they were wrong. It was our first morning in Vietnam and we wanted it to be epic!
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 former entrance to the viewpoint, as it’s closed nowadays, but you actually have to climb a rock next to it 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:
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.
Bring water and snacks
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!