Hiking Poem Mountain for the Best View of Ha Long Bay
Poem Mountain offers the best views of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam and might also be one of the sketchiest and most memorable hikes that you’ll ever do. No trip to Vietnam is complete without experiencing the glistening turquoise waters and impressive limestone karsts of Ha Long Bay. While most tourists choose to go on one of the many boat tours around the bay, hiking Poem Mountain will give you even more spectacular views for a much more budget-friendly price.
Check out our short video recapping the experience:
How to get to Poem Mountain - the Ha Long Bay viewpoint
If you hire a taxi, just tell them you’re going to Bai Tho and they should know exactly where to drop you off. Otherwise, if you rent a scooter (we got ours from our homestay for 100,000 VND/$4 USD per day) navigate to the following pin on Google Maps.
Don’t expect any signage or any sort of indication of the Poem Mountain hike when you get here. Look for a narrow bright blue doorway that looks like this.
As we parked our scooter outside, a few small dogs came to the doorway and started frantically barking at us. There were several TripAdvisor reviews that mentioned “aggressive, barking dogs” so we knew we were in the right place.
Beware of Dog
The “angry” and “threatening” dogs of Tripadvisor, A little smaller than we were expecting…
A woman quickly came to the doorway and ushered us inside. She led us up some stairs, past more tiny barking dogs, through her entire house, and into the backyard. At this point, she asks for a small payment. We’ve heard of people having to pay anywhere between 30,000 to 100,000 vnd per person. You could probably haggle, but worst case you won’t be paying more than $5 USD.
The climb up Poem Mountain
Once you make it out the back of the lady’s house, you are faced with the biggest obstacle of the hike: a 12-foot tall barbed wire fence. There are seemingly two ways to get over the fence. On the left, you can climb a tree and hop over the barbed wire fence where a few laid out T-shirt’s cover up the barbs. Otherwise, on the right side, you can climb up a rock wall and shimmy through a hole cut inside of the fence. Neither way is easy and we don’t recommend attempting this if you aren’t confident in your climbing abilities. Not wanting to mess with barbed wire, we chose to climb through the hole in the fence.
The next portion of the hike is way easier. It takes only 20 minutes to get to the top and the route is very straightforward on concrete steps. To reach the green rooftop and the rock at the very top, you’ll have to climb up a few jagged rocks, but it’s nothing compared to the beginning.
This hike is unorthodox but the views are some of the most spectacular we’ve ever seen! You may come out of this hike with some ripped clothing, but it’s worth the sacrifice for what we think is the most beautiful view of Ha Long Bay!
When to go to Poem Mountain (and Ha Long Bay in General)
The views from the top would be spectacular at sunset, but we wouldn't recommend tackling this hike in the dark, especially without a light. We found early morning to be the perfect time for this hike. The temperatures are still relatively cool and most other tourists don't start trickling in until noon.
Vietnam experiences very fickle weather, and it’s often hard to avoid the heavy fog and rain. March-May and September-November will have the least rain and most comfortable temperatures. However, for the clearest skies and best visibility from the mountain, September-November is your best bet (we weren't so lucky in April).
Where to stay near Ha Long Bay
Ha Long City is made up of two parts separated by the Bãi Cháy bridge. Poem Mountain is located on the eastern part, so you’ll want to stay on that side if you intend to do this hike. BBQ Hostel is a great budget option with huge, modern private rooms and is just a short bike ride away from the mountain.
Have you done the Poem Mountain hike or anything like it? We’d love to hear about your experience!