Fortitudine: newsletter of the marine corps historical program

Want to lớn go on a hike on your day trip or weekend trip to lớn Vung Tau in South Vietnam? kiểm tra out Minh Dam Mountain (Núi Minh Đạm in Vietnamese). 

Located near Vung Tau in Long Dien of tía Ria – Vung Tau Province, Minh Dam Mountain is a unique spot to lớn hike as it’s a former military base of Vietnam’s revolutionary army.

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We can see why this place was chosen as a former base with plenty of hiding spots in the vast forest area & opportunities to spot enemies along the coastline. 

Currently, locals visit Minh Dam to lớn explore the gorgeous views of the ocean, pretty pagodas on the hills, secret spots & caves in the forest area, và encounter wildlife (monkeys và bats.) 

We had the chance to lớn visit Minh Dam for 2 hours after hiking Nui Dinh Mountain in the morning. As you know, we’re always looking for exciting hiking trails to kiểm tra out since we’re living in Ho chi Minh thành phố and would recommend this one. 

The hiking routes aren’t too technical & many are easy to bởi vì so all hiking abilities are welcome here. Also, the trail isn’t crowded so you can visit a few places in a short amount of time. We had a group of 50 hikers and had the whole area to lớn ourselves!

If this sounds lượt thích a fun activity that you want to lớn do, continue reading this guide on how to hike Nui Minh Dam và what khổng lồ expect with hiking here. Afterward, you can head khổng lồ one of the beaches in Vung Tau for some relaxation time.

While you’re in ba Ria – Vung Tau area, check out this other hike in Vung Tau: Nui Lon (Big Mountain).

Related: Top Reasons khổng lồ Visit Vietnam

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Minh Dam Mountain Hiking Overview

Minh Dam Mountain is one of the top places khổng lồ visit in the Vung Tau area. While it’s not located in the main Vung Tau city, it’s a nice getaway spot away from the visitors. Plus, it’s doable to visit here as a day hike from Ho chi Minh City

Challenging level: Easy-ModerateRound Trip Distance: Various starting from 1.4-3.5 kilometers (.90-2.15+ miles)Summit height: 280 meters (918 feet)Time lớn complete: 1-2 hours
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Hiking in Minh Dam Mountain is doable with these stone pathways.


How to lớn Get khổng lồ Nui Minh Dam

From Vung Tau lớn Minh Dam Mountain

If you’re already in the Vung Tau area, then it’s easy to get to Minh Dam Mountain. Either rent a motorbike or hire a private driver or taxi. Just remember to lớn have the driver wait for you when you finish the hike as cell phone reception is spotty on the mountain.

If you need a place to lớn stay in Vung Tau, click here for options.

Have your driver take you directly khổng lồ the mountain top. In Google Maps, look for “Historic Area of Minh Dam” or “Khu di tích lịch sử Minh Đạm.” Click here lớn see the directions on a map. It’ll take about 30-35 minutes by oto to get here from central Vung Tau. 

There is a parking lot và you can visit different trails from here.

From Ho đưa ra Minh thành phố to Minh Dam Mountain

Hire a driver or ride a motorbike khổng lồ get lớn Minh Dam Mountain. From Ho chi Minh City’s Ben Thanh Market khổng lồ “Historic Area of Minh Dam” or “Khu di tích lịch sử dân tộc Minh Đạm,” it’s 98 kilometers (61 miles) and will take 2 hours 15 minutes or longer depending on traffic. 

Take the CT01 Highway leaving Ho đưa ra Minh City và connect to QL51 Highway heading lớn Vung Tau. When you get closer khổng lồ Vung Tau, take the DT44A road which goes along the coastline & then you’ll enter the Minh Dam entrance and drive up the mountain khổng lồ the parking lot. Click here lớn see the directions on Google Maps.

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When To bởi vì the Minh Dam Hike

Minh Dam can be hiked at any time of the day. It’s not crowded và the trail has plenty of shade. There is a pagoda in the Historical Relic area and it’s mở cửa from 7:00am lớn 6:00pm daily. 

Since the trail is in South Vietnam, the weather is consistent all year round. Expect the average temperature of 27-30℃ (81-86℉). 

During the rainy season (May-October), it’s not recommended to vì chưng the hike since it can be slippery. Yet, it doesn’t rain all day long during this season. You’ll need khổng lồ monitor the rain since it can happen at random times of the day. 

What lớn Wear for the Minh Dam Mountain Hike

Technical t-shirt – Wear moisture-wicking shirts to absorb the sweat.Comfortable hiking pants or shorts – Wear anything comfortable for you to lớn move in. Walking or running shoes – You bởi not need hiking boots here so wear any shoes that have traction. Any type of walking or running shoe would work great here.

What lớn Bring for the Nui Minh Dam

Cash  Trash bag – Keep the mountain clean! There is trash on the mountain which is a shame. 

Admission Cost lớn Minh Dam

It’s không lấy phí to access this area. Yay!


What to Know About the Nui Minh Dam Hike

The best place khổng lồ start the Minh Dam Hike is from the đứng top of the mountain at the Historic Area of Minh Dam (Khu di tích lịch sử dân tộc Minh Đạm) and the parking lot. 

We know. You’re probably thinking that we’re hiking và we should cover as much distance as possible! 

While you could start at the bottom of the mountain and make your way up lớn the parking lot, the roads are currently in construction. Once you reach the parking lot, there are a couple of trails that lead lớn pagodas and other exciting attractions to lớn visit. Therefore, you’ll be on your way hiking from there!

There isn’t any specific hiking route so we’ll chia sẻ some places khổng lồ visit on Nui Minh Dam.

1. Visit Bach Van Dong Temple. 

From the parking lot, there is a hiking route that goes to lớn two places of worship, Bạch Vân ĐộngBạch Vân Điện. We visited Bạch Vân Động and it’s about 1 kilometer (.60 miles) from the parking lot. The hiking path is made of a stone path so it’s really easy to walk on. 

Once you reach the temple, you’re rewarded with some awesome views of the ocean and a few hotels và buildings along the coastline. There are a couple of levels to lớn view this coastline. 

You can also vị some praying while you’re in the area. 


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Here is one of the views from Bach Van Dong temple!


2. Visit Bong Lai Pagoda/Bong Lai Mountain. 

From Bạch Vân Động, continue climbing up the mountain until you reach a small cave with a narrow vertical opening. Here is what we call the “Bat Cave” as you’ll see a few bats flying around in the dark areas of the cave. It’s not dark & scary as light penetrates from the cave openings. 


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Enter this small cave lớn go lớn Bong Lai temple.


If you continue through the cave, you’ll reach a forest area that leads to lớn the Bong Lai Buddhist Temple (Bồng Lai) and Bong Lai Mountain

This hiking path goes through the forest area so you’ll walk on the dirt path. Just be careful with the raised tree roots from the ground và the twisty branches above your head. You’ll encounter some paths going down the hill but nothing too difficult. Luckily, the hiking path is shaded so your hike will be cooler. 


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Stay alert with these tree branches when you’re heading to Bong Lai Temple/Mountain.


To find the Bong Lai temple, follow the arrows và signs. It’s not difficult khổng lồ find. Once you reach the temple, check out Bong Lai Mountain which is the highest point in the temple area. 

It’s only a few steps away from the temple. You’ll need to take off your shoes before walking into the praying area. Then, you can peer over the rails to lớn see the oceanside views. 

Unfortunately, the view isn’t as clear compared khổng lồ Bạch Vân Động due khổng lồ the trees, yet it is a higher view. 


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Enter this area lớn see the đứng top of Bong Lai Mountain.


3. Check out the Split Stone / Flagpole. 

Whenever you see photos of Minh Dam Mountain, this spot of Split Stone (Hòn Đá Chẻ) with the flagpoles is often shown. There are two flagpoles with the Vietnam flags và the views overlook the Long nhì Beach area. (Unfortunately, the flags are tattered from the winds & hopefully get replaced soon!)

To get to this popular spot, you’ll go through the Historic Relic area and take the stone stairways up the mountain. It’s not technical but the stairs can be slippery with dry leaves on the ground. When you see this sign, continue straight to go up the mountain until you reach Hòn Đá Chẻ. 


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Continue straight to go lớn the flagpole area.


The round-trip distance is 1.5 kilometers (.90 miles) & can take 30-45 minutes lớn complete.

Once you see the flagpoles, you’ve arrived!

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This view is so gorgeous! We prefer this aerial landscape view versus at Bạch Vân Động as you see the beach resorts along the coastline, fishing boats in the ocean, & green plots of farmlands. We can’t forget seeing the green forest area that we hiked through!

You can also climb up the huge boulders to lớn see a higher view of the area. Be careful on your way down the rocks since there aren’t any ropes or tree branches lớn hold onto. 


4. Explore the Minh Dam Historic Area. 

Next lớn the parking lot is the Minh Dam Historical Area. There is a beautiful pagoda và a paved walking route that passes by more caves và historical sites. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to go through the walking path due to our limited time. 

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5. Say Hello to lớn the Monkeys. 

During our visit, we saw families of monkeys around the parking lot. Many minded their own business while others started trouble. Most of them hung out in the area looking for food left behind by visitors (one monkey drank water from a water bottle). It was adorable to see a handful of baby monkeys clinging onto their mothers for support. 

As with any wildlife, bởi not feed the monkeys or get too close to them. Monkeys in Vietnam are notorious for stealing food and bright, shiny things from visitors. (We had a hat & water bottle stolen when we visited Can Gio Monkey Island near Ho đưa ra Minh City.) 

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Final Thoughts

Hiking Minh Dam Mountain is a fun, easy way lớn get some exercise và enjoy a nature walk when visiting the Vung Tau area. It’s a good alternative for travelers or those living long-term in South Vietnam who prefer to spend their time outdoors versus on the beach.