Once upon a time, there was a land which owned spectacular scenes and lush nature. Because of the attractive landscapes, many fairies descended to the river bank; therefore, the site was named Ha Tien, which literally means pixies on the river.
After the Chinese adventurer Mok Kui reclaimed Ha Tien, the busy port changed into a dreamy town with stunning views, harmonic nature, friendly inhabitants, and unique dishes. Let us introduce you fascinating destinations of Ha Tien tourism, a part of the Mekong Delta tourism.
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We got on a brand-new boat to the island. It was so amazing to stand in front of the deck to breathe the fresh sea breeze, as well as watch the beautiful scenery. In terms of administration, the island belongs to Tien Hai commune, possessing 18 islets in total. After over 30 minutes, the boat anchored at the area of Doc island. Our exploration began.
During our voyage, we encountered Mr Mac Ngoc Thach, 59 years old. He told us that from the period of Mok Kui, around the 18th century, there were hordes of pirates robbed merchant ships of countries in the region, even in Europe. In the early 20th century, there were notorious Black Sails pirates, but it didn’t last long. From that time, the island was called the Pirate Island.
Now, there are no pirates any more, just hospitable people living on the land. The most appealing thing is the tranquil atmosphere. There are no big beaches, just small calm ones with green coconut trees and whirring sea wind. Nothing is better than immersing yourself in the clear water or simply lying on a hammock to enjoy the best things here. There are no hotels, so you don’t have to worry about the crowd. Instead, you can experience life as a true fisher.
Once landing to the destination, don’t forget to stop by the milestone at the area of Bai Bac of Hon Doc island, erected in 1958. It is legally valid evidence of national sovereignty and the sea and island borders of Vietnam.
Thach Dong (Stone Cave)
About four kilometers from Ha Tien town, Thach Dong is a limestone block in various unusual shapes. Another name of this cave is Thach Dong Thon Van, which used to be on the list of ten scenic attractions of Ha Tien in the past. The cave is also associated with Vietnamese mythology, the story of Thach Sanh defeated the monster to rescue the princess.
Entering the cave, visitors will feel the fresh atmosphere immediately, as there are two high entrances in the West and the East. The Eastern one is called the stair leading to heaven due to the fanciful view when the sun shines. You will also meet Tien Son temple, erected in 1970, worshipping Monk Huynh Phong.
Da Dung Mountain
Leaving the stone cave, we visited Da Dung Mountain, another beautiful landscape combining with adventurous terrain. The vertical cliffs emerged between large green fields. Despite not being too huge, the mountain looked like a spectacular bonsai in Ha Tien.
The cluster of 14 caves in Da Dung Mountain is unique and diverse. Walking on winding slopes covered by lush vegetation, you can drop by any cave on the way to descend, discover, and witness the magical stalactites. For example, the bitter melon cave has stalactites in the shape of bitter melon or the bat cave with stones looking like ancient wine bottles.
When you are exhausted because of climbing and hiking, the heaven gate is the ideal stop to enjoy the strong chilly wind blowing through cliffs. From the position, if you look further, you can see neighboring Cambodia.
Dong Ho Lagoon
In addition to islets and caves, Dong Ho lagoon is a different landscape obtaining surprising pulchritude. It is a 1400-hectare-wide salty lagoon in the East of Ha Tien city. One view is Ngu Ho mountain, while the other side is To Chau mountain. It is also the intersection of Giang Thanh river and Rach Gia Chanel to flow into the Gulf of Thailand.
From the pier, enter deeply in the lagoon in the late afternoon is a great time to contemplate the serene nature there. As soon as you approach mangrove palm trees, you can witness the daily life of the local fishers.
Dong Ho Stork Sanctuary
Coming to Ha Tien, travelers should not miss the stork sanctuary. Getting lost in the bird world must be one of the most exclusive and marvellous experiences during the trip. If Ha Tien is the place of fairies on the river, the stork sanctuary must be a paradise. The birds flying and perching on the treetops in the sunset look likes heaven on earth.
Tam Bao Temple
Ha Tien built a lot of temples; the number maybe 12. Although we haven’t explored all of them, we did visit two stunning shrines, one of which was Tam Bao.
Tam Bao temple has a long history. In the early 18th century, Mok Kui took his mother here. For her to have a place to lead a religious life, in 1730, he constructed the temple.
Until now, the temple has passed through 19 generations of senior venerable. Not only possessing high historical and Buddhist values, but the temple also owns quiet and pleasant scenes. Besides coming to incense and pray, guests also stroll around the site.
Phat Da Temple (Lo Gach Temple)
The second spiritual place in our trip to Ha Tien is Phat Da temple, whose highlight is a hundred-year-old Bodhi tree shading below Buddhist statues. The other name – Lo Gach, originates from its location. In the past, there was an abandoned brickyard nearby. In 1945, monk Thich Chi Hoa stopped here, built a small shrine called Tinh Xa Chi Hoa. The brickyard played a role as the main hall.
Recently, the temple has been developed with a gorgeous campus. Several parts of the pagoda are inspired by Japanese architecture.
Mok Family Temple
What a pity if you don’t reach the tomb of Mok Kui, the first one to expand Ha Tien land. He came from Guangdong of China. When the Ming dynasty declined, the Qing dynasty reigned, he refused to follow the hairstyle and customs of the regime, then fled to the South. In 1680, he reached Ha Tien, the land of Chenla at that time. In 1708, Mok Kui offered the area to the Nguyen Emperor and asked to be a Vietnamese citizen in Southern Vietnam. He received the mission to be the ruler of Ha Tien. In return, he turned the land into a renowned trading port.
The Lighthouse on Nai Mountain
When the sunlight is getting weaker and weaker, it is the perfect time to contemplate Ha Tien from a different angle – from the lighthouse on Nai mountain. The lighthouse was first erected in 1896 by the French. In 2000, the West-Southern Maritime Safety Company restored it.
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