Scaling the Steep Slopes of Ba Den Mountain
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The highest mountain in southeast Vietnam, Ba Den (the black virgin) is one of the most famous mountains in the southeastern province of Tay Ninh. Mountain trekkers in southern Vietnam called Ba Den “the citizen’s mountain” as it has many hiking routes to explore times and again such as the power pole route (duong cot dien), the temple route (duong chua), the water pipe route (duong ong nuoc), Ma Thien Lanh, Nui Heo, Nui Phung or Da Trang. Each route has a distinct topography, bringing different experiences to explorers.
|Traversing the Da Trang route requires experience and skills due to its topography. Photo: VnExpress|
Amongst the different hiking routes in Ba Den, the temple and power pole routes are the most popular and easiest tracks, characterized by rocky slopes and usually taking around 3 – 4 hours to arrive at the top. These routes are easy to follow with clear instruction boards along the way, so tourists can climb by themselves or going with friends without a tour guide.
While the temple route has several rest areas where tourists can fill in their water bottles, there are not any on the power pole route. As such, tourists must bring enough water should they choose the latter track. Other routes such as Ma Thien Lanh, Nui Heo, Nui Phung and Da Trang are less popular due to more difficult topographies, with big boulders stacked continuously onto each other.
|The Da Ban picnic area looking from above where tourists can stay overnight to prepare for the journey to conquer Slope 700. Photo: VnExpress|
The Da Trang (white rock) is the most difficult and impressive route, highlighted by a picnic area halfway through and the Slope 700. To come to the top, tourists must traverse through various topographies. The first part is characterized by giant boulders and a deep abyss underneath that is impossible to pass without guidance and rich hiking experiences. At some points, tourists must walk on tree branches growing on slippery rocks.
Da Ban is an ideal picnic area with a large flat rock, offering a spectacular view of the surrounding nature and Tay Ninh city. Hikers who choose the Da Trang route often start their journey in the late afternoon. After 4 – 5 hours, they arrive at the Da Ban picnic area and stay there overnight to greet early sunrise before embarking on their journey to conquer the legendary Slope 700.
|Conquering Slope 700 takes about one hour. Photo: VnExpress|
The steep slope adopts its name from its length, which measures 700 meters and stands almost vertically. It is the most challenging part of the Da Trang route, requiring careful preparation before climbing due to the dangers it poses. The safest way to cross the slope is for the guide to climb first, who will then throw down a long rope once arriving at the top so other members of the hiking group can latch on to climb. Hikers must prepare gloves and shoes with good grip and strictly follow the instructions of the guide.
After crossing the Slope 700, hikers must walk for 5 – 6 hours more before they can reach the top of Ba Den Mountain. From there, tourists can choose between continuing on the Da Trang route or turning to the water pipe route to diversify their experiences.
|The highest bronze Avalokiteśvara statue in Asia located on the top of the Ba Den Mountain. Photo: Bao Tin tuc|
Ba Den Mountain is recently equipped with a cable system that can take tourists to the top, where flower gardens that bloom all year round are also planted. At the top of the Ba Den Mountain, tourists can also find the highest bronze Avalokiteśvara statue in Asia. Post-Covid, exploring the Ba Den Mountain will be a great idea for adventurers.
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