Some Vietnam mountains are full blown ranges such as the Hoang Lien Son Range in the northwest corner of the country that reaches into China. Mount Fansipan is the highest point in the country, and is found in the Hoang Lien Son Range. Others are isolated peaks jutting out of flatlands, as is found at the Marble Mountains in Vietnam in the Mekong Delta region around Ho Chi Minh City.
Mount Fansipan is found in the most remote and little visited part of the country—the region that is the frontier border with China and Laos. Tourism and the idea of taking vacations in Vietnam date only to the 1990s. Adventure tours to Mount Fansipan are even younger. Because it is the highest point in the country at more than 10,000 feet above sea level, a small number of intrepid Westerners have made the trek and climbed to the summit of the “Roof of Indochina” since the French arrived in 1905. But very few tourists have done so. Both mountain cycling and mountain trekking in this region have become very popular in the adventure travel industry. You can book vacation packages that combine both of these activities. You need to be in good physical condition for either.
The Nui Ba Den Mountain is one of the isolated peaks found in the flat Mekong Delta region. It is located north of Ho Chi Minh City in the same area as the Cu Chi Tunnels, the vast underground network that sheltered thousands of villagers and communist soldiers during the American Vietnam War. “Ba” in the Vietnamese language is the polite term for an older woman—the equivalent of the American “Ma’am.” Various legends have it that the mountain is named for a woman who died violently while her soldier husband was at war, or who was the widow of a soldier, or whose soldier fiancé died in battle. Several temples, shrines, and pagodas were built around the mountain in honor of the woman’s tragic story. There is almost no tourism infrastructure here, and those tourists from the United States who do visit the mountain are almost all Vietnam War veterans who were stationed in this area. Most of the mountains in Vietnam were strategic wartime locales, and they generally all played key roles during the American Vietnam War.
Marble Mountain Vietnam (actually five isolated limestone and marble peaks) near Da Nang is often seen by visitors to the beaches nearby. These Vietnam mountains also played a prominent role during the American Vietnam War. Both leisure tourists and war veterans often visit here, and you are quite apt to see the five peaks in background shots on the popular television series China Beach.
More mountains in Vietnam can be found in and around beautiful Halong Bay. In fact, most of the islands in the bay are karst and limestone mountains that jut precipitously up out of the sea. The jagged peaks of Poem Mountain tower over the town of Hon Gai in this region, and it is said that a famous fifteenth-century poet carved a poem about the beauties of Halong Bay on it during one of his visits. Many cruises in the bay will pass by this legendary peak.
Other Vietnam mountains include the Annamite Range in the central part of the country straddling the Laos and Cambodia borders, and the Ba Vi Mountain Range that rings the region outside of Hanoi. This area is primarily forest, and is filled with unique areas of biodiversity, many of which are national parks or protected conservation zones. It is a popular region for ecotourism vacations, and there is excellent hiking and cycling here.