First published December 2021 | Words and photos by Vietnam Coracle
A spine of jungle-clad mountains rises along the east side of Phu Quoc Island. Ascending steeply through thick rainforest, a pathway leads to a nest of giant boulders, from where 180-degree views take in the southern ‘tail’ of the island and the shimmering sea surrounding it. Free, easy to find and follow without the need for a guide, trekking up to Đỉnh Tiên Sơn (‘Fairy Mountain Peak’) is a rewarding, moderately challenging hike, and yet another way to explore Phu Quoc’s lesser-known but hugely impressive interior.
GUIDE: ĐỈNH TIÊN SƠN PEAK TREK
A Steep Jungle Hike to a Stunning View Point
Although the hike to Đỉnh Tiên Sơn Peak is easily accessible, it has yet to attract many visitors. The trek is quiet, beautiful, largely litter-free, and a great way to spend a morning or afternoon. The views are spectacular, the exercise invigorating and the nature pristine. Bring a picnic and plenty of water. The best time of year is the dry season (November-May). Be careful in damp conditions when the path becomes slippery and dangerous. Early morning or late afternoon is the best time of day, but make sure not to descend after sunset. The hike takes between 1-3 hours return, depending on how often you stop and linger over the views. So far, very few foreign visitors know about Đỉnh Tiên Sơn, but it’s bound to become more popular. When it does, let’s hope we all keep it clean and in its natural state. See below for more information and images:
Trekking to Đỉnh Tiên Sơn Peak | Phu Quoc Island
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Trekking to Đỉnh Tiên Sơn Peak
Difficulty: moderate | Time: 1-3 hours | Entry: free
The hike begins at Cafe Tiên Sơn Đỉnh, located on the road to Hàm Ninh fishing village. You can either take a taxi from your accommodation or ride a motorbike and park at the cafe while you make the trek. Entrance is free and you don’t need a guide to follow the path, but it would be ‘good form’ to purchase a drink at the cafe in lieu of a parking fee. Walk past the cafe, keeping the building to your right, then through the back yard, beyond which lies a patch of grassy farmland. With a small, covered family cemetery on your left, head straight up into the jungle. Once you’re on the dirt path leading through the trees, you shouldn’t have any trouble following it all the way to the top.
The tree cover is dense, the vegetation tropical and exotic: creepers, vines and epiphytes climb thick trunks soaring up toward the jungle canopy. The path is relatively steep and rocky: be careful in damp conditions, as the trail becomes slippery and treacherous. After 10-15 minutes of climbing, a large banyan tree appears in a clearing to the left of the trail. Old and gnarly, the banyan’s roots and branches spread like tentacles over a big boulder on the forest floor, creating a natural climbing wall. It’s great fun to try different ‘ascents’ of the tree and swing from the vines.
After the banyan tree, the trek gets steeper and more rugged, sometimes requiring wooden ladders to traverse the complicated terrain. The rainforest is very beautiful and there’s hardly any litter around. Such is the density, only occasional shafts of sunlight penetrate the treetops. The jungle is still and silent apart from the intermittent screaming of cicadas and rustling of leaves in the breezes that sweep in from the sea. Nearing the latter stages of the climb, a sheer rockface is ascended via a rustic-looking wooden staircase. Take care and watch your step, because a wrong foot here would result in a painful fall.
Towards the peak, the pathway winds in on itself, opening a corridor through the trees that emerges into sunlight on top of a giant, flat boulder. This is Đỉnh Tiên Sơn – ‘Fairy Mountain Peak’. A small, carved milestone doubles as a altar with flowers and incense. The views due south over the airport, forested hills and tapering tip of the island at An Thới port are fabulous. The sea shimmers silver-grey all around. A few other boulders can be climbed at the peak for more views. It’s the perfect place for a picnic and to rehydrate for the (much easier and quicker) descent. This trek is another reminder of just how green, tree-covered and relatively unspoiled Phu Quoc’s interior is. Let’s hope it stays that way.
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*Disclosure: I never receive payment for anything I write: my content is always free and independent. I’ve written this guide because I want to: I like this trek and I want my readers to know about them. For more details, see my Disclosure & Disclaimer statements and my About Page
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