There are many anecdotes about the origins of the name of the mountain. Cam Mountain or Cam Son was the official name first written in “Dai Nam Nhat Thong Chi” (Essays on the United Great Vietnam) which was compiled at the end of the 19th century. The book states, “... The mountain is sky-high with verdant trees and is one of the seven mountains. It is so high that few people can reach its peak”. According to the book “Gia Dinh Thanh Thong Chi” by Trinh Hoai Duc, this mountain, called Doai Ton, is over 160m high, 20 miles in diameter and has the shape of a tower.
Cam Mountain has an altitude of 705m and has a circumference of 28,600m. The weather on the mountain is influenced by tropical monsoons and has an average temperature of 250C. In spring, during the day, it is cool and fresh with green and lush trees but at night it is rather cold. In the early morning, the mountain is covered with a white fog. In the evening, it is covered with clouds. From the top of the mountain, visitors have a panoramic view of vast rice fields stretching to the Ha Tien sea and the southwestern border. With its renowned scenery the area has become a popular tourist site.
The mountain also has a fascinating natural environment with flowers all year round that create a “splendid painting”. It is famous for many peaks of different heights with different name, such as Thien Tue, Bo Hong, Ong Buom, Dau and Ba. The name of each peak is associated with a legend and each has a meaning. Pilgrims often visit these peaks to pray. Along the walkways, there are other attractions, such as Phao Binh and Chu Than Peaks; Rau Tan, Cuu Pham, Kin and Cay Que Temples; Ong Ho and Thuy Tien Caves, and Muoi Co Shrine.
With beautiful scenery, large forests of verdant trees including many century-old trees with a vast canopy of leaves, Cam Mountain has become an ideal eco-tourist site. Visitors to this area can enjoy the landscape of the southwestern mountains and taste different kinds of fruit, such as mangos, jackfruits, bananas, durians, avocados and custard-apples. They also have an opportunity to call at the shops or stay overnight in the inns to enjoy the atmosphere of the mountainous area. If they have more time, they can visit Phat Lon, Phat Nho and Trung Son Thien Tu Pagodas.
Van Linh Pagoda is situated near a forest of acassia aneura and acacia trees covering 14,400m2. In 1929, superior Buddhist monk Thich Quang Thien built a simple dwelling with leaves to lead a religious life. In 1940, this house became Van Linh Pagoda. In 1995, the pagoda was rebuilt into a religious complex of a larger scale. The most impressive features of this pagoda are the three towers before the front hall. They are 40m high and consist of nine layers, each exhibiting a statue of Buddha riding a beast. The statues, made from stone taken from Thanh Hoa Province, are over 2m high and have delicate carvings, creating a deep and solemn feature.
A must-see attraction is the 33.60m-high statue of Mitreya, the highest Mitreya statue in Southeast Asia. It is placed in a 20ha area of green trees, facing the Phat Lon and Van Linh Pagodas. This is the largest artwork and religious structure in the Bay Nui area. It is amazing that from any peak of the mountains, visitors can see the white statue of Mitreya with a generous and holy smile sitting amidst a green space.
Sunset over Tinh Bien District, An Giang Province seen from Cam Son Mountain.
Cam Mountain is a pilgrimage and tourist destination for people both from home and abroad. According to An Giang Tourism, every year over 1.2 million people visit this area and the number of visitors is largest during the spring festival from January to June of the lunar calendar.
Phat Lon Pagoda on Cam Son Mountain. The statue of Mitreya on Cam Son Mountain, the highest statue of its kind in Southeast Asia. Tourists visit and offer incence to the statue of Mitreya. A hand and a string of pearls of Mitreya. A statue of Sakyamuni in the central chamber of Phat Lon Pagoda. View of Phat Lon Pagoda on Cam Son Mountain. A souvenir stall on Cam Son Mountain. A tower of Van Linh Pagoda on Cam Son Mountain.