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Climbing Ham Rong (Dragon) Mountain, in Sapa, Vietnam

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AsiaHikingMountainsPanoramic ViewsSa PaViet Nam
Article author: michael
michael
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Cover Image for Climbing Ham Rong (Dragon) Mountain, in Sapa, Vietnam

Ham Rong, which means “Jaw of the Dragon” or “Dragon’s Jaw” in Vietnamese, is a popular tourist spot in Sapa, Vietnam.

It’s super easy to get to, being a short drive or walk from the center of Sapa Town, and offers some pretty gardens with beautiful flowers, and some great panoramic views of Sapa.

But is it a “must see” if you’re in Sapa?

Ham Rong Mountain Info

  • Address: 1 Đường bậc Hàm Rồng, Sa Pa, Lào Cai, Vietnam
  • Hours:
    • Summer: 06:00 - 18:00
    • Winter: 06:30 - 18:00
  • Time needed to visit: Several hours
  • Entrance fee (paid onsite):
    • Adults: 70,000 VND
    • Children: 35,000 VND

The Dragon’s Jaw

Ham Rong mountain is named after a dragon’s jaw because the mountain is said to look like the jaw of a dragon, emerging from the ground.

It’s based on a legend/myth about a dragon couple, where during a great flood, the female got stuck in the water, but the male managed to escape and fly off to the heavens. The female dragon’s head is seen looking up at her lover in the sky, and her profile is what makes the shape of the mountain.

Making your way to Ham Rong Mountain

The entrance to Ham Rong Mountain is at the end of a series of steps that make up a kind of pseudo-street market. The steps are lined with shops selling all sorts of things, from souvenirs, to food, to the typical trinkets you find in Asian shops.

Ham Rong Mountain entrance

Some of the steps are a wee bit on the steep side, so you’ll actually get a bit of a work out just getting to the entrance. That is assuming you’re walking … if you motorbike it up, well, it won’t be a problem. 🤪

The mountain does have entrance fees though, so you’ll need to pay to get in. The fees are pretty reasonable though, at just over $3 USD for adults, and half that for children from 1.15m to 1.3m tall. Below that height, children are free.

Ham Rong Mountain entrance

Ham Rong Mountain entrance

Ham Rong Mountain entrance

Climbing Ham Rong Mountain

The climb up Ham Rong Mountain is pretty easy, if you’re walking at a moderate pace, with a series of steps and paths that wind their way up the mountain. It’s not a super high climb, at only 1800m above sea level, and most people should be able to do it without too much trouble.

That said, parts of the path up do have a decent amount of steps, so it does take some amount of effort.

Ham Rong Mountain steps

Ham Rong Mountain steps

And as with any climb, the heat will add an extra layer of effort, so the energy needed depends on exactly what time of the day you visit.

Note that some of the higher up and more shaded/covered steps also get quite slippery during/after the rain, which is when we were climbing it, so you do need to watch your step in some of the areas.

The Gardens

The mountain has a number of gardens, boasting around 200 different varieties of flowers, as well as several areas with sculptures, statues, and ponds.

The Flowers

There’s apparently a garden with Japanese peach blossoms (or cherry blossoms? I’m not super clear on that) that blooms during the tet holiday. We were there in summer though, so we didn’t get to see them.

Ham Rong Mountain gardens

Ham Rong Mountain gardens

In fact, some of the gardens seemed a bit sparse, with a number of empty patches, so I suspect middle of summer isn’t the best time to visit if you’re looking for a full bloom!

Ham Rong Mountain gardens

Ham Rong Mountain gardens

Ham Rong Mountain gardens

Ham Rong Mountain gardens

The Sculptures & Ponds

There were some sculptures and statues scattered around the gardens, as well as a few ponds with fish in them.

Some of the sculptures were a bit … out of place. Like the one pictured below of, what I think might be Tom, from Tom & Jerry fame? 🤔

I’m not exactly sure, nor am I sure what the connection to Ham Rong Mountain is, but there you go.

Ham Rong Mountain gardens

Ham Rong Mountain gardens

There is a nice looking golden dragon though, which is a bit more fitting for the mountain’s name.

Ham Rong Mountain gardens

The Paths and Stone Formations

As you walk along the many paths on Dragon Mountain, there are a few that pass through or around some really cool looking stone formations.

Ham Rong Mountain gardens

Ham Rong Mountain gardens

Some of the areas were probably carved out, but others looked like they were naturally formed.

Ham Rong Mountain gardens

Ham Rong Mountain gardens

The Views

One of the main reasons to come to Ham Rong Mountain is for the views of Sapa, and the ones from here were pretty good!

Ham Rong Mountain views

I’m not sure I’d say they were the best in Sapa, as I personally thought the views at the top of Fansipan were unbeatable and quite breathtaking, but the views here are still pretty good.

Ham Rong Mountain views

Ham Rong Mountain views

I think there may be a few different viewpoints, but we only made it to the main one, which was a bit crowded, but still had some great views.

I had wanted to make it to the other spots, but as tends to happen when you’re in Sapa, the weather had other plans! 🌧️

It was also getting close to closing time, and we were quite high up, so we had to start making our way back down shortly after.

An Aside - Being a Foreigner in Vietnam

I’ve travelled to a number of cities throughout China and Vietnam, and as many others, have experienced the “Celebrity Effect” that comes with being a foreigner, especially a Westerner, in these countries. It’s quite funny at times, although sometimes it’s nice to be invisible like I would be at home.

Sapa though, being a widely popular tourist spot, was somewhere I didn’t expect local Vietnamese to be so interested in us. But they were!

Token Westerner at Ham Rong Mountain

These of course were likely Vietnamese that were not local to Sapa, as I doubt many local Sapa residents would bat an eye at a foreigner. But I’m always curious why Vietnamese from the smaller cities are so interested in taking pics with foreigners.

I’ve seen a few posts only from other Vietnamese giving their thoughts on it, but if you have any insights, I’d love to hear them! So leave me a comment below if you have any thoughts on this.

In any case, just as a note to any other foreigners, if you’re not a fan of being the center of attention, you might want to mentally prepare yourself for that when you’re in Sapa … and other parts of Vietnam. 😅

Conclusion

So, is Ham Rong Mountain a “must see” if you’re in Sapa?

I enjoyed the mountain and the views, but I wouldn’t say it’s a “must see”. I think if you’re in Sapa for an extended stay like we were, then it’s worth checking out.

But if you have a very tight schedule, and you’re only in Sapa for a day or two, then I’d say you could probably skip it.

Ham Rong Mountain views

That’s it for now!

Until next time,
michael 😀

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