THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN IN HUE: THE GUIDE TO KIM PHUNG
Kim Phụng – The highest mountain in Hue. Photo: Minh Trình
No map. 2-km off-road ride. Steep slope. Hiking Kim Phung – the highest mountain in Hue can offer you fabulous adventure-travel experiences if you want to escape urban monotony.
Very few people have heard of Kim Phung mountain, or if they have, most of them, including locals, show hesitation in climbing up there.
We know people who could not reach the peak until the 5th attempt! Or they even gave up on finding the mountain foot. It sounded to us like a peak that has yet to be reached, a route that has yet to be conquered, an obstacle that has yet to be cleared.
Thus, we decided to give it a try. After the ”conquest”, we are excited to tell you that it is not that scary if you are a veteran climber or outdoor recreation enthusiast.
But folks are right. It is tough to find the mountain’s foot and navigate the right path to the top.
Therefore, we want to share with you a DIY guide to help you conquer the Kim Phung summit safe, sound, and sweaty!
Guide to Kim Phụng summit. Photo: Xuân Hường
Where is Kim Phung mountain?
Kim Phung mountain is located in Hai Cat village, Huong Tho commune (Huong Tra). It is also knowns as Thuong mount or Thien Duu mount. With a height of 427 meters, Kim Phung is considered the highest peak in Hue.
From the peak, you can see panoramic views of the whole Hue, which is hardly be seen from other mountains. You can see Tả Trạch lake, Dong Ap Bia mount, where the Hamburger Hill battle happened.
It was that “extraordinary beauty”, as described by Dr. Duong Van An in “O Chau cận lục (烏州近錄)”, in the 18th Year of Minh Mang’s Reign (1836) when The Nine Tripod Cauldrons were being made, he eagerly chose to carve the image of Kim Phung mountain on one of the cauldrons. Make sure to check it out when you visit the citadel.
Later, during the resistance war against the US, this mountain was the frontline station of the Ministry in The 1968 Spring General Offensive and Uprising.
Kim Phung Mountain on The Nine Tripod Cauldron. Source: HinhanhVietnam.com
How to reach the foot of the mountain?
When you drive from afar, try to notice a mountain that looks like a giant turtleback.
Kim Phung Mountain looks like a turtleback from afar. Source: Mytour.vn
Many roads lead to Kim Phung mountain, but the shortest way is from Tuan bridge, driving for 4-5km, then turn to Khe Phen stone quarry area of COXANO Huong Tho Co., Ltd.
In the quarry, workers frequently destroy the mountain with mines. It is quite polluted and dangerous. Therefore, it is essential that you ask the workers there about the road, follow the right path and always be careful.
Khe Phen stone quarry area of COXANO Huong Tho Co., Ltd. Source: Báo Xây Dựng
When you enter the quarry, go straight a bit, you will see the first electric pole. Keep yourself going along the trail. There are two roads there; the other road is a blockhouse, there is also a danger board forbidding entry.
As you reach the foot of the mountain, you will notice a small stream on the right side and a small house on the left side. From here, you can save up 2 km and have an off-road ride by keep riding your motorbike straight up. Always use the first gear, and just follow the nicest road you see.
2-km off-road ride to Kim Phung mountain
When you see a couple of huge rocks with incense lit on top, it’s time to park and start hiking!
Hiking on Kim Phung Mountain. Photo: Minh Trình
What to notice on the Kim Phung Mountain Day Hike
Ascending the mountain
Most of the trail is quite slippery due to dry pine needles and chip stones. Besides, it is pretty steep; you might need the support of holding on to a stick to keep balance.
Many ways are leading up to the summit, but you can easily get lost going down. Therefore, we recommend you ask for the forest ranger’s phone number in advance. Also, during the summer, hot and dry weather conditions can easily cause forest fires in this mountain. In that case, the forest ranger can announce you and rescue your group.
The trail is quite slippery due to dry pine needles and chip stones. Photo: Xuân Hường
You will know whether you have reached the top or not by seeing about 3-4 Buddha sculptures.
Buddha sculptures on top of Kim Phụng mountain. Photo: Minh Trình
What to bring on this hike
- Two-liter of water for each person (at least), especially during the hot weather (or in case you get lost yack!)
- Sour fruits if you bring food along. They will provide you with lots of Vitamin C, which keeps your collagen strong, so your musculoskeletal system keeps you moving trouble-free along the trail.
- Camera for landscape photography. Honestly, the panoramic view from Kim Phung mountain is breathtaking!
Breathtaking panoramic view from Kim Phung Mountain. Photo: Minh Trình
- Trash bag – to dispose of your trash properly. And if you are willing to pick up litter along the trail, we thank you for your little extraordinary activity for the environment.
- Seeds or small trees – When you reach the mountain top, why not celebrate this little achievement and leave the memory behind by bringing more nature into nature?
Before starting the trip, we brought along ginger and were determined to get on the top to plant it there. This is a little something that encouraged us to keep moving.
The soil on the top is a bit dry, especially during the hot weather. Thus, we recommend you plant beans to improve and enrich the soil quality.
Plant a tree on top of the mountain. Photo: Quỳnh Anh
Descending the Mountain
Once you’ve finished exploring the summit, take the same hiking path to go back down, or you can camp by night if you want. It will take you about 1,5 hours.
Be careful because you can easily slide down due to the slippery and steep slope.
What happens if you get lost?
It is really easy to get lost in this mountain. We knew a group of people who could not find the way down and call for help at 2 AM…
When we climbed down, we almost lost track too. In case you are trapped in the same situation, here are some practical recommendations:
- Sit down, relax, try to calm yourself down.
- Have someone going around the area to look for a trail.
- If you cannot see the trail, try to move down to the left side and still look for it.
- In the worst situation, you can call the forest ranger anytime to ask for emergency help.
Don’t panic if you get lost in Kim Phung Mountain. Photo: Xuân Hường
Yay! You’ve finished the hike! Stretch out your legs before heading to the parking area.
When you drive out, we recommend you not to take the same path. As you encounter the first three-dimension road, turn right and follow the cow poops, you will get to the stone quarry easier and much faster.
Congratulations! It is time for loads of nuoc mia, nuoc dua, and beer! We are proud that you have conquered the highest summit in Hue.
Many people say that if you haven’t climbed Kim Phung mountain, you have not yet explored Hue. Kim Phung is a sweet yet adventurous trip that probably should be on your bucket list. It’s a challenging one-day hike, but you’ll feel so accomplished after completing it!
From the top of the mountain, you will see multiple unseen places. And that will lengthen your where-to-go bucket list when in Hue!