The draw to Ta Cu Mountain is the 59 metre-long reclining Buddha. Combined with the way up either by cable car or via a two-hour hike, it may be enough to pique your interest.
The journey here is straightforward but not interesting. From Phan Thiet City, travel 30 kilometres west along busy Highway QL1A – you’ll see the mountains for miles as you approach. Turn left (head south) at the giant dragon fruit statue. The region grows a lot of dragon fruit and you’ll see plenty of the creeping cacti (think cacti with Rastafarian dreadlocks) along the way. Head south towards the mountain.
The admission fees are a choose your own adventure. Admission is 20,000 dong. A rather pointless golf buggy shuttle to the cable car is 20,000 dong roundtrip, saving you from a 15-20 minute walk. A one-way cable car ride is 80,000 dong, 120,000 dong roundtrip – this saves you from a two-hour hike up. If you go for the whole kit and caboodle, that’s 160,000 dong per person. Don’t forget the motorbike parking, for 4,000 dong.
The cable car covers just over 1.5 kilometres, takes about six minutes and offers some beautiful views of the surrounding lowlands, crisscrossed with rice fields and dragonfruit tree plantations — in itself, worth the trip. If you want to get to the top under your own steam, set out early. By 09:00 it can already be incredibly hot.
Once you get to the base of the site, walk up the sets of steep stairs passing various pagodas, a tourist cafe and statues until you reach the main attraction, Thich Ca Nhap Niet Ban, the reclining Buddha, or the pose as Buddha enters Nirvana. It is an impressive size. Not so impressive? The rubbish strewn around the grounds.
Ta Cu Mountain can be combined with Ke Ga lighthouse and the wild beach for a good daytrip out in a 90-kilometre triangle loop. From Ta Cu Mountain, head back out toward the highway on the same road you came in and midway, there’s a road forking left to the south (there may be a sign pointing the way to Princess D’Annam Resort & Spa). This road south eventually meets TL712 which leads you to TL719 and the coast of wild white sand beach and the lighthouse.
By Cindy Fan
Last updated on 20th April, 2016.