Cô Tiên Mountain in the central coastal province of Khánh Hòa’s beach city of Nha Trang is luring visitors to admire its natural beauty and hear its legendary stories.
It takes about 20-30 minutes by motorbike from the city centre to reach the mountain located in the northwest of Vĩnh Hòa Ward.
The three-peak mountain, only about 400m above sea level, attracts many young people to climb up to enjoy the natural scenery and get a panoramic view of the whole city.
Besides the sea and pristine beaches in Nha Trang, Cô Tiên Mountain is also an ideal location for the young to go trekking and camping and try photo shoots from a new angle.
There are interesting myths about the mountain, which many tourists love.
Legend has it that its name Cô Tiên originated from a tragic tale about a woman who accompanied her husband, a general, and his soldiers to camp in the area.
One day, the commander had to leave his wife to join a battle far away. Unfortunately, while at home, the beautiful young woman was ravished by a gang of bad men. She killed herself to prove her faithfulness to her husband and keep herself from further being abused. Her body later turned into a mountain, with her face, chest and knees forming the three peaks. Local people then named that mountain “Cô Tiên” (Fairy) to commemorate the beautiful and virtuous woman.
PERFECT PEAK: Cô Tiên Mountain attracts many young people to climb and enjoy the natural scenery. Photo luhanhvietnam.com.vn
Another legend also has it that once upon a time, the land of Nha Trang was wild and deserted, with only reeds and apricots growing on the white sand. The sea was not as calm and blue as it is now but the residence of a ferocious sea monster.
At that time, the life of the people was miserable, with hunger and thirst all year round, as they were scared to take food from the sea. The sea devil would always bring high waves over the shore to sweep humans into the sea, so he could eat them. No one dared set foot upon the beach.
Fearful of the cruel monster, the local residents prayed day and night to the gods. Their cries finally reached heaven and were heard by a fairy. Feeling angry with the monster and sympathetic to the populace, she decided to come down to earth to help kill the monster.
After many days of fierce fighting, the sea beast was killed. Its body was cut into many pieces, turning into numerous islets such as Hòn Chồng and Hòn Vợ and others. The seriously injured fairy failed to fly back to heaven, so she lay down on the beach, turning into Cô Tiên Mountain.
These legends have been passed down until today, and local officials say they have contributed to the mysterious allure of the mountain area.
CITY OF LIGHTS: A panoramic view of the whole of Nha Trang at night from Cô Tiên Mountain. Photo khanhhoa.tintuc.vn
The city authorities also plan to develop the mountain as an eco-tourism destination.
Architect Nguyễn Văn Lộc, former director of the Khánh Hòa Department of Construction, once said that the Cô Tiên Mountain area had a beautiful landscape, helping preserve the natural environment and climate in the north of Nha Trang.
With a total area of nearly 2,000ha, the Cô Tiên Mountain site is one of the landmarks of the city. Developing tourism in the area is expected to create self-contained tours that take in both the forest and the sea.
According to travel blogger Phạm Quốc Cường, the ideal time to go mountaineering is between 3:30pm and 4pm. Visitors can stay there to take photos until night when the city turns on its flickering lights.
“It is nice there. You can stay until around 5:30pm when the weather becomes cool so you can climb down. In the evening, many young people camp on the mountain overnight,” Cường spoke to toquoc.vn.
It takes about 45 – 60 minutes to reach the top, depending on weather conditions. The path to the top of the second peak is said to be the most challenging because of its steep slope. Climbers have to cling to the rock and then step slowly to pass safely, said Hoàng Trung Thông, a climber from Hà Nội.
Social organisations and authorities in Nha Trang have organised many activities mobilising the participation of all sectors to protect nature around the tourist location.
Members of the STEAM Nha Trang group recently carried out a one-month programme to plant trees on the mountain slopes at weekends.
Green space in the mountain and other areas in Nha Trang has been decreasing due to climate change and human impacts. Therefore, the group came up with the idea to plant trees on mountains, contributing to regenerating the green ecosystem and aiding local communities.
STEAM Nha Trang is a group of 20 members, including teachers and students from primary and high schools, providing knowledge and skills through real-life topics and lessons using science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It is an educational approach to early childhood to help inspire creativity, develop professional skills and create core competencies for the future.
Teacher Phạm Vũ Thanh An said that the group members took turns climbing the mountain to take care of newly planted trees twice a week.
This activity has received the support of student parents, many of whom have registered to join their children in tree planting.
In the near future, STEAM Nha Trang will launch larger tree-planting programmes to promote nature protection in the community, the group announced on baokhanhhoa.vn.
Authorities in Nha Trang have also undertaken measures to effectively manage the infrastructure construction around the mountain, while the Khánh Hòa provincial People’s Committee has decided to suspend all projects building villas and hotels on the hills and mountains, pending review.
According to the adjustment of Nha Trang City’s master plan until 2025, only about 195ha of the Cô Tiên Mountain area have been planned for urban service development, while the rest is set to be preserved as its natural landscape. The future of this legendary mountain looks safe for future generations to enjoy. VNS