Shopping on Cam Mountain in An Giang
Update: Apr 21, 2009
Cam (Forbidden) Mountain, also known as Thien Cam Son (heaven’s forbidden mountain), is the highest and largest of the superb That Son (seven mountains) in An Giang Province, and is famous for its wonderful scenery, ancient temples and pagodas and cultural life of local residents.

Located in An Hao Commune, Tinh Bien District, An Giang Province, the majestic mountain sits imposingly in the Mekong Delta at an altitude of 710m above sea level.

During annual festivities lasting from the 4th to the 7th lunar month, Cam Mountain is busy and lively with pilgrims, tourists and the vibrant ambiance of traders on the mountain sides.

There are about 500 households with 3,000 residents living on the mountain, plus about 1,000 visitors to the mountain every day; therefore the trading activities, in particular of agricultural products and foodstuffs, are always hectic and lively.

The market on Cam Mountain is nestled halfway up the mountain on a 3m-wide pass blanketed by endless green trees. The market, named Thien Tue Hamlet Market, is open for one hour every morning when the sun is rising and the fog is dispersing, so people call it “misty market”. Goods are not arranged on counters or stalls but rather are displayed in baskets, pots and heaps. The foods sold here are varied, with chicken, pork, beef, duck and many vegetables, especially bamboo sprouts and some strange vegetables which are only available on the mountain.

Avocado is the main fruit of the mountain and is sold for VND4,000 per kilogram. As many pilgrims trek to the mountain every day to pray for good luck and health, bread vendors here can also earn a lot of money. However, the specialty of the mountain is the medicinal plants which visitors can buy at small shops from the base to the peak of the mountain. There are dozens of herbal remedies, even fungi and honey. Moreover, some are fried, including the flying gecko, mountain snake, scorpion, and wild animal parts such as elephant feet and horns, porcupine quills, bear hands and pangolin leather.

After strolling around the mountain to visit the temples and see the splendid mysteries of nature, passer-by should stop at one of the small restaurants perched along the mountain sides to enjoy mountain cuisine, from hot-pot of wildlife to the specialty of the Mekong Delta, banh xeo (pancake), which are enjoyed with many kinds of healthy vegetables.

Upon reaching the Great Buddha Pagoda, pilgrims can relax and try some dishes in small restaurants around this area, as well as in some coffee shops scattered on the mountain. The panoramic view from here is spectacular, with the valleys, white falls and smaller mountains below.

When trekking on Cam Mountain to enjoy the magnificent and mysterious landscape and to pray for good luck and health at pagodas, visitors can also go shopping and experience the varied cuisine of the mountain.