Saint Giong legend creates tourist trap

The heroic stories of Saint Giong have made the 308-meter high Soc Mountain a potential tourist magnet around 40 kilometers from capital city Hanoi.

In Soc Don District, the legend states that under the reign of the sixth Hung King about 1700-1600 BC, the Van Lang country (Vietnam now) was invaded by enemies from the north.

But a hero named Giong, who was said to be the son of a God, was sent to help Van Lang fight off the enemy. After victory, Giong rode his iron horse to the mount of Soc Mountain, and fled into the sky. The people named him Saint Giong and built a temple to worship him at the foot of Soc Mountain.

Last year, a 14-meter high statue of Saint Giong made from 85 tons of pure bronze was put on the top of Soc Mountain to immortalize the hero. To transfer the statue to Da Chong peak, the Hanoi government opened a 2.5 kilometer-long road from the foot to the peak of the mountain. This place has become a tourist site and spiritual site for Vietnamese people.

Tourists can visit the saint’s temple at the foot of the mountain. The temple was built in 980 and has been restored 13 times but still keeps its original features.

Visitors then have the option to drive or walk through the pine jungle to the next religious pilgrimage site in the middle of the mountain, Non Nuoc Pagoda. The pagoda has a bronze statue of the Great Buddha which is 6.5 meters high and 30 tons in weight, the biggest in Southeast Asia. And the pinnacle of the trip can see tourists reach Saint Giong statue at Da Chong peak at the top of the mountain and take in a quite spectacular view. By Thuy Trieu in Hanoi.

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