On top of Múa Mountain, the picturesque scenery of the northern province of Ninh Bình unfolds before the eyes.
My journey to conquer the mountain began with a visit to Múa (Dancing) Cave Complex - an area composed of intricate cave systems and limestone mountains - located at the foot of Múa Mountain within the eco-tourism area of Ninh Xuân Commune in Hoa Lư District.
In the centre of the complex is a crystal moss-green coloured human-made lake, surrounded by rows of trees.
Legend has it that the Trần Kings used to visit the area to watch the imperial maids sing and dance, giving the area its name, Múa or 'dancing'.
Looking up from the foot of the sacred mountain, anyone will feel as if they are lost in a fairytale. A winding road running around the mountain leads to the top, which is covered in towers, making it look like a miniature Great Wall.
Two sides of the road are decorated with sophisticated stone statues of dragons and phoenixes that were built in the Trần Dynasty (1225-1400)'s artistic style.
I had to climb more than 400 steps to get to the top of Dancing Mountain. For many people, it would be a tough challenge. Many people may quit half-way through, leaving the mountain's peaceful sanctuary.
However, it was a breathtaking and rewarding journey. The higher I climbed, the more clearly I could see the stunning view below. Stretching in front of my eyes were vast, golden paddy fields dotted with imposing mountains. Looking further I could see peaceful villages and Ninh Bình City.
I passed many towers, but there was still one above me to conquer.
Motivated by the opportunity to contemplate the scenery on the other side of the Dancing Mountain, I pushed onwards.
After nearly half an hour, the mountain peak, which features a white statue of Goddess of Mercy, finally appeared in my eyes. From there, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of nature below.
The Ngô Đồng River was weaving through the limestone mountains, dotted with wooden boats that glide slowly between the fields like tiny leaves drifting in the wind. I felt pride for conquering new heights and enjoyed the fresh, cool air for a tranquil moment on top of the mountain.
I could see four different sceneries from four views from atop the Dancing Mountain. To the front was the lake and decorative plants, to the right and behind was Ngô Đồng River and imposing mountains while to the left were endless paddy fields and peaceful villages.
After I had my fill of nature's bounty, I had to go down the mountain to visit other places. After resting in a cave on the left of the mountain, I followed a small path at the entrance of the cave to reach Ngọc Trai (Pearl) Spring.
The spring is actually an underground river in the cave so I only dared to stand on its bank. The further I went, the darker and cooler it got. Seeing the light at the end of the cave, I wondered where the spring would flow, but I had no light with me so had to return the way I had come in after reaching the centre of the cave.
While other destinations are usually crowded with visitors, Dancing Mountain Complex possesses heavenly tranquillity, allowing me and other visitors to enjoy it at a slow pace.
The golden fields glittered under the brilliant sunlight of the summer day when I was wandering to the car to return home. I was so charmed by this masterpiece of nature that I did not want to leave.