Posted By : Threeland Travel / Hanoi
When reaching a region, a city or even a village, you can easily catch sight of a temple or a pagoda because Buddism is the largest religion in Vietnam. These religious sites are often built-in positions that have good Feng Shui. Perfume Pagoda in Hanoi is not an exception to those rules. It is located in an area that mountain and river create a stunning, peaceful and poetic landscape like a paradise.
This scene not only attracts Vietnamese each time they go on a yearly pilgrimage but also surprises foreigners when they set their foot here in their Vietnam and Cambodia tours. Let’s discover why this pagoda impresses millions of travelers and how to have the most interesting experience here.
The Opening Ceremony of Huong Pagoda Festival 2020
Where is Perfume Pagoda?
The most well-known Perfume Pagoda is situated in Huong Son commune, My Duc district, Hanoi capital, different from another one in Ha Tinh province. It is about 60 km driving from Hanoi's center to Perfume Pagoda.
Vietnamese often call it Huong Pagoda or Huong Son Pagoda. Thanks to charming nature, the harmonious combination of high mountains and blue water, this becomes the must-visit religious destination of people from near and far.
What time to visit Perfume Pagoda?
The weather is cool all year round so that you can go to Perfume Pagoda at any time of the year.
In the spring months, according to the lunar calendar, from January to the end of March, this place is usually more crowded, especially from the full moon of January to the middle of February. Therefore, if you want to relax and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere, it's better to travel in autumn. On the other hand, this will be a favorable occasion if you are eager to explore Vietnamese pilgrims’ customs.
Yen Stream is always busy during the Perfume Pagoda Festival
Around the end of lunar March, on the banks of Yen stream-the unique entrance of Huong Pagoda, the landscape is colorfully prettified by the bright red flower of kapok.
Huong Pagoda Festival is started annually on the 6th of January. This is an occasion for Buddhists to go on pilgrimage, pray for a prosperous year for themselves and their families.
Coming to Huong Pagoda on festive occasions, visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy cultural shows such as Cheo singing, rowing competitions, climbing mountains, etc. In the past, the beginning of the Perfume Pagoda festival was opening the forest. Today it marks a new spiritual tourism season.
See more: Discover Hanoi with a full day city tour
What to visit in Perfume Pagoda?
Huong Pagoda is a famous complex of relics, landscapes including a system of caves, temples, pagodas mixed with mountains, flowers and trees.
According to a Buddha legend, Huong Tich cave was the place that the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva got enlightenment after 9 years of practicing.
Then in Le Thanh Tong’s reign (the 15th century), three monks found Huong Tich cave and erected Thao am Thien Tru outside the cave. Since then Huong Tich has been called the inner pagoda, Thien Tru has been called the outer pagoda. People also took a common name for the whole area was Huong Pagoda (Perfume Pagoda).
Therefore, going to the Huong pagoda synonymous with visiting the whole area in the Huong Son mountain.
Yen Stream, about 4 km in length, is the unique way to admire the scenery of Huong Pagoda so that during the Huong Pagoda Festival, boats and boats crowd up and down the whole stream, which makes it difficult for visitors to fully enjoy the scenery on this stream.
It is much more favorable to take a trip in autumn. The period from September to November is titled "the blooming season of water" when purple-pink lilies cover the stream capturing anyone's gaze.
'The blooming season of water' on Yen Stream
Den Trinh (Trinh Temple)
The first stop in Perfume Pagoda’s journey is Trinh Temple, also known as Ngu Nhac Linh Tu. It is a small temple on the right of the Yen stream, about 500m away from Duc wharf.
The mountain guards protecting the pagoda are worshiped inside. Nobody comes to the pagoda skipping to present and report to them first.
Thien Tru Pagoda
After over 1-hour on stream, your boat will dock Tro wharf then it will take you about 40 minutes walking to reach Thien Tru Pagoda.
This giant pagoda is built on the shelf of Lao Mountain in the reign of King Le Thanh Tong (1460 - 1497).
According to some records, in the 15th century, the King saw astronomy and found that it was in the celestial star so he named the valley and built a pagoda called Thien Tru (Heaven Kitchen).
On the campus of Thien Tru Pagoda
Tien Son Cave
From Thien Tru, we turn right to Tien Son cave, in which five stone statues of white stone illuminated like jewels. Stalactites fall founding abundant shapes that emit humming sounds like bell, drum, gong when knocking on.
Getting out of Tien Pagoda, you will meet the Giai Oan Pagoda and the Giai Oan Stream. On the left of the pagoda, there is a temple, Tuyet Quynh Cave and Thanh Tri natural well, which is transparent and never runs out.
A legend says that Avalokitesvara had bathed here to remove the dust before entering the Buddha realm.
Following the bumpy stone road, you will catch sight of Cua Vong temple worshiping Princess of the Forest, the ruler of the Huong Son area.
Huong Tich Cave
Huong Tich cave, more than 2000 meters from Tro wharf, at the altitude of 390m, is the center, the most important spiritual site of the Huong pagoda complex. It is believed that the place that Avalokitesvara got enlightenment.
Climbing up many layers of mountains, it is so exhilarating when arriving at the cave. From the gate down, there are 120 steps of bare stone with trees soaring like righteous hearts two sides. The entrance looks like a dragon opening his mouth.
In March of 1770, Lord Trinh Sam once visited and titled the cave "The most beautiful cave”. Inside, there is a bluestone statue of Avalokitesvara from the 18th century together with thousands of undulating stalactites carrying idyllic names such as Mother’s Breasts, Flower of Disturbance, Dune of Rice, Dune of Coin, Golden Tree, Silver Tree, etc.
The sacred space inside Huong Tich cave
From Thien Tru Pagoda, Perfume Pagoda offers tourists cable cars to easily approach Huong Tich Cave. If you prefer sporty activities, climbing up stone steps will help you enjoy completely the majestic view and fresh atmosphere here.
Long Van Pagoda – Long Van Cave – Sung Sam Cave
After the ceremony at Trinh Temple – the first stop from Duc Waft, if you turn right, you will go to Huong Tich cave; if you turn left, you will go to Long Van Pagoda and Long Van Cave.
These pagoda and cave are on the mountainside among the green trees. After visiting Long Van Cave, tourists will continue to Sung Sam cave to visit and pray.
How to fulfill your day trip to Perfume pagoda?
• Contemplating stunning view from your boat on the Yen stream.
• Walking to visit sacred temples, pagodas and spectacular caves
• Preparing offerings, burning incense and praying
• Sightseeing and relaxing
• Shopping and tasting local food
Boating on Yen stream and Enjoying the tranquil of life
Tips while traveling
- Clothes, jewelry
• Clothes, umbrellas on rainy days. Dress discreetly, don't make noise or use vulgar words because this is a sacred Buddism site.
• Slippers or sports shoes to facilitate your climbing.
• Snacks to recharge your energy while visiting spots.
- When sitting on ferry
• Around the area of Yen stream, there are many storks that follow you to recommend the boat, but you should not follow them but go straight to Duc wharf, go to the ticket office and buy tickets.
• When buying, you should also ask the maximum number of guests on a boat to avoid the boat being packed with passengers. You should also give local boat drivers some tips to help them improve their life.
- When taking the cable car
• Cable car ticket: 90,000 / 1 person for 1 way and 140,000 / 1 person for 2 ways.
• On the occasion of a very crowded festival, you should wait in line to buy tickets from the organizers, avoid buying the storks with the sky price.
- When shopping at Perfume Pagoda
• For souvenirs and specialties, you should bargain, when buying, check the quantity and expiry date.
• For products like herbal medicine or health supplements, you should also consider before buying because the products here have not been tested.
- Other notes
• Do not participate in games because it is a scam, not by luck.
• When in crowded places, protect your possessions and personal belongings carefully to avoid pickpocketing.
• Protect the environment and landscape.
Immerse in the picturesque scene of Yen stream in autumn
Perfume Pagoda is a famous scenic spot, not only beautiful scenery but also Mahayana philosophy. Unlike any pagoda, Perfume Pagoda is a collection of cave temples, associated with mountains and forests with a perfect harmony of nature and artificial.
Hopefully, the above article has given you a clearer visualization of this destination while planning your Vietnam tours. If you have any inquiries, do not hesitate to contact your local Threeland via email firstname.lastname@example.org or What’s App: +84342620068 or call +842439262056, our consultants are always available to give you the most conscientious travel advice.