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You should dedicate at least an entire day to visiting this temple. It’s located 70km. from Hanoi in the Perfume Mountains, from which it draws its name. The pagoda is in a wonderful natural area and the panoramic views are fantastic.
It's easily accessible by road from the Ben Duco pier. You can reach the actual pagoda via a hike or cable car. The complex consists of the Den Trinh Sanctuary, the Thien Your, Hinh Bopng, Giai Oan, and Than Son pagodas, and the Huong Tich Van Long, Vey Ke, Tuyet Son, and Mau Me cave temples.
It was about noon when we arrived at the temple and the second we crossed the gate, we were thankful to have arrived and not given into our fatigue.
The bell at the top of the dome sounded a call to the faithful who began to congregate in the square. Their clothing seemed to add a touch of color to the temple. The strange thing about this temple is that it's not for any one religion in particular. Instead, it's Caodaist...open to Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims….everyone. In that sense, it isn't strange that they have their own "saints" like Victor Hugo, Joan of Arc, or Lenin. Their sacred symbol is an eye surrounded by carved flowers which is dubbed the "all-seeing eye."
We went inside the temple to a room that looked out over the entire ground floor and the sight of all the music and chants was unforgettable. There were rows of men and women dressed in white, red, and yellow, all across a checkerboard floor. The sunlight poured in through the windows, each decorated with the ubiquitous eye, and cast its light on the intricately carved columns and the roof with its depiction of heaven. The profound beauty of it all is hard to describe.
Another unmissable spot in the city of Hanoi is the Quan Thanh Temple, a beautiful temple built to venerate the memory of General Huyen Thien Tran Vu, a staunch defender of the north. The temple has a beautiful facade with three stone doors and a steeple on top. In front of the entrance are four large pillars decorated with images of the phoenix, tiger, and other animals that are significant to Vietnamese culture. Inside the temple is a large patio, with an ornamental fish pond made of artistically crafted rock. The temple is very significant for locals, who come here in search of luck and happiness. Go early to get the best experience.
The first thing you see upon arrival is the 7-storey tower whose interior guards a temple which, as I understand, is almost always closed. However, there are staircases on either side decorated with dragons and stone turtles and the temple offers spectacular views of the South China Sea.
The 11th-century Thầy Pagoda is located in Ha Tay province to the west of Hanoi and is dedicated to Từ Đạo Hạnh, the creator of water puppetry. The route from Hanoi is fairly easy but you'll need almost an hour to reach it due to the traffic. The best option is to take a taxi to the village of Sai Son. There, you'll find three pagodas which are shaped after the Chinese character "san" (three).
At the Thiên Phúc Pagoda, or the Temple of Heavenly Blessings, you can see the yellow-robed monk to which it is dedicated. He gained fame during the rule of Lý Nhân Tông, a prince who adopted the monk after failed attempts at having children. This assured the prince an heir who would also serve as his reincarnation. The prophecy was fulfilled and the Lý Nhân Tông name ruled from 1072 to 1127. You can also see some impressive 17th-century sculptures of the guardians of Buddhism and the eight bodhisattvas who guard the Buddha during meditation.
The Dragon Pool, which is still used for water puppet performances, is just besides the pagoda. If the weather permits, you can climb the trail that goes up the hill and see other interesting places like the Wind Cave and the One Roof Pagoda.
Overlooking the city, there is a giant white Buddha sitting on a lotus flower. It corresponds to the pagoda of colours and richly decorated columns, surrounded by dragons, and it pays tribute to those who fought the Diem government. The building's name is Long Son Pagoda and it's located in the city of Nha Trang.
You would normally get to the Linh Ong Pagoda from the gateway to Thuy Son (the most important of the Marble Mountains) that is closest to the sea. The first thing you will find is a large white Buddha behind a small pond. The plants and flowers that are on the outside of the temple are very beautiful. To the left of the temple is a white figure of Buddha. After looking at the Buddha, you can turn towards the temple where you will find an interesting figure on the left, with a large tongue. The rooms of the monks are near the temple. WARNING There is a woman selling incense sticks. A monk who works with her offers to help with incense sticks. He snatches a handful of incense, lights all the sticks, and places them in large bunches. That way you run out of incense sticks before reaching the other temples of Thy Son and you have to re-purchase. There is no tradition or rule about the number of incense sticks to be placed opposite each figure, so it is a little deceptive of this monk who, of course, after asking you for a donation doesn't even give you a receipt but just stuffs the money into his pocket. A little suspicious.
The Ton Tam Pagoda has 1 building for monks and 2 buildings are temples. In the first are the figures, in wood, in the 7 positions of Buddha. The setting and the gardens are beautiful, so that the place takes us to the past and makes us breathe peace. Some very nice monks cannot speak English but try to tell you about Buddha. There is a small balcony with this Pagoda.
In western Thuy Son Mountain, built in the seventeenth century (1630), and has been restored several times, most recently in 1970. It has a spectacular gateway and also houses the residence for monks. The frescoes of the pediment represent the birth and enlightenment of Buddha.
These nine bronze urns are 2.3 meters tall and weigh 2 tons each. They represent the nine emperors of the Nguyen dynasty. Each has a unique decoration featuring flowers and traditional Vietnamese motifs. They’re all lined up below the terrace of the Hien Lam Pavilion except for one, that of the emperor Gia Long who appears to have made an especially important contribution to the grandeur of the Nguyen dynasty.
Also known as Chùa Keo, this temple is located in the Gia Lam district and honors the Keo. According to legend, 4 wooden statues were built but could not be painted since the paint would not stick to the wood. Only Keo painters using a special technique finally managed to paint the statues. There is another legend about a massive tree trunk that only the Keo artisans could move.