Perfume Pagoda Hanoi, approximately 70km from Ha Noi City center is the most popular pilgrimage destination in Vietnam. The area used to be over crowded after the TET festival. We at Vietnam Cycling offer a day trip to Perfume pagoda with optional bike ride.
Perfume pagoda map
The Perfume pagoda is part of Huong Son spiritual complex which covers an area of a thousand hectares and includes mountains, rivers and streams, villages, pagodas, and grottoes surrounded by the Huong Tich Mountain Range, north of the Truong Son Range.
This stream flows between two mountains for 3km. However, sitting on the boat and enjoying the surrounding landscape, tourists may feel that this stream is endless. During the festive season, the stream is full of boats carrying pilgrims who have come to enjoy the landscape of Huong Son.
Traveling along Yen Stream, tourists pass by landscapes, many of which are named according to their forms. On the left is Phoenix Mountain there is also Doi Cheo Mountain, which looks like an Indian python (Tran). Also on the left are Bung and Voi, two mountains having interesting legends.
On the right is Ngu Nhac Mountain with the Trinh Temple where visitors stop and burn incense for the God of the Mountain. Before reaching Tro Wharf where the tour begins, the boat also passes by the Deo and Phong Su Mountains, Son Thuy Huu Tinh Cave, Trau Cave, Hoi Bridge, and Dau Valley to the Perfume Pagoda.
Thien Tru Pagoda
Thien Tru Pagoda is also called Tro Pagoda. It is part of the Perfume Pagoda Complex. Founded by Venerable Van Thuy Thien Thien Tran Dao Vien Quang, the pagoda was initially a small thatch. During the French Domination Period, the pagoda was destroyed. However, the Thien Tru Pagoda was reconstructed after 1954, and in 1991, the Three Entrance gate of the pagoda was built in its present day form. To the right of the pagoda is the tower garden where the monk bones are buried. At the back, there is Thien Thuy Thap; on the left is a semicircle lake.
Tien Son Pagoda
To reach the Tien Son Pagoda from Thien Tru Pagoda, follow a small path, turn right, and then continue for about 1km. This small pagoda to worship Bodhisattva Quan Am is located on a high mountain in Nui Tien Grotto. Inside the pagoda and grotto there are multi-forms of stalactites. Music can be made by knocking on several of these stalactites. This pagoda is also part of the Perfume Pagoda complex.
Giai Oan Pagoda
The tour continues to Huong Tich Pagoda and Grotto (also called Trong Pagoda), and then to Giai Oan Pagoda, which was founded by Patriarch Monk Thong Dung Huy Tam II. Originally, Giai Oan Pagoda was a small thatch located on Long Tuyen Mountain.
The pagoda was restored in 1928, and again in 1937. In 1995, the Tu Van Temple and the yard of the pagoda were built. Bodhisattva Quan The Am is worshipped at this pagoda. At present, the valuable statue of Tu Ty Quan Am cast in the 18th century is kept in Tu Van Temple.
Inside the pagoda, there is the Thanh Tri well, which according to legend was the place where Bo Tat Quan The Am Dieu Thien took a bath before going to the Buddha. Since that time, pilgrims have come to drink the water from this well to rid themselves of their desires and sufferings of daily life.
Huong Tich Pagoda and Grotto
From Giai Oan Pagoda, the tour continues to Huong Tich Pagoda and Grotto, located 2.5km from Thien Tru Pagoda, reached by climbing some stone-steps. At the top of the stairs is the gate of the grotto, which looks like the mouth of a dragon. Visitors then descend 120 stone steps into the Huong Tich Grotto.
In the middle of the entrance, there is a stalactite called Dun Gao (meaning box of rice); deeper in the cave, there is said to be one way to Heaven and one way to Earth. A statue of Bodhisattva Quan Am made of green stone during the Tay Son Dynasty is also found in the cave. Stalagmites resembling golden trees, silver trees, cocoons, hillocks, and a group of nine dragons surround the statue.
Written on the entrance of the famous Huong Tich pagoda are the five Chinese characters “Nam Thien De Nhat Dong”, meaning the most beautiful grotto under the southern skies. These were the words spoken by Lord Trinh Sam in the 17th century when he visited the grotto.