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Perfume Pagoda Vietnam Information

Fast Facts:

Built in the 15th century

Located 70 km from Hanoi

Highlights:

Vast complex of Buddhist temples, river row-boat trip, short hikes, caves / grottos, picturesque landscapes.

Perfume Pagoda in Song:

Standing sky high, in the land of Buddhas; Huong Son is a real wonder we have long wished to see; With the sight of mountains covered with clouds; This is undoubtedly "The most beautiful grotto of all"; Looking up, we can notice a beautiful picture; Brocaded with sparkling stones rich in colours; The cave is so deep, glittering in the moonlight; The entrance path with abrupt turns is so high. (Chu Manh Trinh)

Description:

After 70 km or about 2 hours of driving from Hanoi, the Perfume Pagoda region is located on the karst landscapes of Huong Son Mountain. Unlike other temples in Vietnam, the only way to reach this sanctuary is floating along a narrow, poetic stream on a 45 minute row boat trip.

The stream is edged by rice, grass, small paths, and temples. A local pilgrim will spend traditionally three days to visit the entire area and pray at all the temples. The first temple they often stop at is called Den Trinh (The Shrine for First Presenting), where Vietnamese burn the first incense sticks to inform the local deities about their presence and pray for a good trip and good luck for the year ahead. If you are anxious to reach the main wharf of Huong Son mountain to start the uphill trip to the main grotto of Huong Tich, you can skip this temple - advised, especially in the peak season between January and early April.

The uphill trip takes an hour climbing on the ancient flat, and sometimes slippery, stones, which have been here for over a thousand years. The road is "breathtaking" in all aspects. The main pagoda is set in a huge grotto containing a highly decorative shrine. Each stalactite and stalagmite inside is combined with a legend about its miracle. Most of them have become small shrines. The stone grotto's cool temperatures are welcomed after the short hike.

The main festive days of Chua Huong stretch from January to early April, and are busy and exciting. Sometimes, if it is drizzling the Vietnamese believe that good things will reach you if you catch some of the rainwater after praying in a sacred pagoda.

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