I have almost managed to visit more pagodas in Vietnam than I have temples in India. Religious tourism isn’t necessarily my thing, but I prefer the ‘tourism’ aspect to the ‘rituals’. Many of the pagodas in Vietnam have that peaceful quality about them, and the monks have serene expressions that make me feel good. Another great feature of these pagodas is their site – a number of them have amazing views that make me want to go and visit. Here are the ones I’ve seen:
Ancient pagoda near Hanoi
About an hour’s drive from Hanoi, this is one of the oldest in the country. I joined the Souvik & his office team during the Vietnamese New Year, when they went to seek blessings for their business and their families.
Tran Quoc Pagoda at Westlake
This would rate as the most picturesque pagoda in my book. Situated on Westlake, with a view of Truc Bach Lake, this place has the nicest views and elegant architecture.
There is a banyan tree in the compound which was planted by Dr. Rajendra Prasad. They misspelled his name, so moms were quite annoyed!
One Pillar Pagoda at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex
This pagoda is probably the most crowded, touristy pagoda, being in the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex, in the midst of the museum, mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts, and hordes of school children on their mandatory visits to the above. But it sure is unique, tiny, and cute. Pt. Nehru planted a tree here, but there’s no sign to announce that.
Laughing Buddha at Da Lat
After a wild motorcycle ride through gerbera and coffee plantations in Dalat, and a treacherous climb at the Elephant Falls (where I slipped and fell), the guides took us to this pagoda. We were laughing too!
Thien Mu Pagoda in Hué
This one is situated on the banks of the Perfume River, and is one of the iconic spots of the ancient capital of Hué. That was the day my old camera went phut, so I could only manage a picture from my phone. There are great views of the river, and though we got here by car, I would go again on the boat.
Pagodas in Hoi An
The adorable ancient town of Hoi An has a couple of pagodas, and true to the nature of the town, these sport a pretty, festive look.
No matter which pagoda you’d like to visit, there is one cardinal rule: