Perfume Pagoda means “Chua Huong” in Vietnamese language, is a complex of Buddhist Temples built into karsts stone of Huong Tich Moutain. Its location is Huong Son Commune, My Duc Dist, enlarged Hanoi city, about 60 km south of Hanoi. This is one of the most attractive sites if you want to discover. Travelers will enjoy both a thousand year Buddhist culture as well as enjoy mountainous beauty of Northern Vietnam. There are many sites to visit at Perfum Pagoda such as Trinh temple, Thien Tru Pagoda, Giai Oan pagoda, Thanh Son pagoda… You can see the most highlight of this complex is inner temples in Huong Tich Cave with many statues carved inside the stone.
Perfume Pagoda Festival
Yearly, thousands of pilgrims travel to this sacred cave to pray for happiness and prosperity in the coming year. Perfume Pagoda festival happens between the first and the third lunar month of the year (February to March). Consequently, this period begins after the Tet holiday (Lunar New Year). In Huong Tich Cave, it is believe that if you touch the Son Mountain or Daughter Mountain. People said that you will have son or daughter as your prayer. People also pray for wealthy and prosperity by touching silver and gold tree. Therefore, the festival period is busiest time. However, Perfume Pagoda not only attracts tourist by shrine and legendary of Buddhist sites. It is but also charming natural scenery. So Perfume Pagoda is the fantastic and scared attraction places around the year.
Perfume Pagoda Festival opens yearly on January 6th
Yen stream – the best way to visit Perfume Pagoda by boat
To get to Perfume Pagoda, it takes you about 2 hours driving from Hanoi to Ben Duc ( Duc Pier). There are two way to reach to Chua Huong. The first way is a road from pier to the base of complex, and the second one is using row boat along Yen Stream. You should take a local sampan boat, which usually control by local women. This way is really romantic and the most interesting part in your trip with 45 minutes.
While sitting on the boat travelling along the Yen stream, you will enjoy the surrounding amazing landscapes of green rice paddles studded with jagged limestone mounts to the base of Huong Mountain. You also see the Phoenix Mountain, Doi Cheo Mountain and Bung & Voi Mountain with interesting legendary on the left, Ngu Nhac Mountain on the right. The first stop of boat is Trinh temple, where people often burn the incense for the God of the Mountain. All visitors must register there to show their intentions before get into other pagodas and many temples, and Buddhist sites.
Visitors go by boat on Yen stream to Perfume Pagoda
Thien Tru Pagoda – Best stop on the way to Huong Tich cave
The visit continues to Thien Tru pagoda or better known Outer Pagoda constructed in 18th century. This is famous for Thuy Tien Tower and Tien Son grotto on the right with various five granite statues on the wall of the cave. After that, you will reach to Giai Oan pagoda (Purgatorial Pagoda). Although goverment built a cable car system some years ago to serve a lot of tourists. Many visitors like to climb up thousand steps to the Perfume Pagoda to enjoy charming landscape two sides on the road.
Arrive to Huong Tich Cave; opening in your eyes is an open dragon mouth decorated in ancient Chinese letters which people wrote in 1770. This is entrance of Perfume pagoda. Get inside the cave, people carved many statues carved from the stone with different shrine. They include Lord Buddha, Buddhist goddess Quan Am and other Buddhist statues. Besides, Huong Tich Cave is fulfilled by stalactite and stalagmite that make Perfume Pagoda more mysterious. According to the legend about Huong Tich grotto, ruler of Northern Vietnam Trinh Sam inscribed on the entrance of cave “Nam Thien De Nhat Dong” meaning “the most beautiful cave under southern sky”.