Guidebook The Perfume Pagoda

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The Perfume Pagoda

This is one of Vietnam’s “most revered places of Buddhist worship,” writes Mark Bowyer at The Rusty Compass. Located sixty kilometres southwest of Hanoi, the Red River Delta “ends abruptly where steep-sided limestone hills rise from the paddy fields.” The most easterly of these forested spurs shelters “north Vietnam’s most famous pilgrimage site,” says Rough Guides -- the Perfume Pagoda, “one of more than thirty peppering these hills,” which occupies “a spectacular grotto over 50m high.” Access to the 30 or so pagodas of the complex is via the Yen River, explains Mark Bowyer. “The most spectacular of the sites” is the giant Huong Tich grotto, the main destination of any Perfume Pagoda tour, “so expect crowds.” Huong Tich is “a vast cave with a number of small altars inside,” he writes -- “the huge stalagmite in the centre of the cave is said to resemble a dragon’s tongue.”

“Embrace the madness and see how a Vietnamese tourism destination operates,” advises Travelfish -- “think lots of noise, souvenirs galore and plenty of snacks and food.” This is arguably “the mother of all domestic tourism spots in Vietnam,” it says, “and should be experienced for that reason alone, whether you learn anything about Buddhism along the way or not.” It’s popular with Vietnamese devotees year round, but particularly from the middle of the second to the end of the third lunar months following Tet, and on even days of the lunar calendar.

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