Guidebook Go on a pilgrimage to the Perfume Pagoda

Must-do List

Go on a pilgrimage to the Perfume Pagoda

This is north Vietnam's “most famous pilgrimage site,” writes Conde Nast Traveler. “Named after the spring blossoms that scent the air,” the Perfume Pagoda “occupies a spectacular grotto and is the final destination of a walk up the 50-metre mountain that takes up to two hours.” It is located 60 kilometres southwest of Hanoi, at the point where the Red River Delta “ends abruptly and steep-sided limestone hills rise from the paddy field.” It’s a “vast complex of Buddhist temples and shrines built into the limestone Huong Tich mountain,” explains Lonely Planet, and is also the site of a religious festival “which draws large numbers of pilgrims from across Vietnam.”

“The start of the journey is the most appealing,” says Conde Nast Traveler -- “a tranquil hour's sampan ride up a silent valley, past Den Trinh, a 17th-century temple, to a stone-flagged path shaded by frangipani trees leading to the 17th-century Chua Thien Chu pavilion in front of which stands a magnificent, triple-roofed bell pavilion, dedicated to Quan Am, the goddess of Mercy.”

The Perfume Pagoda Festival starts on the sixth day of the first lunar month, and is “celebrated for three months, from the first to third lunar month of each year,” notes Am Cham Vietnam. The festival is considered the “greatest Buddhist festival in the North of Vietnam,” playing an important role in the “spiritual life of Vietnamese people and Vietnamese Buddhists in particular.”

Must-do List
  • Guidebook