Referring to Ninh Binh, people will immediately think of a spiritual destination with a variety of famous temples and pagodas, of which Bai Dinh Pagoda is the most famous
With only 1 or 2 days, you do not have enough time to explore all of them. To opt for a worthy pagoda and temple for your trip, let’s read all information I devotedly write below.
I) Two must-see Ninh Binh Pagoda
1. Bai Dinh Pagoda
Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh is a must-visit place for both domestic and foreign visitors. But you will be even more surprised to know that Bai Dinh complex holds many records not only of Vietnam but also of Asia.
One of the largest pagodas in Vietnam
The Bai Dinh pagoda currently covers an area of 539 ha, including 27ha of Bai Dinh ancient pagoda with a long history formed from the Dinh dynasty and 80ha of Bai Dinh pagoda recently built in 2003. With the current scale of Bai Dinh Pagoda, there is no temple in Vietnam that can compare
The biggest bronze Buddha statue in Asia
The statue of Shakyamuni Buddha sits on a lotus at the Main Hall in the temple’s Dharma hall, which has been set by the Asian Records Center as the largest Buddha in bronze in all continents.
The longest Arhat corridor in Asia
The Arhat Corridor of Bai Dinh Pagoda is 3 kilometer in length, where displays stone statues of Arhat.
The pagoda has the most number of Arhat statues in Vietnam. At the temple, there are 500 Arhat statues that made of monolithic stone with 1.5m to 2m in height.
The biggest Pearl well in Vietnam
Pearl well was built near the foot of Bai Dinh mountain, associated with a miraculous story nearly 1,000 years ago when Zen master Nguyen Minh Khong took the water to prepare herbal medicines for the local people.
Until now, the well is not used for normal activities, because all people believe that the water of well is specious that can bring them luck and good health after drinking. So each year, Vietnamese visitors come here and drink a sip of the well’s water to wish themselves all the best things and cure their diseases.
Bai Dinh Pagoda ticket
Bai Dinh Pagoda is free in charge; however, because of its large area many people choose to travel by golf bus. Golf bus ticket at Bai Dinh temple is about VND 30,000 / round. If you want to combine the pilgrimage and exploration, you should prepare about 150,000 VND / person to travel by boat. Each boat can carry between 4 and 5 people. The duration of Trang An tour is about 3 hours, you should arrange a suitable schedule.
2. Bich Dong Pagoda
Bich Dong Pagoda, originally formed in 1428, at the beginning of the Late Le Dynasty, was a small temple on the top of the mountain. In 1705, there were Chi Kien and Chi Be from Nam Dinh province meeting each other and becoming the best friends. The two monks have the same purpose that is to spread Buddhism to everyone. Seeing Binh Dong Mountain has beautiful terrain, the two monks decided to repair the old pagoda by Ninh Binh residents’ donation.
Bich Dong Pagoda is built in the style of Han Dynasty, there are three separated layer pagodas along the slope of the mountains: Ha, Trung and Thuong. To reach them, you must go hiking over 100 steps.
The first Pagoda you see is Ha. The pagoda worships Buddha and 3 masters Chi Thien, Chi The, Chi tam, three of them contributed to build Binh Dong Pagoda.
Going up 120 steps, you will get the second pagoda- Trung Pagoda. The highlight thing in Trung Pagoda is separate. Half of that hides into the cave, half is suitable outside
Trung Pagoda draws attraction of tourists because half is inside the cave and half is outside
Going to the top is Thuong Pagoda, view from Thuong pagoda, you can admire 5 independent mountains of Bich Dong mountain, which looks like 5 petals of the lotus
Thuong pagoda has two temples on either side: Tho Dia on the right – who has the responsibility of taking care of the land, and Duc Son Than on the left who has the responsibility of guarding mountains. Next to the temple is a water tank called “Cam Lo water tank” of Bodhisattva.
Sitting at Thuong pagoda, you can see the whole scene of Bich Dong pagoda. The pagoda is not only beautiful and charming scenery, but the place also remains the historical value of Ninh Binh in particular and Vietnam in general. The unique thing of Bich Dong pagoda is that the mountains, caves, and pagodas complement each other, hidden among the blue giant trees, making the pagoda to integrate with the landscape of the external nature.
II) Ninh Binh temple
1. Hoa Lu Temple of Ly and Tran Dynasties
In the 10th and 11th centuries, Hoa Luis the capital of Vietnam as well as the economics and political center of Dai Viet. The capital is one of the rice fields surrounded by majestic limestone mountains and poetic rives.
Hoa Lu ancient capital is a unique architectural complex in Ninh Binh province, which has been recognized by UNESCO as one of the 4 main zones of Trang An World Heritage Complex.
There are three temples in Hoa Lu ancient capital that are Dinh, Le temple and Nhat Tru Temple. Let’s discover more history and stories related to those temples
Temple of Dinh Tien Hoang
Dinh Tien Hoang Temple is a unique work of architecture of Vietnamese in the 17th century with delicately pillar cravings.
King Dinh Temple is built in the style of “noi cong ngoai quoc”, it means the gate of the temple will face to the east. In front of the temple is Ma Yen mountain shaped like a saddle.
Dinh Temple was built on the old palace of Hoa Lu capital. The location is in the “tien thuy hau son” style incorporating the principles of “phong thủy” (Chinese: “feng shui”), with a river to the front and a mountain at the back.
In front of the temple, you will see a dragon bed that used for sacrifices. The bed is made of entire bluestone, symbolizing the dragon pedestal when the king sitting. The surface of the King bed was carved into the shape of a dragon with a majestic appearance.
Temple of Le Dai Hanh
The temple worships Duong Van Nga and Le Long Dinh, and Princess Le Thi Phat Ngan and Pham Cu Luong General. It is located 300 meters from King Dinh Tien Hoang temple, belonging to the Eastern citadel. The style of Le Dai Hanh Temple was built according to “noi cong ngoai that” like Dinh Tien Hoang temple but it was smaller
Nhat Tru Temple
Nhat Tru Pagoda is 300m from the north of King Le Dai Hanh temple located on a land area of more than 3,000m2. This is an ancient temple from the 10th century, belonging to the special protection zone of Hoa Lu Ancient Citadel. There are also many ancient artifacts associated with the history of Hoa Lu’s capital.
Buddhist column was built in 995 by King Le Dai Hanh to express the desire for peace and prosperity of the Vietnamese, With outstanding values, the Buddhist column is recognized by the Prime Minister as a National Treasure in 2015
If you have been one pillar pagoda in Hanoi, you will immediately recognize the similarity of Nhat Tru Temple in Ninh Binh and One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi. The shape of the two temples is like lotus. It is because Emperor Le Dai Hanh ordered the construction of Nhat Tru Temple. After that, after deciding to move Vietnamese capital from Hoa Lu to Hanoi, Ly Thai Tong King was built the same temple in Hanoi
2. Thai Vi temple
Located in Tam Coc – Bich Dong tourist complex, Thai Vi temple is located in Van Lam village, Ninh Hai commune, Hoa Lu district. It worshiped the Kings and the generals of the Tran dynasty. With 175 years of existence and development, the Tran dynasty had great achievements in many aspects, but the most highlight was to get victory three times against Yuan – Mong army.
To remember the Tran kings who established Vu Lam’s Bow, after the king died, people of Van Lam village built Thai Vi temple on the old ground that had built Thai Vi Tu.
Thai Vi temple festival takes place from the 14th to the 16th day of March following lunar year. This is an opportunity for local people and the whole country to commemorate the Tran kings
Have you found a temple or pagoda that you love to visit? Apart from your liking, the lenghth of time for your traveling to Ninh Binh is quite important. Let’s read more about Ninh Binh tour to have a wise decision
- Ninh Binh 1 day tour
- Ninh Binh 2 day tour
- Ninh Binh itineray
III) What is different between Ninh Binh Pagoda and Ninh Binh Temple
Several tourists ask me Pagoda and Temple are the same places. Of course, they are not. With Vietnamese people, it is easy to know where is pagoda or temple but for travelers, that is a big challenge.
No matter what is worshiped inside, people living in Japan, China, Korea normally call the building temple. In Vietnam, Temple and Pagoda is totally different, let me clear it
Temple is a place where worships real persons like King or persons who have a big contribution to Vietnam. Residents often come here to honor those hero persons and King. There is nothing related to religion.
Le Dai Hanh King is worship in Le temple
Pagoda is a place for Buddhism. Going there, you can easily catch a sight of Buddha statues. At the beginning of month and year, Buddhists often come here to pray for their luck and happiness and learn Buddhism lessons from monks. After those lessons, their mind is entirely in peace. Pagoda is also a place for monks living, so you will only see monks in the pagoda, which never happened in the temple
IV) Ultimately tips before going to pagoda and temple in Ninh Binh Vietnam
- If it is not your religion, you do not have to pray or donate anything, just visit
- You should dress modestly, bear in your mind that wearing something can cover your chest, knees, and shoulders. it is not compulsory in Ninh Binh, but residents will feel upset and irrespective if your clothes are exposed to their body and skin too much
- Do not wear hats when coming inside pagoda and temple
- You have to do the walking and hiking several steps. Putting on casual outfits and sneakers is a good choice
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