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INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

HANOI, VIETNAM: Perfume Pagoda




 
Published on: December 12, 2017
 
Generally, when we travel, we avoid paying for tours as it usually costs more than having to wander on our own. For our second day in Hanoi, we scheduled to see the Perfume Pagoda—a large complex filled with Buddhist temples and shrines. Since the destination is quite difficult to reach and mixed it with horror stories of some people tricking and scamming tourists, we thought that getting a tour package specifically for this trip is a better choice. Prior to our visit, we already booked Perfume Pagoda (Full Day) Standard tour through Vietnam Open Tour for US$26 each.
 
Our tour guide named Alex, picked us up in our hotel around 8:00 am and reached the Ben Duc around 10:00 am; from there we rode a boat along Yen stream, paddled by an old Vietnamese lady which took about an hour.
 

Perfume Pagoda

Wharf

 

Perfume Pagoda

Yen Stream

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Upon reaching the destination, we first ate our lunch (included in the tour except drinks) together with our fellow travelers. However, you may also want to bring your own food as the food there is not quite appetising. After fueling up, our first stop was the Den Trinh Temple where Vietnamese worshippers will burn their first incense informing their deities regarding their arrival and to pray for good luck.
 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

That’s our tour guide, Alex.

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

After the temple, you may choose to climb a 4-kilometer path up to the top of the mountain or ride a cable car for about VND 90,000 (US$4) for one way and VND 140,000 (US$6.17) for two-way. Since we have a whole day for this tour, we chose to go up the mountain by foot for a full experience. This will give you chance to meet people, as well as to cherish the spectacular views. Majority of the path are countless flights of steps, and it was also slippery and muddy during our visit. Aside from that, I wore the wrong type of shoes! My shoes have thin soles and are not meant for long walks. I felt all those rocks! It took us an hour and a half to reach the top; some made it in less than an hour. I was just really struggling and I have to take breaks once in a while. There are also plenty of shops selling a wide variety of goods—souvenirs, food, drink, etc. Toilets are also available along the way if you need to relieve yourself. For what it’s worth, our tour guide also ensures we are all okay even he has to climb up and down several times to make sure we all make it to the top.
 

Perfume Pagoda

Just one of the many flight of stairs to conquer

 

Perfume Pagoda

One of the shrines you’ll see along the trail

 

Perfume Pagoda

Views

 

Upon reaching the peak, you will be greeted by a large beautiful cave called Huong Tich Cave full of stalagmites and stalactites which houses Chua Trong Temple- the main attraction for this trip. IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT.
 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

According to our tour guide, April was a good timing as it was not crowded compared to Chinese New year (Lunar New Year)- during this time, they expect around a hundred thousands of pilgrims from all parts of Vietnam.
 
We took a seat and savoured the moment; we were in a wonderful work of nature. It was a totally different experience for us. It’s like a day of detoxifying from the city. We got blessed too, as what the believer say, by the stalactites and stalagmites.
 

Perfume Pagoda

Entering the cave

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

Worshippers

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 
After our visit in the cave, we head back but this time trying the cable car on our way down. Unfortunately, it was quite foggy and failed to see any views from the top. The cable car only took about 5-7 minutes to bring us down from the mountain. We took the boat again back to the wharf where our bus was waiting and dropped us off in our hotel. There is also a mandatory tip of VND 50, 000 (US$2.00) each for the tour guide.
 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

Walking back to the wharf

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

 

Perfume Pagoda

A little remembrance for our strong lady paddler

 
After a long day, we had a dinner in a local café and I tried their egg coffee worth VND 30,000 (US1.30). It’s a must try in Vietnam!

Egg Coffee

 
 
 

Read: HANOI, VIETNAM: Old Quarter and Ba Dinh District

 
 
 

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