Going to the beach and enjoying the bright sunshine, the lovely sandbank as well as the extremely clean and refreshing sea water has always been a must when you visit Da Nang city. However, if you plan to stay here for a bit long and have got bored of the beach, then you may want to visit other parts of the city. If you are a person of religion, or simply someone who’s looking for a quiet and tranquil place, then Linh Ung Pagoda (Bai But) might be the perfect place waiting for you.
- Location: Hoàng Sa, Thọ Quang, Sơn Trà, Đà Nẵng, about 10 km northeast of the city center
Opening hours: 6AM - 9PM everyday, including Saturday and Sunday
Entrance fee: Free
Dress code: simple and respectful, avoid revealing pieces like tank tops, shorts or skirts
These are just a few useful pieces of information. Now, as a real traveller, let’s dive deeper in the details of Linh Ung Pagoda: its history, its architecture, and more tips for you when you visit this place.
Located 10 km northeast of Da Nang city center, at 693m above sea level, Son Tra peninsula is a wonderful privilege that nature has given to Danang city. No matter where you stand in Da Nang, you can still see this mountain. Linh Ung – Bai But Pagoda stays right next to the peninsula, leaning against it, overlooking the East Sea. To the left, you can see the Cu Lao Cham island, while looking to the right, you’ll see Hai Van mountain along with the romantic and dreamy Han river.
The perfect location of the Son Tra peninsula makes it feel like where the sea and mountains meet the sky. For tourists that are looking for a feeling of tranquility and breathtaking views from a high angle, Linh Ung Pagoda (Linh Ung – Bai But) should be the top priority when visiting Da Nang.
1. Legend & History of Linh Ung Pagoda
There is an old story that has been told for many generations about the history of the Linh Ung – Bai But Pagoda. In the reign of King Minh Mang (Nguyen Dynasty, XIX century), a statue of Buddha suddenly drifted from out of nowhere to the sandbank in the Son Tra Peninsula. Believing that this statue was a good omen, the coastal fishermen and residents set up a shrine. Since then, the waves gradually became quieter and softer, and this helped the coastal people to safely go out for fishing work and make a living.
After that, the sandbank where the statue drifted started to be called Bai But, which means “Buddha realm in the middle of the world”. The Linh Ung Pagoda today is actually built right on top of that.
Through a long time with many historical periods, with the support of the fellow Buddhists and the permission of the city leaders, Linh Ung – Bai But Pagoda, after 6 years of construction, has stood tall on Son Tra mountain. It is a statement for the combination between the Dharma and the Ethnic group, a bold mark of the development of Buddhism in Vietnam in the 21st century.
2. Structure and Architecture of Linh Ung Pagoda
Linh Ung – Bai But Pagoda stands on the 20-hectare land of Son Tra mountain with many items: the main hall, the lecture hall, the ancestral house, the road halls, the library, the cafeteria, and the Arhat statue garden. The pagoda is a combination between the contemporary style and the traditional style of Vietnamese temples. To enter the main gate, you have to walk over 20 steps upstairs. At the gate, there stand two sentences:
“Linh ứng sở cầu như ý nguyện
Sơn Trà Bãi Bụt thật hiển linh.”
“Linh Ung” itself means: “wishes answered miraculously”. These two sentences means that if you pray sincerely inside the pagoda, all your wishes might come true.
2.1. The Main Hall
Decorated with curved roof, the main hall is also carried by many large, solid pillars with delicate and sophisticated dragon patterns – a traditional symbol of Vietnamese people for centuries. It has great capacity for many people, and this is the purest and most solemn place for guests to come and pray.
In the center stands the Buddha Shakyamuni statue, while the Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva statue stands on the right side, and the left side is dedicated to the Buddha Tripitaka statue. Along the side, we can see 4 Guardians and 18 Arhat statues in a spiritual order, protecting the main area. Each of the Arhat statues is shows the different levels of human emotions “happy, angry, loving, and happy”, making the main hall extremely lively and spirited.
Moreover, the local craftsmen often come here to have an opportunity to show their talents and carve the best marble pieces. Visitors who have ever experienced a trip around Linh Ung Pagoda definitely can’t help admiring the delicately depicted, sharp but soft Arhat statues.
2.2. The Lady Buddha Statue
The most important and visible highlight of the Linh Ung pagoda is the Lady Buddha statue – the tallest one in Vietnam (67m high). It is also placed on a 35m-high lotus diameter, making the total height over 100 meters, equivalent to a 30-floor building.
The statue stands facing the sea, with one hand praying and the other one holding a pitcher of nectar, as if she is blessing the fishermen who were reaching out to sea for a quiet, peaceful and successful crop.The inside of the statue is 17m wide, including 17 floors, and each storey has a total altar of 21 Buddha statues. In addition to the ventilation doors, the 17th floor also has a staircase that leads to the top of the statue.
Around the foot of the lotus statue, many tourists and Buddhists often come to the Buddha and admire the compassionate beauty of this unique statue. The landscape of the main hall combined with the statue of Quan The Am Buddha altogether create a sacred, pure but elegant panorama like the paradise.
3. What to Do in Linh Ung Pagoda?
Coming to this sacred pagoda, the most important thing that you should do is to visit the main hall and show your respect by bowing to the Buddha and burning an incense stick on the altar. The pagoda is also famous as a sacred place to pray to your family and friends for their health, happiness, and success in life. If you do have something to wish, you can think about that in your minds while bowing, but it is not guaranteed that Buddha would understand your language.
After completing the rituals, tourists can go around to explore and enjoy the breathtaking view around the peninsula. From the towers of the Buddha statue, it is possible to see the whole landscape of the city, mountains, forests, and Son Tra island in the most perfect way. Zooming out further, you can also see the Ngu Hanh Son mountain (Marble Mountains) and the beach surrounded by long white and smooth sand.
If you visit the pagoda in the early morning, you will be impressed by the stunning view with the sunrise, while listening to the sound of the seawind and natural sounds of the birds, staying away from the busy city. At night, looking down from the pagoda, there would be a long light streak of city lights that looks like a meteor in the night sky.
So, if you want to stay away from the city for a bit, and you are looking for a peaceful place with a beautiful view and a sacred, pure atmosphere, then there are definitely many things for you to do in the Linh Ung Pagoda.
4. How to Get to Linh Ung Pagoda?
Since the pagoda is located on the Son Tra peninsula, it is not possible to go there by bus or train. Instead, you can go there by car, taxi, motorbike or even a bike.
- By car: Booking a personal car or a taxi to the Linh Ung Pagoda would be the easiest way, since most of the taxi drivers are used to the way, and they can take you there in the least time. A taxi from the Da Nang Airport to Linh Ung pagoda would cost about 200.000 VND (~$9). From the city center, it ranges from 120.000 VND – 150.000 VND (~$5 – $7) depending on where you live.
- By motorbike: It is also possible to go there by a motorbike yourself. You will get to ride along the beautiful and windy beach. Google maps works just fine, if you follow the maps properly, it will take you there. The only thing you should note is to take the left turn on Vo Nguyen Giap street because if you turn right it will take you to Hoian. The price for a motorbike rental ranges from 100.000 VND to around 170.000 VND per day (~$4 – $8) depending on the quality of the motorbike.
- By bike: If you are in Hoi An and you want to ride a bike, first you need to go to the traffic light close to An Bang beach. After that, take the left turn, and keep going about 20kilometeres along the beach. When you see My Khe beach, you can just follow the way as described above. However, the weather is pretty hot and humid in the summer, so riding a bike for too long under the sun is not the best idea.
5. Extra Tips on Visiting Linh Ung Pagoda
- If you visit by a motorbike or a bike, make sure you bring a lock. Also, the parking fee is up to you, and you can put it in the donation box at the entrance gate.
- It’s necessary for you to line up to burn incense and keep silent. If you have kids, you should keep them by your side in case they go around and get lost in the place.
- Bring a bottle of water in case you’re thirsty during the visit.
- Visit the pagoda in the early morning or at late night for a better view
- Since it’s a religious and quiet place, you should not wear the summer type, revealing outfits like tank tops, tennis skirts and shorts,…The best option is plain and simple jeans and T-shirt, which makes it more comfortable for you to explore, while still showing your respect for the place.
As time goes by, Linh Ung pagoda has become a famous place of worship, a place for the monks and nuns living and studying, as well as an interesting and peaceful sightseeing place for visitors. Once you come here, this spiritual destination will leave an unforgettable impression. You will have a chance to understand more about Vietnamese belief and rituals, as well as fully immerse yourself in the culture as a remarkable experience in your life.