Owning several Guinness World Records and considered as the largest pagoda in Nha Trang, Long Son Pagoda is worth visiting once in a lifetime if anyone wants to run away from hectic schedule, do self-reflecting or experience spiritual activities.
- Location: no.22, 23/10 street, Phuong Son ward, Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa province
Entrance Fee: free
I. History of Long Son Pagoda
Situated in Khanh Hoa province, Long Son pagoda (originally called Dang Long Tu) was founded in 1886 by the abbot Thich Ngo Chi at the top of Trai Thuy hill where the current Buddha statue is located nowadays.
After the devastating cyclone in 1900, it was moved down hill. Following the wish of the very first abbot Thich Ngo Chi, the temple became the headquarters of Vietnam Buddhist Studies Association in Khanh Hoa in 1936. Then it was under renovated and restored a few times from 1940 to 1971 especially after the period of the Vietnam War.
II. Highlights of Long Son Pagoda
Discovering the temple should be done from the downhill, conquering 193 steps to the top of the hill where the largest Buddha statue in Vietnam is sitting. There are four main impressive highlights of Long Son pagoda.
1. Main Temple
In front of the entrance to the great temple is a stone board with a delicate mosaic dragon. Similarly, images of mythical animals as symbols of Taoist gods also appear on the roof in ancient details or get carved on pillars of the main hall. Besides, tourists can take a look at the 700kg bronze Buddha statue sitting in the sanctum in accordance with two large candles weighing up to 900kg, and witness worship ceremonies taken place by hundreds of Buddhists and pilgrims.
2. Lying Buddha Statue
On the right side of the main temple, stepping 44 staircases is the home to an admirable statue of Buddha into nirvana. Background of the statue depicts the convergence of 49 disciples chanting when the Buddha passed away.
3. Bell Tower
Up on about 10 steps is the bell tower having the 1900kg bell called Dai Hong Chung which was an offering by Hue Buddhists in 2002. Whenever the bell echoes, it makes the whole city serene and solemned no matter how hustled and bustled Nha Trang is.
4. White Buddha Statue
Visitors will be able to see the huge statue of Buddha located on the top of Trai Thuy hill after moving about 140 more stone steps up from the bell tower. The 24-meter tall Gautama Buddha sitting on a lotus throne, preaching with his decent smile under the immense blue sky will make tourists have the feeling of inner peace and solemned. Moreover, there are statues of seven arahants who set them on fire to protest mistreatment of Buddhists by the Ngo Dinh Diem regime in the 1960’s.
Also, tourists can enjoy a bird’s eye view of beautiful Nha Trang from greenery islands to stunning mountainous landscapes, all are caught and narrowed down to the eye immediately.
III. What to Do near Long Son Pagoda?
Your trip to Long Son pagoda in Nha Trang can be more fulfilled if you add the following attractions to your itinerary:
1. Po Nagar Cham Tower
Location: about 4km from Long Son Pagoda
The tower of Po Nagar was built in square red brick structure in order to worship the goddess Po Nagar who is said to be “the mother of nature”. Its patterns are nicely ubiquitous and can be easily recognized from afar. Visitors will have a chance to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the Thap Ba Festival when coming around the end of March ( 21/3-23/3 lunar calendar).
2. Alexandre Yersin Museum
Location: about 3,2km from Long Son Pagoda
This small but well-kept museum is the place where preserves the belongings and scientific instruments used by Dr.Yersin, giving tourists a chance to discover a crucial plague-causing bacterium as well as other notable contributions to mankind, in general, and Vietnam, in particular.
The place attracts history buffs or people admiring Yersin’s work by looking at interesting 3D photos and a short film about his life.
3. Dam Market
Location: about 2,5km from Long Son Pagoda
Seeking gifts for friends and families, tourists can absolutely miss out on Cho Dam market because of its rich Nha Trang specialties especially fresh living seafood, and the lively purchasing activities of local people.
IV. How to Get to Long Son Pagoda?
Visitors who would like to explore Long Son pagoda without traveling on tour can take a taxi, a public bus or drive themselves. If starting from the public bus on Nguyen Thien Thuat street (tourist center), go north to the roundabout at Thai Nguyen and Ly Thanh Ton street, then walk for one kilometer to reach the pagoda on the west.
V. Extra Tips
- Dress appropriately (no shorts, short skirts) with knees and shoulders covered
- A bottle of water and a pair of sneakers are suggested for climbing to the hilltop
- Politely but decisively refuse incense and postcard traders at the beginning if not want it
- Watch belongings carefully while taking photos
From the exclusive significance above, it can be seen that Long Son Pagoda is not only a decent sightseeing but also a historical and cultural preservation site. A travelholic should definitely pay a visit to Long Son Pagoda upon visiting Nha Trang and have a bunch of feelings for it. So why not put it in your bucket list now!