Hanoi travel attracts tourists with many promising spots to explore. Among these is Thay Pagoda, an ancient Buddhist temple located about 20 kilometers southwest of Hanoi’s city center. This spiritual site has a long history compared to other pagodas in Hanoi, dating back to the 11th century. It is renowned for its stunning architecture, natural surroundings, and religious significance.
1. The history of Thay Pagoda Hanoi
- Location: Sai Son Commune, Quoc Oai District, Hanoi
Thay Pagoda is located at the foot of Phat Tich Mountain (also known as Thay Mountain). Originally, it was just a small hermitage called Huong Hai Hermitage. When King Ly Nhan Tong (1072 - 1127) ascended the throne, he had it rebuilt into two temples: the Upper Pagoda on the mountain and the Lower Pagoda (also known as Thay Pagoda or Phat Tich Pagoda) at the foot.
Thay Pagoda is a historical, cultural, and spiritual relic of Hanoi in particular and the Northern region in general. It was recognized as a Special National Monument in 2014.
2. Thay Pagoda architecture: Layout, features & attractions
The scenic complex of Thay Pagoda has many attractions such as Tam Xa Shrine, Thuy Khue Communal House, Cac Co Cave, and Lu Gia Bamboo Garden. However, the prominent architectural value of Thay Pagoda lies in the three main buildings, which have the characteristic features of 17th-century architecture. Moreover, the harmonious blend of the mountain and the lake here make for beautiful scenery.
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3. Thay Pagoda Festival: A perfect occasion to explore Vietnamese traditions
You are blessed if you happen to visit Thay Pagoda in Hanoi during the festive season. The festival of Thay Pagoda is held in Quoc Oai District from the 1st day of the lunar calendar to the end of the third lunar month.
To promote the cultural values of the Thay Pagoda festival, Quoc Oai District has been focusing on restoring the original rituals according to historical records and folk customs. In addition, the authority is also restoring traditional recreational activities, some of which are the local intangible cultural heritage, such as Do singing, Ham Rong singing, water puppetry, Cheo singing, Tuong singing, etc.
Visiting Thay Pagoda during the days of the festival is certainly a great chance for travelers to enjoy the authentic local experiences.
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4. Essential travel tips for your first trip to Thay Pagoda
For you to have a pleasant and memorable experience, below are some helpful tips for your visit to Thay Pagoda:
4.1. Best time to visit the pagoda
The best time to visit Thay Pagoda Hanoi is after the Lunar New Year, when the weather is cool and pleasant. It is the perfect time for spring trips and festival celebrations. Alternatively, you can choose to visit Thay Pagoda around September or October, when the weather is also mild and comfortable in early autumn.
Moreover, if you want to experience the unique cultural features of the Thay Pagoda festival, it is recommended to visit from the 5th to the 7th day of the third lunar month. However, during this time, the pagoda welcomes hundreds of visitors, so you should consider carefully if you are not fond of crowded and noisy places.
4.2. Detailed instructions on how to get to Thay Pagoda in Hanoi
There are many means of transportation to get to Thay Pagoda from Hanoi that are both comfortable and safe:
- If you drive a car yourself, travel along Thang Long Boulevard (CT08) to Sai Son intersection, get off the boulevard and go for about 3 kilometers until you see the signs that lead to the pagoda.
- If you go by motorbike, travel along the road parallel to Thang Long Boulevard (motorbikes are prohibited on Thang Long Boulevard) to Sai Son intersection, then follow as above.
- If you go by bus, you can take the bus route CNG01 from My Dinh bus station to Son Tay bus station. The bus will stop right in front of the entrance to Thay Pagoda, which is extremely convenient.
4.3. Some notes for visiting Thay Pagoda Hanoi
The pagoda is a sacred and solemn place, so you should:
- Dress appropriately, avoid revealing clothes.
- Bring your own food and drinks. If not, there are also many food stalls at the entrance to fill your stomach.
- Follow the map of the pagoda to explore around. If you want to use the service of a local guide, expect a fee of 100,000 - 300,000 VND.
- Ask for the price of any product or service beforehand.
- Consider bargaining when making a purchase, especially during the time of the festival.
In addition to Thay Pagoda, there are many places that are worth to be on the list of what to see in Hanoi, such as Tran Quoc Pagoda, One Pillar Pagoda, Ngoc Son Temple, Phu Tay Ho, Bach Ma Temple, and especially VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium Times City.
Vinpearl Aquarium provides a captivating glimpse into an underwater world teeming with 30,000 diverse sea creatures. But it is not just about observation; visitors can also engage in a range of activities such as mermaid shows, penguin feeding, etc.
Meanwhile, VinKE Times City, adjacent to the aquarium, is a playground that combines both entertainment and education for kids. With an expansive area of 4,000 square meters, children can engage in many job simulation games that offer a fun and interactive way for them to explore different careers and gain new knowledge.
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Vietnam has a plethora of stunning cities that are worth exploring besides Hanoi, including Hoi An, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, and Ha Long. If you are considering adding these destinations to your travel itinerary, it is highly advisable to make advance bookings for accommodation.
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A trip to Thay Pagoda is a must for visitors who are interested in exploring the religious and cultural sites of Vietnam. The pagoda's stunning architecture, peaceful surroundings, and rich history make it a worthwhile destination. Whether you are a spiritual seeker or a curious traveler, Thay Pagoda is definitely a spot not to be missed.
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