North Vietnam’s very own Marble Mountains, the Perfume Pagoda is a striking complex of pagoda and Buddhist shrines built into the karts cliffs of Huong Tich Mountain( Mountain of t he Fragrant Traces). Among the better- known sites here are Thien Chu ( Pagoda Leading to Heaven); Giai Oan Chu ( Purgatorial Pagoda), where the faithful believe deities purify souls, cure sufferings and frank offspring to childless families; and Huong Tich Chu (Pagoda of the Perfumed Vestige). This is a domestic draw card and it is an interesting experience just to see the Vietnamese tourists at play.
The entertaining boat trip along the scenic waterways between limestone cliffs takes about two hours return; allow a couple more hours to climb to the top and return. The part to the middle of the second lunar month and lasts until the last week of the third lunar month (usually corresponding to March and April). It’s very busy during this period, especially on the even dates of the lunar month; you’ll have a much easier time if you establish the lunar date and plan to go on an odd date. Weekends tend to draw crowds year – round, when pilgrims and hawkers are persistent enough to hassle visitors all the way to the top; you have been warned!
What to Do ?
A trip to Perfume Pagoda is a combination of different activities including boating, sightseeing and mountain climbing. Visitors firstly spend one hour on a rowing boat along peaceful Yen River to the base of Perfume Pagoda then everything on the way to main pagodas is remarkably photogenic. A good exercise and chances for beautiful photos will be await you for 4 Km up to the top where Huong Tich pagoda buit inside limestone cave .
How to get there?
Getting to Perfume Pagoda requires a journey combined by road, by river and then by foot. First, two hour drive will bring you to My Duc Town, from where you take one hour boat trip to the foot of Huong Son Mountain. The main area is about a 4km steep hike up, approximately two hours for a return trip, even longer if it rains.
Dress modestly and respectfully once visiting pag once visiting pagodas. Also bring hat, sunglasses and good walking shoes as the path is steep and even slippery if it is raining.