Explore Bai Dinh Pagoda – The Largest Buddish Pagoda in Asia in 1 day
Bai Dinh Pagoda is a complex of Buddhist temples on Bai Dinh Mountain in Gia Vien District, Ninh Bình Province, Vietnam. The compound consists of the original old temple and a newly created larger temple. It is considered the largest complex of Buddhist temples in Vietnam and has become a popular site for Buddhist pilgrimages from across Vietnam. Let Whatsup Vietnam provide you some useful information to help you get a good preparation before your trip.
1. How to get there?
- From Ninh Binh: The Bai Dinh Pagoda is 20km tothe west of Ninh Binh and it is approximately a 30-minute drive. You can rent a scooter from one of the rental shops in the town for 100,000 VND per day or alternatively, you can rent a bicycle for half of that price.
- From Hanoi: If you move from the center of Hanoi city, you should follow in the direction of Van Dien - Thuong Tin, then go straight Highway 1A to Ninh Binh city. The road is quite easy, so you can only take 2-3 hours to reach Ninh Binh. Traveling Trang An - Bai Dinh by motorbike, you should pay attention with the turn roads because they are very slippery and easy to fall when it rains.
If you go by car, then from the center of Hanoi you follow the direction of Phap Van - Cau Gie, which is also National Highway 1A and move to Ninh Binh city.
The journey to Bai Dinh Pagoda will lead you along a road that embraces the edge of the Trang An River, surrounded by the world-renowned cliffs that are said to resemble that of Ha Long Bay, but on land.
2. Best time to visit Bai Dinh?
From January to March of the lunar calendar with warm spring weather is the best time to go to Bai Dinh. You can combine spring tourism, worship and participate in major festivals in both Trang An and Bai Dinh. However, this is also the peak tourist season so these places are very crowded, which leads to overcrowding. Nevertheless, there is a key note which is that on the peak seasons, hundreds of people flock to Ninh Binh for sightseeing, which leads the overload and jostling situation at ticket – selling points and boat depots. Therefore, you should be cautious about robbery and pickpocketing.
If you are the type who does not like crowdedness and noise, you can also choose another time to visit Bai Dinh Pagoda and admire the multi-faceted beauty of the complex. The four seasons here are all worth your time.
3. Bai Dinh Pagoda Entrance Free
If you have time and transport would recommend it, but it’s not to everyone’s taste, so don’t feel you have to change your travel plans.
When visiting Bai Dinh pagoda, you don't need to pay entrance fee, but It costs 80.000 VND for 2 ways if you hire an electric car to go for a sightseeing and visit the tower.
4. Bai Dinh Overview
More than 1000 years ago, in Ninh Binh, there have 3 dynasties: Dinh, Tien Le, Ly. Three dynasties were very interested in Buddhism and Buddhism and used Buddhism as the state religion so that in Ninh Binh, there has many ancient pagodas, including Bai Dinh pagoda in the Dinh Mountain.
Bai Dinh pagoda is a large population known to hold many records such as: the largest pagoda in Vietnam, the biggest gold - plated copper of Asia and the longest lobby in Asia. The pagoda is located at the west of the ancient capital Hoa Lu, belonging to Gia Sinh commune, Ninh Binh. Bai Dinh Pagoda has the area of 539 hectares including 27 hectares of ancient Bai Dinh pagoda, 80 hectares of new Bai Dinh area.
There are two main pagodas of the same name, one of which is located on the slopes of Dinh Mountain. Accessible via a 300-step stairway, this quiet shrine houses a main prayer hall and natural caves, where locals pray to Buddha and mountain spirits such as Saint Nguyen and Genie Cao Son.
5. What to see inside Bai Ding Pagoda?
Tam Quan Gate (Pagoda’s three-entrance gate)
Tam Quan gate is considered as a face of Bai Dinh temple. The only way for Bonzes, Buddhist believers, and tourists to enter Bai Dinh pagoda is passing Tam Quan gate.
Compared to a pleasing architectural ensemble of Bai Dinh pagoda, Tam Quan gate is imposing, majestic, and harmonious on the position. Each time when people step out the gate, theu could feel very calm and untroubled.
Dark Cave and Light Cave
When you come to the gate of the three-dimension gate and look beside the slope, you will see a fork leading to the Light cave and Dark cave. Light cave is a place of worshiping Buddha and the Gods with 25 meters deep, 15 meters wide and 2 meters high. At the end of the cave you will find the temple of Cao Son god. The dark cave has a fanciful lighting system, with a ladder decorated with winding dragon images. In the middle of the cave, there is a well to help cool the air. Located deep in the rock of the dark cave is a statue of a female God and a huge number of fairy ones as well.
From the moment you arrive into the main pagoda, you will have to move through the hallway where there are Arhat statues carved in monolithic stone scupted by artisans living in Ninh Binh. Each of them has its own charisma and different shape to show the philosophy in Taoism. This Arhat cargo has been recognized as the longest 500 Arhat corridor in Asia and has become a pride of Ninh Binh people.
The bell-tower shaped in an octagon with immeasurably high 3 floors. Diameter of the bottom is 49 meter and total the height of bell-tower is 22 meters. It carved a lotus shaped lamp support.
Eight sides of bell-tower are opened spaciously including a stair leading to the peak of the tower. On the top of the tower, you have a lookout of the earth and sky. At the middle of this tower, there is a big bell hanged.
The stupa of Bai Dinh pagoda
The stupa at Bai Dinh pagoda is a work often visited by many tourists. The stupa is built with 13 floors with a height of 100m inside, equipped with elevators and 72 climbing steps.
This is also the place to display relics of Buddha transferred from India - the land of Buddhism. However, if you want to visit the Stupa you will have to buy a ticket for about 30,000 VND / person.
A temple worshipping bodhisattva
This is an unusual excellence of an architectural building made of most of precious wood with a system of traditional Vietnamese architectures. At the middle of the temple stand a statue of Bodhisattva. This statute is the biggest one in Vietnam.
Behind the temple of Bodhisattva, it’s temple of Buddha bringing an outstanding architecture.The temple lasts 47.7 meters in length, 45.5 meters in width and has a height of 30 meters. There are five partitions in the temple Especially, this place always attracts many tourists coming here to adore and worship the most majestic statute of Thich Ca Buddha (Gautama Buddha) which keeps a record in Viet Nam A giant statue of Thich Ca Buddha made from bronze weighs 100 tons with a height of 10 meters. Now the statue hits a record of the highest and heaviest statue of the Buddha in Viet Nam
6. Tips for traveling to Bai Dinh Pagoda
- At Bai Dinh pagoda, there are many shops selling interesting souvenirs and attractive specialties. However, the price in the mountains is often much higher than that outside. Therefore, to buy local specialties as presents, tourists should go down the foot of the mountains to buy at a cheaper price.
- Bai Dinh is a religious place, so remember to wear full-length clothing before visiting the pagoda.
- The entrance fee to Bai Dinh Pagoda is free, but you can use the electric cars to move around the pagoda. Fee for this service is 30,000 VND/person
- Bai Dinh Pagoda’s opening hours: 7 am – 6 pm daily
- If you plan to visit all the campus and even Light Cave and Dark Cave, it’s best to wear sporty shoes and have enough water with you.
Written by: Hieu La