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Visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda - The largest temple in Southeast Asia

Content 23/02/2024 49

Bai Dinh Pagoda is located in the Trang An-Ninh Binh scenic complex, with a large campus and many massive architectural works imbued with national cultural identity and Buddhist spirit. The pagoda is surrounded by a system of majestic lagoons, lakes, and limestone mountains, creating a quiet scene that is both sacred and magical.

Some details about Bai Dinh Pagoda, Ninh Binh

Bai Dinh Pagoda is a spiritual tourist destination located in the Trang An Scenic Complex - Ninh Binh. This is the largest temple in Southeast Asia, with a massive architectural complex with 20 items and a large campus of up to 700 hectares. Bai Dinh Pagoda was built on Bai Dinh Mountain in Gia Sinh commune, Gia Vien district, Ninh Binh. The pagoda is located about 5km northwest of Hoa Lu ancient capital and about 12km from Ninh Binh city.

Bai Dinh Pagoda currently holds many records in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, such as the pagoda with the largest gold-plated bronze Buddha statue in Asia, the largest bronze Maitreya Buddha statue in Southeast Asia, and the pagoda with the long Arhat corridor. Asia's best…

The pagoda was built 1000 years ago and went through many dynasties, such as the Dinh dynasty, the pre-Le dynasty, and the Ly dynasty. Currently, this pagoda still preserves evidence and traces of the development of Buddhism through many different stages.

In 2003, Bai Dinh Pagoda was newly built with a total area of ​​up to 80 hectares with many typical architectural works such as Quan The Am Palace, Phap Chu Palace, Tam The Palace, Tam internal - external gate, Bell Tower, Bao Bao Tower,... The pagoda is covered by mountains, forests, and majestic nature, creating a quiet scene that is both sacred and magical.

Currently, the pagoda is the venue for international Buddhist events such as the Great Ceremony of welcoming Buddha's relics from India to Vietnam, the United Nations Vesak Celebration, etc. With a unique architectural complex, this is not only a destination for Buddhists but also attracts a large number of domestic and foreign tourists.

What time of year should you go to Bai Dinh Pagoda?

If you intend to travel to Bai Dinh Pagoda, you can come at any time of the year - except when Ninh Binh Province has heavy rains and storms. Or you can come to this temple from January to March of the lunar calendar if you like it and want to immerse yourself in festivals bearing the characteristics of Buddhism.

When traveling to Bai Dinh Pagoda, tourists often combine it with traveling to other locations in the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex. Therefore, you should choose your travel time depending on your specific schedule.

How to get to Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda is about 12km from Ninh Binh city. Because tourism has been developed for many years, there are now many means of transportation from Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, and other cities and provinces to the ancient capital.

Means of transportation to Bai Dinh pagoda

1. Means of transportation to Ninh Binh city

To move to Ninh Binh City, you can choose the following means of transport:

  • Airplane: Ninh Binh city has not yet built an airport. Therefore, if you choose this means of transport, you can land at Noi Bai-Hanoi airport, 120km from Ninh Binh city, or Tho Xuan - Thanh Hoa airport, 90km from Ninh Binh city. After that, you can take a taxi to Ninh Binh City.
  • Train: Ninh Binh city has many stations located on the North - South railway line. If you want to have new experiences, you can choose this means of transportation. However, train travel time is relatively slow, so it is only suitable for those who have a lot of time.
  • Passenger car: If you are coming from the neighboring province of Ninh Binh, you can travel to this location by passenger car. Currently, there are many bus companies running from Ho Chi Minh City and the southern provinces to Ninh Binh, but it usually takes quite a long time (about 29 hours).
  • Backpacking: Driving to Ninh Binh by yourself is a new experience and is chosen by many young people. If you use a personal vehicle, you can be proactive about your schedule, freely admire beautiful scenery along the way, and stop to take pictures when you find beautiful places.

2. Move from Ninh Binh city to Bai Dinh pagoda tourist area

After moving to Ninh Binh City, you can go to the Bai Dinh Pagoda tourist area by the following means:

  • Rent a motorbike: Bai Dinh Pagoda tourist area is only about 12km from Ninh Binh city. Therefore, you can rent a motorbike to enjoy the fresh air and admire the beauty of this land.
  • Rent a taxi or motorbike taxi: If you are not good at finding directions, you can take a motorbike taxi or taxi to get to Bai Dinh Pagoda. Compared to renting a motorbike yourself, using these vehicles helps limit getting lost and ensures greater safety.

3. Means of transportation at the temple

Bai Dinh Pagoda is the largest temple in Southeast Asia, with a campus of up to 700 hectares. The temple gate is about 3.5 kilometers from the center. If you are healthy, you can walk to visit the architecture and beautiful scenery around the temple, or you can travel by electric car (the ticket price is about 30,000 VND per person).

Places to visit in the Bai Dinh Pagoda tourist area

Bai Dinh Pagoda includes two pagoda areas, the ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda and the new Bai Dinh Pagoda, built in 2003. With a campus of up to 700 hectares and countless unique architectural works, Bai Dinh Pagoda attracts many tourists in the world and abroad.

When coming to Bai Dinh Pagoda, do not miss famous tourist attractions such as:

Bright Cave and Dark Cave

Bright Cave and Dark Cave are tourist destinations located in the ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda area. The cave is located inside Bai Dinh Mountain, and you have to go through 300 stone steps to admire the beauty of this place.

After going through 300 stone steps and passing through the three-entrance gate, go down the slope to reach the fork. On the left is the Dark Cave, which worships Mother Goddesses and Fairies; on the right is the Bright Cave, which worships Buddha and Gods.

Inside the cave are iridescent, splendid stalactites. The ceiling and floor of the cave are flat, not undulating like the caves in Trang An eco-tourism area. Statues of Buddha, gods, Mother Goddesses, and fairies are worshiped in the Bright Cave and Dark Cave, creating a magical spiritual space imbued with Vietnamese cultural identity.

Temple of God Cao Son

If you go all the way to Sang Cave and follow the path down the valley side, you will find the Temple of Cao Son God (the god in charge of the Vu Lam mountains). The temple was built by King Dinh Tien Hoang when he established the Hoa Lu capital. The temple was built against the mountain with ancient architecture; the temple roof is delicately and sharply carved.

According to legend, God Cao Son is the 17th child of King Lac Long Quan. The god was instrumental in helping and teaching people how to make a living, so the people built a temple. King Dinh Tien Hoang built a temple to worship Cao Son god to guard the west gate, Thien Ton god to guard the east gate, and Quy Minh god to guard the south gate of Hoa Lu's ancient capital.

Temple of Saint Nguyen

The Temple of Saint Nguyen is the place to worship Master Ly Nguyen Minh Khong. He is a talented shaman and a Zen master who is revered by the people and called Saint Nguyen. Saint Nguyen is the one who revived the bronze casting profession and collected medical knowledge from folk medicine to serve the king and help the people.

The temple of Saint Nguyen was built in ancient architecture with white and green moss. Visitors coming here will feel the sacred space and the quiet and subtle traces of time.

Pearl Wells

Ngoc Well is one of the places not to be missed when traveling to Bai Dinh Pagoda. This site is located near the foot of Bai Dinh Mountain and was built in a circle. The well has a diameter of up to 30m, a depth of 6 m, and is surrounded by a square area of land with an area of up to 6000 m2. Around the lake, there is a corridor so visitors can visit and breathe fresh air.

Legend has it that Ngoc Well is where Zen Master Nguyen Minh Khong took water to make medicine for King Ly Than Tong and his people. Ngoc Well helps Bai Dinh Pagoda set a record for being the temple with the largest well in Vietnam.

Bronze bell (Bell tower)

The bell tower is located in the new Bai Dinh Pagoda area. The tower is built of wood-imitation concrete with ancient architecture, has three roof floors, and is covered with dark brown glazed tiles. Because it was newly built in 2003, the Bell Tower has a modern lighting system covering the tile roof and inside the tower.

The bell tower has a diameter of 17 meters and a height of 22 meters. Inside, there is a bronze bell weighing up to 36 tons, cast by artisans in Hue. The bronze bell of Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh has confirmed the record of being the largest bell in Vietnam.


The supa is one of the items built in the new Bai Dinh pagoda area. The stupa has 13 floors, 100 meters high, and 72 climbing steps. It was built on a hill located to the west of the temple. This is the place to display Buddha relics brought from India to Vietnam in 2008. Currently, the stupa of Bai Dinh Pagoda holds the record for being the tallest stupa in Asia.

The stupa is built of concrete, and the outside is covered with red-brown fired bricks with a classic architectural style imbued with the spirit of Buddhism. Around the stupa, there are many small doorways, and a Buddha statue is placed inside.

As soon as you enter the stupa, you will notice a large gold-plated Buddha statue, intricately carved and majestic, sitting majestically in the middle. The space in the stupa has the typical yellow color of Buddhism and is adorned with elaborate and sharply carved paintings.

The 13th floor of the stupa is the place to worship the relics of Buddha Shakyamuni, brought from India to Vietnam in 2008. The dome of the stupa is extremely delicately carved with Buddha statues and bold patterns. national identity. When you climb to the 12th floor, you can zoom out and admire the entire tourist area of Bai Dinh Pagoda with its sacred beauty, both serene and wild and poetic.

Tam The Temple

Tam The Temple is one of the places not to be missed when coming to the spiritual tourist area of Bai Dinh Pagoda. The pagoda is built of wood-like concrete with three curved roofs, topped with dark brown tiles. The corners of the roof are curved up like a phoenix tail and delicately carved.

Tam The Tower is where three bronze statues of Tam The Buddha are placed, with a height of up to 7.2m and a weight of 50 tons. Currently, Bai Dinh Pagoda holds the record for being the pagoda with the largest bronze statue of the Three Worlds in our country. Tam The Tower is surrounded by mountains, forests, and trees, creating a quiet, contemplative space and bringing fresh, cool air.

Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva Palace

Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva Palace is located near the Bell Tower. Passing the Bell Tower is a flower garden and going up the stone steps to reach the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara Palace. The palace was built according to ancient architecture imbued with Buddhist spirit and national quintessence. Inside the hall, there is only one statue of the thousand-eyed, thousand-armed Guan Yin.

The statue is cast in gold-plated bronze, has a height of up to 9.57 meters, and weighs 80 tons. Currently, this statue holds the distinction of being the largest bronze Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara statue in Vietnam.

La Han corridor

The Arhat corridor of Bai Dinh Pagoda is recognized as the longest Arhat corridor in Southeast Asia. The corridor has a length of 1,700 meters, starting from Tam Quan Noi gate and running along to Huu Vu and Ta Vu houses, with 500 Arhat statues sculpted and carved from monolithic green rocks. Each statue weighs 2–4 tons and has an average height of about 2.5 meters. On the statues are engraved the names of each Venerable.

The Arhat statues in the Arhat corridor have charisma and express different emotions, clearly showing emotions (joy, anger, love, and hate) in life. The statues are carved with flexible, soft, and elegant lines.

Maitreya Buddha Statue

The Maitreya Buddha statue is located at the top of the highest hill in the Bai Dinh pagoda area. The statue is cast in bronze and has a height of up to 10 meters and a weight of 80 tons.

This is one of the places that attracts domestic and foreign tourists when visiting the Bai Dinh Pagoda area. Currently, the Maitreya Buddha statue of this temple has also set a record as the largest Maitreya statue in the country.

Some other locations at Bai Dinh Pagoda

In addition, you can also visit some other places at Bai Dinh Pagoda, such as:

  • Three internal and external gates
  • Release lake
  • Master Palace
  • Bodhi Garden
  • Beer house

Activities that should not be missed when coming to Bai Dinh Pagoda

When you come to the Bai Dinh Pagoda tourist area, you can visit the pagoda, worship Buddha and the gods, and pray for peace. If you come during the 1st–3rd lunar month, visitors can immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere imbued with national identity and Buddhist spirit.

Visiting the temple

Possessing many beautiful architectural works, Bai Dinh Pagoda is an ideal place to visit the beautiful natural scenery with relatives and friends, admire ancient architectural works, and admire finely carved statues. cunning, meticulous, and worshiping Buddha, Mother Goddesses, and gods.

Because this is a spiritual tourist area, when you come, you need to pay attention to your clothes and shoes. You should choose discreet, loose, and comfortable clothes for easy movement. The attractions at Bai Dinh Pagoda Tourist Area are built on mountains, so the road is quite difficult and bumpy. To facilitate movement, you should wear sports shoes and avoid flip-flops and high heels.

Participate in Bai Dinh pagoda festival

Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival takes place from the first day of the Lunar New Year and lasts until the end of the third lunar month. If you love festivals imbued with Buddhist spirit, you can go to the temple in the spring to feel the bustling atmosphere in the cool and fresh spring weather.

Bai Dinh Pagoda Festival includes two parts (the ceremony part and the festival part). The ceremony includes rituals of burning incense to worship Buddha, commemorating the merits of Saint Nguyen, worshiping the Mother Goddess, and honoring gods who have contributed to the people. After finishing the worship and incense offering rituals, the festival moves on to the festival with folk games and enjoying the art of Xam singing and Cheo singing.

Bai Dinh Pagoda tourist area in spring has a bustling atmosphere. The number of tourists coming is quite large, so at this time, the pagoda almost no longer has a quiet, contemplative space like other times of the year.

What should I eat when traveling to Bai Dinh Pagoda?

Besides the unique architectural works and delicately carved statues, the Bai Dinh Pagoda tourist area also attracts tourists with its traditional dishes imbued with the flavors of the ancient capital.

Gia Vien shrimp paste

Gia Vien shrimp paste is a dish not to be missed when coming to the ancient capital. This dish is made from freshwater shrimp that, after washing, are mixed well with crushed rice, roasted until golden, and put in a clay jar with salt. Then add it to boiling water to cool, cover, and incubate for 6 months before use.

Gia Vien shrimp paste has a unique flavor with a salty and fatty taste from the shrimp meat. Similar to other types of fish sauce, shrimp sauce is often eaten with main dishes or used to prepare steamed pork belly.

Ninh Binh goat meat

With typical limestone terrain, the mountain forest system at Trang An Scenic Complex - Ninh Binh is home to mountain goats. Because they live in rugged terrain and eat precious herbs, goats in the ancient capital have delicious, firm meat that is less fat and more nutritious than goat meat in other localities.

After visiting the Bai Dinh Pagoda tourist area, you can enjoy dishes made from Ninh Binh goat meat, such as goat spring rolls, grilled goat meat, steamed goat, goat hot pot,...

Ninh Binh eel vermicelli

Ninh Binh eel vermicelli is one of the dishes not to be missed when coming to the ancient capital. This dish is delicious, nutritious, and suitable for many people's tastes. The broth has a characteristic sweet taste from the bones and eel.

To enhance the flavor of the dish, eel vermicelli is often eaten with herbs such as marjoram, basil, and banana flowers. This dish is suitable for "picky eaters" who cannot eat rustic dishes such as mountain goat and shrimp paste.

In addition, you can also enjoy some other specialties of Ninh Binh, such as:

  • Nem Yen Mac
  • Burnt rice
  • Crabs roasted with lolot leaves
  • Fish salad
  • Shrimp cake
  • Ant-egg sticky rice
  • Nho Quan can wine

Sightseeing and travel expenses at Bai Dinh Pagoda

If you are planning to travel to Bai Dinh Pagoda, you can refer to the costs of visiting and traveling at the pagoda:

  • Entrance fee:
    • Adults: 200,000 VND;
    • Children under 1 meter: 100,000 VND
  • Tram ticket price: 30,000 VND/person/turn
  • Tour guide ticket price: 300,000 VND/tour
  • Ticket price to visit the Stupa: 50,000 VND/person
  • Boat ticket price: 150,000 VND/trip

Note: Costs may change from time to time. Therefore, you should ask the price before using the services at this resort.

Some notes when traveling to Bai Dinh Pagoda

Bai Dinh Pagoda is a pagoda with beautiful architecture and many intricately carved giant statues. When coming here, visitors have the opportunity to admire the architectural complex imbued with national identity mixed with Buddhist spirit. Surrounded by a system of majestic limestone mountains, visitors to Bai Dinh Pagoda can also enjoy fresh air and immerse themselves in nature.

However, to make your trip more complete, you should keep in mind a few issues when traveling to Bai Dinh Pagoda:

  • Bai Dinh Pagoda tourist area has a large area, and the terrain is relatively difficult to navigate because it is built on a mountain. Therefore, you should choose sneakers instead of high heels and ballet flats.
  • This is a sacred place for worshiping Buddha, Mother Goddesses, and gods. Therefore, when coming here, you should wear discreet clothes with good absorbent material that are loose enough to make it easy to move around.
  • You should check the weather forecast to prepare necessary items such as hats, umbrellas, etc.
  • Bai Dinh Pagoda has donation boxes for visitors who want to support and donate. So when you come here, you should prepare change to support the temple.
  • This pagoda tourist area has many stalls selling souvenirs and Ninh Binh specialties. However, you should ask for the price first and consider it carefully before buying.

Bai Dinh Pagoda is a famous spiritual tourist destination with its unique and long-standing architectural complex. Hopefully, through this article, you can easily plan and have new and wonderful experiences with your relatives and friends when coming to this land. For any information or advice on the Bai Dinh tour, please contact HoaBinh Tourist through our hotline at 0939.311.911 - 0913.311.911 for 24/7 support.


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