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Bai Dinh Pagoda & why it is one of the best place to see in Ninh Binh

Bai Dinh Pagoda & why it is one of the best place to see in Ninh Binh

Do you want to discover the splendor of Asian culture? We would like to recommend you to find the Bai Dinh Pagoda. This is the most essential Buddhist sanctuary in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. It is located in the North of Vietnam, known as “Halong Bay on land”, Ninh Binh Province. Come to this site to see how wonderful the place of Vietnamese Kings is. Moreover, you will be overwhelmed by the beauty and serenity.

About Bai Dinh Pagoda

Located near the famous Halong Bay and about 15 kilometers from the town in Ninh Binh, Bai Dinh Pagoda is one of the most remarkable places with religious and historical elements in Vietnam.

On the other hand, this pagoda is also the most crucial Buddhist complex in Vietnam, appreciated by Buddhists, locals, and travelers. People come to the pagoda to admire architectural splendors that cannot be found elsewhere.

“Bai” means the worship practice and “Dinh” means the summit. “Bai Dinh” means the worship of Heaven and Earth. It is the belief in Buddha and the celestial angels of Buddhists.

Bai Dinh Pagoda

The enormous Bai Dinh Pagoda complex is spread over approximately 530 hectares. It is also a part of its site that rises to an altitude of 187 meters from the Mount Dinh summit. This is a limestone mountain covered with green vegetation.

Bai Dinh has also the distinction of being composed of an ancient pagoda built in two caves and a new pagoda. It is located 800 meters from the old pagoda, where are scattered many temples and exceptional Buddhist monuments, connected by two long corridors. The new pagoda has been under construction since 2003 and it is the process of becoming the most high-quality Buddhist center in Southeast Asia.

The whole site is decorated with trees and vegetation, including the Bodhi tree and Hindu temples in India, which could be found anywhere in Bai Dinh. Therefore, this pagoda is a famous shrine and place of worship for practicing Buddhists. Many of them come to the pagoda to make a pilgrimage.

The influence of the site increases each year during the festival in Bai Dinh which opens from the 6th day of the first lunar month until the end of the 3rd lunar month. You can visit Bai Dinh Pagoda in the early morning. This is because it is easy to get tired by discovering the pagoda from level to level under the strong heat of noon. Thus, it is preferable to take advantage of the morning sweetness.

Beautiful pagoda on the land

Bai Dinh – the pagoda of all records

Are you wondering why Bai Dinh Pagoda is one of the most original in Asia? This is a simple question as the pagoda is all records! In other words, it has been designated as the largest pagoda in Vietnam as well as Southeast Asia region.

Besides the title, the pagoda holds 12 national records – the largest copper bell, the tallest and most massive Sayamuni statue, the three largest copper Buddha, and the longest shopping corridor. Then, it is no coincidence that Bai Dinh Pagoda is one of the most visited sites by tourists and locals at Halong Bay land.

Bai Dinh is the centers of interest

The ancient pagoda of Bai Dinh

The ancient millenary pagoda, built-in 1136 under the Ly Dynasty (1009-1225), is located on Mount Dinh. It is nested in the caves of Toi et Sang and at an altitude of 187 meters. Having temples in a cave is a conventional architectural feature of pagodas and Vietnamese culture.

To access, you need to take your courage with both hands and climb 300 steps. From up there, we probably explore a magnificent sanctuary. The latter is made up of two caves – the Blood (Light) and the Toi (Dark). The first one is on the right and the second cave is on the left.

In feudal times, sacrifice ceremonies and rites were organized by the emperors of yesteryear. The Sang cave is dedicated to the Mother Goddess of the Nation (Mau), which is original for its four ideograms. It is engraved by Le Thanh Tong King, highlights the beauty of Cave. On the altar of the temple, we can observe traditional statues representing the Buddha of the past-present-and future. We also see the Buddhas Sakymuni and Kwan Yi. When you head out of the bottom, you will enjoy a splendid panorama of the lush valley.

The Toi Cave (Dark) measures 25 meters deep over a width of 15 meters and is also dedicated to the Sakyamuni Buddha. When discovering, you will be amazed by its stalactites and light effects. It is worthy of a lunar decoration style. Dragon-shaped steps and natural skylights are also available in this cave.

The ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda

The new pagoda of Bai Dinh

The new pagoda of Bai Dinh has several temples divided into pavilions and levels. The bell tower and a monumental Buddha and watch over the mortals of its hill. All these sanctuaries are connected by two corridors of La Han housing and having 500 Arhat statues. The configuration was made so that visitors can discover the shrines of the Buddha in the past and present, as well as the future look. 

The new Bai Dinh Pagoda


The corridors of La Han

Along the way, you ought to see 500 Arhat statues from two and a half meters of high, carved in bluestone, manufactured by talented craftsmen in Ninh Binh. The statues are arranged to accompany visitors to the light of Buddha. Each statue has a different shape and expression. It is illustrated all the emotion of men – joy, anger, satisfaction, and frustration.

The corridors of La Han

Interested in Ninh Binh province? Have a quick glance at our trip to visit Ninh Binh 

Buddhist temples and effigies of Buddha

From level to level, you possibly discover sumptuous Buddhist temples. Tam The and Phap Chu temples are the two essential buildings on the site since they cover a total area of 1000 square meters.

Tam The temple has the distinction of containing bronze Buddha statues. They are so unique because they subsequently represent the Buddha in the past, present, and future. Phap Chu, on the other hand, measures 22 meters and contains five partitions. Inside, you can admire a pure bronze statue of Sykamuni Buddha with 10 meters in height and 100 tons in weight. In essence, this work of art is recognized as the largest statue in Vietnam.

Tam The temple

The Chuong Bell Tower

To the east of the Buddhist temples of the new pagoda is the Chuong Bell Tower. It is dedicated to Kwan Yi, the Lady of Buddhist Mercy. The piece of architecture is original when the bell tower is octagonal in shape and built on three levels. This is a house of 36-ton bronze bell, considered to be the biggest in Vietnam. Local beliefs firmly believe that everyone hears the sound of the bell is fortunate and blessed by Buddha. Below the bell is just a 70-ton bronze drum.

The Chuong Bell Tower

4 other must-see sites in the Halong Bay area

Hoa Lu

Hoa Lu was an ancient capital of Vietnam between the 10th and the 11th centuries during the three dynasties period (Dinh, Tien Le, and Ly). Recognized by UNESCO, Hoa Lu has imperial temples, harmonious alleys, and precious materials. People have the impression of returning in time and retracting feudal history when strolling around.

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital

Tam Coc

One of the most incredible things to visit while exploring Halong Bay on land is Tam Coc by boat. It is really pleasant to sail on the Ngo Dong River between sugar loaves, vegetables, and rice fields.The strength and agility of the oarsmen will make you surprised because they use their feet only. Tam Coc has the distinction of crossing three caves which we cross by boat. What to be dazzled!

Tam Coc boat trip

Trang An

Due to the green limestone peaks more submerged in the river, Trang An is like Halong Bay. A stroll in a serene boat in Trang An permits you to find forests of surprising karst covered with vegetation and contemplating the clear water of the river. You will also discover caves, royal temples, and the filming location of the blockbuster “Kong: Skull Island”.

Trang An

Read also: Top 10 Things to do in Ninh Binh You Can’t Miss

Hang Mua Cave

The best view of the Tam Coc landscape is Hang Mua Cave. Climbing around 480 steps, you will reward a breathtaking panorama of this site. Sugar loaves, rivers, and colorful rice paddies are eye-catching. You have to shout out loud “wow, it is so amazing in my eyes”!

Hang Mua Cave in Ninh Binh

Final Words

Bai Dinh Pagoda and Halong Bay on land have a lot of wonderful landscapes to explore. When visiting those, they give you both natural and cultural components. Therefore, you are amazed by Vietnamese culture.

Further reading...