Bai Dinh pagoda is one of the most attractive destinations in the north of Vietnam thanks to its gorgeous natural and human-made beauty. This attraction has attracted both the domestic and international tourists to visit during the springtime. Here are the guides for those whose are intended to visit this pagoda via Vietnam tours.
Bai Dinh pagoda
When to travel to Bai Dinh
The spring which is from January to March on lunar calendar is recommended as the best time for tourists to visit Bai Dinh pagoda. Because the weather during these months of spring is quite warm, though sometimes it has the drizzle. However, the landscape around the pagoda this time is very beautiful, the flowers start to bloom anywhere and everything seems like waking up after a long sleep in the winter. That is why it is believed to be the most favorable time to have a pilgrimage to Bai Dinh pagoda. You can go explore and enjoy the wild nature, go to the holy sacred pagoda and pray for luck and fortune, or you can join the spring festivals that take place in Bai Dinh. As mentioned, January to March is the peak season for tourists to visit which may cause some places to become overcrowded crowded and accommodations in the area might be limited.
Bai Dinh pagoda in spring
How to go to Bai Dinh
Ninh Binh is about 110 km from the south of Hanoi. In order to travel to Ninh Binh from Hanoi, you can catch the daily bus running to Ninh Binh from Giap Bat bus station or My Dinh bus station. Buses depart every 20 minutes and the bus ticket varies between 70,000 to 80,000 VND/passenger. Once arrive at Ninh Binh bus station, you have to catch another bus or taxi at 130,000 VND for one way trip to Bai Dinh pagoda. However, it’s recommended that you visit Bai Dinh in the morning to enough time to visit the other interesting locations in Ninh Binh. If you want to save money, you can do a road trip by motorbike to Ninh Binh via highway 1A because the distance is not too far.
What to see in Bai Dinh
The ancient Bai Dinh pagoda is located on top of Dinh mountain at the altitude of 187 meters above sea level. Dating back over a thousand years, it is oriented towards the west and flanked by two caves. The pagoda nestles into one cave, which is not uncommon among old pagodas in Vietnam. To get to the pagoda, you have to climb 300 steps. According to the history, there’s a cave called Enlightened Cave. King Le Thanh Tong engraved ideograms there praising the beauty of the site. The ceiling of the cave forms the solid roof of the pagoda which is dedicated to the Buddha and the Mother Goddess. The altar in the cave is decorated with traditional Buddha statues.
At the bottom of Enlightened Cave is a large exit which offers a great view of a distant green valley. The complex of new Bai Dinh pagoda is from 1 kilometer from the ancient Bai Dinh pagoda. The new pagoda is set on Ba Dau hillside, overlooking Dam lake and the Hoang Long river. 500 Arhat statues flank the two paths that lead from the main gate to the shrine. These paths which are about 1,700m long symbolize the Arhats’ path to Buddhism. They are the longest Arhat paths in Asia. The statues of Arhats were carved from bluestone by the artisans of Ninh Binh province. Each statue is between 2 and 2.5 meters tall and weighs 2 to 2.5 ton. They are placed on both sides of the path to guide the common people to the light of Buddhism. The statues have different forms and different expressions reflecting all human moods: joy, anger, satisfaction, frustration. At the foot of each statue is the name of the Arhat.
The new Bai Dinh pagoda at night
The new Bai Dinh pagoda holds the record as the largest temple complex in Southeast Asia that extends from the main entrance to the sanctuary of Shakyamuni Buddha, the bell tower and the shrine to Kwan Yi, Buddhism’s Lady of Mercy. The bell tower is built on three levels. Octagonal in shape, it houses a 36-ton bronze bell which is the largest in Vietnam. Just below the bell is a 70-ton bronze drum. Local people believe that where they can still hear the sound of the bell, they are under the blessing of the Buddha.
The bronze statues of Kwan Yi and Shakyamuni Buddha are also the biggest ones in Vietnam. The sanctuary of the past, present and future Buddha houses three huge statues of the three temporal forms of the Buddha.
Apart from Bai Dinh pagoda, there are many other interesting places in Ninh Binh that are waiting for you coming and exploring via Asia package tour. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Thank you and see you soon in Ninh Binh!