Perfume Pagoda

perfume pagoda thien tru vietnam


              The Perfume Pagoda is located 60 kilometers southwest of Hanoi where the karst limestone mountains jut out of the rice fields below.  The Perfume Pagoda is a very revered and sacred site featuring a maze of Buddhist pagodas built into the limestone cliffs of the mountain.  It is northern Vietnam’s most famous pilgrimage site and one of Hanoi’s most visited tourist day trips.  

History is More Than the Textbooks

khe sanh combat base dmz vietnam
            
            My least favorite class in school was history.  Every day, I would do the bare minimum I needed to get an “A” which often meant glazing over a chapter of my textbook and paying close attention to the bolded terms and their definitions so that I would pass the inevitable “pop quiz” the following morning.  The school year wasn’t long enough to really dive into a topic and since I wasn’t really passionate about history, I didn’t spend any of my spare time trying to actually process the information that I had committed to memory.

Sapa

aerial view amitabha buddha statue fanispan sapa vietnam


Sapa is a small town located in the heart of northwestern Vietnam.  Located above a deep valley flanked by cascading rice terraces and surrounded by high mountains, Sapa is a sight to be seen.  Though heavy mists often roll through the mountains, the vibrant colors of its rice fields, temples, and people shine through in a vibrant display.  

Ba Be: A Mixed Story

boat ba be lake national park vietnam


              Continuing on tour of Northern Vietnam, we decided to head across to Ba Be.  The trip was long and had us on two different buses, a motorcycle with all of our bags, and a boat, but we finally made it.  Not knowing we exactly what we wanted to do in Ba Be, we settled down, got a beer and some great food, and looked at the brochure that our guest house had provided us with.  Ba Be National Park is supposed to be the ‘outdoors capital’ of Northern Vietnam, but we weren’t really feeling the whole hiking/biking thing after having hiked for two full days and a full day of traveling.  

Ba Be National Park


lake ba be national park vietnam


              If your looking for an outdoors adventure in Northern Vietnam then look no further than Ba Be National Park.  Ba Be boasts a pristine lake, beautiful rivers, scenic waterfalls, and prehistoric caves set amid towering forest shrouded mountains.  The national park offers rich biodiversity, unique landscapes, and at its heart, Ba Be Lake, which is the largest and highest natural freshwater lake in Vietnam.  The park can be explored on foot by trail, bicycle/motorcycle by road, or kayak/boat.  Offering great and welcoming homestays, Ba Be National Park is a great place to get way from the hustle of Vietnam. 

Ban Gioc, Vietnam

ban gioc waterfall aerial view dji drone vietnam


              Located in the northeastern province of Cao Bang, Ban Gioc is home to Vietnam’s best-known waterfall.  Surrounded by tree covered limestone mountains that stick out of the ground like spear tips, the Quay Son River ambles through green rice fields and bamboo groves till it pours in a torrent over the three tiers of the Ban Gioc Waterfall.  This off the beaten track location sees very few foreign tourists so its waterfall and cave are left mostly empty, and the area still has its countryside feel.  Due to this, this area is a great get away for those wanting to get away and experience the Vietnamese way of life first hand. 

Yen Tu: A Pilgrimage to Vietnamese Buddhism

dong pagoda mists yen tu vietnam


              Yen Tu has been referred to as the center of Vietnamese Buddhism and, like most of the sacred Buddhist temples, the magic of Yen Tu lies in the journey.  Consisting of a series of temples following the monk king’s pilgrimage to enlightenment, Yen Tu stretches 6000 meters (about 6 hours of walking) from the valley floor all the way up to the cloud-wrapped, mountain top Dong Pagoda, 1,068 m above sea level.

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