Thay Pagoda, a national cultural heritage site, is famous for fanciful legend and the architectural beauty.
The pagoda was built in the Ly Dynasty when a monk, namely Tu Dao Hanh, dedicated his life to practise, teach to the village and founded water puppetry subject in here.
The Pagoda includes some small ones which alternatively locate 16 hills. It is considered as the body of a dragon jutting out from the sea. Specifically, in front of the lake, there is a large promontory running from the long range of mountain, and it looks like a dragon crawling to drink water in the lake. Surrounding areas is farmland, visitors will be welcomed by a graceful reflecting pond (Dragon Lake) connected by two bridges (Nhat Tien Kieu and Nguyet Tien Kieu) and a stage for water puppet shows, called Nha Thuy Dinh.
An overview of Thay Pagoda
After going around, walking towards the mountain will lead you to the hilltop pagoda through a lot of steps and rocks. The peak is not too high but it is also enough to make you tired. The view is really peaceful and relaxing if you pass an impressive collection of charming old buildings, shrines and natural cave shrines to climb to the summit.
Thay Pagoda has long become the place where locals come to meditate and pray for luck, wealth and prosperity. Thay Pagoda has recently been recognized as a national cultural heritage site in April, 2015.
There are so many Buddha statues in the pagoda.
You need to pay only for one fair to get in the pagoda, and then you can explore and enjoy yourself with the natural beauty.
A lot of complicated history and lore lies behind the shrines and the caves in the area, so if you really want all the info, try for a guided tour — be sure to negotiate a price in advance. Even if you don’t care for the history lesson, it’s a pretty spot to visit.
There is a tradition festival in Thay Pagoda on 7th of March lunar month. The festival is attractive to many because of the myth surrounding Monk Từ Đạo Hạnh and his feats, the beautiful scenery and the water puppet shows. Also, a romantic dimension must be added, as the labyrinth of caves and paths in the mountain are ideal for folk games like hide-and-seek games.
You should spend only one day visiting Thay Pagoda because it is not too big. There are a lot of hotels nearby, you can find one to stay at night if you intend to visit more places surrounds.
How to get there
Thay Pagoda (Master’s Pagoda) is located in Sai Son Commune, Quoc Oai District, Hanoi City. From the Hanoi center, you go to the southwest out of Hanoi on Duong Lang-Hoa Lac (or Thang Long Avenue) about 19km until you the the sign: Thay Pagoda, take a right turn, go under the new flyover, and it’s about 3km to the pagoda.
From Hanoi Center, you can ride a bike/motorbike, get a taxi or take a bus to Thay Pagoda.