As a celebration of me turning 26, we became tourists for a day and went to visit the Perfume Pagoda, two hours south of Hanoi.
Any hassle we might have encountered was taken out of the equation because we opted for a full-day tour including transport and lunch. The guide was brilliant and although it’s not the most adventurous way to travel, I think we learnt a lot more about the background of the pagodas and history of the Mỹ Đức area than we would’ve otherwise.
We started with a one-hour boat trip which takes you to the base of the pagodas. It was completely picturesque and peaceful. Hats off to the women of the local village who row these boats for a living!
The first pagoda, set in the cliffs of Huong Tich Mountain, was the Thien Chu (pagoda leading to heaven). I don’t know much about Buddhism so it was really interesting to learn some of the beliefs and values which helped to explain some of the customs we see in the city.
After lunch, we went by cable car up to Huong Tich Chu (perfume pagoda). It was much more impressive than either of us had imagined it to be. Our tour guide told us that the King visited and named it the most beautiful cave in Vietnam’s northern regions. I don’t know how many caves there are, or whether the King has visited them all, but I can see where he was coming from.
As you can see, the views from the cable car were pretty impressive too.
This is a really accessible part of the countryside to get to from Hanoi if you’re just looking for a day out and definitely worth a visit. We had a great time!