Tam Chúc Pagoda is a recent addition to Vietnam’s long list of tourist attractions, having opened in 2019. This temple, 90 minutes by road from Hanoi, is the largest in Vietnam.
- Opening hours: 06:00 to 18:00
- Entrance fee: Free, but transport from car park to the temple costs:
- Boat – 200,000 VND
- Car – 99,000 VND
About Tam Chúc Pagoda
Despite opening just a few months before Covid-19 brought tourism to a near complete standstill in Vietnam, Tam Chúc Pagoda has still managed to attracted vast numbers of visitors most of whom have been Vietnamese. Not so many foreign visitors have discovered this destination yet.
One of the reasons why it is so popular with Vietnamese tourists is because of its location. It’s easy to get there. Direct bus services to Tam Chúc Pagoda depart frequently from Giap Bat Bus Station, which is located 4 km to the south of Hanoi Railway Station. Tam Chúc Pagoda is also not so far from the most popular tourist attractions of Ninh Binh Province, such as the Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex and Bai Dinh Temple. The Vietnamese authorities have invested a lot of money in the infrastructure facilitating this new temple project, spending which has been criticised by many, and the eventual plan is to build a new road linking the main tourist sites of Ninh Binh Province to Tam Chúc Pagoda to create a large and easily accessible tourist zone connecting multiple high quality tourist attractions.
Tam Chúc Pagoda is an unfinished masterpiece. The total area of the temple complex is slightly over 50 square kilometres, of which only 1.4 square kilometres is currently utilised. The entire project is scheduled to be finished in 2048, and as well as a temple there will be hotels, casinos, sport facilities and retail areas. At the present time the commercial parts of the project have not been built, and the site is still primarily a religious site with numerous individual temples having been constructed in this first phase.
The arrival point for visitors is at car park on the eastern side of Luc Nhac lake and they need to pay for either a ride in an electric car or a boat to reach the main part of the temple on the other side of the lake. The lake has 6 small islands which, according to local legend, represent 6 bells sent down from heaven to summons the return of 7 celestial beings back to heaven. According to legend the celestial beings didn’t return and they became the 7 hills which form a back drop to Tam Chúc Pagoda.
Once you reach the western side of the lake there are plenty of things to explore, the highlights being:
- Dien Tam The (Hall of the Three Buddhas): This is the main building of the temple which features three enormous statues of the Lord Buddha, each made of bronze and weighing 80 to 100 tons.
- Dien Phap Chu: Another temple notable for it four massive reliefs representing the four keys stages in the life of the Shakyamuni Buddha.
- Dien Quan Am: This temple is devoted to the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, of whom it features another massive statue weighing around 100 tons.
- Chua Ngoc (Jade Pagoda): This is a smaller temple located on a hill top notable for its stunning views. Visitors need to ascend 299 steps to reach this temple. This temple also has a 4,000 kilogram statue of the Amitabha Buddha made from rubies imported from Myanmar.
Location of Tam Chúc Pagoda
Tam Chúc Pagoda is located 65 km by road from Hanoi.