The Perfume Pagoda and the Yen River • Vietnam

Experience the spiritual journey of a lifetime in just over 7 minutes. Witness the enigmatic beauty of Vietnam's Huang Tich mountains as you traverse the tranquil Yen River, steered by local women, to reach a pilgrimage site like no other—a set of ancient pagodas and a sacred cave. This exceptional video offers you a glimpse into the Huong Pagoda festival, revealing why millions visit each year, especially during the Tet festival. Marvel at landscapes that rival the splendor of Halong Bay, explore venerable temples, and delve into local traditions. Don't miss this captivating visual exploration of Vietnamese culture and spirituality.

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Vietnam & Cambodia • 2014

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00:32 • On the Yen river

02:58 • The temples


The Perfume Pagoda


The site of the Perfume Pagoda is one of the main pilgrimage sites in Vietnam. Each year this set of temples spread throughout nature in a massif of limestone rocks welcomes several million worshipers. During the Huong Pagoda festival, several hundred thousand Buddhists take the boats on the river which will bring them to the temples. The festival lasts several weeks, but most of the faithful visit it during the week of the Vietnamese New Year, the Tet festival.


The Yen River


The boat trip on a wide, very calm river lasts a little over an hour and is a wonder in itself. This river, the Yen River, is actually just a stream since it is no more than 3 kilometers long. These flat-bottomed boats, always driven by women, cross breathtaking landscapes made of jungle and limestone peaks that evoke Halong Bay, but then on land. We meet other boats loaded with tourists or pilgrims, but also small boats of locals going about their business. Duck farms are numerous on the Yen River.

The site of Chua Huong (which in Vietnam means Perfume Pagoda) is not made up of a single pagoda, but of a whole set of Buddhist temples and shrines spread out in a natural setting surrounded by these characteristic limestone mountains.


Origin of the Perfume Pagoda


The origin of this set of temples dates back to the 17th century. A Buddhist monk would have received a message in a dream. Buddha would have inspired him to build a temple in a place that would only be accessible by a river and this temple would have to be on top of a mountain. Chua Huong's site fits this description perfectly.


The cave of perfumes


The main temple in this complex is a small temple deep in a cave on top of one of the mountains on the site. This temple is also the oldest. To reach it, you have the choice between a rocky path dotted with small altars and stupas and a much faster, if less romantic, means of transport, the cable car.


The other temples


On the site, there is not only the temple in the cave. Several important temples line the path to the cave. Among these temples, there is the Temple of Trinh, presentation sanctuary which is the first that one meets when arriving on the site. Then there is the Thien Tru pagoda, a brick tomb where the master builder of the construction of religious buildings rests.

Let us also mention the temple of the dragon lion guards, among many others.


Spoken comments in the film: 

The Perfume Pagoda in Vietnam, in the Hanoi region, is a collection of temples that can only be accessed by boats sailing on the Yen River. Oddly enough, it is always women who are at the helm. And the spectacle on the 3 kilometers which separate the pier from the temples is majestic.

Yen river, Huang Tich mountains • Vietnam

What's the weather like at the Perfume pagoda?

about the place, Pagode des parfums:

Fifty kilometers south of Hanoi is one of the most important places of prayer in Vietnam. In the limestone mountains of Huang Tich is a cave that houses Chua Trong, the temple of perfume. This pilgrimage site attracts hundreds of thousands of devotees during the annual Huong Pagoda Festival.



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Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of vietnamese traditional music in "The Perfume Pagoda and the Yen River • Vietnam", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

on the Yen river towards the perfume pagoda, Huang Tich mountains • Vietnam

on the Yen river towards the perfume pagoda

Gateway to the Perfume Pagoda Complex, Huang Tich mountains • Vietnam

Gateway to the Perfume Pagoda Complex

by cable car to the cave, Huang Tich mountains • Vietnam

by cable car to the cave

Chua Trong temple in the cave, Huang Tich mountains • Vietnam

Chua Trong temple in the cave

Perfume Pagoda, Vietnam

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