Yen Tu Festival - the Largest Buddhism Festival in Vietnam (Updated!)

With its significant historical, cultural and natural values, Yen Tu relic has become famous in both nation and globe: Special National Relic Site in 2012, one of the 10 most popular spiritual destinations in Vietnam by the Vietnam Records Organisation, one of nominated UNESCO heritages.

 

Thien Vien Truc Lam Monastery

 

Common knowledge about Yen Tu relic

Yen Tu mountain is located in Dong Trieu town, 1068m above the sea level. In the past, Yen Tu had many different such as Tuong Son, Bach Van, Phu Van Son, Linh Son, and was also known as the ‘Blessed sacred place’ of Giao Chau. Beside a large number of pagodas, the mountain preserves a lot of old religious and cultural documents such as prayer-books and monks’ writings.

 

The 2019 opening ceremony of the Yen Tu Festival

Yen Tu relic is a harmonic combination of the deep history and the mysterious natural scenes. It can be said that wild beauty here contains hidden information about the past and present of human beings.

On the 10th day of the first lunar year, the opening ceremony of the traditional Spring Festival is held with various activities including traditional rituals and art performances, for example, lion dance, traditional martial arts, and folk games.

 

The history of Yen Tu relic

According to legend, Tran Nhan Tong (1258-1308), the third King of the Tran dynasty, ascended to the throne when he was just 21. He is famed for defeating Mongol invaders twice during his 15-year reign.

 

The golden statue of King Tran Nhan Tong

After abdicating at the age of 35, the King spent the rest of his life at Yen Tu Mountain practicing and propagating Buddhism. He founded the first Vietnamese School of Buddhism called ‘Thien Tong’ or Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen on the mountain. 

 

Destinations on Yen Tu mountain

  • Trinh pagoda: the first place to visit before climbing.
  • Truc Lam Yen Tu Monastery: the place for practicing Buddhism of monks.
  • Giai Oan bridge/pagoda: the site worships wives of the King. They loved the King so much and begged him to come back to the throne, but they failed and threw themselves into the stream.
  • Hue Quang tower: the place keeps a part of the King’s sarira, the rest are saved in the Tran pagoda in Nam Dinh province.
  • Hoa Yen pagoda: the biggest pagoda situated in the central of the mountain. It used to be the place where the King’s taught Buddhism.
  • Mot Mai pagoda: the place worships Guan Yin. There is a stream with cool water.
  • Bao Sai pagoda: the place where the King entered into nirvana.
  • Van Tieu pagoda: the place where monks practice Buddhism.
  • Statue of An Ky Sinh fakir and the King
  • Dong pagoda: the highest pagoda.

Dong pagoda - the highest pagoda located on the top of Yen Tu Mountain

Since there are numerous sites, you should plan a schedule to have time to visit all of them. The following schedule may help you:

The Monastery – Giai Oan bridge – Giai Oan pagoda – Hoa Yen pagoda – Mot Mai pagoda – Bao Sai pagoda – statues of An Ky Sinh and Tran Nhan Tong – Dong pagoda, then reverse the order and come back to the parking lot.

 

Fees of cable cars in Yen Tu

In the past, the only way reaching to the peak of the mountain is walking on the trail. However, at present, tourists are able to use the cable cars to contemplate the nature on the above view, then travel on foot to visit other sites.

It is highly recommended that tourists should buy tickets for two routes at a cheaper price. Thus, most people choose to walk to Dong pagoda and go down by cable car.

 

Cable cars make the trip to the mountain more exciting and less tiring.

The fees for cable car are described as below:

  • The first route (from Giai Oan pagoda to Hoa Yen pagoda):
  • One-way ticket: 200.000vnd per person
  • Round-trip ticket: 280.000vnd per person
  • The second route (from Mot Mai pagoda to the statue of An Ky Sinh):
  • One-way ticket: 200.000vnd per person
  • Round-trip ticket: 280.000vnd per person
  • Both routes (from Giai Oan pagoda to the statue of An Ky Sinh):
  • One-way ticket: 280.000vnd per person
  • Round-trip ticket: 350.000vnd per person

Serving time (according to the lunar calendar):

  • January to March: 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • April to December: 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Children under below 120cm tall, the old above 70, monks and veterans are free of charge, as long as they can prove themselves.

Hoa Yen pagoda - the big one in the middle of the mountain

 

Some useful notes before visiting Yen Tu relic:

  • Dress formally since it is a spiritual site.
  • Try to protect the environment and do not throw trash on the surroundings.
  • Do not say impolite words and behave rudely
  • If feeling exhausted, you should stop for a while, breathe deeply, drink some water to boost your energy and continue the trip.