Bai Dinh Pagoda

Located 15km to the south of Hoa Lu Former Capital is Bai Dinh Pagoda. The pagoda is a religious and cultural complex in Ninh Binh Province, which covers a total area of 539ha. The complex combines both the ancient and the new pagoda, parking lot, parks and lake system. Visiting this pagoda, you will absolutely be overwhelmed by its huge architecture and meaningful values. The pagoda is not just a place of religion; it is also an attractive attraction for tourist during their Ninh Binh Tours.

Panoramic view of Bai Dinh Pagoda
Panoramic view of Bai Dinh Pagoda

Architecture of Bai Dinh Pagoda

The ancient Bai Dinh Pagoda is located on the slope of Dinh Mountain to the south and mediated in a peaceful forest. There are three parts of the pagoda: an ancestor-worshipping house in the middle, Bright Cave on the right where reveres the Buddha and Genie Cao Son worshipping temple on the left. As visiting the pagoda, visitors can get out of the daily hustle and bustle, enjoy the land of peace and seek for the tranquility in their minds. Apart from the old pagoda, there are a number of grottoes and caves such as cave of the Goddess of forests or Fairy Cave. Inside the caves, all the roofs are covered by the whole lined with a kind of sparkling stalactites in different sizes and shapes.

3 golden Buddha images representing the past, present and future
3 golden Buddha images representing the past, present and future

On the other surface of Dinh Mountain near Hoang Long River is the new Bai Dinh Pagoda, which was built in 2003 and completely finished in 2010. Following the traditional style, the new one includes large halls, courtyards, and fences. However, it is the huge area of the pagoda (700 ha) that makes it different from other Vietnamese Buddhist Pagodas. The largest building is Tam The Hall, which measures the 34-meter height and 59-meter length. Besides, Phap Chu Temple, Bao Thap, Bell Towe, and Quan Am temple also contribute to the magnificence of the pagoda.
In order to construct the pagoda, big round timbers from Ninh Binh, tiles from Bat Trang and reinforced concrete was moved here for the construction of the pagoda. Although the pagoda is so large, it can still keep its original Vietnam designs such as curving finials, corner eaves in shape of phoenix’s tail. Local craftsmen from different regions were employed to design the interior.

Worshiping Monuments in Bai Dinh Pagoda

A bronze statue of Buddha Sykamuni is situated inside the centre of Phap Chu Temple. The statue, which is 10 meters high and 100 tons weight, is certificated as Vietnam’s biggest statue. This temple also holds some other records such as three biggest and sophisticatedly sculpted gates (Cua Vong) and three largest horizontal lacquered boards (Hoanh phi).
“Great Bell” in Bai Dinh Pagoda is another highlight of the temple as it is totally made from bronze and weighs up to 36 tons. Moreover, the biggest Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva statue is also represented here. Along the pathways around the pagoda, tourists could be astonished by 500 statues of Arahat showing different gestures and positions, which makes this place lively and magical.

Sitting Buddha with different gestures in Bai Dinh Pagoda
Sitting Buddha with different gestures in Bai Dinh Pagoda

Top Tips before Visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda

  • Tourists can reach Bai Dinh Pagoda through a variety of transport such as train, bus, private car or motorbike. The average time to travel from Hanoi to Ninh Binh is 2 hours, and then you may spend around 20 minutes driving to the pagoda.
  • Bai Dinh Pagoda is close to other attractions in Ninh Binh such as Trang An Landscape Complex, Tam Coc-Bich Dong, Phat Diem Catherdral, Cuc Phuong National Park; so spending about 2-3 days for a Ninh Binh tour would be a wonderful choice.
  • Bai Dinh is a religious place, so remember to wear full-length clothing before visiting the pagoda and pay respect to the monks.
  • The entrance fee is free.