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The Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas are a must see for anybody with an interest in Vietnamese Buddhist culture. Visited as a stopover during one of our Halong Bay River Cruises, you are sure to experience those feelings of peace and tranquility that the Buddhist religion is famous for when visiting these architecturally stunning temples just north of Vietnam.

The Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas

The pagodas date back to the 8th and 11th centuries. The Thay Pagoda is dedicated to Tu Dao Hanh, a famous monk rumoured to have lived in the temple, and who (as legend tells it) was known to have mystical powers. Should you visit the temple during the Thay Pagoda festival (28th-31st of March), you will get the opportunity to see some fantastic water puppetry that is created in honor of this patron deity.

You will have to climb the 239 steps to reach the Tay Phuong pagoda, which is situated on a hilltop, but your climb will be worth it. The panoramic view of the surrounding countryside area is breathtaking, and you will be able to marvel at the finely sculptured Arhat statues that depict the life of Buddha and his disciples within the temple.

The pagodas are located on the mountainous scenery of Sai Son, and the Thay Pagoda is settled in front of the breathtaking Long Thieu lake, so you are bound to feel that serene sense of calm that the Buddhist culture is known for. Both pagodas are remarkable for their carved wooden statues, although your attention may be averted by the finely carved lacquer and gold statues of Buddha that are in celebration of his life.

Legend suggests that the Thay Pagoda was built on land in the shape of a dragon. The Sai Son Mountain is reputed to be the dragon's tail, the pagoda's courtyard the upper jaw, the lakeshore the lower jaw, and the three layers of the pagoda itself are rumoured to resemble the dragon's head. You can learn more about the mythology of the area should you catch sight of a tour guide.

Outside of the Tay Phuong PagodaOutside of the Tay Phuong Pagoda

Many monks, nuns, and other tourists visit the area annually. They come for the Thay Pagoda festival with its folk-telling water puppet shows, but they also come for the sightseeing opportunities, the adventurous hiking opportunities, and the charming landscapes that hold clues to history past. They also come to find peace at the tranquility of the lake, and to find opportunities where they can reflect on life and all its mysteries within the mystical surroundings of the two pagodas.

On your expedition here, you are bound to find moments of serenity as you walk around the lake and through the time-worn pagodas around Hanoi. You might also experience life-changing moments of reflection.

Best way to see the Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas

Our Halong Bay and Red River, and the Halong Bay, Red River & Laos Mekong cruises both offer opportunities to visit the Thay and Tay Phuong pagodas. Other key sites are explored along North Vietnam and along the Red River delta, where you can get to see more of the wonders that are found in the local area.