Thay Pagoda: An ancient sacred temple with unique architecture in Hanoi


Thay Pagoda is among the most famous pagodas in Hanoi

Thay Pagoda is among the most famous pagodas in Hanoi (Source: Collected)

During your Hanoi travel journey, besides enjoying delectable Vietnamese traditional food, visiting Thay Pagoda should be one of the top activities on your bucket list. This is an excellent destination for international travelers to gain a greater insight into Vietnamese culture and spirituality.

1. About Thay Pagoda

  • Location: Sai Son Mountain, Sai Son Commune, Quoc Oai District, Hanoi
  • Opening hours: 7.00 am – 5.00 pm

Nestled approximately 25 kilometers southwest of Hanoi’s bustling city center, Thay Pagoda has captivated pilgrims and tourists alike with its enchanting scenery and architectural marvel that seamlessly blends with the natural surroundings. 

Adding to its allure, the annual Thay Pagoda Festival takes place during the third lunar month, serving as a tribute to Zen Master Tu Dao Hanh.

Thay Pagoda - a beautiful Hanoi pagoda

Thay Pagoda – a beautiful Hanoi pagoda (Source: Collected)

>>> Read more: Tran Quoc Pagoda: The best guide for your Hanoi exploration 

2. The history of Thay Pagoda in Quoc Oai, Hanoi

Thay Pagoda is largely associated with a renowned figure – Zen Master Tu Dao Hanh. It was where he embraced his religious journey and eventually passed away. Legends depict him as a virtuous and extraordinary man, known for his selfless acts of compassion towards others.

In its humble beginnings, Thay Pagoda was originally a modest dwelling where the zen master resided. It was during the reign of King Ly Nhan Tong that the pagoda underwent a transformation, with the construction of two additional buildings: the Upper Pagoda and the Lower Pagoda.

In the early 17th century, the pagoda complex was renovated and expanded, with the construction of auxiliary buildings such as the rear house, the worship hall, and the bell tower. Adhering to the principles of feng-shui, Thay Pagoda sits on a piece of land shaped like a majestic dragon, symbolizing good fortune and harmony.

Thay Pagoda lies on a hill overlooking the splendid Long Tri Lake

Thay Pagoda lies on a hill overlooking the splendid Long Tri Lake (Source: Collected)

3. The unique architecture of Thay Pagoda

Thay Pagoda beckons with its distinct ensemble of three parallel edifices: the Upper Pagoda, Middle Pagoda, and Lower Pagoda. The Lower Pagoda serves as a sacred space for offerings and ceremonial rituals, while the Middle Pagoda is dedicated to the veneration of the Buddha. The Upper Pagoda is a shrine to honor Tu Dao Hanh, adorned with his renowned statues. 

These ancient structures stand proudly, boasting gracefully curved roofs that add to its grandeur. The serene ambiance of their surroundings fosters an atmosphere of tranquility. The allure of Thay Pagoda is further amplified by the natural splendor of mountains and caves, evoking a sense of awe in visitors.

The impressive architecture of Thay Pagoda

The impressive architecture of Thay Pagoda (Source: Collected)

>>> Read more: One Pillar Pagoda: The peculiar lotus-like work in the heart of Hanoi

4. What can be found inside Thay Pagoda in Hanoi?

Thay Pagoda houses a wealth of artifacts, statues, and sacred objects that hold significant values in both art and Buddhism. Within its walls, a treasure trove of visually stunning items imbued with profound Buddhist teachings awaits exploration.

  • A stone crocodile dating to the Tran Dynasty
  • A throne dating to the sixteenth century
  • A worship crane, pheasant, altar dating to the Le Dynasty
  • A copper bell dating to the Tay Son period
  • Sino-Vietnamese documents
  • A box-shaped lotus pedestal 
  • A wooden worship chair dating to the Mac Dynasty
  • A lotus pedestal dating to the Ly – Tran Dynasty
The interior of Thay Pagoda

The interior of Thay Pagoda (Source: Collected)

5. Thay Pagoda Festival

From the first lunar day until the conclusion of the third lunar month, the vibrant Thay Pagoda Festival comes to life in Quoc Oai District. In an endeavor to showcase and uphold the cultural significance embedded in the festival, Quoc Oai District has placed emphasis on reviving the original rituals as documented in historical records and folk customs. 

Moreover, the local authority has diligently worked towards the restoration of traditional recreational activities, many of which hold the esteemed status of intangible cultural heritage. These include Do singing, Ham Rong singing, water puppetry, Cheo singing, Tuong singing, and more.

Thay Pagoda Festival

Thay Pagoda Festival (Source: Collected)

>>> Read more: Hanoi things to do: Top activities to put on your bucket list

6. Important travel advice for your visit to Thay Pagoda

  • The best time to visit the pagoda is after the Lunar New Year, or around September and October
  • Dress politely (no shorts, mini skirts, or tank tops)
  • Only take pictures or film with permission
  • Burn only one incense stick
  • Do not smoke in the pagoda
  • Do not bring food or drinks into the pagoda
  • Mind your personal belongings and valuables, especially when participating in Thay Pagoda Festival

Thay Pagoda is unquestionably a must-visit in Hanoi. Besides, you should also consider visiting VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium, which are both located in Vincom Mega Mall Times City and widely regarded as the most appealing attractions in Hanoi for young families and teenagers.

Vinpearl Aquarium offers an enchanting gateway to an awe-inspiring realm of the ocean, where visitors can fully immerse themselves in a kaleidoscope of vibrant hues, boasting an impressive array of nearly 30,000 captivating sea creatures. 

Meanwhile, VinKE provides a perfect haven for children to embark on an exciting adventure, where they can indulge in many job simulation games to experience their dream occupations alongside their delighted parents.

VinKE Times City

Vinpearl Aquarium

VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium, a complex for both entertainment and education

>>> Book tickets of VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium for an unforgettable experience!

Thay Pagoda stands as a remarkable testament to Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage and spiritual traditions. Its intricate architecture, storied history, and serene surroundings make it a must-visit for tourists. 

Whether seeking tranquility, cultural enrichment, or a glimpse into Vietnam’s past, Thay Pagoda beckons with open arms, inviting visitors to discover the allure of its timeless charm and embark on a profound journey.

>>> Remember to book tickets of VinKE & Vinpearl Aquarium to enjoy a wonderful time!

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