Explore Bich Dong Pagoda – A Must See in Ninh Binh

Nestled amid the breathtaking landscapes of Ninh Binh province, Bich Dong Pagoda stands as a captivating destination within the Trang An Landscape Complex. This blog offers essential things about Bich Dong Pagoda, ensuring you’re well-prepared for an unforgettable journey.

Location of Bich Dong Pagoda

Bich Dong Pagoda is found in the Hoa Lu district of Ninh Binh province, just 7 kilometres from the town centre. It’s tucked away in a beautiful valley surrounded by lush greenery and limestone hills, offering stunning countryside views.

History of Bich Dong Pagoda

With a history spanning nearly 600 years, Bich Dong Pagoda stands as a timeless monument nestled amidst the Bich Dong mountain range. Founded in 1428 during the early Hau Le period by monks Tri Kien and Tri The, the pagoda reflects their deep devotion to Buddhism and their aspiration to share its teachings. Captivated by the beauty of the landscape, they chose to build three pagodas: Lower, Middle, and Upper.

In 1774, Lord Trinh Sam visited the pagoda and christened it “Bich Dong,” a name reflecting its surroundings. “Bich” signifies jade, mirroring the lush greenery, while “Dong” represents a cave, symbolizing the spiritual haven within.
After nearly six centuries, Bich Dong Pagoda remains a significant historical and cultural landmark. Its unique charm lies in its harmonious blend of mountains, caves, and pagodas, embraced by ancient trees, creating a sacred sanctuary that seamlessly integrates with the breathtaking natural scenery.

Explore Bich Dong Pagoda – Ninh Binh

Lower Pagoda

The gate to Bich Dong Pagoda.

As you stroll along the pathway from the gate, you’ll come across the peaceful atmosphere of the Lower Pagoda. Positioned on a raised stone base, the pagoda follows the classic “Tam” style, with three separate structures climbing up the mountainside. This unique layout reflects the harmonious blend of Buddhist beliefs with nature, creating a serene space for reflection.

The old lady sells souvenir items right at the pagoda gate.

The Lower Pagoda displays the skill of Vietnam’s ancient artisans. Its roof, with two curved tiers and an eight-roof system, showcases intricate artwork. The front facade, divided into five sections, includes an upper hall supported by sturdy stone pillars over 4 meters tall, made from solid ironwood.

The Lower Pagoda.

Middle Pagoda

The Middle Pagoda.

Continuing our exploration of Bich Dong Pagoda, let’s discover the Middle Pagoda. To reach this second pagoda, visitors climb approximately 120 steps. Unlike the Lower Pagoda, the Middle Pagoda is tucked inside the mountain, visible only by its roof and entrance, adding mystery to its allure. Inside, ornate wooden beams and intricate carvings create a sacred atmosphere.

Notably, the Middle Pagoda holds significant historical importance, evolving from a simple cave temple to a spiritual landmark through various renovations under different rulers.

Dark cave

The Dark Cave above the Middle Pagoda adds to its mysterious vibe. It’s softly lit and perfect for quiet thinking. Inside, Amitabha Buddha and Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva statues make you feel calm and thoughtful. Time feels different in the Dark Cave – it’s a peaceful place.

Upper Pagoda

Ascending further from the Dark Cave, travellers reach the pinnacle of spiritual enlightenment at the Upper Pagoda of Bich Dong. This sacred sanctuary, nestled near the summit of Bich Dong Mountain, stands as a beacon of tranquillity and reverence. The path to the Upper Pagoda winds gracefully, offering glimpses of verdant foliage.

From the vantage point of the Upper Pagoda, travellers are treated to a panorama of the surrounding countryside, with rolling hills and lush rice paddies from afar.

When is the ideal time to visit Bich Dong Pagoda?

While Bich Dong Pagoda can be visited during dry seasons, the optimal time to explore it is from April to early June. Particularly towards the end of the second lunar month, the rice flower tree at the temple entrance blooms in full splendor. This period offers a unique opportunity to visit Bich Dong and Tam Coc, as the lush green rice fields transform into a golden hue, harmonizing with the mountainous backdrop to create a picturesque scene.

The beautiful Bich Dong. Photo: Dinh Van Linh.

Travelers climb the stone steps to reach the Upper Pagoda.

Some key notes for visitors when visiting Bich Dong Pagoda

  • Wear modest clothing that covers your shoulders and knees out of respect for the sacred nature of the pagoda.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and avoid making loud noises or engaging in disruptive behavior.
  • Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen and always remember to keep yourself hydrated.

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