Barely a few minutes after exiting the Da Nang airport into the city, visitors are greeted by a dragon. The Golden Dragon Bridge is in many ways representative of the spirit of the resurgent city. The glistening head of the dragon looks up at the sky with an unmistakable air of confidence. Da Nang is a city on the rise. Even though one can see buildings under construction the city has plenty of open spaces. It has a relaxed and calm feel. The vast stretch of tranquil beach with crystal, blue waters, swaying palm trees and verdant mountains, Da Nang is picturesque and breathtakingly beautiful.
The Son Tra Mountain or as the American soldiers referred to it during the Vietnamese war; the Monkey Mountain overlooks the Bay of Da Nang and the East Sea. Located on The Son Tra Peninsula, this mountain is largely inhabited by the monkeys. But that is not what makes it a major tourist destination. This is the mountain where the Protector of Da Nang or Lady Buddha can be seen. Lady Buddha is the statue of the Bodhisattva of Mercy, believed by locals as the protector of fishermen during storms. She looks at the port with gentle eyes that provide them the strength and confidence to fight the waves and winds.
Once the vistas of the My Khe beach open up you can see the statue of Lady Buddha looming large on the Son Tra Mountain. As you approach closer, her magnificence and aura keep growing manifold. Being the tallest Buddha statue in Vietnam, Lady Buddha Da Nang located inside Linh Ung pagoda courtyard is soaring at a height of 67m standing atop a lotus of diameter 35m.
To reach the statue one has to cross a three storey gateway and a stunning courtyard dotted with bonsais. The courtyard is lined by 18 statues which display the traditional spiritual expressions of love, hate, anger, and joy.
Various sculptors stand on the borders of the courtyard.
The complex was built in the 18th century during the reign of Emperor Ming Mang. Dragon staircases, well-crafted sculptures, and neatly arranged bonsais and sculptures are fascinating. The paved ways and well-manicured lawns give it a clean look.
The Lady Buddha is mesmerizing. She’s tall, white and beautiful. Her gentle smile adds to her demeanor as the Boddhisatva of Mercy. Standing on the Lotus she’s the enlightened being. Below the lotus, there is an altar for offering prayers. There are altars at all seventeen levels inside the Buddha. However, they are closed now. Verdant surroundings with the sea in front and the bobbing boats make for a spectacular view. There is tranquility. A certain calmness pervades all over. This is a kind of place where one can collect his thoughts and spend some time away from the world.
As I walked away from the statue, the sounds of the Buddhist prayers beckoned me to the Son Tra Linh Ung Pagoda. The pagoda with double tiered emerald green eaves and sculpted dragons wrapped around every pillar are impressive. A beautiful statue of Buddha in gold sparkles inside. To the front of it is a laughing Buddha in black. This is a religious place of worship so footwear has to be left out and one needs to be covered appropriately.
After an hour of soaking in the tranquility and beauty of the place, I was ready to go. The sun had started setting. As I turned to see the statue for one last time, I saw the Lady Buddha in the soft glow of the evening.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
Location: Son Tra Linh Ung Pagoda is located at the end of Son Tra Peninsula in Da Nang, Vietnam. It is 9 km away from My Khe beach and 14 km from Da Nang city center.
- Parking: Free
- Entrance fees: Free There are donation boxes scattered around the complex.
- Opening hours: 6 am to 7 pm
- Dress respectfully. Leave footwear outside before you enter the temple.
- There are many monkeys around the pagoda. Do not feed or tease the monkeys.
- An hour is sufficient to enjoy the Lady Buddha and the Pagoda.
- It’s comfortable to drive all the way to this tourist attraction. If you are not comfortable with driving, then a taxi can take you here for around 200.000-300.000 VND.