Linh Phuoc Pagoda – Monks & Beer!
Linh Phuoc Pagoda is one of the most unique temples in Vietnam. It’s a wonderful and wacky place that you’ll brag about visiting for years.
Why Visit Linh Phuoc Pagoda?
Linh Phuoc Pagoda is located near Dalat city in central Vietnam. Unlike many great Vietnamese attractions, there is no entrance fee and no charge for any activity here. You should visit Linh Phuoc Pagoda because it blends wonderful and wacky elements into a truly Vietnamese, cultural experience.
Some parts will amaze and inspire. Others will make you cringe or chuckle. Together, they’ll give you an experience of the “real Vietnam,” with its trademark contradictions.Linh Phuoc Pagoda is both wonderful and wacky.Click To Tweet
On the wonderful side, Linh Phuoc Pagoda is a gorgeous temple complex with several large altars, a huge tower, and many other record-setting features. Linh Phuoc hosts some truly amazing and inspirational works of Buddhist art.
Almost the entire complex is covered in the most intricate and beautiful mosaics in all of Vietnam.
On the wacky side, the temple complex has an over-the-top style that can be grandiose, gaudy, and garish. The monks that run Linh Phuoc are obsessed with having the “biggest” or “best” this or that.
There’s also a creepy wax museum commemorating dead monks and a cheesy haunted house, right inside the temple where people worship. Odd, right?
Wacky and Wonderful
We think of Linh Phuoc Pagoda as a nice microcosm of Vietnamese culture and its many interesting contradictions. Like Vietnam in general, Linh Phuoc’s “wonderful side” and the “wacky side” are actually one inseparable whole. The blend is pleasantly surreal.
Also like Vietnam in general, Linh Phuoc Pagoda can be inspirationally beautiful AND unabashedly kitschy. It can be seriously spiritual AND frivolously silly. It can amaze you with its genius and puzzle you with its inanity.
Linh Phuoc Pagoda is a great place to experience this microcosm of Vietnamese culture because the wonderful parts are spectacular and the wacky parts are all in good fun.
Highlights of Linh Phuoc Temple Complex
Massive Dragon Sculpture
Linh Phuoc Pagoda is commonly called the Dragon Pagoda because it has a huge, 161 ft. (49m) long dragon sculpture that winds around the temple complex and gardens. Buddhists revere dragons. They symbolize power, prosperity, and life force.
Linh Phuoc’s dragon is a wonderful and impressive sculpture, but they couldn’t help adding a touch of wacky. A vast mosaic of broken glass covers the dragon. Of all possible materials, what do you think the monks chose to decorate the dragon? Beer bottles!
Over 12,000 beer bottles adorn the symbolic dragon. Wonder how they emptied all those bottles?
Linh Phuoc Pagoda has some awesome mosaic work that blew us away. The scale of the mosaics was immense, covering huge areas inside and outside the different structures. The beauty was clear from afar, but when we saw the painstaking detail up close, we were doubly astonished.
The dedication, skill and artistic vision required were staggering to imagine. The monks had to break old glasses and dishes into a billion pieces, make them relatively uniform, and then form intricate designs covering big 3D spaces.
Quan Am Hall
The largest temple and altar are devoted to Quan Am, the. This is one of the tallest indoor statues we’ve seen in Vietnam. It towers above at nearly 40 ft. (12m). The elaborate mosaic decorations are overwhelming. They cover ceilings, pillars, rails, and just about everywhere else.
Notice the hundreds of golden Quan Am statues that fill the 4 levels of the temple. They’re smaller that main statue, but each of these is 7 ft. (2.2) tall. The 7 Jade Buddhas in front of Quan Am were also delicate and lovely.
Da Bao Tower
The Da Bao Tower stands 36 meters tall and houses the largest bell in Vietnam. Unlike many pagoda towers, you can climb the 7 stories of this tower.
On the way up, we were treated to more stunning mosaics.
Da Bao tower also offers the unique experience of actually ringing the massive bell. The bell is 14 ft (4.3m) tall and weighs 18,800 lbs (8500kg)! It was crafted by 3 generations of carvers and forgers. It’s one of the most prized possessions of Linh Phuoc Pagoda, but they share the bell with all.
The bell is so big, we had had to swing a log to ring it, but the resonant sound was thrilling. We could feel the waves vibrate through our bodies. A simple pleasure, but very fun.
Sakyamuni Buddha Temple
This temple is considered the main hall, although the Quan Am hall is larger and more impressive. Another wacky quirk, we guess.
Dalat is known as the garden of Vietnam and is famous for it beautiful flowers. This Lady Buddha is made from approximately 650,000 of those flowers. She’s an amazing 66 ft (20m) tall.
Wax Museum and Haunted House
These monks were so lifelike it was creepy.
The haunted house depicts 18 levels of hell. It supposedly serves a spiritual teaching purpose, but it really seems like a joke. The rest of Linh Phuoc Pagoda shows so much artistic sophistication and skill. The haunted house was cheesy and downright amateurish – more wackiness.
How Much Time at Linh Phuoc Pagoda?
We recommend at least a 1-hour visit. We spent about 3 hours exploring Linh Phuoc Pagoda. There are so many little side rooms and levels. We were captivated by all the intricate details of the mosaics. We took our time enjoying the view from the bell tower. And took countless photos.
How to Get to Linh Phuoc Pagoda?
It’s only 4.5 miles (7.5 km) from Dalat city center. The short taxi ride should only cost about 100,000 – 120,000 VND ($4-6USD).
Another option is taking the quaint train from the “Old Railway Station” in Dalat. A one-way ticket for the vintage train is 106,000 VND ($4.75 USD). This vintage train runs from Dalat center to the Trai Mat neighborhood where Linh Phuoc is located. This old train station in Dalat is a main attraction that you’re likely to visit anyway.
Why not combine attractions by seeing the Dalat station, taking the train to Trai Mat, visiting Linh Phuoc Pagoda, and then take a taxi back to town?
Make sure to check out our Dalat Travel Guide.