Linh Ung Pagoda

Linh Ung means “wishes answered miraculously” in Sino-Vietnamese. And it’s first used in 1841 to name a pagoda in the Marble Mountains by Thanh Thai, the 10th king of the Nguyen Dynasty. Until the 21st century, that is still only Linh Ung Pagoda in Da Nang. In 2004 and 2010, two siblings of it were born. One of the couple sits atop Ba Na Hills (station) and the other is in Son Tra Peninsula. The youngest holds the record “the largest Buddhist temple of Da Nang”. For locals, this trio is the holiest and daily each place draws lots of prayers. Thanks to the stunning locational setting and architecture, all three are famous tourist attractions. There are over 2 million visitors coming to the oldest Linh Ung pagoda in the busiest year. And, it’s 2,5 million and 2,3 million in the case of the laters.

This article provides information about three Linh Ung Pagoda in Da Nang and everything around them. History, architecture, how it looks in reality, transport to get there, tips and advice are covered. Because each is located in a much bigger area, we recommend reading travel guides to “mother attractions” also. There are about the Marble Mountains, Ba Na Hills and Son Tra Mountain (Peninsula).

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Contents

About Three Linh Ung Pagoda in Da Nang

Why are Three Linh Ung Pagodas in Da Nang?

Each Linh Ung Pagoda in Da Nang is located in a separate mountain and a different direction. The oldest one is in Thuy Son, the largest of the Marble Mountains. It represents “the water” in the Five-elements theory in Asian culture. The rest of the complex symbolizes the wood, fire, metal and earth clockwise. In 2004, the second Linh Ung Pagoda was constructed on a slope of Nui Chua (Bana Hills), the Da Nang’s summit to the west. It faces the city and has a giant Gautama Buddha. In 2020, the next Linh Ung Pagoda came to life, and Son Tra Peninsula to the east was selected to accommodate it. This youngest member of the trio has a huge Lady Buddha (Goddess of Mercy), and faces the city too. Locals believe that all three Linh Ung Pagoda create a spirit triangle to protect them from disasters, like typhoons.

Opening Hours and Best Time to Visit

Each Linh Ung Pagoda in Da Nang has its own opening time. Visitors can visit the ones in the Marble Mountains and the Son Tra Peninsula anytime, but just the surroundings of the Buddha Hall. If would like to see the interior of the Hall, visitors need to come after when the monks wake up and before when the monks go to bed. Unlike Linh Ung Pagoda Marble Mountain, the other doesn’t require an entrance admission in the daytime, from 7 a.m to 5 p.m. Best time to visit these Da Nang’s top attractions is the early morning or late afternoon.  

In the case of Linh Ung Pagoda Bana Hills, it’s different. But because of being inside an entertainment complex, visitors need to wait for the greater one opening its doors. To get there, you must buy a ticket and then have a cable car ride, the only way at the moment. First cabins depart at 7:30 a.m and the last tickets are sold at 5 p.m. So, the pagoda often is visited by day trippers from 7:45 a.m to sunset. Cable cars also are operated at night, and the last ride down the mountain is at 9 p.m. For those who plan to see the pagoda in the evening, it’s possible.

Linh Ung Pagoda Entrance Fee

Note: The latest decision made by Da Nang’s leaders indicates that entrance fee of Marble Mountains (Linh Ung Pagoda included) is free until the end of 2022.

Tourists don’t need to pay an entrance fee to visit Linh Ung Pagoda Son Tra Peninsula. Its two older sisters require a ticket. The price is 40,000 VND and 750,000 VND for Linh Ung Pagoda Marble Mountains and Bana Hills respectively. The higher cost includes cable car, sightseeing places, all games of the theme park, outdoor activities and performances. Only Bana Hills’s ticket can be preserved in advance.

Dress Code

Three Linh Ung Pagoda are Buddhist sanctuaries, so visitors and prayers are required to wear respectively. Simple, ensuring that the armpits, navel, and knees are covered and not too much skin is shown. See-through dresses are not recommended. Sarongs are available for free in all places, giving those who don’t know the rules a proper coverage. Before walking in the praying area, visitors need to take off shoes, remove sunglasses, hat or umbrella. 

 

 

Linh Ung Pagoda Marble Mountain (aka Non Nuoc Pagoda)

History of Linh Ung Pagoda Marble Mountain

Linh Ung pagoda is the oldest Buddhist edifices in the whole of Da Nang. It’s located on a terrace overlooking the sea, luxury hotels and resorts. Established in 18th century, this holy place was built by wood and thatch and by bricks and tiles in 1825. In the same year, Minh Mang king had his first visit to the mountain and renamed it to Ung Chan. He also rewarded it as a national pagoda because of its important role in the Buddhism history of the region. Sadly, a terrible typhoon in 1901 damaged many structures here heavily but was quickly restored by monks and followers. The latest renovation was in 1992. 

The name, Linh Ung means “wishes answered miraculously”. It started to be used by Thanh Thai (1891), the 10th king of the Nguyen dynasty. The king changes the former one because the second word Chan is the same as his birth name, a taboo of the time. During the American war, the Vietcong lived in the mountains and were helped a lot by the monks here. 2000 onwards, there are two other pagodas built by the former leader of this sacred site, with the same name, same mountain location but in different directions. The second Linh Ung pagoda is in Ba Na Hills, to the west and the third one is in Son Tra peninsula, to the east. For locals, all three temples create “a spiritual triangle” to protect Da Nang and its inhabitants.

Tour around Linh Ung Pagoda Marble Mountain

Linh Ung Pagoda Marble Mountain owns richly-decorated buildings and graceful Buddha statues, providing interests to look at and take pictures. Local artisans paint on the façade of its main hall by bright colors (white, blue, red and yellow) that harmoniously-blended with surrounding green trees and black wood doors. Pots of the apricot blossom are placed on the front steps, blooming in every new year festival (around February). Yellow flowers of the plant bring delight, nothing more. On the roof, intricate flying dragons and phoenixes are crusted, all mosaiced by hands in typical Nguyen dynasty art. Above, a big banyan tree grows there from 600-years ago and is the hidden meeting place of the Vietcong in the latest war. On the main face, holy animals and flowers in four seasons are also added.

In the Main Hall, the Buddha in Three Times is worshiped in the center. The left represents the past, the middle for present and the future is for the right. Timber name boards given by Thanh Thai when he renamed the pagoda, are visual. Because used for praying and chanting, anybody walking in has to wear respectively. Free sarongs are available for free near the entrance.

If you get to Linh Ung Pagoda by walking, visitors will see the Buddha meditation with dragons in the surroundings, a pond with carps transforming into dragons and a big white Buddha statue behind. The first and last are popular photogenic spots. To the left of the Main Hall, there is the Lady Buddha pavilion, placed in the middle of a pond. Just at a distance to it, stupas containing the ashes of dead monks here are built. In the highest location, the largest one belongs to the leader monk (accessible by a stepway leading to the mountaintop).

How to Get to Linh Ung Pagoda Marble Mountain

Convenient location of the Marble Mountains allows visitors to get to its Linh Ung Pagoda without much difficulty. All local riders know how to reach it and drop off at the nearest entrance. Besides cars, taxis, jeep, and bikes, Da Nang to Hoi An bus is another nice choice. Frequency is 30 mins and the ticket price is only 20,000 VND. Read our guide about transfering between two cities here to know the route. The closest drop-off point is called “Non Nuoc”, and after leaving, passengers need to walk across the boulevard, follow Huyen Tran Cong Chua Rd and come to gate 2 to the left. There are 108 steps leading to the temple. Due to being steep, an elevator is built and costs a small fee to be lifted up. If riding the bikes by yourself, parking lots are near the mouth of Am Phu Cave. 

 

 

Linh Ung Pagoda Son Tra Peninsula (aka Linh Ung Bai But Pagoda)

History of Linh Ung Pagoda Son Tra Peninsula

Linh Ung Pagoda Son Tra Peninsula is rebuilt on the location of an old Buddhist temple. But when the former one was built is still a secret. According to local fishermans, ther ancestors saw a Buddha statue washed ashore and then a small pagoda was established to worship it. Before setting sail, they came to pray for good weather, safety and bumper catches of fish. The place where people discovered it is called Bai But or “the Buddha beach”. Because of that, the new pagoda is named “Linh Ung Bai But Pagoda”, besides what’s popular today.

The idea about construction of the next Linh Ung Pagoda in Da Nang was initiated by Thich Thien Nguyen monk who led both other sisters. The new one aims to attract more tourists to the peninsula and the city in general. When the suggestion was approved by the city president Nguyen Ba Thanh, lots of people donated money to build this. The works started from 2004, after the Linh Ung Pagoda Bana Hills and finished in 2010. In the inauguration ceremony on 30th July, the monks held rituals and chants to pray for peace, prosperity, and death martyrs who died during the Vietnam wars. According to workers, they saw the glory appearing in the place several times, making it sacred to Buddhism believers.

Buildings in Linh Ung Pagoda Son Tra Peninsula

Linh Ung Pagoda Son Tra Peninsula has many buildings, some of which look monumental and magnificent. The largest construction is the Buddha Hall, facing the south, the best direction in Vietnamese culture. On the stairs leading up to the main doors, the monks place pots of yellow apricot blossoms that bloom every New year festival. Before walking in, visitors can wear free sarong to cover if don’t meet the dress code. In the center of a spacious interior, the Buddha in Three Times is worshiped. Although being newly built, decoration and decoration rules (like Chinese horizontal boards) still continue. This section is a balance between traditional and contemporary architecture.

In the front of the shrines, there is an expansive open yard where two rows of 18 arhat sculptures and lots of bonsai pots are added. Sacred Bodhi fig trees (cay bo de) are planted in the same ground, providing shade to visitors and sacred meaning. Towards the sea, Tam quan, the Three-arched gate stands on the top of a staircase with 2 large dragons crawling on the rails. Here, lots of people stop for photos. If strolling around, it’s possible to see small landscaped gardens, a library, a meeting house, a monk house and a guest house where the female monks stay overnight.

Near the parking lots, visitors have the chance to see a huge 7-storied tower named Xa Loi (“Buddha relic tower”) and an elegant Sleeping Buddha in the front of a three-arched gate. Photography and instant printing service here is available, with a not expensive fee. Looking for middle-aged men, they do. Not far away, scenic outlooks to blue water, white sand of My Khe beach and behind the seafront can be seen. During the sunset, nature’s beauty mesmerizes the viewers.

The Lady Buddha

Standing majestically on a lower ground to Linh Ung Pagoda, the Lady Buddha is the tallest of its kind in Vietnam, 67 meters. She faces the city, to shelter it from disasters. Additionally, the female Buddha is also known as the Goddess of Mercy who “hears the cries of the world”. The prayers coming to her are to seek peace in mind, hope for a better life or a spiritual fulcrum to overcome difficulties. Featuring “Buddha in Buddha”, she houses 17 floors, each filled by 21 Buddhas. The highest storey accommodates the Buddha relic. See details in our travel guide to Lady Buddha.

How to Get to Linh Ung Pagoda Son Tra Peninsula

Linh Ung Pagoda Son Tra Peninsula (and the Lady Buddha) is a top tourist attraction in Da Nang, so getting to it is not hard. All road vehicles are convenient, from car, bus, taxi, motorcycle to bicycle. Walking is feasible and if making the trip by foot, the morning and late afternoon are perfect times. Lots of locals do exercise meanwhile. A taxi ride is just 10 minutes and costs about 150,000 VND. To return to the city, there are many cabbies near parking lots of the pagoda. Riding bikes are other popular ways, with the advantage of low expense and freedom. Parking lots are near the second bend of the cement road to the left of the Coast Road Hoang Sa, and at its end. The fee is free and locals often drop a small amount of money into the box to donate to the monks. One of Da Nang hop on hop off bus’s routes stops at the pagoda.

If planning to reach further and explore the charms of Son Tra mountain (peninsula) by yourself, read our riding guide to know details. 

 

 

Linh Ung Pagoda Bana Hills

History of Linh Ung Pagoda Bana Hills

Founder of the Linh Ung Pagoda Bana Hills is Thich Thien Nguyen monk who was born in 1945 in a village near the foot of the hills. In 1999, he trekked up the mountain to seek a place to build a pagoda to practice Buddha teachings. Meanwhile, he was the leader monk of the Linh Ung Pagoda Marble Mountain. In a discussion with him, reigning Da Nang city president Nguyen Ba Thanh agreed to add a Buddhist temple in the former Ba Na hill station, for growth of local tourism. However, the specific location couldn’t be determined yet. The presidents recommended a piece of land facing north-west but the monk liked the south-east. So, they draw to pick the final place. In 6th March 2004, Linh Ung Pagoda Bana Hills was inaugurated. It became one of the first tourist attractions in the wider area.

Ba Na Hills Buddha and The Buddha Hall

The Gautama Buddha is the best-known portion of Linh Ung Pagoda Bana Hills. Its height is 27 meters, excluding 6 meters of the lotus base. Around the base, there are paintings depicting stages in the life of the Great Buddha. Sculpted by skillful artists from Non Nuoc marble village (in Da Nang), this supremely elegant statue faces the city. Photography and instant printing services are available here, because it’s one of the Instagrammable spots.

Down the stairs lined with bell-shaped peach blossoms, visitors can see the Buddha Hall. Same to the older one in the Marble Mountains, the Buddha in Three Times is worshipped here. Sarongs for free are available before the doors, to allow visitors without much coverings to use. In the front, the Tree-arched Gate is most photographed. It features a yellow and brown painting, Chinese and Vietnamese letters, dragon and phoenix decorations, and Buddhism flags. There is an immense and incredible landscape behind it, tourists call it “the Heaven gate”. On many days of the year, this place is soaked in dense mist.

How to Get to Linh Ung Pagoda Bana Hills

To get to Linh Ung Pagoda Bana Hills, visitors have to travel by cable car from the foot of the mountain. The nearest landing place is the Ba Na Station, at the end of the first-built cable car. To take its ride, Suoi Mo Station is the only choice. After leaving the cabin, passengers can choose to walk or a funicular transfer. If would like to walk, following the car road and then climbing the stairs to the temple. It takes a longer time when selecting the second way because the train takes passengers to a place quite far. After getting up, keep walking on the paved road down to the gardens and then the Buddha and temple. 

 

 

Linh Ung Pagoda Tour and Guide

Tours to Linh Ung Pagoda

All three Linh Ung Pagoda in Da Nang are famous, and so, it’s no surprise that there are many tours recommending visitors to go there. A half-day experience is possible from the city center, no matter which place. But it’s quite rushed when visiting the Ba Na Hill’s, because of the many sights and entertainment. A day trip is more suitable. Read our complete guide to Ba Na Hills Tour for further information. About two other pagodas, find out your best fit in comprehensive travel guides to the Marble Mountains and Son Tra Mountain (Peninsula).  

Da Nang Local Guide

A knowledgeable local guide is needed in a visit to Linh Ung Pagoda. Especially if planning to see the one in the Marble Mountains, travelers should book one. The main reason is the rich history of the place, at least from 19th century. In the same mountain, there is another old Buddhist pagoda, its importance is not smaller to the Linh Ung. Caves, grottoes filled by folk religion shrines, scenic viewpoints, cliffs, peaks, hidden tunnels, Buddha sculptures and more are features that draw millions of people yearly. To experience and know the bests, itinerary, recommendations and explanations of the guide are very helpful.

A trip to Bana Hills also requires a guide who designs the most customized plan for yourself. As a part of it, of course, guiding in the Linh Ung Pagoda includes. Because always in organized daily city tours, a stroll around the Son Tra Peninsula can’t be without a guide. Sightseers definitely learn a lot about culture, history and Buddhism before returning to the city. If don’t book any tours, visitors can contact travel agencies, hotels or in social media to find out a dependable guide.

To find a good local guide quickly, you can text us. Our whatsapp number is +84968009827 or email centralvietnamguide@gmail.com.

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