Located remotely in three different locations: at Son Tra peninsula (bán đảo Sơn Trà) off the shore of Danang City, at Ba Na peak (đỉnh Bà Nà), and at Five elements mountains (Ngũ Hành Sơn), yet all three pagodas have the same name: Linh Ung (Linh Ứng.) In Vietnamese, the word “Linh ứng” literally means “wishes answered miraculously,” and for such belief, pilgrims from across Vietnam here to the city of Danang to visit and to pray for a wealth and prosperity.
Here at these spiritual grounds, you may find peace in the soul and mind.
The Linh Ung pagoda at Son Tra Peninsula
(On the way to Linh Ung pagoda at Son Tra peninsula. Photo: Lê Duy Hưng)
The most well-known of the three is the one positioned at Son Tra peninsula. From the city’s downtown, you can catch a motorcycle cab or a taxi to go to the peninsula. There are two ways to go there: move across the Han River (sông Hàn) and turn left or across Thuan Phuoc Bridge (cầu Thuận Phước) and keep going northeast. At nearly 200m above sea level, this 20 hectare pagoda offers a magnificent view of the sea and the city of Da Nang. Venerable Thich Thien Nguyen, the pagoda’s manager says that in the reign of King Minh Mang, local fishermen discovered a statue of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy on the beach. After that, a temple dedicated to the goddess was built on the site. Since then, local residents have enjoyed peaceful and prosperous lives.
Hanged in the boundary of earth and the sea, the pagoda presents itself as a spiritual lighthouse for all to dismiss their temptations and to pray to gods and to find peace in minds. The pagoda’s architecture is based on the ancient and pre-colonization period architecture, which is very similar to ancient Chinese buildings’ design. In the courtyard are 18 Arhat statues that represent different emotions such as love, hate, happiness, and anger. The most significant architecture is the colossus 67m statue of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (Quan Thế Âm Bồ Tát) standing on a giant lotus. Inside the statue, there is a smaller integrated 17-story tower for tourists to admire the magnificent sight of where the earth, the sky, and the sea converge.
The pagoda at Ba Na peak
(The statue of Sakyamuni Buddha (Đức Bổn Sư) in Linh Ung pagoda at peak Ba Na. Photo:Trần Lê Anh Dũng)
Located at the height of 1500m, Linh Ung pagoda at Ba Na is more ancient and more related to the ancient Vietnamese architecture which has curved roof tile, very large paved yard in front of the main pagoda, and columns with dragon pattern coil around them. Before entering the pagoda’s main gate, there is an evergreen tree that has three different types of leaves. Then, when you have entered the pagoda area, you will be stunned by the august yet magnificent 27m white statue of Sakyamuni Buddha sitting on a lotus and looking down at the wonderful valley below. You can either hike to the peak or take a ride from the world longest cable car system to arrive at the top of the hill.
The pagoda at Ngu Hanh Son
The five ‘mountains’ are named after the five elements; Kim (metal), Thuy (water), Moc (wood), Hoa (fire) and Tho (earth). And in the top of Thuy Son (water), which is the only mountain that is accessible to the tourists, there is Linh Ung pagoda. The pagoda is also so known as the Outer Pagoda, and on the other side, there is Tam Thai pagoda, also known as Inner Pagoda, which is also located on the Water Mountain.
Similar to the other two temples in Danang, on the campus of the Linh Ung Pagoda also has a white Buddha statue, which is leaning back to the mountain, facing the temple, creating purity in the space and in the mind of the visitors. There is also “bless giving” 7-story tower where hundreds statues of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Arhat are located.
Even though it is difficult to visit all three Linh Ung Pagodas on one day, any pagoda is an exciting destination with many others exhilarating attractions around it to be seen. You can combine sightseeing and exploring the pagoda at Son Tra Peninsula, peak Bana or the Non Nuoc stone carving village in Marble (another name of Ngu Hanh Son). Danang will satisfy your spiritual yearnings in an exceptionally natural setting.
Vy An (649)