Long Son Pagoda in Nha Trang – the most popular touristic attraction

Polina
Polina
Updated: 9 August 2019
Time to read: 15 minutes
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Long Sơn Pagoda is not only the most famous, but also the main Buddha temple in Khánh Hòa, the province, in which Nha Trang serves as a capital.

Long Son Pagoda. Street View
It is impossible to just pass the Pagoda by and mistaken her for something else.

The monk Ngo Chi built this temple in 1886 – he called it Đăng Long Tự (means “slowly flying dragon”). At the beginning of the year 1990 the pagoda was destroyed by a vicious hurricane – only some minor structures survived, small hints, where the sacred place had been before. To restore the place everything that could be saved from the hurricane was moved to the current location of the Pagoda. The temple had also second name – the White Buddha. In present days, Long Sơn Pagoda is located in the center of the city of Nha Trang.

How to get to Long Sơn Pagoda

The exact location of the Long Sơn Pagoda is not exactly at the center of the city, but a little bit further down the street behind the hypermarket “MaxiMart”. It will take 30 minutes to get to the Buddha on foot. If you catch the bus №2, make the Galina Hotel and the night market as your navigation points. The driver on a bus can tell you where the most convenient place to go out of the bus is. Be attentive! There is a bus stop not far away from the temple (approx. 100 meters), but if you miss it, you will have to go to the next one (300 meters from the temple).

The Pagoda was partially closed for restoration, but in august it became open again. Now the sculpture of Buddha looks even more beautiful.

At the Pagoda entry zone you will pass through magnificent gates – no way you’ll miss it. Don’t forget to cover your shoulders and knees as per the temple requirements. This place is sacred, so show some respect. You also need to take off your shoes at the entry point.

Built on Trai Thuy Mountain the Pagoda will not only bring you spiritual and aesthetical joy, but will give you the opportunity to admire the breathtaking view on the beautiful lotus flower – the Buddha statue pedestal. Go there and pray, using the traditional incense sticks. This Buddhist temple is by far the most beautiful place in the whole province.

It is interesting: originally, Long Sơn Pagoda was called Đăng Long Tự, which means “a dragon, slowly floating through the clouds”. The name was changed after the restoration.

So, you can get to the temple:

  • On foot, starting from the coast of Nha Trang. It may take from 25 to 30 minutes (2.5 km from “Lotus” to the Pagoda). You can also admire the square on your way, which is full of fountains, and also come by the Nha Trang Cathedral (St. Mary Cathedral) and take some time for shopping in MaxiMart (one of the six Nha Trang large shopping malls).
  • By taking a taxi – the prices are low, approximately 50 thousand đồngs for the trip.
  • On a motorbike (for those who can’t stand long stairs) – you may use the shortened way.
  • By taking a bus №4 or №6. The price for both of them is 7 thousands đồngs.

The White Buddha statue is seen from various places in Nha Trang – it rises above the city on a 14-meter platform.

Challenges to overcome before you see Long Sơn Pagoda up close

The main temple in the pagoda Long Son
Incense vase at the entry gates
  • First you will have to get through the crowd of the con men (locals often use kids for you to take pity on them and donate something). Young fraudsters may try to sell some postcards (overcharging for them) and convince you that the postcard is an entry ticket to the Pagoda. Pay attention and know this – the Pagoda is free for visiting.
  • In addition, the locals tend to ask you to pay for the incense sticks, which in reality turn out to also be free.
  • You may encounter some people, who can try to force you to take the tourists guide. The price at the end of the “tour” may shock you, so avoid that at all costs.
  • The main challenge though are the upward stairs (150 steps).

Reclining Buddha in Nha Trang grants you any wish!

Here is another surprise for you at the Long Sơn Pagoda in Nha Trang – miracle statue of Reclining Buddha. People believe that when you touch and rub the elbow of the sleeping sage, you can make a wish and it will soon be granted. Today the Buddha’s elbow looks dark, because each one of the coming tourists follow the legend and pray for their wishes that way. It doesn’t hurt to believe in some miracles.

You may also find the swastika signs everywhere at the Pagoda. Unfortunately, most tourists see the swastika as a sign of Nazis and Hitler, and Germany. You may be surprised to find out that originally swastika means something entirely different – in Buddhism it represents perfection and eternal life, and is also called “The Heart’s Seal”.

Pagoda Long Son. Reclining Buddha
Make a wish, standing in front of Reclining Buddha.

You can also make your wishes at the location of the bell. Do not worry – you will not miss it. The bell and the Reclining Buddha are situated right next to the stairs, and you can see both of them while climbing up to the temple. If you want to make the ritual properly, you will have to get inside the bell and ring it while the monk is busy with his prayers. Don’t be afraid to go suddenly deaf – the bell is not loud at all.

There are several ways to make a wish: speaking it out or inside of your head or writing it down on a sticker or a piece of paper and put it on the inner side of the bell. After that you can thank the monk by donating something (it is up to you) – the man is going to tell Buddha your wishes in his prayers and cleanse your spirit after all.

The trip to the main Buddha sculpture if Nha Trang

Fire and the portraits of some distinguished monastics surround the White Buddha. The first portrait out there was installed in 1963 in Saigon, when one of the monks sacrificed himself through self-immolation. He was protesting against discriminating some religions, and the event shocked the world back then. The wave of this man act soon got to Long Sơn Pagoda in Nha Trang, and the group of monastics followed through the self-immolation as well at the exact place where the Pagoda is now.

Buddha Figurines
Small statuettes at the Temple.

People believe that in such horrific way the monks were trying to protest against the USA war efforts. Bare that in mind, that you can’t take photos inside the temple and at the place of self-immolation as well. However, you will be able to see everything with your own eyes. There is a cemetery for the monks not far from the statue – the way it is arranged may seem a bit weird for you.

Pagoda Long Son. Monks burial place
Here is where the ashes of the Pagoda monks are.

You can admire the view on the city of Nha Trang from there. It is advisable to plan the trip to the temple not on a sunny day, then you will be able to avoid the scorching heat and your visit would be satisfying. You can come to the magnificent white Buddha statue in Nha Trang on any day – Long Sơn Pagoda stays opened from 8 a.m to 8 p.m. Exact address: Thai Nguyen street, Nha Trang.

The Buddha statue

White Buddha is approximately 24 meters in height. There are always live flowers inside the temple – the place is decorated beautifully. Swastika symbol can be found on the ceilings, on Buddha statue itself and t-shirts selling as souvenirs for the tourists nearby. Buddha looks serene and peaceful; he does not mind the tourists and their attentive gazes. Statue portray the faith and strength. The faces on the walls of the temple convey hurt and remind people of martyrs.

Long Son Pagoda. Statue of a sedentary Buddha
24-meter statue of Buddha.

Long Sơn Pagoda style

The temple architecture is mesmerizing – it is distinctly eastern, with mosaic decorations in the form of dragons made of small ceramic tiles. The monastics live here to this day. Inside there is also a mini Buddha statue made of bronze. It is only 1,6 meters in height, but natural material makes it look very impressive.

The temple is surrounded by the beautiful garden full of exotic flowers, man-made pools with fish and picturesque shade trees. Walking there is like stepping into the Eden garden. The panoramic view on the city is also unforgettable. Here, in the mountains you may find that it brings feelings of piece, closure and spiritual awakening. Breathing fresh air and listening to the mantras in Long Sơn Pagoda can fill you with wisdom, understanding and tranquility – those feeling will definitely linger for some time after you leave this sacred place.

Polina
Author
Polina
Since 2013, we live with a spouse in different countries, including China, the Philippines, the United States, and Vietnam. I dance, teach pole dance and write about our travel.
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