Visit Yen Tu Mountain and Discover The “Cradle” Of Vietnamese Buddhism

Yen Tu Mountain is the famous Buddha land of Quang Ninh province, possessing not only many sacred temples but also spectacular natural scenery. In the past, people would have to climb a long way up to pray and participate in festivals, but now there is a convenient modern cable car system. This place is attracting more and more people to visit and stay, especially at the beginning of the year and special holidays.

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yen tu mountain
Source: Youtube1312

Yen Tu Mountain's history dates back to the 13th century, when a Zen master is believed to have built a temple on the mountain. During the Tran Dynasty, King Tran Nhan Tong established the Truc Lam Zen sect and built the first temple on the mountain of Yen Tu. Over time, the mountain became a pilgrimage site for Buddhists seeking enlightenment. Today, Yen Tu Mountain remains a sacred site for Buddhists and attracts visitors from around the world. To be able to prepare a suitable, economical plan and have the most memorable experiences, you can refer to the information below:

I - Fascinating experiences at Yen Tu mountain Vietnam

yen tu vietnam
Source: @FbChuayentu

1 - Climbing to conquer Yen Tu peak

The road to conquer Yen Tu mountain is about 6km long, reinforced by thousands of solid stone steps, with a travel time of about 6 - 8 hours and longer in the peak tourism season. This trip is quite difficult, but also a form of exercise, a way of showing respect and determination, giving you the opportunity to admire the unspoiled beauty of the mountains. The roadsides are covered with dense green trees and fresh air, dotted by murmuring streams and chirping birds. Along the way, you will pass many interesting stops such as the bamboo forests, ancient pagodas and temples,...
About 300m from the parking lot, you will see Yen Tu mountain's famous clear Giai Oan stream and pagoda, associated with the story of hundreds of palace maidens who drowned themselves to prevent King Tran Nhan Tong from becoming a monk. The road then leads you to the Ancestral tower area under the shadow of an old pine tree nearly a thousand years old, in the middle of which is the 10m high tomb of King Tran Nhan Tong with 6 square green stone floors, surrounded by walls on four sides. From here, passing 136 stone steps, you will reach Hoa Yen Pagoda located at an altitude of 535m above sea level, covered with luxuriant golden marigolds.

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Originally named Van Yen which means smoke and cloud, the pagoda about 700 years ago was just a workshop for King Tran Nhan Tong, and later renamed Hoa Yen by King Le Thanh Tong. Along with the surrounding works, this pagoda forms a main architectural complex with the largest and most beautiful scale of the Yen Tu area, so it is also known as Ca pagoda (Biggest). Only about 200m to the east of it is the small Mot Mai pagoda (One Roof) precarious on the cliff, with a unique architecture as the name suggests: half hidden in a cave, half exposed with moss-covered tiled roofs.

yen tu mountain vietnam
Source: @FbChuayentu

Continuing on the road to the top of Yen Tu mountain, you will encounter Van Tieu pagoda in the west of the mountain range, covered by green trees all year round. From an altitude of about 724m above sea level, you can get a wide view covering the whole Uong Bi area, with the winding Bach Dang river in the distance. The main hall of Van Tieu pagoda has an area of 121m2, including the front and rear palaces, worshiping many different Buddha and gods. In front of this work is an ancient tower garden called Vong Tien Cung, consisting of 6 tops made of stone and brick, with the most prominent being the 9-storey octagonal prism stone tower located in the center.

What are the top famous Pagodas In Vietnam to visit?

Located at an altitude of 1000m in Yen Tu mountain, Trinh Pagoda, also known as Bi Thuong, is nearly 400 years old with unique architecture, peaceful landscape of green trees and flowing streams. In addition, you can also visit the 7m-high Hue Quang Tower, consisting of 5 floors assembled from green stone blocks, surrounded and shielded from wind and rain by hundreds of years old trees. The tower is decorated in the typical architectural style of the Tran Dynasty with 102 lotus petals and soft string flowers, elaborately carved with a flexible, soft and extremely ecstatic pattern.
On the top of Yen Tu mountain, there is also the wonder called An Ky Sinh, which is a natural rock shaped like a monk with folded hands respectfully. Nearby, there is a statue of King Tran Nhan Tong cast in monolithic bronze with a calm and relaxed posture, weighing up to 138 tons, 12.6m high. Situated in the midst of a magnificent mountain and forest landscape, this is a monument built by the locals to commemorate the king’s merits for the nation and religion. Currently, it has become a place to sightsee and worship Buddha worth visiting when traveling to Yen Tu Vietnam.

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2 - Using Yen Tu mountain cable car

yen tu mountain cable car
Source: @FbThucKim

The journey to conquer the peak is very interesting but also quite exhausting, unsuitable for families with elders and children. Therefore, you can consider another option that is cable car, a modern system consisting of 2 stages with a total length of 2.1km traveling at an altitude of 450m. The first part is from Giai Oan Valley to Hoa Yen Pagoda, and the second part is from Mot Mai Pagoda to An Ky Sinh Statue. Taking the Yen Tu cable car, you can both save time and feel the misty air when passing through the green primeval forests, admiring the dreamy romantic scenery of Yen Tu mountain covered by countless hundred-year-old golden apricot blossoms.
- Fare:
+ One-way ticket: 180,000 VND / person / part ($7.67)
+ Round-trip ticket: 230,000 VND / person / part ($9.8)
+ Combo for both parts: 260,000 - 280,000 VND / person ($11.08 - 11.93)
- Operating hours:
+ During Yen Tu Spring Festival: 5am - 8pm
+ Lunar April - December: 7am - 6pm
- Movement speed: 5-6 m/s

3 - Visiting Dong Pagoda on Yen Tu mountain

yen tu pagoda
Dong temple - Source: Internet

Originally just a place for daily meditation of King Tran Nhan Tong, Bronze Pagoda was built by the wife of Lord Trinh, in the 17th century of the Post-Le era. The work at that time was just a small room cast in bronze, the roof of which was later overturned by a storm and the rest was stolen in 1740. In 1930, Mrs. Bui Thi My from Long Hoa pagoda successfully convinced people to donate to build the reinforced Dong Pagoda with the same size and location. On June 3, 2006, Dong Pagoda was once again rebuilt and renovated, officially inaugurated on January 30, 2007.
Also known as Thien Truc Temple, Dong Pagoda is located at the highest point of Yen Tu mountain at an altitude of 1,068m, giving the feeling of touching the clouds when you stand here. The new work is cast entirely in bronze by experienced artisans in Y Yen, Nam Dinh, modeled after the Keo pagoda in Bac Ninh. It weighs 70 tons, with a width of 3.6m, length of 4.6m, and height from column to roof of 3.35m, including 4000 components, of which the heaviest is up to 1.4 tons. All details, from the tiles to trusses, are measured and edited to ensure aesthetics and similarity to the design.
Dong Pagoda is considered by many to be a golden lotus on the top of a sacred Yen Tu mountain, with meticulous patterns and intricate carvings according to Tran Dynasty architecture. Behind the pagoda is a house built for the monks to live in, and on both sides there are pylons to hang bells, which Vietnamese people often use money to rub on as an activity to pray for luck and fortune. People also believe that just going to Dong Pagoda, touching the items here and lighting a stick of incense, all worries will disappear and there will be a sense of serenity, bringing good things to your life.

4 - Joining Yen Tu mountain festival

yen tu mountain weather
Source: @FbChuayentu

As one of the largest-scale events in Quang Ninh, Yen Tu festival takes place yearly from January 10 to the end of March of the lunar calendar. No one knows when it was formed, but since the 17th - 18th centuries, there has been an annual ceremony held here with a large number of participants. The festival begins with a solemn ceremony at the foot of the mountain, followed by a pilgrimage to the Dong Pagoda on top of the mountain. After the palanquin procession and the opening, there will be a special art performance, along with folk games such as cockfighting, tug of war, chess, etc.
Participating in the Yen Tu festival, you will have a chance to watch traditional cultural performances, dragon and lion dances, traditional martial arts, at the pilgrimage communal house area. There are also display areas for many types of flowers, ornamental plants, yellow apricot flowers, and folk competitions that you can join in such as swinging, tug of war, blindfold smashing pots, etc.

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II - A complete Yen Tu mountain travel guide

yen tu mountain festival
Source: @FbChuayentu

1 - Where is Yen Tu mountain in Vietnam?

Also known as Tuong Dau Mountain, Yen Tu mount is located between the border of Bac Giang and Quang Ninh provinces, belonging to the Dong Trieu mountain range in Northeast Vietnam. With a height of 1068m above sea level, this place has beautiful mountain scenery, cool climate and fresh nature, with a diverse range of flora and fauna. As the origin of Truc Lam Zen Monastery in Vietnam founded by King Tran Nhan Tong, Yen Tu has soon become a spiritual tourist destination attracting people from near and far. This complex is a place to keep historical and cultural relics associated with the formation and development of the Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen sect.

2 - The best time to visit Yen Tu mountain

The area of Yen Tu has a typical weather pattern of the North with 4 distinct seasons, however, the summer here is cooler than in other regions. Spring temperature is from 12 - 18°C, with some light drizzle - you can feel a little chilly walking under the pine forest early in the morning. The winter is cold and quite harsh, sometimes there is frost on the top so you should avoid going in this season because the road is slippery. Therefore, it is best to travel to Yen Tu mountain Quang Ninh in the spring.
If you want to fully enjoy the festive atmosphere, you can travel here from October 1 - March 30 of the lunar calendar, equivalent to February - April of the solar calendar. However, this is also peak season with thousands of people flocking here, so if you do not like to be crowded, or go with the elderly and children, you should consider from March onwards. After that time, the number of people going to the festival gradually decreased, the weather was relatively cool, the festival activities were less but still very suitable for you to visit the temple and worship. In addition, you can also go in September - December to sightsee and hunt clouds on Yen Tu peak.

3 - Where to stay when traveling to Yen Tu mountain?

yen tu mountain mgallery hotel
Legacy Yen Tu MGallery - Source: Fantasea

Legacy Yen Tu - MGallery
Located at the foot of the sacred Yen Tu mountain range, this is a resort with extremely unique architecture and landscape in Quang Ninh. Isolated between the mountains and forests, Yen Tu Mgallery recreates a palace of the Tran Dynasty with typical architectural features. This place gives you the feeling of being in the middle of a fairyland, allowing you to enjoy a relaxing vacation in nature, retreating to a resort with Buddhist architecture. There are many fun activities and experiences, especially mental health care in the direction of Meditation and Yoga.
- Address: Thuong Yen Cong Commune, Uong Bi City, Quang Ninh Province 
- Price: 3,487,000 - 3,535,000 VND / room / night ($148.62 - 150.67)
- Contact: (+84) 203 625 9888
Lang Nuong Yen Tu - Yen Tu Village
Another top luxury resort near Yen Tu mountain is Yen Tu village. This resort was designed by architect Bill Bensley, creating a harmonious combination of patterns of the Tran Dynasty and the application of traditional Vietnamese materials. Yen Tu Village has been put into use since 2018, with a total of 133 rooms, arranged to simulate the ancient palace layout with the main colors of yellow and brown. The main materials used here are quite familiar and rustic such as burlap, jute yarn, ceramic and copper, perfectly harmonious with sophisticated decorative objects made by the hands of Vietnamese artisans from famous craft villages.
- Address: Thuong Yen Cong Commune, Uong Bi City, Quang Ninh Province - 3km from Yen Tu Mountain
- Price: 1,287,000 - 1,430,000 VND / room / night ($54.85 - 60.95)
- Contact: (+84) 203 651 8888


For centuries, Yen Tu Mountain has been a pilgrimage site for Buddhists seeking spiritual enlightenment and a deeper connection with nature. Today, Yen Tu Mountain continues to attract visitors from all over the world who seek to experience the serene beauty and spiritual wonder of this unique destination. With the above detailed Yen Tu travel guide, hopefully you will make the best plan for your visit. 

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Being born and living here in Vietnam, I got a chance to see lots of beautiful places, try countless great dishes, & experience many interesting things in places I visited. And It's so great to share all things I know about Vietnam to you.

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