Linh Phuoc Pagoda in Dalat
Linh Phuoc Pagoda is the Disneyland of pagodas – in a good way. It crams so many gorgeous sights in one area that you can’t help but feel overwhelmed, like in a particularly good amusement park.
Linh Phuoc has a penchant to set national records – biggest bell in Vietnam, longest glass dragon (49 meters long), tallest Quan Am Bodhisattva statue, and so on. It’s a fact that this pagoda does things bigger and more beautiful than countless others, and there’s no denying it after you turn into the alley that leads you to the entrance.
Parking in the spacious lot, you get your first gander at the 27 meters Da Bao tower, the lone Bodhisattva throne, the intricate main hall and newer additions such as the giant marble-cut Buddhas sitting atop a raised platform.
There are so many stunning marble, jade and wood carvings scattered throughout that Linh Phuoc seems to have taken on the role of the country’s dump yard for some of Southeast Asia’s most magnificent religious works.
The most eye-popping feature remains the broken pottery and glass used to coat the majority of the temple. While this is prevalent throughout Vietnam’s pagodas, there are few religious sites that take it to this level of meticulous detail and grandiosity. A single pillar or section of wall or figurine is a work of precise art in and of itself. The result is breathtaking.
There is nothing subtle about Dalat’s Linh Phuoc Pagoda. Especially the 49 meters dragon curling and twining around the garden, right by the snack shop area. The winding behemoth is composed of 12,000 broken bottles and is so large that to get a full sense of the dragon’s scale you’d have to trudge up a narrow set of stairs to get a full vantage.
After several hours of peeking around dark corners to find beautiful art stuffed away as if it were defective, it’s not difficult to get a bit jaded. But Linh Phuoc offers some refreshing stunners to set your sightseeing afire once again: a giant statue coated entirely in dried flowers, a nun temple with dozens of beautiful statues lining the decorative floors, the largest bell in Vietnam, an unbelievable figurine gallery and more.
When you’re tired, stop by the snack shop to pick up some vegetarian sweets, nectars and snacks, along with a selection of local teas and coffees. The bathrooms are a bit rundown but will do in a jam.
Over six decades after its inception, Linh Phuoc remains one of the most stunning pagodas we’ve seen in Vietnam. And while the presentation is grandiose, it does not diminish the fact that you’ll feel a deep sense of awe and admiration for the people that made this into one of the top pagodas in Vietnam.