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Yen Tu: A Spiritual Escape


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Life in the city, and in general at that, can be too much to take at times. As such, Vietnamese have found refuge in a relic site on top of Yen Tu Mountain. Yen Tu Buddhism Complex, located in the Northern province of Quang Ninh and situated 1,068 meters high on Yen Tu Mountain, is not only a spiritual solace, but also a place of rich history and culture.

From 1279 to 1293, King Tran Nhan Tong went down in Vietnam’s historical books for running the country with a firm hand. But more importantly, he made a name for liberating the nation against the Mongols not only once, but two times. But he later stepped down from his position, passed the responsibility to his son, to live a quiet life as a Buddhist monk instead. In a pagoda on Yen Tu Mountain, he instituted the Truc Lam zen religion, which then became like the primary place of worship of present Buddhists.

The journey to Yen Tu Mountain begins at Uong Bi City wherein pilgrims have then two choices to reach the spiritual complex. One is walking thousands of stone steps on the mountain side through the forest, getting a taste of nature along the way with a multitude of colourful and aromatic flowers; thick, green forest; and the sound of birds, streams and pagoda bells all in perfect harmony. The other way is climbing a few stone steps, taking a cable car which runs above the forest, going down at a particular area on the mountain side, and then walking the rest of the way to the peak of the mountain.

Going to Yen Tu Mountain may seem long and difficult, but the time and effort are all worth it, with the spectacular views and structures along the way. The pagodas of Mot Hai, Hoa Yen, Giao Oan and Suoi Tam are a sight to behold. A gigantic bronze statue of the famed King Tran Nhan Tong also sits on top of the mountain, in fact the biggest in the whole country. The air is also cool and foggy, giving tourists an overall magnificent yet peaceful experience.

Below the mountain, there are stalls which sell local delicacies like medicinal plants, bamboo sprout and fruits, simple but memorable things which visitors can take home and always remind them of both the adventure and peace which Yen Tu Mountain brings.


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