- Duration: about 8 – 10 hours (travel by coachor electric car).
- Destinations of the route: Loi Am pagoda, Cai Lan temple, Long Tien pagoda, Ancient poems on the wall of Bai Tho mountain, Tran Quoc Nghien temple, Bai Tho Mountain Cultural Center.
- Itinerary: departing from Loi Am pagoda, you will go to Loi Am mountain to enjoy the picturesque landscape, study historical and cultural values of Loi Am pagoda. Next, the coach will take you to visit Cai Lan temple, Long Tien pagoda, Tran Quoc Nghien temple, Bai Tho Mountain Cultural Center. Final, the coach will take you to study historical and cultural values of ancient poems on the wall of Bai Tho mountain.
Bai Tho Mountain Cultural Center
Loi Am pagoda: is located in Dai Yen ward, Ha Long city, about 20km from Ha Long city to the West with the total area of 0,341 ha. It is onLoi Am mountain, about 395 meters above sea level. It was built in the year of Quang Thuan, under Le Thanh Tong dynasty (1460-1469),in the 15th century. Loi Am pagodaisin the direction of the South East,leans on the mountain and overlooks Yen Lap lake. The pagoda has architecture of the shape of (工)(meaning “work”) inside and the shape of (國)(meaning “nation”) outside. Remnant artifactsare the walls of the Hall and Harem, floor tiles, a pond, a field, the tower garden with 07 brick towers and01 stone tower with the words“PhoMinh tower”, 05 stone stelesdating the 15th century anda shrine (four pillars) with the height of 2,48mand the width of0,26m. On steles andthe shrine carved images of lotus, daisies, two dragons flanking a moon, dragons of Le dynasty dating the year of Vinh To(1626); the year of Chinh Hoa (1650). Over time and historical vicissitudes, the pagoda has been restored andrepaired several times: the first time in October, the 8th year of Vinh To (1626); the second time in the year of Vinh Tho (1660); the third time in the 3rd year of Tu Duc (1850)…In August 2001, the pagoda was restored on the basement of cung Tam Bảo, statues, horizontal lacquered boards, parallel sentences andother worship items. (Quotes from pages 46-50, Quang Ninh festivals byNguyen Duc Ty– Former Vice Director of Quang Ninh Relic and Landmark Management Board, 2006, published by Quang Ninh Department of Culture and Information)
Loi Am Festival takes place on the 27th of lunar January at the main pagoda area. First is the state rite, then the openning ceremony drum and the incense offering ceremony. The Buddha worshiping ceremony is implemented by monks, along with Buddhists. Long time ago, Loi Am pagoda was widely known for its picturesque landscape by domestic and international tourists. They come here not only for sightseeing the majestic sceneries on Loi Am mountain but also for studying historical and cultural values of Loi Am pagoda.To reach the pagoda, you will have to go by motorboat through Yen Lap lake with poetic landscape and then walk about 1 kilometer through the forest with interesting experiences.
Cai Lan temple:is located in Bai Chay ward,Ha Long citywith the total area of0,388 ha. The legend has it that the temple was built long ago and has been restored many times. The temple was built as solid as it is now in 1995.It turnssouth with the “Nhi” wordarchitecture.
The legend has it that Cai Lan Temple existed from Tran Dynasty. Due to its strategic location of the six estuaries in the sea, Hung Dao Vuong - Tran Quoc Tuan had the opportunity to lead histroops here to survey theterrain, thenstayedovernight and movedto Cua Ongthe followingmorning. Cai Lan creek is also a place where many bodies of Tran soldiersdrifted.Hung Dao Dai Vuong built here a temple to manage activities on the sea, and he brought incense sticks from the Han Son Shrine in Ha Trung District at Do Lam wharf to Thanh Hoa to support the Temple. It is believed that the sacredness of the Mother helped Tran dynasty defeat against Mongolian invaders in many naval battles in the Northeast. The temple used to have many statues including the Mother statue wearing white clothes (her title is White Pearl).The statue isof the same size of real people with eyes with soul looking at you wherever you stand. In front of the temple, there are two statues with sharpenedeyes, no one dared to get close in the late afternoon. In addition, there are statues of five great mandarins; a female statue and a male statue outside the temple. The temple now has been rebuilt several times; when building CaiLan Port, people moved the temple to the hill above, so most of the ancient artifacts have been lost. In 1986, many antiques andcoins were found in the old temple area,proving that manypeople visited the temple and offered a lotbefore. However, all traces have been changed, the ground has been leveled differently; no one knows exactly where these ancient artifacts were buried. In 2009, a new temple was built next to the old one in Cai Lan port area. Due to its sacredness, people still visit and light candles in the old temple to pray for their luck.
Long Tien pagoda: is a famous historical relic and landmark of Bai Tho mountain historical and cultural relic complex,which was ranked as a National Monument by Ministry of Culture and Information on August 31, 1992.The pagoda has a favorable condition in the center of Ha Long city and it is a spiritual destination attracting a number of tourists every year. Long Tien pagoda was built in 1941. It is the biggest pagoda in Ha Long city. It has the unique architectural feature with the design of Nguyen dynasty.Above the Tam Quan, therestands a statue of Amitabhain the sitting position, below it is a bell-tower. It is outstanding with three words “Long Tien Tu” (Long Tien pagoda). Both sides are two parallel sentences, the sanctum worships Buddha, the right side of pagoda worships Tran’s generals; the left side worships Holly Mother. All the Buddha statues of pagoda are cast in solid bronze and major statues are even gold-inlaid.
Before, the festival of Long Tien pagoda was held on March 24 (Lunar calendar). The festival stretches from the lunar January to the lunar February, so it attracts a lot of tourists. It is the place to send beliefs to the spiritual world of local people and tourists.
Tran Quoc Nghien temple: is a relic of Bai Tho mountain historical and cultural relic complex,which was ranked as a National Monument by Ministry of Culture and Information on August 31, 1992. The temple was rebuilt on a high ground by local people in the beginning of 20th century; its facade overlooks Ha Long bay in order to commemorate the merits of Tran Quoc Nghien, the eldest son of General Tran Quoc Tuan, a talented general in our nation’s resistance war against the Mongolian invaders of our nation.
The festival of Tran Quoc Nghien temple was restored and has frequently been organized since 2008. However since 2015, the festival of Tran Quoc Nghien temple has been held every 2 years (in even years). Today, the festival has become the cultural beauty in the spiritual life of Ha Long citizens. The festival is not only a reminder of historical and cultural traditions but also a chance to educate and improve the national pride of young generations about the values of Bai Tho mountain historical and cultural relic complex.
Bai Tho Mountain Cultural Center: has a favorable conditionin the center of Ha Long city. From the Center, you can overlook the stunning landscape of Ha Long bay. This is a place of cultural and religious life and for educating the tradition of patriotism andthat of “when you drink water, think of itssource” for young generations. Also, it can be used to organize exhibitions, conferences, workshops or award ceremonies for excellent students in the school year.
Ancient poems on the wall of Bai Tho mountain: now,on Bai Tho mountain, there still remain 07 ancient poems carved on the wall in different times. The earliest dated poem is the poem King Le Thanh Tong, carved in 1468. The poem is a Declaration of territorial sovereignty of Dai Viet as well asthe determination to build a peaceful, prosperous and sustainablecountry in Le dynasty. Nearly 300years later, in 1729,Lord Trinh Cuongled the naval delegation across here, wrote a “Họa” poem and had itcarvedon the wall. This poem is about 30m from the “Xướng” poem of King Le Thanh Tong. The poem was comfortably and liberally written byLord Trinh Cuong. It expresses not only the sense of protecting and building the country but also the spirit of the national pride. In Nguyen Dynasty, Nguyen Can was the former leaderof Quang Yen in the beginning of the 20thcentury and also a poet with the pen name “Huong Khue”. He had two poems: “Đề núi Truyền Đăng” and“Trùng đề Truyền Đăng sơn”carved on the wall Bai Tho mountain, but now only the second poem can be found. Poems have a unique art of poetry, expressing affections and attitudes towards the time. That is the attitude of “Supporting Le, eliminating Trinh”
Apart from 03poems ofKing Le Thanh Tong, Lord Trinh Cuong, Nguyen Can on the wall, there are still 04 other poems of poets carved onBai Tho mountain.