Huong Tich Chu (Pagoda of the Perfumed Village) are three of the most popular pagodas. As you travel through picturesque villages, their haystacks piled up against solid concrete walls,you get a snapshot of local people about their daily work.
The pictures of Vietnamese in their coolie hats, pole across their shoulders with a basket of produce at either end, is as common in the cities, as it is in the country. It is a very real picture of Vietnam.
Rice paddies, ponds green with morning glory – a very delicious “weed” , white ducks being bred in enclosed areas beside the ponds, patches of banana palms, taro, and huge swathes of corn, patchwork the fields.
Fields divided by narrow raised pathways, where the farmers can be seen cycling with a load of wood or tools slung across their backs. Others pushing carts, or walking with their loads balanced either end of their pole, coolie hat, navy overalls and gumboots, suggest they have just come out of the shallow water where rice grows in abundance.
My Duc - River Trip We arrive at a river side boat ramp at My Duc. The rusted shells, with either metal or wooden bars stretched across for seats, were tied up in a haphazard mass.
The four of us were directed to our boat.................. two American girls were the only others on our tour today, plus the tour driver.
All the rowers were women. Our lady rowed hard, although her load was heavy. Others, in a race of sorts, overtook us. As we quietly glided down this picturesque river passing swathes of shocking pink waterlilies, shrines, and cottages set on the edge, we looked up to the Huong Tich karst mountains.
We were somewhat bemused as we passed a white riverside shrine, set in the water, from which loud rock music was emitting. On our return trip, I asked about it, and was told it was karaoke?!
The Perfume Pagoda After the hour long boat trip, it is good to stretch, before walking through an avenue of trees up to the base of the mountain. If you choose to walk to the summit, prepare for a 4 kilometre hike on a sometimes rough and slippery track. Many walk one way and take the gondola the other.
I certainly recommend the gondola, as you get magnificent views of the whole Perfume Pagoda area, stretching over the mountains to the karst cliffs, forest and looking down onto pagodas below.
Once you reach the top, there is a short walk and many steps down into the main pagoda - Huong Tich Chu( Pagoda of the Perfumed Vestige)is the most important of the Perfume Pagoda pagoda's, and is set in a cave.This is such a unique, and fascinating place. Back down the mountain, you will go through another pagoda Thein Chu(Pagoda Leading to Heaven)– quite different to the one up the hill but equally fascinating.We saw women monks here.
There were new buildings in keeping with the original pagoda well under way, being built to house the many pilgrims that make their way here. The Perfume Pagoda tour with Ganoa Tours booked through our hotel, included an excellent meal in a semi open air restaurant,situated at the base of the mountain Fed, we wandered back to our boat and took the hour long boat ride back.
NOTE: Our tour guide suggested we give the lady rowing, a small amount of dong as a tip, although she should also have been paid by the tour company. We were all happy to do this.
However, she instantly scowled and demanded a much larger amount (equating to $10US) and flatly refused to take our offerings. She ended up with nothing. But we were all rather concerned. The tour guide assured us the government paid these women.
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