The Perfume Festival draws throngs of pilgrims from all over Vietnam to Hanoi’s iconic Perfume Pagoda, where visitors come to pray for a prosperous year and pay their respects to Buddha. The pilgrimage takes place on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month, which is usually between mid-February or March. As one of Hanoi’s most popular festivities, there are plenty of tour companies that offer day trips to the festival and during this time of the year. The Perfume Pagoda is a two-hour-long drive from Hanoi to Ben Duc Pier, where visitors travel on row boats along the Yen River to reach Huong Mountain. It takes about an hour to get to the mountains, passing by beautiful mountainous landscapes, limestone caves and rice fields.
Perfume Festival Highlights
After about 45 minutes, the boat stops at Den Trinh (Registration Shrine) where visitors can witness a dragon dance and devotees light incense for the God of the Mountain. The next stop is at Thien Tru Pagoda. This shrine was built in the 18th century during the reign of King Le Thanh Tong, housing a granite tower, five statues and unique limestone formations. The boat makes its final stop at Tro Wharf, which is located at the base of Huong Mountain.
Pilgrims are then required to climb a 120-step stone stairway towards Huong Tich Cave, which houses the final destination: The Perfume Pagoda. If you’re not physically fit enough to endure the climb, there is a cable car that takes visitors to the cave for VND 60,000 per person. Throughout the day, travellers get to enjoy a colourful display of food offerings, statues of deities and light incense.