Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — One of Việt Nam’s longest festivals, the Hương (Perfume) Pagoda festival, kicked off Wednesday – the sixth day of the first lunar month – in Hương Sơn Commune, Mỹ Đức District, on the outskirts of Hà Nội.
The opening day of the festival this year was expected to attract around 50,000 tourists and pilgrims nationwide.
According to Nguyễn Văn Hậu, the vice chairman of Mỹ Đức District’s People’s Committee and also the head of the organisation department, this year’s festival has been thoroughly prepared, particularly after the Hương pagoda complex was officially recognised as a National Special Relic by the Prime Minister this year.
He also added that boats with engines are still prohibited on the Yến Stream, except for those of special forces on duty like police, forest wardens or medical staff.
Around 4,500 boats, which have been numbered for better management, have been painted blue. The festival has also been provided with more dustbins and lifejackets to ensure the safety of tourists and protection of the environment.
Procession: People partake in the Bái Đính Pagoda festival which kicked off yesterday in the northern province of Ninh Bình. — VNA/VNS Photo Ninh Đức Phương
Hương Pagoda Festival attracted approximately 1.5 million visitors last year, yielding roughly VNĐ20 billion (US$881,000) from ticket sales, said Hậu.
“The organisation department will perform better, offering more professional services and ensuring security to attract more tourists,” he added.
The price of admission to the pagoda has remained unchanged at VNĐ80,000, including boat transportation on the Yến Stream.
In order to handle the problem of overcharging, a market-watch team has been established, while the shops along the banks of Yến River have to display signboards and phone numbers.
“The hotline number of the vice chairman of the district’s People’s Committee and head of the organisation department is also published so that tourists can make contact when necessary,” Hậu said.
Although the festival officially opened yesterday, tens of thousands of people have headed to the pagoda since the beginning of the Lunar New Year, particular on the fifth day of the first lunar month.
Starting the year: The most anticipated spring festival in northern Việt Nam, the Hương (Perfume) Pagoda has officially opened in Hương Sơn Commune, Mỹ Đức District on the outskirts of Hà Nội, attracting tens of thousands of visitors and pilgrims nationwide. — VNA/VNS Photo Quý Trung
In the first three days of the Lunar New Year, February 16-18, Hương Pagoda received over 700,000 visitors, increasing 20 per cent over the same period last year.
Built between the 18th and 19th centuries, the Hương Pagoda complex features a large number of shrines and natural caves filled with marvellous stalactites and stalagmites.
Located at about 60km from downtown Hà Nội, the pagoda is one of the most famous cultural and spiritual tourism destinations in the north of the country. Hương Pagoda Festival, which starts on the sixth day of the Lunar New Year and runs until the end of the third lunar month, attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrims every year.
Also on the same day, many major festivals have been celebrated, including Bái Đính Pagoda festival in the northern province of Ninh Bình Province, Gióng festival in Sóc Sơn District and Hai Bà Trưng Temple festival in Mê Linh District on the outskirts of Hà Nội. Bái Đính Pagoda festival will run until the end of the third lunar month while the other two will last until the eighth day of the first lunar month, which falls on February 23. — VNS