This striking pagoda was founded in the late 19th century and has been rebuilt several times over the years. The entrance and roofs are decorated with mosaic dragons constructed of glass and bits of ceramic tile. The main sanctuary is a hall adorned with modern interpretations of traditional motifs. Note the ferocious nose hairs on the colourful dragons wrapped around the pillars on either side of the main altar.
At the top of the hill, behind the pagoda, is a huge white Buddha seated on a lotus blossom and visible from all over the city. Around the statue’s base are fire-ringed relief busts of Thich Quang Duc and six other Buddhist monks who died in self-immolations in 1963. The platform around the 14m-high figure has great views of Nha Trang and nearby rural areas. As you approach the pagoda from the street, the 152 stone steps up the hill to the Buddha begin to the right of the structure. Take some time to explore off to the left, where there’s an entrance to another hall of the pagoda.
Beggars congregate within the complex, as do a number of scam-artists. There’s a persistent scam here, where visitors are approached by children (and occasionally older people) with pre-printed name badges claiming to work for the monks. After showing you around the pagoda, whether invited to or not, they will then demand money ‘for the monks’ or, if that fails, insist that you buy postcards for 100,000d. The best course of action is to firmly let them know you don’t require their services when they first appear. If they persist, tell them that you know they don’t work for the monks and you’re not about to give them any money – this should ensure a quick disappearance. If you want to give money towards the monks and the upkeep of the complex, leave it in the donation boxes as you would in any other pagoda.
The pagoda is located about 400m west of the train station, just off Ð 23 Thang 10.