Holy Yen Tu - The Buddhism capital of Vietnam

Yen Tu is a well-known fabulous mountain in Vietnam with much clear brooks, slowly flowing like silk bending immense green forests of ivory bamboo, fir-tree. Gleaming behind these forests are towers with ancient pagodas and temples. This place used to be the capital of Buddhism with a famous Zen monastery founded by King Tran Nhan Tong (Trần Nhân Tông) (1258-1308).

Yen Tu is the highest mountain to the West of Uong Bi (Uông Bí) town, Quang Ninh (Quảng Ninh) province, which is 17km from the centre of the town. Standing at the height of 1068m on the top of the mountain, we may cover an overview of a vast North East with Ha Long (Hạ Long) Bay gleaming in the clouds, far away from the mountain is Bach Dang (Bạch Đằng) river. Along the pilgrimage, to the foot of meandering Giai Oan (Giải Oan) brook with clear water murmuring through glossy rocks. Yen Tu was formerly known and called as Voi mountain (elephant mountain) since its shape is somewhat like an elephant heading to the sea. It is recorded in historical books that Yen Tu has another name "Bach Van Son" (Bạch Vân Sơn) since this mountain is year-round in white clouds.
Itinerary up to Yen Tu starts with Giai Oan brook, actually from a stone bridge connecting two banks of the brook. The bridge is 10m long with a simple design, but anciently nice and solid. Legend has it that King Tran Nhan Tong abdicated in favour of his son named Tran Anh Tong (Trần Anh Tông) who own a lot of imperial maids and pretty girls. He was advised to be back to his imperial palace without any success. Eventually, he dived into the river to suicide. King Nhan Tong felt pity for him to set up a pagoda to vindicate him. Since then, the brook was named "Giải Oan" (Vindication brook).
Standing at the front of the pagoda are clusters of luxuriant clusters of Madonna lily in white and canary-colored. Surrounded the pagoda are six towers among which, the biggest is the grave tower of King Tran Nhan Tong, both sides are the grave tower of priest Pháp Loa and Huyền Quang.
Next, Hoa Yen (Hoa Yên) pagoda is at the height of 543m with ancient pine-trees which is legendarily told to be planted since King Tran Nhan Tong spent his religious life there on the mountain. Above the height of 700m is Van Tieu (Vân Tiêu) pagoda gleaming in clouds on mountain sides. After this pagoda is Dong (Đồng) pagoda locating on the top of Yen Tu mount at the height of 1,068m. This pagoda was built in the later Le (Lê) dynasty alias Thien Truc (Thiên Trúc). Early 2007, Dong pagoda was completely casted with pure copper (3m high, 12m2 wide, 60 tons heavy) was transfered to Yen Tu.
On the way to Yen Tu, there stand some sights such as: Một Mái pagoda (one-roof pagoda), Bảo Soái pagoda, Yen Ky Sinh (Yên Kỳ Sinh) stone statue, Ngoa Van (Ngoạ Vân) hermitage, fairy chessboard, eco-resorts like Thac Vang (Thác Vàng), Thac Bac (Thác Bạc). Yen Tu's Zen monastery is constructed on the ground that used to be for Lan (Lân) pagoda where Tran Nhan Tong used to preach beings. This is really the biggest Zen monastery of Vietnam.

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