Wide World Blog

Wide World Blog: Perfume Pagoda, VIETNAM

Stairway to Heaven
Blog by Emily Kroman

We left Hanoi early in the morning and chatted with a lively family from Melbourne on the bus ride to the river at the base of the Perfume Pagoda mountain. We were greeted by a slew of extremely eager saleswomen pitching conical hats. Although at first we resisted becoming “those tourists,” 5 minutes of hot river sun was enough to make both of us succumb. If you look closely, you can see mine protecting my fair skin above. Here is Justin in his, on the boat ride over:

And here is our oarswoman, obviously not too impressed with our attempts to blend in with the locals:

Once we got off our boat, we began the ascent (3+km of straight stairs). Along with amazing views of the valley below, there were plenty of charming sights on the way up to the top.

Drenched in sweat, we reached the peak and then climbed down more stairs to arrive at the magnificent cavern that houses the pagoda. Unfortunately for me, I found that I had forgotten to pack a sarong and was denied entry due to my “short clothes.” Boo(dism)!

In order to not feel too disappointed, I tried to adopt a Buddhist mentality: embrace the journey, rather than the reward. Also, the monks gave me some candy. So no hard feelings, monks. Upwards and onwards!

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