The 67 metre-high Lady Buddha statue Guanyin – the Goddess of Mercy – watches over sailors and fishermen in the Son Tra Sea.
Bernard O’Riordan visited in September 2018
No matter where you are in Da Nang, Vietnam’s third biggest city, there’s one local icon that’s hard to miss: a 67 metre-high marble goddess looking out over the Son Tra Sea.
Perched high on Monkey Mountain, about 2,300 feet above sea level, the graceful Lady Buddha can be seen from downtown Da Nang, 14km away, as well as from the white sands of My Khe Beach, 9km away.
The Lady Buddha, also known as the female bodhisattva Guanyin or Kuan Yin, is considered a protector, so sailors and fishermen traditionally seek her blessing before they set off on a voyage.
In her hand she holds a bottle of holy water, which she sprinkles to bring prosperity and good fortune for those who venture out to sea.
The Lady Buddha is part of a 12-hectare spiritual site just north of Da Nang that includes the Linh Ung Bai But Pagoda. Built in the 18th century during the reign of Emperor Ming Mang, the complex is free to visit.
Here you’ll find pagodas and temples and bonsai trees, with the towering Lady Buddha taking pride of place in the centre.
The statue sits atop a lotus-shaped platform that conceals 17 levels inside, each with an altar celebrating 21 miniature Buddha statues with different shapes, facial expressions and postures.
On the headwear of the Lady Buddha, there’s also a 2-metre high Buddha statue.
You can actually see the windows that run down the Lady Buddha’s back in this video clip, showing just how high the stairwell runs.
Visitors can usually explore inside the base of the Lady Buddha and walk around the hexagonal lotus flower temple. However, it was closed when we visited in September.
The jungle leading up to Monkey Mountain is home to some amazing monkeys, such as the endangered red-shanked doucs with their blue eyelids, red legs and golden faces.
To see the monkeys, you’ll need to get there before midday, when they usually retreat into the jungle to escape the heat.
The day we visited we saw half a dozen monkeys, including some that looked just weeks old.
It was a little upsetting though because these monkeys seemed to be living off scraps at a rubbish dump, just off the main road.
How to Get To Lady Buddha
Many organised day tours visit Lady Buddha, which is about 14km or less than 20 minutes north of Da Nang. One of the easiest ways to get there is by taxi, which costs between 200,000-250,000 dong (US$8-$12).
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