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“The Scenery is Beautiful But the Weather is Killing”
Review of Perfume Pagoda

Perfume Pagoda
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$42.00*
and up
Perfume Pagoda Full-Day Guided Tour from Hanoi
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$38.00*
and up
Perfume Pagoda Day Tour from Hanoi
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$110.00*
and up
Full-Day Perfume Pagoda Tour from Hanoi
Ranked #43 of 277 things to do in Hanoi
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Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Level 3 Contributor
5 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“The Scenery is Beautiful But the Weather is Killing”
Reviewed June 21, 2014

I did a day tour to Perfume Pagoda. It a place for Buddhist worship. It took us around 3 hours by coach to reach the jetty.

The weather was hot when we reach the jetty, we have to take a boat ride to the foot of the hill where the pagoda (Buddhist shrine) is and then take a cable car up the hill. I have to caution people who want to visit the place to bring along umbrella as the boat do not have shelter and it took an hour to reach the foot of the hill (under hot sun!).

We had our lunch at the restaurant and after which we visit an old temple near the resturant. After this we took the cable car up the hill where we visit the cave which house the pagoda.

Things to bring - Umbrella and Bottles water. Just don't understand why they do not install shelter for the tourist boat? Also why not using a motor boat instead of a row boat as their workers are ferried by motor boat with shelter!?? By the way the day trip only provide one way cable car ride. You have option to walk down the hill which is about 40 minutes walk or pay 50K VND before you take the cable car up or 90 VND when you at the hill top station.

Visited June 2014
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2 Thank Desmond T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Perth, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
218 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 173 helpful votes
“Not worth the long drive, boat ride and walk to get there and back! Very long day.”
Reviewed May 28, 2014

Unless you are Vietnamese and Buddhist I would not recommend this trip. It is a very long journey there first by bus, then by boat and then walking (for ages even if you do get the cable car you still have to walk a long way up hill to get to that). Fortunately we went at a quiet time of the year but apparently in high season or on special Vietnamese holidays there can be thousands and thousands of people here which would be dreadful. On the walk up you are constantly asked to buy tourist rubbish from stall vendors. There were small cages with rats, squirrels, otters, birds, snakes etc in - not sure why, perhaps you can buy them if you want to - didn't like that at all! When you do finally get to the top it is more walking down a lot of steps to the cave and then back up again to get out. This is no fun in 40 degree heat.
This is not a trip for the unfit or faint hearted and I really think it is a very long way to go to see a cave which is interesting but I do not think worth going all that way. We left at 8 in the morning and got back to our hotel at 9 at night! I think this place holds a lot of significance for the Vietnamese but I am not convinced that we as tourists need to go here.
Plus I might mention, just to top off a disappointing journey, when we got in the cable car to go back down the mountain it broke down and we were left hanging in the canyon for half an hour in 40 degree heat.
We eventually got winched backwards to the station and then had to all walk down the mountain - about 3-4 kilometres down hill and down steps all the way! I do not recommend this trip.

Visited May 2014
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5 Thank JulieH6061
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vientiane, Laos
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“so so destination”
Reviewed May 6, 2014

Nice trip, Other customers should bewared the hike up the mountain takes an EXTRA 2 beyond what the itinerary advertises because they seem to expect visitors to pay extra to take the lift to the top of the mountain. We took the lift up and got back exactly when the itinerary said we should have gotten back if we'd done the hike, though taking the hike would have actually put us back 2 more hours.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank John S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
128 reviews
61 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
“Tourist trap. Avoid.”
Reviewed May 2, 2014

We went on this trip to get a bit of respite from Hanoi. The boat ride was slow and the views weren't that great as they were spotted with advertising billboards.
We visited the cave, which was a concreted over shrine. We then visited one of the temples of the complex that makes up the perfume pagoda, which was underwhelming to say the least. The market sells the biggest load of Tourist tatt and religious offerings I have seen. The cable car was overpriced and didn't really offer any outstanding views. The location should be amazing as it has the same limestone karsts jutting out of the vegetation made famous by halong bay. I noticed during my travels around vietnam that there was very little in the way of wildlife. This was no exception. Our guide's answer to my question was to blame the Americans and Agent Orange, but although that may have stripped the area of wildlife for a good decade or so, there should have been recolonisation 40 years on. A heavily forested area with nothing of interest, unlike the jungles of their neighbours, which whoop with the sounds of gibbons, monkeys and birds.
In the restaurant area, there were otters, squirrels, dogs, civet type creatures and wild cats all stripped of fur and hanging by their mouth with wire (might go a little way to explain why there is so little wildlife). The food in the restaurants was appalling. My food was covered in hair and grit. The hygiene levels non-existent. We stayed in homestays across Vietnam, so were used to basic conditions, but this place was filthy.
There is also live food for sale - bleeding squirrels and rats in drinks can sized wire cages, frogs and toads tied together, pill bugs, etc. I'm not an animal activist and would be fine eating meat from any source, so long as it is not taken unsustainably from the wild. Our guide said that the bats in the caves were hunted as they tasted so good, but there weren't many around anymore. When I asked what they tasted like, he said 'chicken'. So just eat chicken then you moron!
I'd give it a miss! In fact, I'd give Vietnam a miss and go to Malaysia, Indonesia or Myanmar instead!

Visited April 2014
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7 Thank planetwanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dunedin, New Zealand
Level 6 Contributor
108 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Very long day!”
Reviewed April 24, 2014

It starts with a 2 hour bus trip, 1.5 hour boat trip (very loose description - really a plank to sit on in a row boat), followed by nearly 2 hour walk up in very hot/humid conditions to see a pagoda in a cave. Sort of got the significance but personally much preferred unesco heritage site cave at Halong bay. Huge day and make sure you eat lunch before you begin the hike up the hill. Given that we chose to do it, we are pleased we made the effort to walk up rather than via the cable car.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank Totosfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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