Van Duc Pagoda

If you only see one pagoda, make it this one

Photo of , , Hoi An

What we say: 4.5 stars

Van Duc is one of the largest pagodas in Hoi An and is home to hundreds of friendly monks who are very happy to give you a guided tour of the pagoda and its grounds.

The best time to visit is in the evening when the whole thing including the gates and gardens are lit up with candles and lanterns -- it's quite breath-taking. On full moons and auspicious Buddhist celebrations like Buddha's birthday, monks travel for miles to come and pray at the pagoda. If you turn up at around 19:00 on these occasions you'll be met by monks weaving their way down through the paddy to the river to release paper lanterns while chanting prayers.

To get here, head past the bus station on Le Hong Phong and continue straight for two kilometres until you hit a set of traffic lights. Turn right and follow the road to the very end, where it snakes off to the right. The Van Duc Pagoda is about 100 metres to the right on Nguyen Chi Thanh Street.

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After years of camping in her back garden in the New Forest, Caroline Mills’ parents went wild and jetted her off to Morocco where her dream of becoming a traveling belly dancer was born.

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