Van Duc, one of the largest pagodas in Hoi An, is home to monks who are sometimes happy to give you a quick tour of the pagoda and its grounds.
When we visited in May 2016, a large, slick main temple hall was under construction and though built with wood in a traditional style, we wonder if some of the original crumbly charm of this pagoda has been lost.
The best time to visit is in the evening on full moons and auspicious Buddhist celebrations like Buddha's birthday, when monks travel for miles to 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.
Otherwise, the pagoda can be a pleasant diversion on the way to An Bang Beach (but please, definitely no beach wear!). It’s four kilometres from An Bang. If you are travelling north to the beach on Hai Ba Trung, just before the last bridge is the islet with Tra Que vegetable village. Head west from the village for 1.8 kilometres.
Alternatively, if you are travelling from town, travel west on Nguyen Tat Thanh Street. You’ll pass the bus station at the corner of Le Hong Phong. From this intersection it is one kilometre until you hit a set of traffic lights at the small intersection with Nguyen Chi Thanh Street. We noticed a sign pointing out the direction of the pagoda "Chua Van Duc" but it was partially obscured and not very noticeable. Turn right here and follow the road straight to the very end, where it snakes off to the right, approximately two kilometres. The gates are on the right hand side.
By Cindy Fan
Last updated on 23rd September, 2016.