Sung Hung Pagoda is one of the oldest religious sites in Phu Quoc Island and well worth a visit. If you are on the island for a limited number of days and want to soak in the local culture, then visiting this pagoda is a must.
History of the pagoda
Sung Hung Pagoda, following the Mahayana, is one of the oldest pagodas in Phu Quoc. It lies at the foothill of a mountain near the Duong Dong town center. No information exists as to whether the Sung Hung Pagoda was built exactly. Elders tell of 2 different pagodas named “Sung Nghia” and “Hung Nhan” before their time, which were later merged into the one named “Sung Hung Pagoda” of today. Rumor also suggests the place was built in the early 20th century. The pagoda was refurbished twice in 1924 and 1960.
Outside the pagoda is three-gate entrance with wave-shaped tile roof and decorated by “2 dragons reaching the pearl” relief along with name-table of Sung Hung Pagoda in kanji and national language. Behind the imposing three-gate entrance is the statue of Avalokitesvara standing on the lake right at the pagoda’s courtyard. Up ten sidesteps is a large courtyard with lotus pond and gate built with four wooden pillars and ying-yang tiled roof.
Both sides are flanked by two majestic unicorns which were offered from a generous donor nearly 100 years ago. This is relatively common architectural style in Phu Quoc pagodas.
Behind the gate is the sanctum which is constructed on masonry foundation nearly two meters high. Both sides of the sanctum are two house blocks with quicklime walls, which are places for tourists to stay. Inside the sanctum are numerous statues made from wood, bronze and plaster.
There is also a big bell and the system of horizontal lacquered boards, parallel sentences which are gorgeous red lacquer trimmed with gold. These unique architecture together with the ancient sacred atmosphere make Sung Hung Pagoda an impressive tourist site in Phu Quoc tourism.
The center shrine is arranged in three floors. The highest floor is home to worship Buddha with the statue of Amitabha sitting in the center, the statue of Mahasthamaprapta standing on the right, the statue of Avalokiteshvara standing on the left.
Behind the chancel is the altar decorated with a dragon masterpiece of the artist Cao Sanh. Scattered on the walls in the sanctum is a scene narrating the journey to the West of Tang Tang Master looking extremely vivid. Behind the sanctum are two paths including many sidesteps leading to the upper pagoda.
The pagoda attracts a large number of visitors in the area.
One can visit Sung Hung Pagoda easily, since it is near the center of Duong Dong Town. Entrance is free. It opens daily from 7a.m. to 6p.m. This should be a great chance for foreigners to learn more about ancient pagoda architecture as well as to gain some knowledge of the most popular religion in Vietnam. Please wear the appropriate attire when visiting this place – no bikinis, tank tops, or tight skirts.
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