Doi pagoda, which is just like the 500-year-old Kh’Leang pagoda, has been designated as a national heritage site for its remarkable architectural artistry.

Compared to other Khmer pagodas in Soc Trang province, Kh’Leang remains mostly unchanged with minimal renovations. It is situated within a vast garden surrounded by various types of plants as well as palm and plumeria trees. Additionally, Kh’Leang pagoda is home to the Southern Pali Secondary School.

Monk Sang No, the abbot of Kh’Leang pagoda and Head of the Executive Board of Soc Trang province’s Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, states, “The pagoda occupies a total area of approximately 3 hectares. The Pali Secondary School covers around 1 hectare. Initially constructed in 1532 with a thatched roof, the pagoda was subsequently expanded and rebuilt using bricks and tiles, resulting in a more spacious structure. Kh’Leang means ‘rice storage’ in Khmer, reflecting its distinctive Khmer architectural style.”

The pagoda comprises a main hall, a residence for monks, a meeting hall, and ceremonial houses for receiving guests and organizing events. Notably, most of the structures at Kh’Leang pagoda are designed as traditional Khmer stilt houses, each meticulously adorned with exquisite patterns and carvings.

The main hall, situated in the center of the pagoda, features a three-step floor. Dragon statues embellish the edges of the roof, while the surrounding corridor showcases pillars engraved with statues of Krud, which have their arms extended to support the roof.

Krud is a mythical creature commonly depicted in Khmer legends and religious edifices. Over time, the Krud mascot has become closely intertwined with Khmer culture.

The main hall’s interior displays wooden columns adorned with gold-inlaid images depicting the life of Buddha Shakyamuni and his teachings. A magnificent Buddha statue is positioned atop a resplendent lotus flower, illuminated by an array of electric lights.

Tran Ron, a member of the pagoda’s Executive Board, remarks, “The main hall boasts exquisite and distinctive interior decorations. The roof is adorned with numerous dragons and deities, serving as guardians for the Buddha. Within the main hall, there is an altar devoted to Buddha Shakyamuni. Both the main hall and the sala house are open to worshippers and serve as venues for conducting charitable activities.”

Kh’Leang pagoda blends cultural elements from both Vietnam and China in its curtains and pillars, featuring images of carps, dragons, and Chinese characters. These details exemplify the cultural and artistic influence witnessed over the centuries.

During ancient times, Kh’Leang pagoda stored sutra books inscribed in antique Khmer script on leaves. These valuable relics are currently preserved in the Khmer ethnic culture exhibition house within Soc Trang province.

Thach Thi Loan, a tour guide at the exhibition center, explains, “The Khmer people wrote on palmyra palm leaves and corypha lecomtei leaves. They sliced the leaves into sections, soaked them in water, and pressed them dry to protect against termites. The sutras written on corypha lecomtei leaves are approximately 500 years old. The collection includes books on various topics, such as pedagogy, Buddhism, medical treatments and medicinal herbs, and culture.”

Similar to other Khmer temples located in the South, Kh’Leang pagoda offers summer classes to children. These classes aim to teach the Khmer language, instill values of dignity, impart life philosophies, and promote filial piety and proper behavior.

Huynh Sa Wath, a member of Kh’Leang pagoda’s Executive Board, shares, “Children study Khmer language from grades 1 to 5. During the summer, their parents send them here to study free of charge. We currently have three classes, each with 30 students.”

Kh’Leang pagoda is a well-known tourist attraction. Nguyen Van Thuong, a visitor from Bac Giang province, expresses, “This is my first time visiting Kh’Leang pagoda. It showcases the unique Khmer culture and boasts an exquisite and spacious layout. If I have the opportunity to return to Soc Trang, I will definitely revisit this pagoda.”

Kh’Leang pagoda frequently holds traditional Khmer festivals, including the Chol Chnam Thmay New Year ceremony, Sen Dolta ancestor worship, and Ok Om Bok Moon worship.