Minh Thanh Pagoda – Majestic Buddhist Sanctuary in Vietnam’s Mountainous City

Minh Thanh Pagoda has the most unique architecture in Pleiku City, it is not only the pride of the people in the mountain city, but also is a must-visit attraction in the Highlands

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Minh Thanh Pagoda – one of the biggest and most beautiful pagodas in Pleiku city – is located on the hill of South West Pleiku City.

 It has a unique, Japanese and Chinese-style architecture with exquisite carvings and a beautiful green campus, creating a peaceful space.
It has a unique, Japanese and Chinese-style architecture with exquisite carvings and a beautiful green campus, creating a peaceful space. Photo: Tran Viet Duc

The pagoda is located at 348 Nguyen Viet Xuan Street, Phu Hoi Ward, Pleiku city, Gia Lai Province. About 2km from the center of the city of Pleiku, Minh Thanh Pagoda has a unique, Japanese and Chinese-style architecture with exquisite carvings and a beautiful green campus, creating a peaceful space.

In 1964, the pagoda began to be built by Venerable Thich Giac Dao. Since then, the pagoda has become a place of worship and incense offering of Buddhist in the region. Experiencing the changes of history, the architecture of the pagoda began deteriorating. Thus, in 1997, the pagoda was started to be restored and constructed new sections.

A corner of Minh Thanh Pagoda. Photo: Linh Nguyen
The 72m-high tower is painted gold and is one of the tallest architectural works of Pleiku. The tower is built in the Japanese architectural style with a distinctive curved roof. Photo: Linh Nguyen
In the small alleys of the pagoda, there are many mossy walls interlaced with creeping vegetation, evidence of the age of the temple. Photo: Dam Hoa
In the small alleys of the pagoda, there are many mossy walls interlaced with creeping vegetation, evidence of the age of the temple. Photo: Dam Hoa

After 10 years of restoration, Minh Thanh pagoda still retains a natural look. It is made out of po mu wood, a type of wood which is well known in the forests of Highland region.

Especially, the pagoda doors are made of wood with the sophisticated relief of four heavenly kings (Tu Dai Thien Vuong). With a height of 6m, a thickness of 4 inches, one of the largest doors in Vietnam.

A corner of Minh Thanh Pagoda. Photo: Linh Nguyen
A corner of Minh Thanh Pagoda. Photo: Linh Nguyen

Inside the main hall is the 6m long and 1.2m high Buddhist altar. Four statues of Thousand-armed and Thousand-eyed Avalokiteshvara eyes with a height of 8m, 3.5 m long are placed at 4 corners of the hall. The wall is decorated with more than 3,000 statues.

In front of the Main Hall, in the two sides of left and right, there are two towers: The bell tower and Thap To khai son (worshipping the ancestor who discovered the area).

The main worshipping hall has two stories, Dai Hung Buu Dien and Dai Bi Dien. Inside the hall is a Buddhist altar which is 6m long and 1.2m high. In the four corners are four statues of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Photo: Linh Nguyen
The main worshipping hall has two stories, Dai Hung Buu Dien and Dai Bi Dien. Inside the hall is a Buddhist altar which is 6m long and 1.2m high. In the four corners are four statues of the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Photo: Linh Nguyen

In front of the lake, there is an incense burner of 4 tons weight and 4.5m high. Stepping up 30 stone steps, visitors are surprised at the architectural beauty of the pagoda.

The right side of the complex stands a three-story tower, where late superior monk Thich Giac Dao, the founder of the pagoda in 1970 is worshipped. The left hand of the pagoda is the two-story bell tower with two bells, in which the heaviest bell weights 3 tons and the area has an area of thousands of square meters.

There is a big statue of Amitabha in the middle of Lien Tri Lake in front of the pagoda. The stone statue is 7.5m high and weighs 40 tonnes. Photo: Linh Nguyen
There is a big statue of Amitabha in the middle of Lien Tri Lake in front of the pagoda. The stone statue is 7.5m high and weighs 40 tonnes. Photo: Linh Nguyen

Not being an ancient work, but with unique architecture, and majestic beauty, Minh Thanh Pagoda annually welcomes thousands of visitors coming to go sightseeing and offer incense. In the afternoon sun in the misty mountain town, the echo of the pagoda bell in the distance is as bringing peace to the hearts of visitors to the pagoda.

Hannah Nguyen