Located in Yen Tu Mountain, about 60km away from Halong City and 110 km away from Hanoi, Yen Tu Pagoda is a complex of pagodas associated with King Tran Nhan Tong (1258-1308) who was the 3rd king of the Tran Dynasty. After successfully excommunicate the invaders out of the country, he resigned and decided to train his son (King Tran Anh Tong) to rule the Kingdom. In October, 1299, after handling the kingdom well and made peace everywhere in the country; Tran Nhan Tong decided to leave the mundane world and went to Yen Tu Mountain practice Buddhism. In the mountain of Yen Tu, he started to practice Zen Buddhism called Thien Phai Truc Lam.
Nowadays, Yen Tu Pagoda is one of the most sacred pagodas in northern Vietnam attracting many visitors from over the country. It also becomes a famous tourist spiritual destination of the north. Visiting the pagodas and mountains of Yen Tu, we will hike 1068m long steep stone steps, the uneven path to reach the top of the mountain. Yen Tu Pagoda is a good destination to learn about Vietnam Buddhism and ancient architecture of pagodas in Vietnam. The pagoda can be accessed by cable car which should take 2-3 hours but almost the visitors chose the simplest way that is hiking on steep steps to reach the pagoda as the way to show their devotion to the Buddha.