Not only is it the oldest pagoda, Sung Hung Pagoda also has
unique architecture and is one of the most popular spiritual tourist attractions
in Phu Quoc. The pagoda welcomes a large number of tourists to visit and
It lies at the foothill of a mountain near the Duong Dong town center.
The elders tell of two different pagodas named “Sung Nghia” and “Hung Nhan”
before their time, which were later merged into 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.
Sung Hung Pagoda has a very distinctive architectural structure which was unique
for an ancient pagoda.
Situated on the mountain near the town center, the pagoda retains a harmonious
architecture on an airy campus. It is surrounded by numerous lush ancient trees
creating the solemn and quiet beauty.
Although one of the most famous Phu Quoc pagodas, it is not known when the
pagoda established as well as background of the founders and the first abbot of
the pagoda. It is just known that the 5th and 6th abbots were Monk Thich Dat
Vinh and Monk Thich Minh Khiem who belonged to "Lam te Chanh tong" (Rinzai
In 1910, Monk Ming Khiem died, and the abbot's successor was Monk Thich Tinh
Nghia. Then it was the abbot Monk Thich Hue Chanh in 1924.
Currently, due to his old age and poor health, Monk Hue Chanh decentralized
control and care of the Buddhist in the pagoda to Monk Hue Thong, who is also
under Rinzai School. The pagoda has undergone two major restorations in 1924 and
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 gain some knowledge of the most popular religion in Vietnam.
Source: Compiled by Pha Le