Discover serenity at these four Khmer pagodas in Soc Trang

Mahatup, Sa Lon, Som Rong and Day Om Pu pagodas all bear intriguing Khmer design elements that charm visitors.

Mahatup or Doi Pagoda

Vietnam, Khmer pagodas, tourism, Soc Trang, Mekong Delta

Soc Trang Province, located at the end tip of Hau River, a distributary of the Mekong River, boasts a convergence of Chinese, Kinh, Khmer and Cham cultural heritages.

Visitors to Doi (Bat) Pagoda can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the surroundings and discover motifs of Khmer architecture in this pagoda.

Located on Van Ngoc Chinh Street, Ward 3, Soc Trang Town, capital of the eponymous province, the pagoda surrounded with tall trees is filled with ancient ambiance.

Its Khmer name "Seray Te Cho Mahatup" means blessing while its Vietnamese moniker "doi" or bat is derived from the creatures that have chosen this area as their habitat.

Vietnam, Khmer pagodas, tourism, Soc Trang, Mekong Delta

Evergreen trees storing rich resin reserves in their trunks attract thousands of fruit bats. At dusk, swarms of bats fill the sky above the yard, which is considered a blessing by the monks.

Vietnam, Khmer pagodas, tourism, Soc Trang, Mekong Delta

The pagoda is adorned with common Khmer architectural motifs such as naga, a snake deity or pointed towers on the roof.

Sa Lon or Chen Kieu Pagoda

Vietnam, Khmer pagodas, tourism, Soc Trang, Mekong Delta

Sa Lon (full name: Wath Sro Loun) in Dai Tam Commune, 12 km from Soc Trang Town's center, was originally a simple structure made of wood and leaves in the 19th century. It was reconstructed in 1969 into its current appearance.

Vietnam, Khmer pagodas, tourism, Soc Trang, Mekong Delta

Due to the lack of construction materials, neighborhood residents had donated ceramic tableware to the monks to decorate the walls and facade.

Som Rong Pagoda

Vietnam, Khmer pagodas, tourism, Soc Trang, Mekong Delta

Patum Wongsa Som Rong, or Som Rong Pagoda, is located at 367 Ton Duc Thang Street, Ward 5, Soc Trang Town. Like Sa Lon, the pagoda dating back to around 1785 was originally built using bamboo, wood and a simple leaf roofing.

Around the area, there are many local Som Rong trees, lending the pagoda its name.

The pagoda, routinely restored, features a reclining Buddha statue, main hall, Sala, a monastery and stupa.

The reclining Buddha basking under the blue sky can be seen from hundreds of meters away. It is 63 meters long, 22.5 meters high, weighs 490 tons and is 28 meters from the ground.

Vietnam, Khmer pagodas, tourism, Soc Trang, Mekong Delta

Som Rong combines both traditional Khmer architecture and modern design with a unique color scheme, gray instead of the popular flamboyant display of yellow.

Som Rong is decorated in the typical style of Nam Tong or Theravada Buddhism practiced by the Khmer.

Day Om Pu Pagoda

Vietnam, Khmer pagodas, tourism, Soc Trang, Mekong Delta

Day Om Pu Pagoda in Phu Giao Communal Village, Thanh Quoi Commune, My Xuyen, a rural district of Soc Trang Province, was established in 1951 and inaugurated in 1957.

The typical golden spires usually seen in ornate temples across other Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar can be found at Day Om Pu.

The god Kayno (Kerno) is venerated via statues with spread wings located right below the roof awning.

Vietnam, Khmer pagodas, tourism, Soc Trang, Mekong Delta

Sumptuous golden pillars feature bar-relief carvings.

Vietnam, Khmer pagodas, tourism, Soc Trang, Mekong Delta

A sculpture of Budda in meditation at Day Om Pu Pagoda.

Photo by Thanh Tinh, Quang Du Hy

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