The Bửu Đài Sơn pagoda, which is located across from the beach north of downtown, is one of Danang’s lesser known Buddhist sites. There were several Vietnamese inside when I visited, but not a foreign tourist in sight. I could not find any English language information about this place when I searched online. The place catches your eye when you ride by and this time I decided to walk inside. Bửu Đài Sơn is a good example of the extent to which Buddhist temple architecture in Vietnam has taken its cue from China. The design of the building is clearly Chinese in origin, very different in appearance from the many Buddhist wats I visited in Thailand. The fat Budai, sometimes called the Fat Buddha or Laughing Buddha, sitting in front of the temple also originated in China. The magnificent dragons decorating the Chinese styled roof of the temple are, however, distinctly and uniquely Vietnamese. I am finding this often to be the case in Vietnam: whether it is the way people behave and interact, traditional architecture and design or cultural patterns, there is broad similarity with China and things Chinese, but the details are very much Vietnamese, often delightfully so.
I was walking on the beach, camera in hand, when this man approached and pointed at the camera and then himself. He wanted his picture taken and, in such cases, mine is not to reason why, but to point and shoot. We moved to the nearest coconut palm, he struck a pose – a darn good one if I do say so – and the job was done. I showed him the result in the camera’s viewer, he smiled suggesting approval, we shook hands and went our separate ways.
The colors got me interested from a far. As I got closer, I realized these are cloth flowers. I suppose I should have known better – nothing in nature is quite this bright. The display is lovely nonetheless and the lady selling the flowers became animated and friendly when she noticed me. A friend tells me bouquets like these are popular with Vietnamese preparing for the upcoming TET lunar new year holiday.