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Khmer temple Trà Vinh, Vietnam

Kompong Chray temple (banyan station), built in 1637. Once famous for its bat population. A bomb fell on the temple in 1968; the bats were scared away and haven’t returned since.

This temple in Vietnamese is called the Cave temple (chùa Hang), for its entrance design (that looks like a tunnel to me). Here’s the entrance with my rental Honda Super Cub. Read the rest of this entry »

Khmer temple Trà Vinh, VietnamOn Thursday, I got to Tra Vinh province after a 4-hr bus from Dong Thap, only to find out that I wouldn’t be able to go ahead with work. Already there, and not wanting to spend another 4 hours on bus to get back to SaiGon, I decided to stay for a day.

Next day, on a rental Honda (scooters here are simply referred as Honda), I rode along the major roads and just stopped at whatever that caught my eyes and piqued my interest. 60% of the population here is Khmer and the most visual indication is all the Khmer temples dotting around.

At the third temple that I stumbled upon, the monks were friendly, and spoke Vietnamese well enough, that they invited me to stay for a drink, and then for lunch. Our conversation ranged from the differences between the Southern school of Buddhism (Theravada, found here and similar to what you’d see in Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar) and the Northern school (Mahayana with heavy Chinese influence), to how this land once was all Khmer land. Read the rest of this entry »