(PICTURE: My cousin Justin at the pagoda in October)
Back in October, on my road trip with my cousin Justin, we met a local in Nimh Binh who took us to Bai Dinh Pagoda. Bai Dinh pagoda is the largest pagoda in Southeast Asia. If you've been to Vietnam before and haven't heard of it, don't feel bad since it probably didn't exist -- the pagoda won't be finished until 2010.
This past weekend, Huyen, Sebastian (my friend visiting from LA) and I headed for a weekend away from Hanoi. Huyen's cousin was getting married and it gave us a good excuse to take in some sites. I told Huyen about the pagoda (she had never heard of it either) and we got there right around sunset. When Justin and I went we took a dirt road that connected to a large, empty, brand new road. This time the road was finished and there were even tour groups traveling to the pagoda.
(PICTURE: Huyen and I approaching the highest pagoda.)
(PICTURE: Sebastian in front of two of the Buddahs. Each Buddha weighs 11 tons. Yeah, those are pretty fat Buddhas.)
(PICTURE: Huyen and I in front of the pagoda after the sunset.)
Besides the nearly finished roads and the tour groups, a lot has changed in the six months since Justin and I visited Bai Dinh. One obvious change can be seen if you look at the first picture with Justin and the newest picture with Sebastian -- the Buddhas have mysteriously turned golden.