The unsolved mystery at the Bat Pagoda


The Mekong Delta has about 600 temples of the Khmer ethnicity; the Bat Pagoda in Soc Trang emerges as the most beautiful and exclusive architectural ensemble.

Mysterious bat flock at Doi pagoda

Bat Pagoda or Ma Toc, Mahutup Temple is the typical architectural complex in the beliefs of Khmer people. It is located approximately 3 km to the southeast downtown of Soc Trang city.

Coming here, tourists will not only admire the unique beauty of the ancient temple of more than 400 years old but also immerse in the mystical nature with swarms of bats hanging in the trees around the temple premises.

Unique architecture



bat pagoda, bat temple, soc trang, mekong delta

Bat Pagoda is one of the oldest Khmer temples in Soc Trang. Photo: yesvietnam.

Right from the entrance, visitors will be overwhelmed by the bright and shiny yellow color that almost covers the entire Bat Pagoda. While the main gate is simply decorated, the sub-gates are decorated with five-head giant snakes.

Just stepping inside, you will be greeted by the mysterious smile of the Kemnar maiden statues with hands over the chest, which cover the main corridor surrounding the main hall. Inside the hall is a monolithic Buddha statue of 1.5 m high, sitting high on a lotus throne, surrounded by walls which are decorated with vivid paintings in folk style.

You will also see here typical motifs of Khmer architecture with small towers on the temple roof, the gables with Naga snakes.

In addition to the main hall, there are many stupas containing relics of monks in the precincts and houses of monks.

The attractiveness of the Bat Pagoda also comes from the vast garden with numerous ancient trees interspersed with fruit trees like mango, star apple, durian and mangosteen.

Visitors can walk in the garden and enjoy the cool space. There is also a stone embankment pond, which brings about the peaceful and pure feeling for visitors. Standing on the shore, you just clap your hands to see fish rising to the surface to scramble and bite the bait released by visitors.

The residence of bats



bat pagoda, bat temple, soc trang, mekong delta



The most interesting thing in the Bat Pagoda is thousands of bats hanging like fruit on trees. In the peak season, the temple attracts more than a million bats.

There are many peaceful pagodas with ancient trees in Soc Trang but these big bats only choose this temple as their home and this is a mystery for people. They just park on the trees in the temple precincts, absolutely not parking outside.

Bats in the temple are the rare species of flying fox bats, weighing 1 to 1.5 kg and 1.5m wingspan. Although the fruit bats live in the fruit garden, they never eat fruit in the temple. They often fly very far to seek food.

When the sun goes down, the temple is bustling with the sound made by bats. That’s the time the bats leave the temple to search for food. Strangely, they always fly in lines for a few rounds, never flying across the roof of the main temple. People think this is like an invocation of the blessing of the bats from the Buddha before flying out.

bat pagoda, bat temple, soc trang, mekong delta

The burial area of the pigs with five hoofs in the Bat Pagoda. Photo: otosaigon

In addition to bats, stories about pigs with five hoofs make the ancient temple in Soc Trang increasingly immersed in the mysterious colors.

The Khmer believe that pigs with five hoofs are devils and any family breeding such a pig will encounter misfortune. Therefore, for over 20 years, Khmer families have brought pigs with five hoofs to the temple. These pigs are taken care and buried here after they die.

Pha Le


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