6 best temples in Hanoi you should visit

There are a lot of temples in Hanoi and some of them are even among the most sacred or important temples in Vietnam. Besides that these religious complexes are beautiful to see, it is also a special experience, because all these temples are still used by the locals to pray and get happiness and luck in life. A visit therefore gives you a unique insight into the religious life and authentic life of the population.

1. One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda

The One Pillar Pagoda is a must-see during a city trip to Hanoi. Much of the original temple was destroyed during the French colonial war, but the Vietnamese government had the temple rebuilt after the war in 1955. The original structure was commissioned by ruler Ly Thai Tong to commemorate the long-awaited birth of an heir. Following a prophetic dream, he had the temple built in the shape of a lotus flower to celebrate his good fortune.

2. Tran Quoc Pagoda

Tran Quoc Pagoda

The Tran Quoc Pagoda is the oldest of all the temples in Hanoi. This pagoda used to be next to the Red River, but the ground was damaged too much, so it had to be moved to a safer place. It can now be found on an island in West Lake, the largest lake in Hanoi. On an island is the striking stumpa, the main temples that are still used for incense burning and offerings and a small museum with very old antiques. For the best photos it is best to come here around sunset.

3. Temple of Literature

Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature is a Confucius temple in Hanoi. The image of this temple is on the back of the hundred thousand Vietnamese dong banknote. The temple was established in 1070 by King Ly Thanh Tong for the benefit of the city’s education and top academics. The temple was renamed Hanoi’s first university for several years. Today, students still come here around their exam period to get luck.

4. Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple in Hoan Kiem Lake Hanoi

The Ngoc Son Temple stands on a small island in Hoan Kiem Lake. The lake is located in the middle of Hanoi Old Quarter where most travelers have their accommodation, so it is not to be missed when you visit Hanoi. The Ngoc Son Temple, mainly dedicated to folk hero Tran Hung Dao who defeated a huge army of the Mongols and thus saved the Vietnamese from disaster and oppression. To get to the temple you walk over the eye-catching red bridge ”Cau The Huc”, the bridge of the rising sun.

5. Perfume Pagoda

Perfume Pagoda

Along with the One Pillar Pagoda, the Perfume Pagoda is the most sacred temple in Hanoi. It attracts many pilgrimage travellers, especially after Vietnamese New Year. The Perfume Pagoda is a complex of pagodas and Buddhist temples in a protected nature reserve. This is located about 60 kilometers southwest of Hanoi on the Huong Tich, the fragrant mountain. The most famous pagodas in this complex are the Thien Tru (heavenly kitchen), Giai Oan Chu (where injustice is taken away) and Huong Tich Chu, a cave where you see many statues.

6. Bach Ma temple

Bach Ma temple in Hanoi

Located right in the center of the city, in the Old Quarter, this Hanoi temple is over 1000 years old. The temple was built around the 11th century by King Ly Thai to honor the white horse that guided him here and where he would enter the walls of the city, part of the Thang Long Citadel. When you enter the temple through the large wooden doors, you will also see a statue of the white horse. Like the other temples in Hanoi, this one is still actively used by the local residents.

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