As we talked about religious beliefs in Vietnam, Vietnamese venerate their ancestors at home, honor national heroes in temples, worship protective spirits in communal houses, and pray to Buddha in pagodas. Been the cultural center of Vietnam since 1010, Hanoi has so many religious places with unique architectures and beliefs to see and learn.
To help you prepare your next visit to Hanoi in 2022, we’ve synthesized in this blog post some of the most famous pagodas and temples you don’t want to miss when you’re here.
1. Temple of Literature
Located in the center of the city, Temple of Literature is a sprawling site of the Confucius worshipping place and the remains of Vietnam’s first imperial school (known as the country’s first university). Though it has gone through reconstructions and embellishments since 1070, the temple still offers valuable historical lessons related to Confucianism.
Ticket to visit the temple is 30.000đ (1,3 USD), opening hours is 8h00 to 17h00 everyday. As one of the top sites to see in Hanoi, the temple is quiet crowded in the morning.
2. Ngoc Son Temple
Ngoc Son Temple, or Temple of the Jade Mountain, is the charming temple on the Jade Island in Hoan Kiem Lake, which is connected to the shore by a red painted wooden bridge (Rising Sun Bridge). The temple was built in 18th century to worship a Vietnamese Confucian master, Nguyen Van Sieu, and the military general Tran Hung Dao, who defeated the invading Mongolians in 13th century.
Ticket to visit the temple is 30.000đ, which is required to buy before reaching the bridge. Opening hours is 08h00 to 17h00 every day. It’s best to visit the temple in the afternoon, then take a walk around the lake to see the locals enjoying their life.
3. Tran Quoc Pagoda
Situated on a charming Golden Fish Island in the West Lake of Hanoi, Tran Quoc Pagoda offers a peaceful view that you won’t get anywhere else in the city. The pagoda was built in 544, giving it a proud age of more than 1450 years old, and it’s considered the oldest Buddhist pagoda in Hanoi.
No ticket is required to visit Tran Quoc Pagoda, its opening hours is 8h00 to 11h30, 13h00 to 17h00 everyday. It’s recommended to visit the pagoda then take a short walk along the Thanh Nien road, a great way to truly feel the city.
4. One Pillar Pagoda
Laid on top of one pillar in the lotus pond in the second Hanoi French Quarter, the pagoda was built resembling a lotus blossom in 1049 to dedicate the Goddess of Mercy. Those who visit the pagoda can step up to staircases to pray at the statue of Goddess of Mercy, then visit the main shine of the pagoda with many sparkling Buddha statues.
No ticket is required to visit One Pillar Pagoda and its main shrine, its opening hours is 8h00 to 17h00 everyday. One Pillar Pagoda is one of the symbols of Hanoi, you may wish to take a photo when visiting the site.
5. How to Show Respect When Visiting a Religious Place?
Now you may wish to know how to show respect to a religious place. It’s best to follow the locals, do what we’re required to. Local people may visit a worshiping place to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere, or to experience a local religious practice. If they come to pray for their family’s good, they often come with incense, flower, fruits or teas.
Followings are what to remember before visiting a religious place in Hanoi.
- Dress modestly. Don’t wear too short that show your knees and shoulders. Chestmust be well covered.
- Remove your shoes when required, some pagodas (like in Tran Quoc Pagoda) and temples ask visitors to walk bare feet inside the worship house.
- Walk into the temples and pagodas by the door on the right hand side, and walk out on the left. As there is usually a group of prayers chanting, or praying, behind the door in the middle.
- Never point at the statues on the altars with your fingers.
- Lower your voice when ask questions, and don’t move around disturbing the prayers. Don’t block the view between the prayers and the altars or statues.
- Don’t make physically contact to monks, like offer him a handshake. Don’t touch anything, especially the statues.
- Show respect by puting your two hands together in a shape of a lotus flower when praying or talking to a monk.
- In some circumstances, it is not nice to take photo of the statues and people who are praying. Check with your guides to see if it is ok to take photo.
Being foody guides, we love sharing our personal understandings about the local traditions,beliefs, as well as religious practices. Hope this post about famous pagodas and temples gave you an idea of what to do in Hanoi. Check out these 25 street foods to satiate your hunger!
Join Flavors of Hanoi’s peronal foodie tour guide on our daily walking Hanoi food tour, and explore the best of what the city has to offer. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to keep updated on what’s new and what’s interesting in Hanoi.