Located in the area of Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple is a quiet haven lying on the creative pulse of Vietnam’s capital. Whether you are a history nerd or a curious traveler, we bet the story behind this sanctuary will interest you.
A Few Glimpses of Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi
Ngoc Son Temple is situated on a small island in the north of Hoan Kiem Lake, so you must first arrive at the lakeshore and pass a captivating red bridge (The Huc Bridge) before reaching it. This Hanoi’s charm has long been a must-visit spot on the tourist map, but for locals, this is also a renowned worshipping place.
Ngoc Son Temple on Google Map
Opening hours: 8 AM – 6 PM
- Adult: VND 30,000
- Children under 15: free
- Since this is a religious place, make sure you dress politely and speak softly.
- The temple is quite small, so please queue if it is crowded.
- In case you want to pray for good luck, burn incense and put it in a censer.
- Some items are only for display, so you should read the instruction of the management board carefully.
The Story of Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi
Historically, Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi has undergone many changes in its name and structure.
- Back in the 11th century, when King Ly Thai To moved the capital to Thang Long, he named the temple Ngoc Tuong.
- In the Tran Dynasty (1225 – 1400), the temple was named Ngoc Son.
- In the Le Dynasty (1428 – 1789), Lord Trinh Giang erected Thuy Khanh Palace on the grounds of Ngoc Son Temple. At the end of this era, Thuy Khanh Palace was destroyed.
- Mr. Tin Trai – a philanthropist at that time constructed a Ngoc Son Pagoda on the ground of Thuy Khanh Palace. After that, the temple collapsed, and Mr. Tin Trai’s son ceded the pagoda to a charity a few years later.
- The charity association remodeled and removed the bell tower. They also used the temple to worship the scholar Van Xuong De Quan.
- By 1865, the scholar Nguyen Van Sieu renovated the temple, and it gradually looked like today. Therefore, most people believe that the history of the present Ngoc Son Temple could be traced back to the 19th century.
- Nowadays, this place worships the scholar Van Xuong De Quan and the heroic commander Tran Hung Dao; and it is called Ngoc Son Temple.
Inside the temple, there are bronze statues, altars,
… and a preserved specimen of a 250-kilograms turtle in Hoan Kiem lake
After the renovation in 1865, Ngoc Son Temple has stone embankments and several constructions around. The most outstanding highlight is the Tran Ba communal house and The Huc Bridge – a scarlet bridge connecting the east bank and the temple. On the left side of this sanctuary, there is Dai Nghien, and on the east side, there is the Pen Tower situated on Ngoc Boi Mountain.
The Huc Bridge from a distance
Pen Tower symbolizes the aspiration to write poems upon the sky
Things to Do near Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi
1. Visit nearby Attractions
Within walking distance from Hanoi’s most-visited temple, you can easily reach these prominent spots.
Bach Ma Temple was embellished with stone sculptures of the unique dragon head and Vietnamese unicorn
Established in 1886, St. Joseph’s Cathedral was constructed as a simulation of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
It only takes you 1 minute to reach Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre so grab this chance to explore a unique form of Vietnamese performing arts
Hanoi Opera House is a replica of the Opera Garnier in Paris. Whether you are a Gothic style’s fan or simply seek a historical piece of the city, this is a worth-visiting spot to note down
The abovementioned spiritual places do not appeal to you? Let’s stroll through Hanoi Old Quarter
2. Sip a Cup of Coffee
After a visit to Ngoc Son Temple and a walk around Hoan Kiem Lake, what can be better than sitting in cafes and enjoying your beverage? If you have no idea what to order, we highly recommend the reputable egg coffee as it is a specialty you should never miss in Hanoi.
See our suggestions in The Best Cafes around Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi.
Egg coffee – an amazing drink for chilly days
3. Have a Light Meal at a Street Vendor
Since Hanoi Old Quarter is just a stone’s throw away from Ngoc Son Temple, why not treat yourself with an appetizing meal in this corner of the town. Pho, Bun Cha, and Cha Ca are among the best food to try in the Hanoi Old Quarter, so make sure you try these dishes when coming here.
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Final Thoughts on Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi
Amid a metropolis like Hanoi, Ngoc Son Temple is where you can find your inner peace and escape from the repetitive cycle of work and life. With its solemnity and antiquity, this sanctuary is not only a historical site to visit but also a haven for any tired souls.