Photo: The distinctive tower of Hanoi's oldest pagoda.

Tran Quoc Pagoda

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Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in Hanoi, offers beautiful architecture, historic artifacts and a peaceful and serene environment.

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Built in the sixth century during the reign of King Ly Nam De, the pagoda was first named Khai Quoc, which means “founding the country”. Since then it has undergone a move, refurbishment and numerous name changes, but it remains a serene place to visit.

The rather dramatic entrance to Tran Quoc Pagoda. Photo taken in or around Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi, Vietnam by Samantha Brown.

The rather dramatic entrance to Tran Quoc Pagoda. Photo: Samantha Brown

It was first constructed on the other side of the dyke road, by the river, but was moved in the 17th century to its current location on West Lake. Clearly the builders recognised what a prime piece of real estate Duong Thanh Nien was and that the lakeside location would add to the beauty to the pagoda.

The Buddhist pagoda is accessed via a short causeway lined with palm trees. The causeway leading to the temple gives a sense of drama as you approach, suggesting something of value lies ahead. The large entrance gate is one of the most recent additions, built in 1815, and through that to the left is a tall tower visible from the street. Entrance is free to the temple, but donations are encouraged.

One of the altars. Photo taken in or around Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi, Vietnam by Samantha Brown.

One of the altars. Photo: Samantha Brown

The tower stands 15 metres high and has 11 tiers, each designed to represent the petals of a lotus flower. Each level has six arch windows containing a statue of Amitabha and on top of the tower sits a lotus flower made from precious stone—but you can’t get a good view of that from 15 metres below.

Brick-built shrines of all shapes and sizes surround the tower, most with incense wafting out from small windows or altars, and some with Chinese writing on the side; we can’t tell you the meaning of these texts, but they are pretty.

The goddess on her grotto. Photo taken in or around Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi, Vietnam by Samantha Brown.

The goddess on her grotto. Photo: Samantha Brown

You’ll also see al pond containing a towering mountain of rock and topped with a statue of Goddess of Mercy Kuan Yin, and a yellow pagoda, construction dated 1939, which houses 14 engraved plaques chronicling the refurbishments in ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Thanh Nien Road is the wide street that runs between Truc Bach Lake and West Lake. From Old Quarter it can either be reached along Quanh Thanh Street or along the main dyke road which runs to the east of Old Quarter.

Tran Quoc Pagoda
Thanh Nien Rd, Hanoi
Daily 07:30-18:00
Admission: Free

Location map for Tran Quoc Pagoda

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