Set on its own island on Hoan Kiem Lake, it’s easy to see why picturesque Ngoc Son Temple (Temple of the Jade Mountain) is one of the most visited places of worship in Hanoi. Full of history and scenic beauty, this fascinating 19th-century temple offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi.
Constructed in the classical Vietnamese style, the temple is dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao (who defeated the Mongols), La To (patron saint of physicians), and scholar Van Xuong. Walk across the elegant Huc Bridge, painted in red, to Jade Island, where the temple is located. Admire the ornate Three Passage Gate, and take in the different structures, including the Pen Tower, Ink Slab, Moon Contemplation Pavilion, and Tran Ba Pavilion.
Many half-day and full-day sightseeing tours of Hanoi will feature a stop at Ngoc Son Temple, along with other top attractions such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, and the Temple of Literature. Or experience Hanoi like a local on a motorbike tour around the city.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Visitors must cover their shoulders and knees to enter the temple; appropriate clothing can be borrowed at the entrance with an ID deposit.
- Don’t forget to take in panoramic views of Hoan Kiem Lake from Huc Bridge.
- Periodic renovations can shut down significant portions of the temple grounds.
How to Get There
Ngoc Son Temple is located within Hoan Kiem Lake, just south of the Old Town and north of the French Quarter. You can walk to the temple from most areas of central Hanoi. It is also accessible by the 36 bus.
When to Get There
The temple is open daily. Visit early in the morning to see locals around the lake practicing Tai Chi, and to beat the crowds. The temple is very popular on weekends, with smaller crowds during the week. For the best photos, visit around sunset or in the evening, when the temple is lit up and reflected in the calm waters of Hoan Kiem Lake.
Turtle Tower is the other structure in Hoan Kiem Lake. A 3-tiered pavilion, it’s also known as Thap Rua. A key icon of Hanoi, it was built in the 19th century to commemorate the golden turtle and the returned sword of legend. Although it’s not accessible to the public, its illuminated after dark and offers a great photo opportunity, particularly with its shimmering reflection in the lake. accessible to the public.