Hanoi’s Oldest Pagoda

HANOI, Vietnam — At 1400 years old, Tran Quoc Pagoda, in a picturesque spot on a small island in Hanoi’s West Lake, is the city’s oldest temple. And while small, it’s quite beautiful.

Tran Quoc Pagoda Hanoi Monk Praying

At about 1400 years old, Tran Quoc Pagoda is Hanoi’s oldest temple. It sits on the tiny Golden Fish Island on West Lake (Ho Tay), joined to the lake banks by a causeway.

It’s a picturesque spot, but the temple wasn’t always here. Originally, in the 6th century, the pagoda was built on the banks of the Red River. When the changing course of the river threatened to wash the temple away, in 1615 the building was moved to its current location.

Photos of Tran Quoc Pagoda

Tran Quoc Pagoda Hanoi Tower
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Tran Quoc Pagoda Hanoi Altar
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Tran Quoc Pagoda Hanoi Statues
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Tran Quoc Pagoda Hanoi Chapel
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Tran Quoc Pagoda Hanoi Courtyard
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Tran Quoc Pagoda Hanoi Buddhist Monk Praying
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Tran Quoc Pagoda Hanoi Statue Tower
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Tran Quoc Pagoda Hanoi Altar Statues
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Tran Quoc Pagoda Hanoi Incense
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel
Tran Quoc Pagoda Hanoi Tower and Gate
Photo by David Coleman / Have Camera Will Travel

More About Tran Quoc Pagoda

  • Oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi, dating back to the 6th century
  • Originally constructed on the banks of the Red River, later moved to its current location on an island in West Lake in 1615
  • Tran Quoc Pagoda is also known as the “Defending the Nation” Pagoda
  • The pagoda’s architecture represents traditional Vietnamese and Indian styles
  • Houses numerous precious religious artifacts and ancient statues, including a 15-layer towered shrine
  • A bodhi tree gifted by the Indian President Rajendra Prasad in 1959 is located on the pagoda grounds
  • Tran Quoc Pagoda is an important center for Buddhist cultural and spiritual activities

Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi, dates back to the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Ly Nam De. Initially constructed on the banks of the Red River, it was later moved to its current location on an island in West Lake in 1615 to prevent riverbank erosion. The architecture of the pagoda represents a harmonious blend of traditional Vietnamese and Indian styles, featuring an elegant main temple and several smaller structures, including a 15-layer towered shrine.

The pagoda is home to numerous precious religious artifacts and ancient statues, making it an important center for Buddhist cultural and spiritual activities. One of the highlights on the grounds of Tran Quoc Pagoda is a bodhi tree gifted by the Indian President Rajendra Prasad in 1959. This tree is a direct descendant of the original bodhi tree under which the Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment.

What’s Nearby to Tran Quoc Pagoda

How to Get to Tran Quoc Pagoda

Tran Quoc Pagoda is located in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. The nearest major airport is Noi Bai International Airport (HAN), which is approximately 14 miles (23 kilometers) from the pagoda. The nearest public transport hub is the Hanoi Railway Station, which is well-connected to various parts of the city via bus and taxi services. To reach Tran Quoc Pagoda, visitors can take a taxi or use ride-hailing apps such as Grab to navigate the city conveniently.

Tran Quoc Pagoda FAQs

Where is Tran Quoc Pagoda located?

Tran Quoc Pagoda is located on an island in West Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam.

What are the opening hours of Tran Quoc Pagoda?

Tran Quoc Pagoda is open daily from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM.

Is there an entrance fee for Tran Quoc Pagoda?

No, there is no entrance fee to visit Tran Quoc Pagoda.

How old is Tran Quoc Pagoda?

Tran Quoc Pagoda dates back to the 6th century, making it the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi.

What is the significance of the bodhi tree at Tran Quoc Pagoda?

The bodhi tree at Tran Quoc Pagoda was a gift from the Indian President Rajendra Prasad in 1959. It is a direct descendant of the original bodhi tree under which the Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment.

Is Tran Quoc Pagoda wheelchair accessible?

While some parts of Tran Quoc Pagoda may be accessible by wheelchair, certain areas may be difficult to navigate due to steps and uneven surfaces. It is recommended to have assistance when visiting.

Reading Recommendations

If you’d like to dive deeper with some reading before your trip or during, here’s an excellent list of books of various genres related to Hanoi put together by Vietnamese novelist and poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai.

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David Coleman / Photographer

David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my gear reviews and tips here. More »