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“Good if You Haven't Been to a Confucius Temple Before”

Temple of Literature & National University
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Half-Day Hanoi Private City Tour
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Half-Day Hanoi City Tour by Cyclo
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Cycling in Hanoi
Ranked #17 of 284 things to do in Hanoi
Certificate of Excellence
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Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Reviewed 6 November 2009

The "Temple of Literature" is basically a Confucius temple like you find all over China and the Buddhist world, except not quite as attractive as many of the others. So, if you've been to Confucius temples elsewhere, you don't need to go out of your way to see this one. However, if you haven't seen them, then this is a nice stop on your city tour of Hanoi. Take a guide with you to explain about it, or at least buy the brochure, as there isn't much information inside to help you understand what you're seeing.

It was partially destroyed in the war, but rebuilt, and parts of the temple date back about 1,000 years. There are statues of Confucius and Vietnamese kings, where local people come to pray and students pray to Confucius before their exams. However, this type of temple is not as important anymore in Vietnamese culture as it is in Chinese culture. It won't take you very long to visit here, about a half hour is probably enough, but if you have a guide to tell you about it, and you haven't "been there, done that" yet, then this is definitely worth your time to stop by for a visit. Perhaps the nicest part is that it's like an oasis in the middle of the city - you step inside the walls and barely hear the honking and motorbike engines from the streets around.

2  Thank Johann&Sandra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5,310 - 5,314 of 8,155 reviews

Reviewed 7 September 2009

This is an impressive struture and it is interesting to find out about the old religions of Vietnam. It is helpful to get a guide who can explain the history of this temple.

Thank Travel_bugle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2009

Although we weren't blown away by the attractions in Hanoi, the Temple of Literature was a surprisingly above average sight-seeing experience. We walked there from the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, which took about 15 minutes. Be sure to purchase a brochure (3,000 dong), as it contains important information for understanding the site.

The temple honors important contributors to Vietnamese education and societal development. It is interesting for its architecture (king's passageways vs. those for commoners), historical stone stelae (names of those earning doctorates carved into stone), and devotional areas to Confucius and scholarly kings. Built upon the grounds of the first national university, the temple is still actively used by the Vietnamese, for both prayer offerings and for celebrations. We witnessed gatherings of school-aged children dressed in beautiful gowns, perhaps marking an important educational accomplishment, such as promotion or graduation.

Be sure to count your change after purchasing your tickets -- like another reviewer, we were short changed 10,000 dong. Change is given out in small bills, making it difficult to know instantly whether it is correct or not. Once we realized the error, we returned and the worker was quick to hand over the 10,000, almost like she had it ready just in case. "Mistakes" such as these are unfortunately common in Hanoi -- always be on guard.

2  Thank USA808
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2009

We almost didn't go to see this place but decided to visit it when we were in the vicinity. I'm really glad we did because it's located next to a nice park which is an added attraction. It's larger inside than I expected and is basically a Chinese temple. The place is very colorful and has vendors inside selling everything from books to ice cream. There's an interesting tree just to one's left upon entering the place. I don't know how old it is but it's large and the root system seems to have grown above the ground. This is another great place to visit in Hanoi.

2  Thank globeseeker007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 September 2008

My husband and I recently visited Northern Vietnam... overall, we were disappointed with the trip, but the Temple of Literature was one of our highlights. Our guide provided us with a lot of interesting information about it history, it was clean, and quiet, and just a lovely afternoon. There were some ladies just outside the temple who were pretty pushy about selling their postcards, but other than that...no complaints! I highly recommend checking it out.

1  Thank nicks1980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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