Temple of Literature – A must-see for Vietnamese culture lovers

Temple of Literature has been the symbol of Vietnam for ages. Once you are in Hanoi this destination cannot be missed in your sightseeing list. As the first national university in Vietnam, the temple possesses valuable information about the education system in the past. If you are planning your Vietnam tours, make sure to check the basic information below to arrange your schedule to visit this temple.

temple of literature
Temple of Literature – The symbol of Hanoi, Vietnam

Temple of Literature Facts

  • The temple is located in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.
  • The Vietnamese name of the temple is Van Mieu. The word literally means Temple of Literature or Temple of Culture. 
  • The temple has Imperial Academy where royal members studied in the past. This is also considered as the first national university of Vietnam.
  • Built one thousand years ago, the temple represents the characteristics of ancient architecture in Vietnam. 
  • Locals often visit the temple before important exams as students and their families believe that the temple brings good luck and help students do well at exams.
  • Although it is a temple, the main purpose of the architecture is for studying rather than for religion practice.

Visitor Information

  • The entrance fee for an adult is around $2.75
  • Opening hours:
    • From Monday – Friday: 7:30 – 18:00
    • Saturday and Sunday: 8:00 – 21:00
  • Clothes:
Temple of Literature entrance gate
Temple of Literature entrance gate

The best time to visit 

The best time of the day to visit the temple would be in the early morning. Not many tourists choose to visit the temple in the early morning, so you will have a chance to walk around the courtyards. Without noises from other tourists and vehicles on the street, your experience with the temple is much better.

If you want to enjoy the beauty of the temple at peace, you should not visit during Lunar New Year. During this time, locals go to the temple for good luck. It would be crowded and hard to enjoy the stillness of the temple.

There is another time you need to avoid if you do not want to experience a hectic crowd at the temple. It is from November to January. University and high school students normally take graduation photos at the temple. When you visit the temple this time, you will see groups of students in graduation gowns and traditional Ao Dai



Things to do

  • Learn more about ancient architecture in Vietnam. Thanks to being well-preserved, the architecture is almost the same as one thousand years ago. You could not find this anywhere in the country. That is one of the main reasons why the temple have been the symbol of the country for years.
  • Explore the educational system of royal members one thousand years ago. If you are curious about how scholars study and attend exams in the past, this is a good chance for you to know. 
  • Understand more about local values and beliefs about education of the Vietnamese. The temple is well-visited by both travelers and locals. You would find some interesting beliefs of locals just by visiting this temple.

Stelae of Doctors

Once you get in the temple, try to find the area with stelae of doctors. They were excellent scholars so their names have been written on these. Local students often touch the head of turtles under each stelae with the belief that they have good luck from these scholars to do better at school. So don’t be surprised when you see that the heads of the turtles are smooth while other parts are rough.

stelae of Doctors
The area of Stelae of Doctors

Suggested itinerary including Temple of Literature

 You can totally arrange schedule a Hanoi Walking Tour in one day, combining Temple of Literature with other popular sightseeing sights. 

  • Ho Chi Minh Complex: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and his stilt house, Presidential Palace and the One Pillar Pagoda.
  • Temple of Literature.
  • Visit the famous Vietnam Museum of Ethnology to experience many activities and Vietnamese traditional games such as calligraphy, mandarin square capturing (O An Quan).
  • Hanoi Old Quarter: you can try different kinds of local foods they offer on the street at a really low price.
  • Water puppet show that features the Viet folklore and culture.

Besides visiting the highlight attractions of Hanoi, this Hanoi off the beaten path article will give you more ideas to explore the real Hanoi.

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