hanoi one pillar pagoda
Source: Nickjhon

The One Pillar Pagoda which was built in 1049 has been chosen as one of the symbols of the capital Hanoi. This pagoda was also voted by the Asian Record Organization as one of the pagodas with the most unique architecture in Asia. In addition, the pagoda symbol is also found on the back of the 5000 dong metal coin of Vietnam. Today, tourists can visit this impressive architectural construction with an entrance fee of $1.1. The One Pillar Pagoda opening hours are from 7am to 6pm from Monday to Sunday.

This pagoda has 4 other names: Mat Pagoda, Dien Huu Tu, Nhat Tru Thap, and Lien Hoa Dai. The pagoda was built by King Ly Thai Tong in the winter of 1049. The ancient relic still retains the story of King Ly Thai Tong dreaming about seeing Guan Yin Buddha meditating on a shining lotus throne, taking the hand to lead the king to the throne. After waking up, the King ordered him to build a pagoda resembling the one that he saw in the dream. From then on appeared a pagoda with a unique one-pillar structure, resembling a lotus rising from the middle of Linh Chieu lake in Thang Long citadel. And it is called one-pillar or Mot Cot pagoda.

one pillar pagoda image in 20th century
Source: Firmin André Salles

After building the pagoda, King Ly Thai Tong frequently came there to pray. Soon after, the Queen gave birth to a handsome Prince. Given the Buddha's merit, King Ly allowed the pagoda to be repaired and erected another pagoda to show his gratitude to the Buddha. At this time, the pagoda complex (including One Pillar and the new pagoda) was named Dien Huu with the meaning of "long-lasting blessing".

The One Pillar Pagoda Hanoi was then renovated and repaired many times during the Ly, Tran, Le, and Nguyen dynasties. Therefore, the cultural and architectural features also changed in each period. In 1954, the French colonists destroyed the Pagoda, leaving only a pillar under Linh Chieu lake and some wooden beams. Immediately after that, the pagoda was repaired by the new Vietnamese government. Despite having been renovated many times in the past, the pagoda still has the typical features of old architecture.

It may amaze you: Top greatest pogodas in Vietnam 

I - The unique architecture of One Pillar Pagoda 

1 - The symbol of the pagoda 

The pagoda is a symbol of Eastern philosophy. Many researchers believe that the pagoda was built in harmony between the philosophy of yin and yang. The square shape of the pagoda symbolizes the earth. Meanwhile, the pillar supporting the pagoda has the shape of a circle. That is the harmony of heaven and earth, birth-death, yin - yang theory… Although the original architecture of the pagoda in the Ly dynasty no longer existed, the pagoda is a reminder of a glorious time and pride of the nation.

2 - The One Pillar Pagoda architecture

The pagoda has a unique architecture that cannot be found anywhere else. The Asian Record Organization has confirmed the Pagoda as "The most unique architecture in Asia" in 2012. The Guinness Record of Vietnam also recognizes this Pagoda as "The most unique pagoda in Vietnam". The pagoda is an outstanding architectural work showing bold nationalism. The pagoda space is a symphony of creativity in architecture combining stone sculpture, painting, wood carvings... All are very ethnic, very Vietnamese! The pagoda is shaped like a lotus flower blooming on the water - a flower symbolizing the purity and nobility of Buddhism. Therefore, the One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi is stilled called Lien Hoa Dai (i.e.The Lotus Tower).

architecture of one pillar pagoda

Source: Nickjhon

The entire pagoda was built on a stone pillar in Linh Chieu Lake. In fact, the pillar consists of 2 stone blocks but is skillfully mounted as one to create a unique architecture for the temple. Ancient temple roof tiles, cleverly designed curved shape with a dragon heading to the moon with extremely delicate patterns. 

To get to the pagoda to burn incense and worship you will have to step through a small stair of 13 steps made of bricks. On the stairs, there are stone steles that briefly introduce the history of the pagoda. Inside the pagoda, there is a statue of Guan Yin Buddha with sophisticated and delicate decoration. 

II - A guide to visiting One Pillar Pagoda Hanoi Vietnam

The pagoda is located in the Complex of Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum so tourists often combine to visit both locations. You can move to Uncle Ho's Mausoleum at No.19 Ngoc Ha Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi. Then follow the instructions to visit Uncle Ho and follow the path to visit the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh Museum, and One-Pillar Pagoda.

one pillar pagoda surrounding
Source: Shutterstock

To get to the mausoleum and pagoda, you can go by private vehicle or go by bus.
- Traveling by private transport, there are 2 parking lots around the mausoleum: Ong Ich Khiem Street is opposite the Command of the Tomb or No.19 Ngoc Ha Street at the entrance to the Ho Chi Minh Museum.
- Traveling by bus: Some buses stop near Uncle Ho's Mausoleum including line 9, line 18, line 22, 33, line 45, line 50.
When visiting the temple, you should pay attention to the following information:
- Dress code: Remember to dress politely and respect the standards of the sanctuary and the following information:
- Opening hours: 7am to 6pm from Monday to Sunday 
- One Pillar Pagoda entrance fee: 25.000 VND/entry ($1.1) for foreign visitors
- Offering in the pagoda: In order to serve visitors’ essential needs, the pagoda provides accompanying services such as incense offering and souvenirs selling. If you have time, we recommend you to buy incense to burn and offer in front of the altar of Guanyin Buddha on Lotus Stage to pray for peace, health for yourself and your loved ones.

III - Attractions nearby One Pillar Pagoda Vietnam?

In the journey to visit the pagoda, visitors should visit the famous tourist destinations of Hanoi nearby such as Uncle Ho’s Fish Pond, Stilt House, Presidential Palace, Uncle Ho's Mausoleum, Ba Dinh Square, Ho Chi Minh Museum in the historical Ba Dinh complex.

1 - Uncle Ho’s Mausoleum

Close to the One Pillar Pagoda, tourists should not miss visiting Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum - the place where Uncle Ho's remains are placed so that people can visit the Vietnamese beloved old father.
Entrance fee: Free
Opening days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday
- In summer (between April 1 and October 31): 7:30am - 10:30am on weekdays; 7:30am - 11am on weekends.
- In winter (between November 1 and March 31): 8am - 11am on weekdays; 8:30am - 11:30am on weekends.

2 - Uncle Ho’s Stilt House

uncle still house near one pillar pagoda
Source: Internet
In the large garden behind the Presidential Palace and about 900m from the One Pillar Temple, there is a narrow cobblestone road, flanked by mango trees leading to an idyllic small stilt house, amidst the canopy of trees. The hibiscus fence surrounds the house, the entrance is made of twigs. Uncle Ho's stilt house is located in the middle of the garden as historical evidence associated with President Ho Chi Minh, the elite son of the nation. The house was designed in the style of stilt houses of the ethnic minorities: 10.5m long, 6.2m wide, with two floors, and the upper floor has two rooms: each room is about 10 square meters large to use as a bedroom and a working room in the winter. 
You can combine to visit "Uncle Ho's fish pond", where Uncle Ho used to feed the fish after working time. The scene around Uncle Ho's stilt house is a harmonious natural space, shady trees, fruits planted throughout the garden, fresh green flowers isolated from the noisy urban life. There is also a rest area on the grounds for visitors after a tour of Uncle Ho’s stilt house.
Entrance fee: 25.000 VND (~ $1.1)/person including the Stilt House, the Fish Pond and the One Pillar pagoda

3 - Presidential Palace

This is a large building used as a workplace for the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and senior leaders of the state. The Presidential Palace is located on the campus close to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Ba Dinh Square. Presidential Palace in Hanoi Capital has been listed in the top 13 most beautiful presidential palaces in the world voted by Architectural Digest.
Entrance fee: None, you cannot enter the palace, just looking from outside.

IV - Eateries nearby One Pillar Pagoda Hanoi

Visitors can explore the night market cuisine at Walking Street, the Japanese restaurants in Japan on Cao Ba Quat Street, Le Hong Phong Street, etc. with countless delicious dishes from salty foods to ice cream, coffee, cakes, etc. Some famous restaurants nearby the pagoda:

food near one pillar pagoda
Source: Tripadvisor

1 - Ngon Villa Restaurant 

Located about 1.4km from One Pillar Pagoda. You will enjoy a true Vietnamese flavored meal with dishes such as Vietnamese bun thang, spring rolls, egg rolls, ...

The restaurant also has a beautiful large garden, suitable for you to sip a cup of coffee, just watching the romantic scenery around.

Address: No.10 Tong Duy Tan street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

Price: 50.000 - 100.000 VND (~ $2.1 - 4.3)/person

2 - Le Hanoi Gourmet 

About 3.9km away from One Pillar Pagoda, Le Hanoi Gourmet is a famous and luxurious restaurant. The restaurant always puts safety and hygiene factors on top priority to bring the best to customers. Le Hanoi Gourmet serves both Vietnamese and European dishes.

Address: No.6T Ham Long street, Phan Chu Trinh ward, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi 

Price range: 200.000 - 2.000.000VND (~ $8.6 - 86)/person

3 - Betta Bar 

About 1km away from the One Pillar Pagoda, Betta Bar owns a nostalgic design style with colorful items of the 80s of the 20th century such as pictures, models,... Betta Bar is famous for cocktails, mocktails with various attractive dishes such as salmon with shrimp sauce, dried beef,...You will have the opportunity to enjoy extremely sweet jazz pieces or immerse yourself in the space, vibrant melodies. The shop will serve from 18:00 to 23:00, especially suitable for couples.

Address: No.34C Cao Ba Quat street, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi 

Price: 80.000 - 110.000VND (~ $3.4 - 4.7)/drink

V - Hotels near the One Pillar Pagoda Hanoi

The pagoda is situated in the Ba Dinh district, nearby the Hanoi Old Quarters, so any hotels in these areas will be convenient for your trip to the pagoda. The hotels in the Ba Dinh district are very suitable for resting and relaxing, but the nightlife activities in this area are not as bustling as in the Old Quarter.

staying near one pillar pagoda
Source: Booking

1 - High-end hotels near One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi

- Blue Hanoi Inn Hotel: No.12B Chan Cam Street - price $96.08

- Hanoi L’Heritage Hotel: No.41 Hang Ga street - price $138.16

- Melia Hanoi Hotel: No.44B Ly Thuong Kiet Street - price $209

2 - Budget and cheap hotels near the One Pillar Pagoda Vietnam

- Hanoi Legacy Hotel: No.1 Ngo Gach Street, Hoan Kiem - price $25.42 

- Eco Luxury Hotel Hanoi: Cua Dong Street - price $29.65

- Hanoi Legacy Hotel: No.16-18 Bat Su Street, Hoan Kiem - price $32.32

Unique architectural design imbued with traditional Vietnamese national culture with a campus of many trees, lotus ponds, Buddha statues… has created a quiet and ancient beauty in the heart of the crowded city. The One Pillar Pagoda history and its unique architecture is one of the most outstanding attractions in Hanoi where tourists can visit and discover a unique part of traditional Vietnamese culture

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Hi, my name is Quan, and you can call me “Kun”. Having a big passion for travel, I spent 6 months traveling to most of the regions & provinces in Vietnam. I find Vietnam's landscapes are so beautiful, Vietnamese people are so friendly.

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