Tran Quoc pagoda is located on Kim Ngu (Golden Fish) island, connecting with Thanh Nien road- the romantic bank separating two beautiful lakes : the west lake & Truc Bach lake. You can take part in a cyclo trip or electrical car with its travel route to this famous pagoda, known as the oldest pagoda & the center of Buddhism in Hanoi.

History of Tran Quoc Pagoda

The pagoda was built during the reign of Ly Nam Đe (541 – 547), and first beared the name “Khai Quốc”(開国 meaning “to start to build the country”) . The pagoda was erected in the Yen Hoa village (nowadays renamed Yen Phu) on the Red River’s bank.

Tran Quoc pagoda
Tran Quoc pagoda has been the symbol of Buddhism in Hanoi for over 1,500 years of ups and downs

Landscape and architecture of Tran Quoc Pagoda

From Kim Lien Pagoda, my motorbike driver brought me to Tran Quoc Pagoda, which is less than 5 minutes ride away. Even before I came down from the motorbike, I could already see the tall pagoda in the distance.

Tran Quoc pagoda from a distance
A causeway linked the mainland to the temple. Palm trees lined both sides of the causeway, making it looked rather pleasant.

Walking on the causeway, I could see the vast lake known as West Lake or Ho Tay. Just so that you can imagine the size, the circumference of this lake is about 13 km or 8 miles!

I reached the front gate of the pagoda. This gate is actually a recent addition, built in 1815.

The sight of the pagoda tower right in front of me was quite breathtaking. It is about 15 metres high and has 11 tiers. Each tier is designed to represent the petals of a lotus flower.

There are 6 arch windows on every level – each housing a statue of Buddha made from precious stones.

OK, let’s do a quick math, shall we? Since this six-sided pagoda has 11 levels, how many Buddha statues do you think reside in this pagoda?

Shrines made from bricks surround the tower.
There is another pagoda here – a yellow pagoda built in 1939.

The architectural design together with the ambience of the green trees and lake make a visit to this pagoda very worthwhile indeed.

At the temple, visitors can pray to the Buddha while also enjoying an atmosphere of harmony created by the art, featuring thousands of years of Vietnamese symbols.

How to get to Tran Quoc Pagoda?

It takes about 15 to 20 minutes by car from the center of Hanoi, about 4km. 

Unfortunately, It is not easy to use the bus to get there. Although the bus stop is in front of the pagoda’s gate, local people find it difficult to use this public transport because the route requires two buses. Taking a taxi or Uber might be the easiest way to visit the spiritual pagoda. However, visiting the pagoda on your own means you might miss numerous insights about Tran Quoc pagoda. 

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