Ngoc Son Temple

Published: 10/10/2019

The Ngoc Son temple, dating back to the Tran Dynasty (1225 -1400),was built on an islet of the same name in Hoan Kiem lake.

The temple is dedicated to Tran Hung Dao and some illustrious men of letters of his time to honour the patriotism, intellect respect and everlasting existence of the Vietnamese nation.

Originally a small shrine, the temple was enlarged and embellished from one generation to another. Its last repair and renovation took place in 1865.



On the northern shore of the lake stands the “Tam Quan” gate flanked on either side by two big Chinese letters “Phuc” and “Loc” patterned on the handwriting of Nguyen Van Sieu, an eminent Confucian scholar of the 19th Century. Behind the Tam Quan gate stands the Thap But (pen tower) and the Dai Nghien (Writing Pad) to honour Vietnamese civilization. A repainted wooden bridge named “The Huc” leads to the temple passing by “Vong Nguyet Lau” pavilion and “Ba Dinh” fortress and the main temple to worship the Divinity. The ancient architecture temple, hiding under vaults of green leaves of a century-old tree, reflects itself in the water of Hoan Kiem Lake. The islet and the Tortoise Tower are the inexhaustible source of inspiration for successive generations of Vietnamese poets and painters. The beauty of the landscape here, together with many historical famous names has established a museum of mountains and water with material and non-material cultural values that has become the best place for tourism and worship of Hanoi capital. You would be very interested while enjoying the beautiful landscapes here and thinking of ancient poems and couplets written in the islet.

“The hallowing sword still shines in the air and glitters in water

The poems sung to heaven and Earth live on with the mountains”



Ngoc Islet always attracts attention and cares of relic protectors as well as tourists from many countries. In previous years, heavy showers knocked down many big trees and caused substantial damages to the Ba Dinh fortress and the main worshipping house. Subsequent repairs had been made including the stabilization of mountains and trees in Ngoc islet and reconstruction of the temple. In 1987, the embankment of the islet was strengthened and expanded with a new type of cement. A Vietnamese translation has been added to parallel sentences and capital letters in the temple to help tourists get much knowledge of that typical ancient monument’s value.