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One Pillar Pagoda – A charm of Hanoi & Reasons why you should visit?

One Pillar Pagoda – A charm of Hanoi & Reasons why you should visit?

Home Travel Blog One Pillar Pagoda – A charm of Hanoi & Reasons why you should visit?

One Pillar Pagoda – A charm of Hanoi & Reasons why you should visit?

The One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi is a very special place. It’s incredibly old and beautiful, and it’s really important to the local people there. If you’re interested in history, and architecture, or just love to explore new places, you should definitely visit the One Pillar Pagoda. It’s a great way to learn about Vietnam’s past and enjoy the peaceful surroundings in Hanoi.

Tale & History

The One Pillar Pagoda is a very old Buddhist temple in Hanoi, Vietnam. It was built in 1049 and has a special meaning in Vietnamese culture and history.

The Legend

According to legend, Emperor Ly Thai Tong, who had no children, dreamt of the Goddess of Mercy (Quan Am) handing him a baby boy while seated on a lotus flower. Soon after, the emperor married a young peasant girl who bore him a son. To express his gratitude, he constructed the One Pillar Pagoda, designed to resemble a lotus emerging from the water, symbolizing purity and enlightenment.

Overview of One Pillar Pagoda Hanoi
Overview of One Pillar Pagoda Hanoi

Historical Background

The One Pillar Pagoda in Vietnam was originally part of a larger complex called Dien Huu Pagoda, meaning “long-lasting happiness and good luck.” The pagoda was constructed of wood on a single stone pillar, symbolizing the stem of a lotus flower. This architectural marvel stood in the middle of a lotus pond, enhancing its symbolic significance.

Is It Worth Visiting One Pillar Pagoda?

The One Pillar Pagoda stands as a testament to Vietnam’s rich history and cultural identity. It’s worth discovering since you will be impressed by its unique structure as well as see several local people visiting here and praying silently. This is another charm of Hanoi that you should not miss.

stair to one pillar pagoda
Climb few steps to the wooden pagoda and see local people praying

Key Historical Events

  • 1049: Construction by Emperor Ly Thai Tong.
  • 1105: Renovations ordered by Emperor Ly Nhan Tong, adding Linh Chieu Pond and a gold lotus.
  • 1954: Destruction by French forces.
  • 1955: Reconstructed by the Vietnamese government.

Unique Architecture

Lotus-Inspired Design

The One Pillar Pagoda in Vietnam is designed to look like a lotus flower emerging from a pond, symbolizing purity and enlightenment in Buddhism. Here are the unique structural features of the pagoda:

  • Single-stone pillar: The pillar, made from a single block of stone, is about 1.25 meters in diameter and 4 meters high. It stands in the center of a square pond.
  • Wooden pagoda: Atop the pillar rests a small wooden pagoda, constructed in a traditional Vietnamese style. The pagoda’s roof features intricate carvings and upturned eaves, characteristic of Vietnamese temple architecture.
  • Lotus pond: The pillar stands in a pond filled with lotus flowers. The pond is square, bordered by low walls, and adds to the aesthetic and symbolic value of the pagoda.
unique structure of One Pillar Pagoda
A closely look to the unique structure of One Pillar Pagoda

Symbolism and Cultural Significance

The design of the One Pillar Pagoda Hanoi Vietnam carries deep symbolic meaning. The single stone pillar resembles a lotus stem, supporting a small wooden pagoda on top. The pillar stands in the middle of a pond filled with lotus flowers, adding to the pagoda’s beauty and symbolism. The design represents Buddhist ideals of purity, rising above worldly troubles, and devotion to spiritual practice.

Visitor Information

Location and how to get there

The One Pillar Pagoda is located in the Ba Dinh district of Hanoi, Vietnam, near the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex. The address is Ong Ich Khiem Street, Ngoc Ha, Ba Dinh, Hanoi.

Getting There:

  • By taxi: Taxis are the most convenient way to reach the One Pillar Pagoda. Inform the driver of the destination: “One Pillar Pagoda, Ba Dinh District.”
  • By bus: Several bus lines, such as 09, 22, and 33, stop near the pagoda pillar. Disembark at the stop for the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and walk a short distance to the pagoda.
  • By bicycle or motorbike: For slow travel, renting a bicycle or motorbike is an option. Hanoi’s traffic can be dense, so navigate carefully. Parking is available near the site at 19A Ngoc Ha Street.

Best times to visit and opening hours

The One Pillar Pagoda Hanoi Vietnam is open year-round, but the best time to visit is during the cooler months from November to March. The weather is pleasant, making the visit more comfortable. It is open daily from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Tip to stay away from tourist crowds: Visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon can help avoid crowds, allowing for a more peaceful experience.

Entrance fees and guided tour options

Entrance fees: There is no entrance fee to visit the One Pillar Pagoda. However, donations are appreciated to help with maintenance.

Guided Tours:

  • Self-guided: You can explore the pagoda and its surroundings at your own pace.
  • Guided tours: Several local tour companies offer guided tours that include the One Pillar Pagoda. These tours often combine visits to other nearby attractions like the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Temple of Literature. Tour prices vary, so it’s best to check with local operators.

Tips for visitors 

Dress Code:

  • Wear modest clothing. Shoulders and knees should be covered as a sign of respect.
  • Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

Photography rules: Photography is allowed, but be respectful. Avoid disrupting worshippers and be mindful of signs indicating restricted areas.

Accessibility: The site is accessible to visitors with disabilities. However, the area around the pagoda pillar may have uneven paths. Assistance might be needed for wheelchair users.

Other tips:

  • Bring water, especially during the hotter months.
  • Be respectful of the site’s religious significance. Maintain a quiet demeanor and avoid loud conversations.

Suggested Hanoi City Tour Sightseeing 


  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex:
    • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: Visit early to see the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh.
    • Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House: Explore his simple, preserved home.
    • One Pillar Pagoda: Discover the unique lotus-inspired pagoda next to the complex.
  • Temple of Literature: Walk through beautiful gardens and courtyards.


  • Local Cuisine: Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese lunch at a nearby restaurant. Try dishes like Pho or Bun Cha.


  • Hoan Kiem Lake and Old Quater: Stroll around the scenic lake then visit the historic Ngoc Son Temple on an island in the lake. Wander through Hanoi’s bustling street and experience local life.
  • Dong Xuan Market: See the local life and shop for souvenirs.


  • Water Puppet Show: Watch a traditional water puppet performance at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre.
  • Hanoi Train Street (optional): Amongst its ancient temples and bustling markets, sipping coffee next to a speeding train on Hanoi Train Street is a unique and stand-out experience you should try.

The One Pillar Pagoda in Hanoi offers you a glimpse into Vietnam’s rich history and cultural heritage. Its unique architecture, historical significance, and serene setting make it a must-visit destination. I hope this information helps you plan a great trip to Hanoi, where you can explore the pagoda and other interesting places.

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