The tombs and temples in Vietnam are among the most eye-opening and beautiful archaeological structures in this part of the world. Beyond the structures use as monuments of death and places of worship, they also help to represent the rich heritage and culture of the country. For the travellers on the holiday to Vietnam, a visit to some of the historic and awe-inspiring structures is certain to become a highlight of any trip.
Here are a few of the most fascinating tombs and temples to see while travelling in Vietnam:
Temple of Literature - Hanoi
Founded in 1076, the Temple of Literature was the first national university and holds great importance to this country. Historically, this temple was a base for teaching and educating the local Vietnamese royalty, nobles and bureaucrats until 1779. Today, this temple displays some of the country’s finest architecture and continues to honour Vietnam’s past men and scholars of literary accomplishment, and is surrounded with lush-green landscaped gardens.
The Temple of Literature gained its present name at the start of the 19th Century and is a popular destination for students and others to visit to ask for success in their forthcoming studies while also using the time to write and wish or a prayer. For the tourists on the tours in Vietnam it is possible to ask a calligrapher sitting outside the temple to write your prayer or wish.
Ngoc Son Temple- Hanoi
Ngoc Son Temple (translates to ‘Temple of the Jade Mountain’) is one of the more visited and popular landmarks in Hanoi. It is well located on a picturesque islet on the serene waters of Hoan Kiem Lake and easily reached using the colourful Huc Bridge built with a classical Vietnamese style. A visit to this temple on the Vietnam tours is perfect for sightseeing reasons, while also favoured by locals for worshipping. The temple and its surroundings make a great destination to relax and experience the local natural beauty.
Built during the 19th century, the temple is dedicated to several Chinese and Vietnamese legends who helped the country’s welfare, and includes the scholar Van Xuong, La To (patron saint of physicians), and General Tran Hung Dao (conquered the Mongols during the 13th century).
Tomb of Tu Duc - Hue
The Tomb of Tu Duc was built over a three year period that started in December 1864 and the entire construction spans a total area of 12 hectares and includes over 50 structures. This tomb is located in Thuong Ba village in a pine forest area that is 8 km from Hue to make one of the most impressive and popular of the royal mausoleums visit on the travels in Vietnam. It was designed and built for the Nguyen Emperor Tu Duc and split into two specific areas: a tomb area and a temple area. Part of the temple area includes a tiny island that is surrounded by a lake which was used by the Nguyen Emperor for his hunting parties. Entry to Tomb of Tu Duc is in the region of $3.50.
Tomb of Minh Mang - Hue
Tomb of Minh Mang is a further tomb complex that was build for Nguyen Emperor Minh Mang and surrounded by landscaped gardens, canals, and lakes. It is approx 12 km from Hue and the build started in 1840, but was not completed until after his death. The design of the tomb complex (pavilions, temples, palaces, etc.) used natural landscapes and structural symmetry to create a fascinating place to visit. The tomb is reached by crossing a bridge that passes over a lake of flowers like the lotus, and this leads to the sarcophagus of the Emperor.
Even though this tomb is easily reached by motorbike or car, there is also the option of taking a boat trip from Hue for the more relaxing and scenic journey. The cost of the boat trip is relatively inexpensive, but its benefits to agree on a price before starting the journey.
Jade Emperor Pagoda – Ho Chi Minh City
The Jade Emperor Pagoda holds a lot of intrigue and mystery and one of the most atmospheric and extravagant temples to see on the Vietnam travel. This pagoda was built in 1909 on behalf of the Jade Emperor or King of Heaven; also referred to as the supreme Taoist god. Even though the pagoda it quite small it is still packed with carvings of Taoist and Buddhist figures which vary in size and created using reinforced papier-mâché. Plus, the inside of this place is filled with huge clouds of incense smoke, while also being dark to create the unique atmosphere. Entry to the Jade Emperor Pagoda is free. Plus, this pagoda is easily reached from a place like Pham Ngu Lao by taxi (15 minute journey) at a cost of about $4.50.
Cao Dai Temple – Tay Ninh
The Cao Dai Temple (translates to the ‘Highest Lord’) is located near Tay Nihn and approx 95 km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City. The Cao Dai Temple is based on a syncretist Vietnamese religion which includes aspects of Catholic, Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhist worship. This temple is easily visited on a day trip by those tourists based in Ho Chi Minh City.
Built in the 1930s, the Cao Dai Temple has an architectural style that blends the different religions and traditions. The actual temple is designed with an Oriental, Baroque and Neo-Gothic theme, but finished with a style of decoration that blends dragon-wrapped pillars with traditional Vietnamese colours. One of the great highlights for those that plan to visit the Cao Dai Temple is watching the Caodaists prey, which is a great display of private reflection and colour.
Also, for those travelling to Phu Quoc Island it is possible to further witness a few temples that are styled in a similar fashion to the Cao Dai Temple, and this island is seen as the birthplace of the absorbing Cao Dai religion.