Main Menu

Discover Temple of Literature - Hanoi


The Temple of Literature is cited as one of Hanoi’s most photogenic of all tourist attractions. It was originally built as a place where sages and saints of Confucianism could be worshipped, but six years later, a National College was built on the site. Long ago it only admitted princes for an education, but it soon expanded to include exceptionally bright students nationwide. If you’re keen to know about the Confucian education system while looking at picturesque views, Trip Guru recommends a visit to the Temple of Literature.

The temple is surrounded by brick walls, the area separated into five areas, each having a different history and significance. The first area stretches from the main gate to the Dai Trung gate, and the second one is in the Khue Van Cac pavilion. The third courtyard is where various doctor’s names are listed on a tombstone. These tombstones have the names and origins of 1307 doctors, all passing 82 examination courses from 1442 to 1779. If you happen to visit the temple in the beginning of the year or in May, you can catch numerous students who rub the tortoise’s head for luck on their own exams.

In the Temple of Literature, there are 82 steles—the oldest are from the 1442 palace exams and the most recent are the 1779 exams, and are the most valuable relics in the entire temple. In the fourth area, there is a large courtyard that used to house the altars where scholars could worship the 72 disciples of Confucius. There is also a Great House of Ceremonies, called the Dai Bai and it contains a bell cast in 1768 and other precious objects. The final section became a temple dedicated to Confucius’s parents. In the past, Van Mieu was revered because of its status as the apogee of learning in Vietnam. Today, worshippers and acolytes merge with tourists.

To avoid the rush of people, try to visit during the off season, so you can take in the incredible aura of the long-dead scholars dedicated to the pursuit of enlightenment in relative peace. The temple is open from 8:30am to 11:30am, then 1:30pm to 4:30pm every day, except Mondays and national holidays. The temple is between Ton Duc Thang Street and Van Mieu Street, which is about 2 kilometers west of the Hoan Kiem Lake.



What our experts tell about this experience.
  • Harrison

    06. 09. 2016

    Ever watched the Kung Fu Panda movie with your siblings or younger relatives? Well once you come to the Temple you’ll be reminded of the movie just like me. The golden turtles and storks. The little temple is beautiful. I admire it very much and really respect how a lot of the students come here to touch the turtle’s head asking and praying for them to be able to achieve in their dream goals while in college - school.

  • Kelly

    06. 09. 2016

    The history here is indulging. Once I knew about it, the enjoyment of the story became a feeling that I wanted to educate myself more about it. I saw many students come here to pray. And wondered why so. Locals and tourists were here too but on that day it was a majority of students. So I asked. They told me that it was once known that this place was once only for the previous Prince and only the talented and the brightest of the Vietnamese students could enter.. so now a days before an important examination the students come here.. and pray for the passing or the succeeding.. in whatever it is that they might need to accomplish. I had real good vibes from this temple. Enjoyed it very much.


Tours in Hanoi

Top locations to visit in Hanoi

Hanoi Old Quarter

A Walk Through the Old Quarter and Cathedral

Halong Bay

Cruising Around Halong Bay

Dong Xuan Market

The Local Wares and Fares of Dong Xuan Market

Ba Vi National Park

Exploring Ba Vi National Park

Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple

The Peaceful and Serene Atmospheres of Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple

The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

Relive Hanoi’s History in The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long

Perfume Pagoda in Hanoi

Bathe in the Aroma of spring in the Perfume Pagoda in Hanoi


Trip to Sapa

Hanoi’s Water Puppet Theatre

Experience Vietnamese Storytelling in Hanoi’s Water Puppet Theatre