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Bach Ma Temple: An ancient and sacred place in the heart of Hanoi

27/12/2022 5.270

Bach Ma Temple is one of the most sacred temples in Hanoi. This place well preserves the historical imprints of Vietnam’s thousand-year-old capital city.

Bach Ma Temple

Temples and pagodas are undoubtedly must-see destinations during any Hanoi travel journey. Bach Ma Temple, a small temple nestled in the heart of Hanoi Old Quarter, is a sacred ancient temple that holds significant historical and cultural values to the people of Hanoi.

1. About Hanoi Bach Ma Temple

  • Location: 76 Hang Buom Street, Hanoi Old Quarter
  • Opening hours: 8:00 AM - 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM - 8:00 PM every day
  • Bach Ma Temple entry fee: Free
  • Bach Ma Temple dress code: modest clothes that cover the shoulders and legs

Among the hundreds of temples and pagodas in Hanoi, Bach Ma Temple stands out as the oldest temple in town. It is one of the four guarding temples (together with Quan Thanh Temple, Kim Lien Temple, and Voi Phuc Temple) that protect Thang Long (ancient Hanoi) from evil spirits. Bach Ma Temple is called the protector of the East of Thang Long. 

Bach Ma Temple was built in the 11th century under the reign of Emperor Ly Thai To. The temple worships Long Do - an ancient deity who had great merit in breaking the spells of the colonial mandarin Cao Bien. Bach Ma Temple Festival is held annually on the 12th and 13th days of the second lunar month to commemorate the contribution of this deity.

In the old days, during Lunar New Year, kings and mandarins would come to Bach Ma Temple and the other three guarding temples to make offerings and pray for the nation’s peace and prosperity. This custom has been well preserved by the people of Hanoi up until now. On Tet Holiday, or on the first day, or the full moon day of each lunar month, the temple is often crowded with pilgrims who come to worship and pray. 

Bach Ma Temple

With its significant historical and cultural values, Bach Ma Temple was designated a national historical relic in 1986.

2. How to get to Bach Ma Temple on your Hanoi trip?

Nestled in the heart of the Old Quarter, Bach Ma Temple is easy to reach. Whether you are staying at a hotel in the city center during your Hanoi tour or have just arrived in Hanoi from other Vietnam destinations, you can easily find the way to this sacred temple. 

As most famous attractions in Hanoi are located near each other, you can even get to Bach Ma Temple on foot. Ask your hotel receptionist to get a map of the Old Quarter or look up on Google Maps to find the shortest route to the temple. It should take you only a few minutes to get there.

Bach Ma Temple

If you use a motorbike, from Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square near Hoan Kiem Lake, follow Hang Dao Street and turn left to Hang Buom Street. Bach Ma Temple is at No. 76 Hang Buom. 

In case you go by bus, you can choose one of the bus routes: 01, 14CT, 18, 22A, 34, 18, and 43. They all have stops near the temple. 

Another easy and effortless option is to use a ride hailing application, such as Grab or Gojek. 

3. The legend of Bach Ma Temple that you may not know

As stated above, Bach Ma Temple Hanoi is dedicated to Long Do - an ancient deity that had a huge contribution to ancient Hanoi. The most notable legend about this deity is his help to break the spell of Cao Bien - a reputable Chinese mandarin who made every effort to restrain the development of Vietnam. 

Bach Ma Temple

The initial Long Do Temple was constructed during the 9th century to worship this deity. 2 centuries later, when Emperor Ly Thai To decided to move the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long, it was this deity again who appeared in the emperor’s dream. He told the emperor that there would be a white horse coming out from the temple and that this horse would wander around the city and leave tracks along where the citadel’s walls should be built. The emperor followed his words and successfully constructed the citadel without any landslide or collapse. 

To commemorate the deity’s support, the emperor decided to move the temple to the current location and change the name of the temple to Bach Ma (White Horse in Vietnamese).

4. The special features of Bach Ma Temple architecture

Hanoi Bach Ma Temple has great architectural features in both the interior and exterior. There is a big flag called “Co Ngu Hanh” with five colors (red, yellow, green, white, and blue) symbolizing the five elements in oriental culture (fire, earth, wood, metal, and water) respectively. Each color also symbolizes a direction, with blue representing the north, white for the west, green for the east, red for the south, and yellow for the center.

Bach Ma Temple

Entering this famous Hanoi temple, you will notice the stunning roof covered with glazed tiles. There are two golden dragon figures on top of the roof. Additionally, the design of the antique wooden doors leading into the temple is another astonishing feature to look at. 

At Bach Ma Temple, travelers can see a stunning red lacquer painting, as well as the fabled statue of the white horse in the legend. After over a thousand years with several ups and downs of history, the temple now houses numerous artifacts, including statues, stelae, ceramics, etc.

Bach Ma Temple

As Bach Ma Temple is close to other famous places to visit in Hanoi such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi Old Quarter, Ngoc Son Temple, Hanoi Opera House, etc., it is convenient for visitors to take a tour around these locations. 

Besides, while you are in Hanoi, do not forget to have a different experience by paying a visit to VinKE - a huge indoor playground with hundreds of fascinating games for both children and adults. Nearby, Vinpearl Aquarium is also a worth-visiting place for you to explore the colorful marine life in Hanoi.

Bach Ma Temple

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The S-shaped country of Vietnam is also home to many other appealing destinations, such as Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, to name a few. Hence, if you are about to take a Vietnam trip, do not forget to visit these places to explore how beautiful Vietnam is.

No matter where you go, finding a good place to stay is undoubtedly a priority. If you are searching for reliable accommodation in Vietnam, consider Vinpearl. It is a reputable Vietnamese hospitality brand with luxury hotels and resorts in many famous Vietnam tourist destinations. With first-class services, Vinpearl will offer you an extraordinarily comfortable stay in Vietnam.

Bach Ma Temple

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Bach Ma Temple, with its significant cultural and historical values, is undeniably a top place to visit in Hanoi. Hopefully, this article can provide you with essential information for your upcoming visit!

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