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One-Pillar Pagoda (Chua Mot Cot)
One-Pillar Pagoda (Chua Mot Cot)

One-Pillar Pagoda (Chua Mot Cot)

Off Pho Chua Mot Cot, Ban Dinh District, Hanoi, Hanoi, Vietnam, 100000

The Basics

The One Pillar Pagoda is a popular Hanoi attraction, and many sightseeing tours include a stop here, along with the nearby Ho Chi Minh Complex, the Temple of Literature, or Hoan Kiem Lake. Explore the small pagoda’s unique architecture; made of wood and standing on a single stone pillar, it has a system of curved bars supporting the floor and a curved roof. Inside is an ornate shrine with a statue of Quan Am (Guanyin), the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, seated on a lotus.

Opt to explore Hanoi like a local on a motorbike tour that includes the pagoda, and consider add-ons like a water-puppet show or a cooking class.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • The One Pillar Pagoda is a must-see for first-time visitors to Hanoi.

  • It’s free to enter the pagoda though donations are accepted.

  • Visitors should cover their shoulders and knees and remove their shoes to enter the pagoda.

  • Although the area around the pagoda is wheelchair-accessible, the pagoda itself can only be accessed by a set of stairs.

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How to Get There

The One Pillar Pagoda is located near the Ho Chi Minh Complex in the Ba Dinh District. The easiest way to reach it is by taxi. A number of buses also stop at nearby Le Hong Phong Road, including buses 9, 22, and 34.

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When to Get There

The One Pillar Pagoda is open daily, year-round. It’s a popular attraction and can get very busy, so visit early in the morning to beat the crowds. For the best photos, visit in the early morning or around sunset.

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Legend Behind the One Pillar Pagoda

Legend has it that aging Emperor Ly Thai prayed to Buddha for a son. He dreamt one night that he was visited by Quan Am, seated on a lotus flower in a square-shaped lotus pond, and she handed him a baby boy. When the Emperor finally had a son, he ordered the pagoda to be built to resemble what he saw in his dream, in honor of Quan Am.

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