Experience Bach Ma Temple

Experience Bach Ma Temple
Bach Ma Temple is a little temple within the heart of Hanoi that offers a glimpse into the life of the Vietnamese in the 11th Century. Having survived all these years it has gone through some renovations but still offers the traditional architecture. From the outside it doesn’t appear like your typical temple, in fact you could easily pass it by. While standing outside there is a lot of noise from motorbikes and city life, but entering the temple the outside noise instantly fades away and you will feel like you’re in another world entirely. Inside you’ll find beautiful red panels adorned with gold engravings, and of course the famous white horse sculpture.
Có chí thì nên” Where there’s a will there’s a way. Vietnamese Proverb

Unique Things to See and Do in/near Bach Ma Temple

  • Shop the Hanoi Night Market
  • See Old East Gates
  • Shop the Don Huan Market
  • Enjoy the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre

Information on Bach Ma Temple

One of the oldest temples in Hanoi, Bach Ma temple was constructed in 11th century in the Old Quarter.  Travelling through Hanoi, you’ll find the temple is in the heart of the city, and this is no accident. According to the legend, King Ly Thai had been trying to construct a new city but it kept “falling down.” One day he saw a white horse coming out of the Bach Ma temple and saw this as an omen (or some say a guidance) on the area.  He decided the only way to build a city was to pay respect to the Long Do god by building the city in the likeness of the horse’s saddle.

The other version of the legend is that when the king was trying to construct the walls of the city – they would crumple into the marsh – and it was the white horse that showed “the way or the path” the walls should take. Either way, the city was finally completed and still stands today, now known as Hanoi.

Within the temple, you’ll find a statue of a white horse in tribute to Long Do. The rafters within the building are ornately carved and quite beautiful to see, but most come to view the legend of the white horse. The temple has undergone extensive renovations, during the Le Chinh Hoa period (1680 – 1705), and again in the Min Mang reign (1820 – 1841),  and then once again during 2000.

Did you know…?

That “bach ma” in Chinese means white horse.

Did you ALSO know…?

The four gates of the temple are facing the four compass points.

Getting to Bach Ma Temple

The Bach Ma Temple is located at 76 Hang Buam Street- at the corner (cnr) of P Hang Buom and P Hang Giay, and is open Tuesdays to Saturdays.  One nice point is that there isn’t an entrance fee.  Remember to be courteous when entering; many Vietnamese use this temple as their regular place of worship. One act of worship is to leave offerings of food, which you may see locals do when you visit.

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