Didem Doğan

A day in Hanoi: Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem Lake

The best thing to do in Hanoi is to take a tuktuk and do some sightseeing in slow motion. While the bicycle taxi is pedalling on his own rhythm you can sit and watch the city. We make a tour of the Temple of Literature, the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, the Hoan Kiem Lake and the streets of old town. Known as the first university of Vietnam, this place is also a temple dedicated to Confucius, academicians, and scholars. It served as a university since the beginning of the 11th century until the end of the 18th century. The stone tablets on the back of tortoise sculptures bear the names of the venerable scholars who were graduated from the university. One gets into the temple through the gardens and court yards. We then go outside and come back by the lake. Hanoi’s old town is worth walking around for hours. The quiet village of Hoan Kiem which surrounds the old town is on the lake side; sellers who organise the flowers they picked up on the lake side, brides and grooms who have their wedding pictures taken, the natives of the city who go over the bridge and walk to the temple and many streets that lure you inside.