Phu Tay Ho – Detailed Guide to Phu Tay Ho in Hanoi

Nestled in the heart of Hanoi, Phu Tay Ho is more than just a religious site; it’s a cultural and historical emblem of the city. This temple, dedicated to Princess Lieu Hanh, a prominent figure in Vietnamese folk religion, stands as a testament to the spiritual devotion and rich cultural heritage of Hanoi. Both worshippers and tourists are drawn to its serene environment, offering a perfect blend of tranquility and historical insight.

Historical and Cultural Significance

Princess Lieu Hanh

Princess Lieu Hanh, one of the four immortal deities in Vietnamese folklore, is deeply revered for her legendary acts of kindness and miraculous appearances. As a heavenly being who descended to earth, her stories are integral to Vietnamese spiritual life. She symbolizes devotion, filial piety, and benevolence, which are reflected in the numerous legends and folk tales about her life and deeds.

Historical Events

Phu Tay Ho has been a focal point for various historical events and religious activities over the centuries. Originally constructed in the 17th century, the temple has undergone several renovations but continues to be a site of pilgrimage and spiritual gatherings. It has played a vital role in the spiritual and cultural life of Hanoi, witnessing countless rituals, festivals, and community events that reinforce the enduring faith of the Vietnamese people.

Architectural Highlights

Temple Design

The design of Phu Tay Ho is a fine representation of traditional Vietnamese architecture. The temple complex features a harmonious layout with intricate woodwork and ornate carvings that depict various mythological and religious themes. The serene gardens and peaceful ponds surrounding the temple enhance its tranquil atmosphere, making it an ideal place for contemplation and worship.

The temple features traditional Vietnamese architecture with ornate carvings, elaborate altars, and statues of deities. The serene location by the lake adds to its spiritual ambiance.

Key Features

Phu Tay Ho is adorned with numerous notable features that capture the essence of Vietnamese religious architecture. The main hall, with its majestic presence, houses the altar dedicated to Princess Lieu Hanh. Statues of deities, intricately carved altars, and symbolic motifs such as dragons and lotus flowers embellish the temple, each carrying significant cultural and spiritual meanings. These elements not only showcase the artistic craftsmanship of the time but also create a solemn and sacred ambiance.

Visiting Phu Tay Ho

Best Times to Visit

The best times to visit Phu Tay Ho are during the spring and autumn seasons when the weather is mild and pleasant. Early mornings and late afternoons are ideal for experiencing the temple’s tranquility with fewer crowds. Additionally, visiting during major Vietnamese festivals, such as the Lunar New Year and the Mother Goddess Festival, offers a vibrant and culturally enriching experience.

How to Get There

Phu Tay Ho is conveniently accessible by various modes of transportation. Visitors can take a taxi, motorbike, or bus from Hanoi’s city center. Located on a large peninsula on the eastern side of West Lake, the journey to the temple is scenic, providing beautiful views of the lake and the surrounding areas. Clear signage and local guides are available to assist visitors in reaching the temple without difficulty.

Entry Fees and Regulations

There is no entry fee for visiting Phu Tay Ho, making it accessible to all. However, visitors are expected to adhere to the temple’s regulations to maintain its sanctity. This includes dressing modestly, covering shoulders and knees, and behaving respectfully within the temple grounds. Photography inside the main hall may be restricted, so it’s advisable to check the guidelines beforehand.

Activities and Attractions

Religious Practices

Phu Tay Ho is a hub of religious activity, attracting devotees who come to participate in traditional rituals and offerings. Common practices include lighting incense, presenting food and flowers at the altar, and reciting prayers. These activities are especially prominent during full moon days and major Vietnamese festivals, creating a lively and spiritual atmosphere.

Festivals and Events

The temple is a central venue for various festivals and events throughout the year. The Lunar New Year (Tet) and the Mother Goddess Festival are among the most significant, drawing large crowds of worshippers and tourists. These festivals feature elaborate ceremonies, traditional music, dance performances, and communal feasts, offering a deep dive into Vietnamese culture and traditions.

Nearby Attractions

West Lake, where Phu Tay Ho is located, is surrounded by numerous other attractions that complement a visit to the temple. Tran Quoc Pagoda, Quan Thanh Temple, and several quaint cafes and restaurants are nearby, allowing visitors to enjoy a full day exploring the area. The scenic beauty of West Lake itself, with its walking paths and boat rides, adds to the appeal of the visit.

Practical Tips

Visitor Etiquette

When visiting Phu Tay Ho, it’s important to dress modestly, covering shoulders and knees, to show respect for the sacred site. Behaving respectfully, keeping noise levels low, and avoiding disruptive behavior is essential. Visitors should also be mindful of photography restrictions, especially inside the main hall and during religious ceremonies.

Facilities and Amenities

Phu Tay Ho offers basic facilities to ensure a comfortable visit. Clean restrooms, small food stalls, and nearby cafes provide refreshments and snacks. Souvenir shops around the temple sell religious items and local handicrafts, allowing visitors to take home a piece of Vietnamese culture.

Safety Tips

While Phu Tay Ho is generally safe, visitors should remain vigilant about their belongings and avoid crowded areas during peak times to prevent pickpocketing. It’s advisable to stay hydrated, wear comfortable shoes for walking, and use sunscreen to protect against the sun. Following these tips will help ensure a pleasant and secure visit.


Phu Tay Ho is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the spiritual heritage and cultural richness of Hanoi. Its serene environment, coupled with its historical and architectural beauty, offers a unique glimpse into Vietnamese spirituality and tradition. Whether you are a devotee seeking a spiritual experience or a curious traveler eager to learn about local culture, Phu Tay Ho promises a memorable and enriching experience. The temple stands as a testament to the enduring faith and cultural vibrancy of Hanoi, inviting all to discover its timeless charm and profound significance.