We went through the Temple of Literature with a guide (from Hanoi Kids) and really appreciated having her there to explain the history and cultural context of the site to us. There is not much signage so it could be difficult to self guide but the site itself is so picturesque with lovely gardens and buildings that you would still enjoy your visit.
Staying in the Old Quarter, we caught a quick taxi ride there as it is was a bit far to walk. Built in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, this first University of Vietnam was traditionally for royal and noble students. It's a beautiful site to visit. Wonderful old buildings are set amongst five courtyards with well planned and laid out gardens, trees and lotus ponds. The whole layout and design is perfectly balanced, based on yin and yang. It is nice and tranquil, secluded with trees; you can easily forget you are in the middle of busy Hanoi.
You can also see the historic stone stelae of carved blue stone turtles, honouring the top scholars. 82 of these great turtle stones remain today. There are also some wonderful decorative statues honouring Confucius himself and past founders.
As well as traditionally being an historical important place of education, as we walked around many current students filled the courtyards. Young school children were running around as part of an excursion. Graduating students in their beautiful traditional white gowns posed for photos on the grounds.
Really picturesque relaxing spot to walk around and enjoy this historical site. Well worth a visit.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.