From the outside, Bach Ma Temple looks fairly nondescript - a squat yellowish building looking very much like other local Hanoi temples. But Bach Ma, believed to be the oldest temple in the city, is an important Hanoi historical site. The temple dates back to the 11th century, with a legend related to Emperor Ly Thai To and the founding of Hanoi.
According to the legend, a magical white horse led the emperor to the spot on which he built the walls for the ancient city that would become Hanoi. In honor of the spirit of the white horse, the emperor constructed a temple in its honor, enshrining a beautiful white horse statue.
The temple is open for visitors every day except Monday from 8:00am-5:00pm, but is closed for midday between 11:00am-2:00pm. Bach Ma Temple is located at 76 Hàng Buồm, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội , and there is no entry fee to visit.
Visitors are expected to behave properly and respectfully. Proper dress - no sleeveless shirts are permitted for men or women, and no shorts for women - is expected when visiting the temple. As with most Vietnamese temples, you may wear your shoes inside the outer parts of the building, but must remove them before entering the inner sanctuary.