The 15th century Quan Su Temple, meaning "Ambassador's Pagoda", was constructed by the Vietnamese emperor for the ambassadors and visiting dignitaries from neighboring Buddhist countries.
Today, Quan Su Temple is the headquarters of the Vietnamese Sangha, the governing body of Vietnamese Buddhism. It's an active temple, and a peaceful and serene spot surrounded by the busy streets of Hanoi.
There is no cost to visit this beautiful and historic temple. Proper dress is required, however, which means no sleeveless shirts (men or women) and no shorts (women). Shoes must be removed before entering the temple buildings.
There is also a tiny shop, run by the monks with proceeds supporting the temple, selling Buddhist books (in Vietnamese), charms, and prayer beads. Outside the beautiful gilded main temple hall, there are a few shrines smaller shrines. In the upper floors behind the main temple building is a meeting hall for the Sangha leadership. If you are interested in Buddhism, this is one of the top sites in Hanoi that you should not miss. It's also a calm and quiet spot where you can find a little peace in the midst of the chaos that is Hanoi.
The temple is located at 73 Quán Sứ, Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi