There’s often a lot of confusion between what we call a temple or pagoda, so here’s an easy guide:

Chùa Trấn Quốc - one of the oldest in Vietnam - on Thanh Niên Road, Trúc Bạch, Hanoi.
Chùa Trấn Quốc – one of the oldest in Vietnam – on Thanh Niên Road, Trúc Bạch, Hanoi.

Pagoda: Called a Chua in Vietnam

In English we normally call these buildings temples, as they are places of worship. But, in Vietnam they are called a ‘Pagoda’ and they are found everywhere. More often than not, at a Vietnamese Pagoda there won’t be any sign of an eight sided tower or what we’d recognize as a (Chinese) Pagoda.

Now the confusion is cleared a Chua or Pagoda worships one or more Buddha statues.  But not only that as they also acknowledge and honor other faiths including having an Mother Goddess alter, plus statues of Taoist gods, deceased monks and national heroes.

Temple of Literature - Văn Miếu - Grand Master Confucius (479 - 551 BC). This room is considered the most beautiful of all, so much culture and tradition is contained within these walls.
Temple of Literature – Văn Miếu – Grand Master Confucius (479 – 551 BC). This room is considered the most beautiful of all, so much culture and tradition is contained within these walls.

Temple: called a Den

They’re not so much a place of worship, but are more a structure to honor great historical saints or heroes, both local and national.  In a Den you can see persons such as Confucius, Tran Hung Dao and Ho Chi Minh.

 

Whatever they are called we need to use the utmost of RESPECT . . .  ..

On every street in the Old Quarter has a Temple.  All over Hanoi and Vietnam you can find stunning examples of temples in varying sizes, styles and condition.  They all hold their own beauty, so if you get a chance have a peek.

A few random incense burn in the grass.
A few random incense burn in the grass.
Chùa Trấn Quốc from Thanh Niên Road, Hanoi
Chùa Trấn Quốc from Thanh Niên Road, Hanoi