Another place you shouldn't miss is the city’s notable Buddhist temple One Pillar Pagoda. The place has an interesting history. The beauty of this temple lies in the fact that it is built of wood on a single stone pillar and will remind you of a lotus blossom, which is a symbol of purity in Buddhism.
Next we walked to One Pillar Pagoda situated very close to HCM Complex. The temple is dedicated to Goddess of Mercy. Vietnamese go there to pray for a child, especially a male child ! As per what we learned from our guides, an average Vietnamese has 2-3 children, and sometime more in quest of a male child.
Behind the mausoleum are Ho Chi Minh’s house and the One Pillar Pagoda. For an insight into Vietnam’s turbulent past visit Hoa Lo prison, known by the American inmates as the ‘Hanoi Hilton’. I’d recommend getting a guide to take you between the various sights as the traffic is beyond hectic. Just crossing the road involves a leap of faith. Slowing the pace for a while, a personal cyclo tour is a great way to take in the old part of the city, often referred to as “36 streets”.
Also saw the One Pillar Padoga, built by the Emperor Ly Thai Tong to express his gratitude for being blesses by a son.We came back to the Old Quarter late afternoon where we saw what has to be the most wonderful and exquisite painting technique I’ve ever seen. Lawrence Block said “Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” THIS was it. Not only did I end up buying 4 paintings (after much negotiation for 50$), I also made friends with a very lively and talented painter.Next we went on to see the Thang Long Water Puppet show. Puppetry as an art is displayed in all its glory sprinkled with some very gimmicky flair. While we enjoyed the theatrics of the show, especially the bit with the fire spewing dragons, since it was entirely played out in Vietnamese, we couldn’t understand anything at all.Headed back to the hotel around 7pm and slept after a tiring day!Woke up to go have dinner at a very tiny road side cafe.
The wooden One Pillar Pagoda rests on a single stone pillar and is designed to look like a lotus blossom emanating from a sea of sorrow. This symbol of purity which traces its origins to the Emperor Ly Thai Tong who constructed it to honour the Goddess of Mercy was destroyed by the French before they left Vietnam and had to be rebuilt from scratch. There is no entrance fee to see the pagoda and it is 250 meters from the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.