This is a quiet oasis right in the heart of busy and often hectic Hanoi. It is also one of the few remaining examples of ancient Vietnamese architecture and is considered perhaps the city’s greatest cultural sight. Founded in 1070, it became the country’s first university in 1076 to educate the sons of mandarins. A stelae naming the birth places and achievements of those receiving their doctorate here is one of the temple’s highlights. There are five separate courtyards and the complex is quite large so allow ample time to enjoy its contemplative grounds. Admission is 20,000 dong ($1.25) and open 8am-5pm daily.
The kingdom of Lan Xang (Laos) was founded in the mid-14th century and ruled by Buddhist Thai. At the northern capital, Luang Prabang, the influence of the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai predominated; in the southern capital, Vientiane, a mixture of Ayutthaya and Khmer motives prevailed.
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