Co Loa Citadel, Hanoi - All you need to know before visiting 2024

Hanoi distinguishes itself from other tourist destinations with its unique charm, and its true worth is found in ancient landmarks that trace back hundreds and thousands of years. Notable among them are Quoc Tu Giam and, most notably, the Co Loa Citadel.

So, let's embark on a journey to explore the fascinating Co Loa Citadel together!

1. Location

The Co Loa Citadel historical relic area spans three communes: Co Loa, Viet Hung, and Duc Tu in Dong Anh district, Hanoi. Just 24 km from the city center, it has become a popular choice among many young people for a weekend getaway near Hanoi.

2. History of Co loa Citadel

Co Loa served as the capital of the Au Lac kingdom under the rule of An Duong Vuong and later, during the reign of Ngo Quyen, the Dai Viet kingdom. Across generations, the relics of Co Loa Citadel and its legendary tales have become an integral part of the cultural and spiritual fabric of the Vietnamese people.
Legend has it that while building the Co Loa Citadel, An Duong Vuong faced challenges and supernatural disruptions. The Golden Turtle God intervened, providing a magical crossbow made of claws, ensuring the successful completion of the citadel.

Co loa citadel history


3. Best time to visit Co Loa citadel

You can explore this historical site at any time of the year, but the most enchanting period is during summer when the vibrant poinciana and flamboyant flowers are in full bloom. The weather is delightful and sunny during this season, making it perfect for outdoor sightseeing activities.
Additionally, to immerse yourself in the festival spirit, make sure to schedule your visit to Co Loa Citadel on January 5th. These dates mark the Co Loa Festival, a joyous event dedicated to celebrating the achievements of An Duong Vuong in building the citadel and establishing the state of Au Lac.
Co loa citadel today
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4. How to get Co Loa citadel

Situated just under 20km from the city center, this site holds key importance in the national heritage landscape.
From the heart of Hanoi, travel along the old National Highway 1A for approximately 10 km until you reach Duong Bridge. Upon reaching Yen Vien town, take a left turn onto Highway 3, and continue for around 5 km to arrive at the Co Loa Citadel.
Alternatively, visitors can opt for buses as a convenient mode of transportation. Specific bus routes, including 14, 17, 43, 46, and 59, go directly to this location, providing additional commuting options
co loa citadel

5. What to see in Co Loa Citadel

 The architecture of Co Loa Citadel relics never fails to leave a lasting impression on both domestic and international tourists. When visiting Co Loa Citadel, make sure to explore the following key places:

5.1. An Duong Vuong Temple (Thuong Temple)

An Duong Vuong Temple, also known as Thuong Temple, resides at the core of the Citadel and holds historical significance. Positioned atop a mound shaped like a dragon's head, flanked by two verdant forests, and featuring two round holes representing dragon eyes, the temple is set against the picturesque backdrop of a sizable lake.
Within the temple, numerous relics are preserved, including a bronze statue of An Duong Vuong, two Hong and Bach horses, and various artifacts crafted from bronze, porcelain, wood, and fabric. At the entrance, stone dragons with intricately carved bodies and clawed hands stand guard, reflecting the refined architectural style reminiscent of the Le Dynasty.

5.2. Co Loa Communal House

Moved several times, the Co Loa Communal House found its current location in the late 18th century. The entrance of the temple is adorned with meticulous carvings and gilded images, along with representations of four types of flowers: Peach Blossom, Apricot Blossom, Bamboo, and Chrysanthemum.
The solid architecture of the Co Loa Temple is certain to impress you with the enduring beauty that has graced this site for thousands of years.


5.3. Temple of My Chau Princess

The temple of My Chau Princess contains a peculiar headless stone figure referred to as the My Chau Stone. Adorning the temple walls is a horizontal inscribed board featuring a poem in Classical Chinese by Chu Manh Trinh. The temple's tales of legend and enigma are what captivate the interest of numerous individuals, sparking a sense of curiosity.

5.4. Cao Lo Temple

Under the reign of An Duong Vuong, Cao Lo distinguished himself as a skilled general. It played a crucial role in supervising the construction of the citadel. 
The temple dedicated to him stands as a tribute to his significant contributions to the nation.

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6. Some tips for visitors

For a more enriching visit to Co Loa Citadel, consider the following guidelines:

  • Dress Code: Opt for modest attire, avoiding excessively short clothing or dresses.

  • During the Visit: Maintain a calm and respectful demeanor to uphold the serenity of the historical site, ensuring a positive experience for fellow visitors.

  • Respect for the Historical Site: Adhere to the rules and directives provided by the management to safeguard the integrity of the historical site.

  • Hygiene Practices: Refrain from littering to uphold the cleanliness and beauty of the area

author hoan
My name is Hoan and I come from Hanoi, with more than 10 years working in the tourism industry (both as a tour guide then tour operator). I am very proud to say that I can give you the best advice for your trip to beautiful Vietnam.

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