Hanoi's famous temple asks tourists to put on extra clothes

By Huy Manh   April 19, 2017 | 11:25 pm PT
Visitors to Ngoc Son Temple can now borrow a coat if they don't come prepared.

Ngoc Son Temple, one of the most popular destinations in Hanoi, has solved the dress code problem for visitors by letting them borrow clothes to cover bare arms and knees.

The plain gowns, which look like lab coats, will make sure all visitors are dressed appropriately when they enter the temple.

Ngoc Son, on the iconic Hoan Kiem Lake, is one of the most important and famous temples of the capital city.

It is dedicated to Tran Hung Dao, who led armies to repel three major Mongol invasions in the 13th century, among other historical figures.

Vietnam’s tourism ministry last month officially released a code of conduct for tourism. Among the rules of manners for tourists are recommendations for appropriate clothes and responsible drinking.

Sacred places in particular require visitors to show respect by wearing clothes that cover their knees and shoulders.

In February, the Cham temple complex of Po Nagar in the central province of Khanh Hoa started lending long gowns to tourists in a similar attempt.

The Ngoc Son intervention came in the middle of Hanoi’s campaign to improve its image. The city earlier this year announced plans to implement a strict dress code, warning that it will name and shame any locals or visitors wearing skimpy clothes in public.

But experts warned that it would be difficult, if not illegal, to impose restrictions on how people dress, which they described as a very personal choice.

The city has reportedly taken no tough actions after two foreign tourists were caught sunbathed in swimwear by the Hoan Kiem Lake early this month, an incident that caused public outrage.

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