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  • 10 Best Temples in Vietnam

    Vietnam’s Must-Visit Temples

    Temples are among Vietnam’s most popular attractions, where travellers can marvel at intricate carvings and well-preserved architecture as well as experience the local culture during their holiday. A predominantly Buddhist country, there are thousands of pagodas and shrines dedicated to the revered icon. Vietnam is also the birth place of Cao Daism, which combines teachings and practices of several beliefs, including Hinduism, Judaism, Confucianism, Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism and Islam.

    This selection of Vietnam’s must-visit temples lists sites in the modern cities of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi as well as remote locales such as Hue, Ninh Binh Province and Mui Ne. Unlike most tourist spots in Vietnam, you don’t need to pay a fee to enter most of these temples, but donations are warmly welcomed. Visitors are required to dress appropriately and remove their shoes before entering prayer halls.

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    Tran Quoc Pagoda is the oldest of its kind in Hanoi, dating back to the 6th century reign of Emperor Ly Nam De (544 - 548). The Buddhist shrine has undergone several changes throughout the years, particularly its renaming from An Quoc to Tran Quoc (͞protecting the country͟) by Emperor Le Huy Tong in the 17th century. Standing at 15 metres, the main pagoda is made up of 11 levels, while its surrounding buildings include an incense burning house and a museum housing historical relics. You can also see intricately carved statues dating to 1639, each of which bear unique facial feature. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: Daily 07:30 – 18:00
    • Location: Thanh Nien, Truc Bach, Ba Dình, Hanoi
    • Tel: +84 4 3829 3869
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    Cao Dai Temple Ho Chi Minh City
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    The Cao Dai Temple, about 100 km northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, is a technicoloured religious site that was constructed in the 1930s. Cao Daists believe that all religions are ultimately the same, combining Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity and Islam into a monotheistic religion. Open to the public, there are daily worshipping ceremonies held every six hours where you can photograph devotees in action, with long flowing robes of white for lay followers and yellow, blue or red for priests, while bishops have the Divine Eye embroidered on their headpieces. Read More...

    • Location: Long Hoa Village (100km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City)
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    Bai Dinh Pagoda Nin Binh Province
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    Bai Dinh Pagoda is a complex of several Buddhist temples, where you can find 500 intricately carved statues of Buddha, including one that’s made of bronze and is 10 metres in height. Set within the Gia Sinh Commune, it’s highly frequented by locals looking to pay their respect and have their fortune told by the resident monks. Not only does Bai Dinh Pagoda offer breathtaking views of surrounding mountains, you can also enjoy a variety of activities during your visit, including exploring grottoes and hiking through the Ba Chua Thuong Ngan forest.

    • Location: Gia Sinh Commune, Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province
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    The Temple of Literature is widely regarded as one of Hanoi’s most picturesque tourist attractions, offering a superb example of traditional-style Vietnamese architecture. Built in 1070 to honour Confucius, it houses a lake of literature, the Well of Heavenly Clarity, turtle steles, pavilions, courtyards and passageways that were once used by royalty of the Ly and Tran dynasties. The Temple of Literature often serves as a backdrop for pre-wedding and graduation photoshoots, so visit in the early morning if you prefer a more tranquil setting. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 8:30 - 11:30 & 13:30 - 16:30
    • Location: 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Van Mieu, Dong Da, Hanoi
    • Price Range: VND 10,000
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    Thien Mu Pagoda Hue
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    Thien Mu Pagoda is set atop a hill just outside Hue City Centre, offering breathtaking views of Perfume River and Hue Imperial City. One of its standout features is a 21-metre-tall octagonal tower called Thap Phuoc Duyen, which was built in 1844 under the reign of Emperor Thieu Tri. Meanwhile, the main sanctuary houses wooden sculptures of temple guardians, gold-plated Buddha statues and a two-tonne bell cast in 1710. Thien Mu Pagoda was also the home monastery of Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc, who famously self-immolated in 1963 in protest against the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government.

    • Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 17:00
    • Address: Kim Long, Huong Long Ward, Hue
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    Van Thuy Tu Temple is the largest and oldest whale temple in Phan Thiet, displaying skeletal remains of whales as well as fishing boats, conical hats and authentic artefacts from the Nguyen Dynasty. Built in 1762 to commemorate Ca Ong (Lord Whale), locals believe that whales are benevolent creatures that protect fisherman from bad weather and dangers at sea. Today, this small temple houses the skeletal remains of more than 500 whales that are over 100 years old, including a 22-metre-long skeleton that’s believed to have been the biggest in Southeast Asia. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 17:00
    • Address: 54 Ngu Ong Street, Phan Thiet
    • Price Range: VND 10,000
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    Jade Emperor Pagoda Ho Chi Minh City
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    Emperor Jade Pagoda, also known as Tortoise Pagoda, is one of the five most important shrines in Ho Chi Minh City. Built at the turn of the 20th century by a community of Cantonese who migrated from Guangzhou province in Southwest China, this pagoda is a fine representation of the Mahayanist branch of Buddhism that is practiced widely in Vietnam. Open daily, the temple can get busy with locals who come here to prayer or make votive offerings of flowers, as well as lighting candles and joss sticks, offering an atmospheric feel to the place. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: Daily 08:00 – 17:00
    • Address: 73 Mai Thi Luu, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
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    The Perfume Pagoda is a dramatic temple complex believed to have been first built in the 15th century. This series of Buddhist temples are built into a mountain range in a maze of alleyways carved into the rock, with rich forests and flowing streams all around. Located around 60 km south of Hanoi, in the Son Mountains, the journey here is an experience in itself: first you must take a two-hour journey by car or bus before travelling by boat to the foot of the mountains. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: Daily 06:30 - 17:00
    • Location: Huong Son, My Duc, Hanoi
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    The Mieu Temple Hue
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    The Mieu Temple, part of the UNESCO-protected Complex of Hue Monuments, was constructed by Emperor Minh Mang in 1821 in commemoration of former emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. One of the most well-preserved structures in the complex, this ancestral temple houses an ornate three-tiered pavilion, various personal items and portraits of its 10 emperors, as well as nine dynastic urns that were cast between 1835 and 1836. While travellers are free to explore the temple site, guided tours are available for those looking to know more about the history of Hue.

    • Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 17:00
    • Address: Le Huan, Thuan Thanh, Hue
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    Giac Lam Pagoda Ho Chi Minh City
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    Giac Lam Pagoda, built in 1744, is the oldest Buddhist temple in Ho Chi Minh City and, as such, was listed as an important historical site by the Vietnamese Department of Culture in 1988. Situated in Binh Than District, the pagoda is surrounded by spacious walled gardens and fronted by statues of mythical dragons while its ceremonial hall is dominated by a large statue of Amitabha Buddha, who is surrounded by five smaller carvings. Outside, a 32-metre-tall stupa dominates the temple grounds, which contain a Buddha relic housed on the top floor. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: Daily 05:00 – 12:00 & 14:00 – 20:00
    • Address: 118 Lac Long Quan, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
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