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Buddhist temples in Vietnam: Top 17 sites for sightseeing

28/02/2024 7.607

Embark on a spiritual journey through renowned Buddhist temples in Vietnam, from the majestic Quan Su Pagoda in Hanoi to the tranquil Vinh Trang Pagoda in Tien Giang.

Buddhist temples in Vietnam

Vietnam, with its rich cultural tapestry and breathtaking landscapes, has long been a magnet for travelers seeking profound experiences. Amidst the bustling cities and picturesque countryside, Buddhist temples in Vietnam stand as timeless sanctuaries, offering solace and spiritual nourishment to visitors. These temples, with their intricate architecture adorned with vibrant colors and intricate carvings, serve as reminders of Vietnam's deep-rooted spiritual heritage waiting to be explored.

1. The 6 famous Buddhist temples in Vietnam in the North

Northern Vietnam is home to many famous Buddhist temples. Below are some of the must-visit Vietnamese Buddhist temples, which will surely enchant visitors by their architectural and cultural significance. 

1.1. Quan Su Temple (Hanoi)

As one of the most revered Vietnamese Buddhist temples in Hanoi, Quan Su Pagoda stands as a testament to the resilience of Vietnam's spiritual traditions. Dating back to a period of cultural transition, the temple's architecture reflects a synthesis of diverse cultural influences, shaped by the contributions of eminent monks and scholars. The three-tiered roof gate, reminiscent of ancient structures found in Bac Ninh and Hue, pays homage to the country's architectural heritage while embracing modern elements inspired by East Asian design principles. 

Within the temple complex, the main hall serves as a sanctuary for Buddhist devotees, housing sacred relics and statues of revered figures. The integration of various architectural forms and functions, from the central hall dedicated to Buddha to the wings honoring eminent monks, embodies a harmonious fusion of tradition and innovation.

Buddhist temples in Vietnam

1.2. Kim Lien Temple (Hanoi)

Standing as one of the popular Buddhist temples in Vietnam, Kim Lien Temple occupies a special place in the cultural and historical landscape of Thang Long-Hanoi. With origins tracing back over a millennium, the temple bears witness to the enduring spiritual legacy of Vietnam. A stone stele, dating back to 1510, recounts the legend of Cao Son, a revered deity whose benevolent intervention during a time of turmoil earned him the devotion of the people. 

Over the centuries, the temple has undergone numerous renovations and expansions, each layer adding to its mystique and grandeur. The addition of the Tam Quan gate and the elaborately decorated worship halls, dedicated to revered figures such as President Ho Chi Minh, further enrich the temple's architectural ensemble.

1.3. But Thap Pagoda (Bac Ninh)

In the tranquil countryside of Bac Ninh province, But Thap Pagoda stands as a testament to the architectural ingenuity and cultural richness of Vietnam's northern plains. Dating back to the 14th century, this majestic spiritual complex exudes an aura of spiritual tranquility and historical significance. 

The pagoda's layout reflects the principles of “nội công ngoại quốc” (internal harmony, external balance), with its various structures arranged in a harmonious and balanced manner. From the simplicity of its outer “tam quan” gate to the grandeur of its interconnected halls, But Thap offers a glimpse into the spiritual and artistic achievements of Vietnam's past. Within its sacred precincts lie four national treasures, including the iconic statue of Avalokitesvara with a thousand eyes and a thousand arms, each symbolizing the profound spiritual and cultural heritage of the Vietnamese people.

Buddhist temples in Vietnam

1.4. Phat Tich Temple (Bac Ninh)

Phat Tich Temple, situated on the southern slope of Phat Tich Mountain in Bac Ninh Province, was recognized as a national historical site in 2013, serving as a center of Buddhist worship and preserving unique cultural artifacts. Its construction dates back to the 7th to 10th centuries, during the reign of King Ly Thanh Tong in 1057. 

The temple's architecture combines internal harmony with external balance, featuring a symmetrical layout comprising multiple buildings forming a "hundred-bay" structure. Notable structures here include the Adi Buddha statue atop Phat Tich Mountain and 34 preserved stupas, most of which were built during the reign of King Ly Trung Hung. 

Buddhist temples in Vietnam

1.5. Dau Temple (Bac Ninh)

Dau Temple stands as one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Vietnam, tracing its origins back to the inception of Buddhism in the country. Dau Temple embodies a cultural and religious heritage of immense historical value, encompassing architectural and artistic achievements of great significance. 

The most striking feature of the temple is the Hoa Phong Tower. According to ancient records, during the Tran dynasty, Chancellor Mac Dinh Chi renovated Dau Temple, constructing a nine-story tower. However, the current architecture of the tower dates back to the reign of King Ly Trung Hung. Built with ancient fired bricks, the tower consists of three stories and stands 15 meters tall.

1.6. Bai Dinh Temple (Ninh Binh)

Bai Dinh Pagoda, situated in Ninh Binh Province, is hailed as the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia. Comprising both ancient and new temple areas, it boasts impressive architectural achievements and scenic beauty. The ancient temple area, perched atop a 187-meter-high mountain, features cave-like structures housing altars for Buddha and the Mother Goddess. Recognized as a national historical-cultural-revolutionary relic, Bai Dinh Temple is renowned for its spiritual significance and scenic splendor, attracting visitors from far and wide every year.

Buddhist temples in Vietnam

>>> Vietnamese pagodas showcase a rich blend of architectural elegance and spiritual significance. Find out more!

2. Top 5 impressive Buddhist temples in Vietnam in the Central

Central Vietnam boasts a rich cultural heritage, including some of the most remarkable Vietnamese Buddhist temples. These temples, scattered throughout the region, offer insights into Vietnam's spiritual and architectural traditions.

2.1. Thap Thap Di Da Temple (Binh Dinh)

Thap Thap Di Da Temple in Binh Dinh is the oldest temple belonging to the Lam Te sect. This temple has undergone four renovations while maintaining its overall harmony, solemnity, and reverence. 

The main structure, primarily crafted from precious wood, features intricate carvings of floral motifs, dragons, and phoenixes. The temple complex includes the main hall, ceremonial courtyard, and western and eastern corridors, all connected by spacious corridors surrounding a vast courtyard adorned with various trees.

In addition to the main structures, the temple also houses 24 towers of varying sizes, each showcasing different architectural styles from various historical periods. Recognized as a national historical and cultural relic, Thap Thap Di Da Temple stands as the foremost temple in Central Vietnam.

Buddhist temples in Vietnam

2.2. Linh Son Temple (Lam Dong)

Linh Son Pagoda, one of Da Lat's oldest and most revered temples, was constructed between 1936 and 1940 and spans approximately 4 hectares atop a hill. The main hall consists of two interconnected buildings, featuring curved roofs adorned with symmetrical dragon sculptures. Intricate floral patterns embellish the lower sections of the roofs. 

Inside the main hall, a bronze statue of Shakyamuni Buddha sits atop a lotus throne, while a large bronze bell hangs nearby. Adjacent to the main hall are an octagonal pagoda and an ancestral hall dedicated to revered figures and ordinary believers. Linh Son Temple also includes facilities such as a scripture dissemination room, a meditation hall, and a funeral hall, serving as a center for Buddhist education and commemoration. 

2.3. Truc Lam Temple (Lam Dong)

Nestled amidst serene surroundings and picturesque landscapes, Truc Lam Zen Monastery is a captivating destination for travelers exploring the enchanting city of Da Lat. A leisurely ascent from Tuyen Lam Lake along a stone-paved path of 140 steps, flanked by verdant pine trees, leads visitors through three gateways into the main hall. 

The grandeur and solemnity of the main hall captivate visitors, with its harmonious interior adorned with meticulously crafted decorative motifs, each imbued with profound Buddhist philosophy. At the center of the main hall stands a majestic 2-meter-high statue of Lord Buddha, Thich Ca Mau Ni, radiating benevolence and compassion, with an outstretched hand offering a lotus flower. The glistening glazed tile roof, gently curved, adds to the monastery's graceful allure, creating a visually captivating sight.

Buddhist temples in Vietnam

2.4. Dieu De Temple (Hue)

Dieu De Pagoda, situated on Bach Dang Street along the eastern bank of the Perfume River in Hue City, holds historical significance as the ancestral home of Prince Phuc Quoc (grandfather of King Thieu Tri), where King Thieu Tri was born in 1807. Upon ascending the throne, King Thieu Tri commissioned the construction of Dieu De Temple in his ancestral precinct. 

The temple complex, covering approximately 2,500 square meters, is enclosed by fortified walls, with its main entrance facing the Perfume River and the Hue Imperial City. Initially, the inner precinct contained about ten architectural structures.

2.5. Tu Dam Temple (Hue)

Tu Dam Pagoda, a renowned ancient temple in Hue, is perched on Nam Giao Hill, facing south. Established by the Buddhist monk Minh Hoang Tu Dung upon his arrival from Guangdong, China, to Thuan Hoa, the temple underwent gradual expansions to reach its present form. 

Covering an area of around 15,000 square meters, the temple compound includes an impressive yet understated triple gateway encircled by fortified walls. The spacious courtyard boasts a majestic Bodhi tree, propagated from the original Bodhi tree under which Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment in India. 

The forecourt and main hall have been rebuilt following the architectural style of the original temple, but on a larger scale. Nestled between the temple and the guesthouse is a garden adorned with flowers and ornamental trees, featuring a statue of the venerable monk Tam Minh Le Dinh Tham, who made significant contributions to the revival of Buddhism in Hue and was closely associated with Tu Dam Temple.

Buddhist temples in Vietnam

>>> Beyond Buddhist temples, discover more about the richness of Vietnam culture!

3. What are the top Buddhist temples in Vietnam in the South?

Southern Vietnam is not only known for its bustling cities and vibrant culture but also for its rich Buddhist heritage, evident in the majestic temples scattered across the region. Here, don’t miss the opportunity to explore some of the most distinguished Vietnamese Buddhist temples in the South.

3.1. Giac Lam Temple (Ho Chi Minh City)

Giac Lam Temple, nestled in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, stands as a testament to Vietnam's enduring Buddhist tradition. Founded in 1744 by the revered monk Ly Thuy Long, the temple has witnessed centuries of history unfold within its sacred grounds. The temple's architectural marvels showcase the distinctive style of Southern Vietnamese Buddhist temples, characterized by its single-roof structure supported by four sturdy pillars. 

In addition, Giac Lam Temple boasts 38 towers, some dating back nearly two centuries, adorned with intricate carvings that blend influences from Khmer, Vietnamese, Champa, and even Western cultures. Among its treasures are 118 statues, including the iconic Thap Bat La Han (Eighteen Arhats), showcasing the evolution of Buddhism in the region. Beyond its architectural splendor, Giac Lam Temple serves as a repository of invaluable historical, cultural, and artistic artifacts, attracting pilgrims and tourists alike. 

Buddhist temples in Vietnam

3.2. Hoang Phap Temple (Ho Chi Minh City)

Hoang Phap Buddhist Temple stands as a beacon of Buddhist practice and education in southern Vietnam. Established in 1957 by Master Ngoc Chan Tu, the temple has played a pivotal role in nurturing monks and fostering community engagement for over six decades. Renowned for its immersive retreat programs and meditation sessions, Hoang Phap Temple attracts a diverse array of devotees, from novices to seasoned practitioners, eager to deepen their understanding of Buddhist teachings. 

In 1995, the temple underwent extensive renovations, with the main hall expanded to accommodate larger gatherings. Today, with over 100 resident monks and 200 devotees, Hoang Phap Temple continues to uphold its legacy as a sanctuary of peace and enlightenment in Ho Chi Minh City.

3.3. Xa Loi Temple (Ho Chi Minh City)

Located on a spacious 2500-square-meter plot, Xa Loi Buddhist Temple boasts a distinctive architectural style that seamlessly blends traditional and contemporary elements. Its grand entrance, adorned with intricately carved motifs and vibrant colors, welcomes visitors into a tranquil oasis of spirituality and contemplation. 

Within its hallowed halls, devotees gather to pay homage to the Buddha and reflect on the teachings of enlightenment. Xa Loi Temple's significance transcends its architectural beauty, serving as a repository of cultural artifacts and historical relics. From the iconic Jade Pagoda to the bronze tower gifted by Taiwan, the temple houses treasures that embody the rich tapestry of Vietnam's Buddhist heritage. 

Buddhist temples in Vietnam

3.4. Ho Quoc Temple (Phu Quoc)

Ho Quoc Temple is the largest and most serene temple on Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province. Located at the end of a winding road through the mountains of Duong To Commune, with long stretches of beaches, Ho Quoc Temple appears like a prominent structure atop the waves. 

Nestled against the mountains, facing the vast South China Sea, it presents a unique position, like a watercolor painting. Built on an area of over ten hectares, the temple is constructed in the architectural style of the Ly-Tran dynasty. Visitors not only admire the exquisite carvings and sculptures but also have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Truc Lam Yen Tu Zen sect, founded by Emperor Tran Nhan Tong in the 13th century.

3.5. Phuoc Dien Temple (An Giang)

Phuoc Dien Temple, also known as Hang Temple, is one of the famous Vietnamese Buddhist temples located on Sam Mountain in Chau Doc, An Giang. The name "Phuoc Dien" consists of "Phuoc" meaning blessings, and "Dien" meaning cultivated land, symbolizing a piece of land sowing blessings. 

Perched atop Sam Mountain, Phuoc Dien Temple is embraced by dense forests. To reach the main hall of the temple, visitors must conquer the 300-meter-high stairs. The beautiful and ancient temple stands alone on Sam Mountain. The space here is peaceful, spacious, and tranquil, far away from the hustle and bustle of life.

Buddhist temples in Vietnam

3.6. Vinh Trang Temple (Tien Giang)

Vinh Trang Pagoda is the largest Buddhist temple in Tien Giang Province, classified as a national historical-cultural relic since 1984. As the most unique architectural structure in the South, the highlight of Vinh Trang Temple is the triple gate with its mosaic art of pottery and porcelain pieces. With the colors of various types of pottery and porcelain, ancient artisans cleverly arranged them into many illustrated scenes depicting Buddhist stories, folk tales, and themes of the four supernatural creatures, the four seasons, flowers, clouds, etc., with perfect harmony like paintings. The soft, delicate inscriptions on the murals record Buddhist slogans in exquisite calligraphy.

From the ancient pagodas of Northern Vietnam to the serene temples of Southern Vietnam, the country's Buddhist heritage offers a captivating glimpse into its rich cultural tapestry. Whether you're seeking spiritual enlightenment or simply exploring Vietnam's cultural treasures, a journey through Buddhist temples in Vietnam is sure to leave a lasting impression. 

Buddhist temples are present in most cities in Vietnam. Visitors can consider visiting Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh CityPhu QuocNha TrangHoi An, and Ha Long to explore the temples while having diverse experiences in lifestyle, entertainment, and cuisine in these famous cities.

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Buddhist temples in Vietnam

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Buddhist temples in Vietnam

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