33 Sacred Vietnam Temples and Pagodas You Should Visit
There are over 14.500 Vietnam temples and pagodas, have you known that? According to Wikipedia, the number is 14.775 exactly, but I haven’t seen their source. Anyways, Buddhist temples have contributed a big part in Vietnam’s culture and spirituality value. Some of them even own records that I’m so sure you will be surprised at first glance.
Therefore, if you plan to travel to Vietnam, and want to do a spiritual tour to the temples, watch and learn their proud records, ancient architecture, or beautiful landscapes surrounded, here is the list of 33 Vietnam temples and pagodas that you should visit.
Temples in North Vietnam
1. Ba Chua Kho Temple – Bac Ninh
On the ancient and civilized Kinh Bac countryside, Ba Chua Kho Temple is one of the most famous and sacred Vietnam temples. Every day, hundreds of people from inside and outside the country come to worship, and pray for fortune. On top of that, yearly, January, and February of the lunar calendar are the busiest and most exciting time. Everyone who came here shared the belief that Ba Chua Kho would help to make their business more developed, wealthy, and prosperous.
The temple was established in the Ly Dynasty, originally a small temple. In the Le Dynasty, it was restored and expanded into a large temple with many construction items in the area including Tam Quan Gate, road, yard, sacrifice court, second palace, backroom. Especially, the Great Hall of worshiping solemnly with Ba Chua Kho statue carved very meticulously, and skillfully. Time flies and the war devastating, in 1989, Ba Chua Kho Temple was ranked as one of the National Historical and Cultural Sites. At the same time, Bac Ninh government restored and enlarged the temple including many architectural works. Most of the works are restored, embellished with a traditional appearance, and to honor the value of the monument.
People come to the temple to pray for peace and fortune. Nevertheless, most of them come to “borrow money” from Ba Chua Kho, looking forward to a good year of abundant capital, prosperous business. The ritual of “borrowing money” is also very easy and clear, people will write in a book how much to borrow, what to do, and how long to pay back. Even some people promise to pay back triple, or ten times the borrowed number. With the promise to pay back what was borrowed, so whether they really do well or not, people still keep their promises. Indeed, they will come and payback at the end of the year to Ba Chua Kho Temple.
Address: Co Me town, Vu Ninh ward, Bac Ninh city.
2. The Relic Area Con Son Kiep Bac – Hai Duong
By 2012, the relic area Con Son Kiep Bac has been recognized as a Special National Site. This is a place to preserve the historical relics related to the illustrious feat of the Tran people and army with 3 times defeating the Mongol invasions in the 13th century. Also, it keeps the resounding 10-year victory of the Lam Son uprising against the Ming invaders.
At Con Son Kiep Bac, visitors can visit the temples and pagodas in the area such as:
Con Son Pagoda
The pagoda has 83 spaces, including works such as Tam Quan Gate, the Great Hall, Left and Right Rooms, Bell Tower, and Drum Tower. Due to the war, currently, Con Son Pagoda is only a small temple nestled in the ancient tree’s shadow. Yet, the pagoda is still a famous fairy spot in the country. There are many valuable vestiges and antiques left.
Kiep Bac Temple
Some feng shui masters believe this is the place to gather energy to build a big empire. Kiep Bac Temple is a rich valley surrounded by Dragon mountain range, one side is Luc Dau Giang (Six Heads River). Mountains form the position of dragon and tiger adoration. The river creates a spacious road. On the front of the gate, there are 4 words “Hưng Thiên Vô Cực” means infinite development. Through the big gate, on the left is the sacred dragon’s eye well.
Temple of Nguyen Trai
Nguyen Trai Temple has started construction in 2000 on a land of 10,000m2 at the foot of Ngu Nhac Mountain. Designed in a unique and traditional style, this is the key building in Con Son Kiep Bac. Nguyen Trai Temple satisfies the travel needs associated with the spiritual history of future generations.
Temple of Tran Nguyen Han
Tran Nguyen Han Temple is located above Nguyen Trai Temple, also by the stream. Tran Nguyen Han is a special courtier of the Le Dynasty and the cousin of Nguyen Trai.
Temple of Tran Nguyen Dan
Tran Nguyen Dan is the grandpa of Nguyen Trai. His Temple locates above Tran Nguyen Han and Nguyen Trai temples, near the upstream of Con Son stream. He raised Nguyen Trai to grow up at Con Son Mountain and built his architectural works with his wife. Thanh Hu Cave is a large-scale and monumental construction with many architectures in harmony with nature.
Each year, the relic area Con Son Kiep Bac welcomes thousands of tourists coming here. They come not only for sightseeing but wishing for peace, tranquility, merit, and fortune for the family and children. This place is really sacred especially on the occasion of the festival. Because people think that all of their wishes are fulfilled.
Address: Hung Dao town, Chi Linh ward, Hai Duong province.
3. One Pillar Pagoda – Hanoi
Evenly among Asia, One Pillar Pagoda is the special temple with the most unique architecture. This pagoda is considered one of the most ancient buildings in Hanoi as well as the capital’s symbol of thousands of years of civilization.
In terms of architecture, One Pillar Pagoda has a simple design but is full of humanity and elements of yin and yang. The pagoda was built by a square block outside represents the yang, while a round pillar inside to support the whole architecture represents yin. In other words, yin (the negative) supports yang (the positive). Yin and yang intertwine like the cycle of heaven and earth. The four corners of this beautiful Vietnam temple’s roof are shaped into the dragon’s heads.
One Pillar Pagoda is built on a lake. In the lake, there are a lot of lotuses grown that show the top elegant. This pagoda is not just majestic and solemn but elegant and gentle. At the top of the pagoda, in the center position, is the statue of Bodhisattva Buddha sitting on a giant lotus.
Address: Chua Mot Cot street, Doi Can, Ba Dinh, Hanoi.
4. Perfume Pagoda, or Huong Pagoda – Hanoi
It would be flawed not to list Perfume Pagoda, or Huong Pagoda, on the list of famous temples of Vietnam. The name of Perfume Pagoda (or Chùa Hương in Vietnamese) is a local way of calling for shortened and convenient communication. In fact, the Perfume Pagoda is a long-standing religious and cultural complex of our country with dozens number of Vietnam temples, not to mention other scattered ones and shrines. To explain, the main scene you can find here is Trong Pagoda, located in Huong Tich Cave. The rest such as Thien Tru Pagoda, Thanh Son Pagoda, Bao Dai Pagoda, etc. are scattered along the peaceful Yen stream.
The temple is famously sacred. People believe that their wishes would come true if they pray at Perfume Pagoda at the beginning of the year. By word of mouth, Perfume Pagoda welcomes millions of visitors to come for worship and enjoying the scenery, especially on special occasions in January or March. The surrounding area is very poetic and peaceful, contributing to the fresh air here. Going to Perfume Pagoda is considered a journey to Buddha. People come here to pay their respects and worship to Buddhism. From there, they also pray for health, happiness for their families, and themselves.
The pagoda is located quite far from the center of Hanoi. In detail, it is in Huong Son town, My Duc district, on the right side of Day river, and about 60km southwest of Hanoi. To get to Huong Pagoda, visitors can go by road or by water. The road will take you through an apricot forest, immersed in many temples, caves, and beautiful scenery. You could even have the opportunity to light incense at the tomb of Tan Da, a famous poet of Vietnam living in the first half of the twentieth century. The waterway drifts you along Yen stream, watching purple lilac flowers at the foot of the Huong Tich mountains.
Address: Huong Son town, My Duc district, Hanoi.
5. Temple of Literature – Hanoi
Not every Vietnam temples are special and valuable in different aspects. Nevertheless, coming to the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, I’m sure you will find it very interesting with a lot of info you can know about the country. The temple brings to you a whole sky of historic, traditional, and cultural knowledge about Vietnam in the first part of this millennium.
Until the final architecture and houses that you can see now at the place, the temple has gone through many builds and modifications over hundreds of years. Visiting the temple, you will have a chance to wander around a 55,027m2 campus. The vast area is divided into 5 main courtyards called the Great Portico, the Great Success, Well of Heavenly Clarity and Stelae of Doctors, The Attained Talent, and The Imperial Academy. At each courtyard, you can learn a lot about the history-related literature of Vietnam.
You won’t find any Buddha statue there. Instead, the temple worship the philosophers, the Vietnam kings, or anyone who had contributed greatly to the country’s literature. Besides, you can find there 82 stone steles in the shape of the turtle which carry the names of the contestants who passed the examination in the past. Researchers and visual artists can even learn from the old patterns, motifs for their modern creation.
Address: Quoc Tu Giam Street, Dong Da district, Hanoi.
6. Tran Quoc Pagoda – Hanoi
Tran Quoc Pagoda is located on a small island on the east of West Lake in Tay Ho district. The pagoda both bring majesty, ancient and poetic, peaceful beauty of lush gardens and the vast lake surrounded. Because of this, the pagoda has been voted as one of the most beautiful temples in the world. Definitely, it’s a must-visited sightseeing spot for tourists when coming to Hanoi, Vietnam.
Address: Thanh Nien street, Tay Ho district, Hanoi.
7. Bao Ha Temple – Lao Cai
Visiting Sapa, you need to halt at Bao Ha temple because this place is represented the historical and cultural of the Vietnamese nation. This is placed under Cam hill, next to the Hong river that flows into the Vietnamese land. It takes approximately 60km from Lao Cai city to the south and around 800m from Bao Ha station.
Considered as one of the most ancient Vietnam temples, Bao Ha Temple is dedicated to the General Hoang Bay. He was a hero who fought the Northern enemies to save the village in the period of Canh Hung reign, from 1740 – 1786. In an unequal battle, Hoang Bay hero died. People then buried his body and built the temple to remember his great merit.
Bao Ha Temple has its back leaning on the mountain, facing toward the Hong river. This temple also has a melodious combination between the natural landscape and the traditional cultural architecture of Vietnam. From a distance, Bao Ha temple is very majestic and calm. You will fall in love with the charming and delightful natural that it brought. Imagine you are on the wharf or under the boat or mix with immense mountains, covered by full of smooth green that makes you lose consciousness and astounded by the natural.
The main event of Bao Ha Temple is on July 17th of the lunar calendar every year, which is also the Anniversary of the death of General Hoang Bay. The event attracts a large number of visitors from inside and outside the region. During the event, there is a procession of the palanquin, sacrifice to the Gods, incense offering, and many different cultural and sports activities. In the normal days, especially in the spring, many cross-country visitors often come here to light incense, pray for peace, and wish for luck.
Currently, the temple has been invested and built with the merit of money and the Government budget to make this spiritual location to become more perfect to satisfy the demand of tourists. Bao Ha temple is one of the famous and popular places for domestic tourists when traveling to Sapa, Lao Cai.
Address: Bao Ha commune, Bao Yen district, Lao Cai province.
8. Tran Temple – Nam Dinh
To enter the main areas of Tran Temple, one of the ancient Vietnam temple, you have to pass the Five-Door Gate in the front. There is a rectangular lake after the gate, with Thien Truong Temple in the middle of the lake. At the main relic area, Tran Temple consists of 3 main architectural works: Thien Truong Temple, Co Trach Temple, and Trung Hoa Temple with similar designs and equal scales.
Thien Truong Temple
Often called Thuong Temple, this locates at the center of the main space. There is a total of 9 buildings, 31 spaces. The temple frame is made of ironwood, tiled roofs, and tiled floors.
The front hall is the place to worship the high-ranking mandarins who helped the Tran Dynasty. In the middle hall, there are the ancestral tablets of 14 Tran emperors. Finally, the great hall is to worship the four ancestors of the Tran family, their wives, and empresses. The incense room set the altars and tablets of the Tran’s important people.
Co Trach Temple
Often called Ha Temple, it is located on the East side of Tran Temple. The front hall dedicates to the loyal generals of Tran Hung Dao and his family.
The incense room places a dragon altar of Tran Hung Dao and 9 Buddha statues. The left room places tablets of Truong Han Sieu, Pham Thien Nhan, and Tran courtiers. The right room places tablets of the Tran general, Tran Cong, and Tran family members.
Trung Hoa Temple
This temple is located on the west side of the Tran Temple relic. In Trung Hoa temple, there are 14 bronze statues of 14 Tran emperors in the middle and main space. Incense room sets for the throne and tablets of the council of courtiers. The left space worships the literature courtiers. The right space worships the generals.
Every year, at Tran Temple, there will be two big festivals. Particularly, it’s the inauguration ceremony of Tran Temple in early spring and the Tran Temple Festival in August. Those attract a large number of locals and tourists from all over the world to attend. They show the gratefulness to the merits of the 14 Tran kings and pray for the good.
Address: Tuc Mac town, Loc Vuong ward, Nam Dinh city.
9. Bai Dinh Pagoda – Ninh Binh
Bai Dinh is one of the largest temples in Vietnam with an area of about 539 hectares. Actually, it’s the top 1. Also, the temple owns the most records in Vietnam and Asia. To include, the temple has the largest gold-plated Buddha statue in Asia, the longest corridor of Arhats, and the largest bronze Maitreya statue in Southeast Asia. The temple is located in the area of Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, about 15km from Ninh Binh city. Nestled between majestic mountains, amidst vast rivers, coming to Bai Dinh, you can see the beautiful sky with the clouds flying, and the sunset is dotted with miracles over the space.
Actually, the concept of “Bai Dinh Pagoda” includes two areas: the new Bai Dinh Temple (about 80 ha) and the old Bai Dinh Temple (about 27 ha). With massive architecture that emphasizes the East Asia style, this place is considered a famous pagoda in Vietnam. Bai Dinh Pagoda still preserves the thousand-year-old architectural features of the nation. The quintessence from the childhood is shown by the talented artisans in the most completed way in each tile roof, each brick, and each carved detail. All of those masterpieces make the son of the Lac-Hong bloodline stirs up a very sacred pride.
Every year, this temple hosts a spring festival that attracts a large number of visitors. Bai Dinh itself is a complex area where many Buddhist ceremonies are held. It includes an ancient pagoda area and some modern pagoda architectural areas. Alongside, it’s surrounded by huge valleys and rocky mountains. Giant architecture, monuments are still the highlight of this temple. The temple with its view from the above as a vast maze, filled with the green of nature. It is the green color of the majestic hills, mountains, and forests. The green of the winding river that brings the breath of the “spirit – human” land.
Evenly, before the current “hot” tourist destinations of Ninh Binh such as Mua cave, Tuyet Tinh Coc,… this land has been famous for Bai Dinh Pagoda. Since 2020, the temple has been well-known as the primary venue for the very first welcome of Buddha’s relic from India to Vietnam. Every year, there is Bai Dinh festival. It takes place from the afternoon of the 1st day of Lunar New Year, opening in the 6th day of the Lunar New Year and will last until the end of the 3rd lunar month (around the month of 4, 5 Buddha calendars). In detail, the festival consists of 2 parts: the ritual to burn incense to commemorate merit (the ceremony) and the festival includes folk games, pagoda scenery, enjoying Cheo singing art, Soaking the Ancient Capital, etc.
Address: Gia Sinh town, Gia Vien district, Ninh Binh province.
10. Keo Pagoda – Thai Binh
Keo Pagoda has an area of about 58000 km2 including many large and small buildings alternating. However, the most typical and impressive construction is the architecture of the Bell Tower. The whole tower’s height over 11m with 3 floors. It is surrounded by a wooden frame. Interestingly, the shape of this frame is bent carefully.
For many years, Keo Pagoda has retained its unique architectural identity. It can be said that this pagoda is an Art Museum of the 17th century.
Address: Keo village, Vu Thu district, Thai Binh province.
11. Hoang Phuc Pagoda – Quang Binh
Hoang Phuc Pagoda is one of the ancient temples in Vietnam, from the early years of the eighteenth century. This pagoda was formerly known as Tri Kien shrine, later changed to Kinh Thien pagoda. It’s also known as the “King pagoda” due to the time when King Tran Nhan Tong visited the temple to offer incense to Buddha. Later, it’s called Hoang Phuc Pagoda under Emperor Minh Mang.
There is also a bronze bell from the time when Emperor Minh Mang ordered it to be commissioned when the pagoda was officially renamed Hoang Phuc. Hence, when you come here, you can not only visit the ancient pagoda, offer incense, and pray for peace, but explore and learn more about the historical and religious aspects of the country, Vietnam.
Currently, Hoang Phuc pagoda has been rebuilt, so you will see many “brand-new-modern” features in the temple’s campus. Even so, Hoang Phuc is still one of the well-known Vietnam pagodas and definitely worth a visit.
Address: My Thuy town, Le Thuy district, Quang Binh province.
12. The Complex of Yen Tu Monuments and Landscape – Quang Ninh
The complex of Yen Tu is associated with the birth, formation, and development of Truc Lam Zen in Vietnam – the ancient Buddhism line founded by the King Tran Nhan Tong in the 13th century. At the same time, it is also one of the famous pagodas in Vietnam, attracting a lot of visitors to the pilgrimage every year.
Yen Tu Mountain is a whole forest with hundreds of old, large and small temples, shrines looming in the same ancient forest leaves. The quiet space is tinged with spirituality and filled with an enlightened atmosphere of Buddhism. It keeps infusing the pure energy of heaven and earth into every breath and step of the visitor.
Yen Tu has always been one of the Buddhist centers of the country. The place has many ancient architectures built over several periods under the Tran, Le, and Nguyen dynasties. Most people come here to pray to Buddha for peace, see the landscapes, or go on a pilgrimage at the beginning of the year. Stretching from the foot of the mountain to the peak, Yen Tu has a lot of famous temples, towers, and pagodas in Vietnam such as Dong Pagoda, Quynh Lam, Giai Oan, Van Tien, Bao Sai, Thanh Long, Hoa Yen, Cam Thuc, etc.
Because it is seen as a complex of monuments, this place is divided into many separate monumented areas for convenient management and sightseeing, including:
- The historical site of Tran dynasty including Tru Phong Temple, An Sinh Temple, Ngoa Van shrine, Quynh Lam Pagoda, etc.
- The heritage site of West Yen Tu including Am Trai Pagoda, Suoi Mo Relic, Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, etc.
- The heritage site of East Yen Tu including Con Son area, Kiep Bac area, and Thanh Mai Pagoda
- The Bach Dang historical site including Yen Giang stake yard, King Ba Temple, Tran Hung Dao Temple, etc.
As a low mountain range of Dong Trieu, a geological region with complex terrain, Yen Tu is a spiritual tourist destination with magnificent scenery. Especially, Yen Tu sacred peak with ancient architecture as a part of the mountainous nature at the country’s northernmost point.
At an altitude of 1068m, the whole Yen Tu sacred peak is like a large lotus throne, with each stone as aN blooming lotus leaf. People cross 6000m from the foot of the mountain to come here not only to pray but also as a spiritual means. Finding a feeling of inner peace.
Address: Thuong Yen Cong town, in the West of Uong Bi town, Quang Ninh province.
13. Ba Vang Pagoda – Uong Bi
Ba Vang Pagoda was built more than 300 years ago, from the reign of King Le Du Tong in 1706. Over hundreds of years, the pagoda has been repaired and embellished many times. Today, the pagoda has been put on a magnificent beauty. It’s hiding many things that waiting for people to discover.
Featuring the beauty of the Northern Vietnam temples, Ba Vang Pagoda is divided into 3 pavilions, a backroom for Buddhist worship, one for Mother worship, and one for Đức Ông worship. Moreover, Ba Vang Pagoda is well-known for the largest Great Hall among Vietnam pagodas.
Before stepping into the pagoda, you will be surprised by the system of statues designed extremely unique and eye-catching with a height of over 2m. Among those statues, you will be most impressed with Amitabha Buddha, which is made of the largest wooden in North Vietnam.
Another attraction that you cannot ignore is that the giant water well that never runs out. The well is associated with a story told by the ancients. If anyone drinks water from this well, all diseases will be destroyed, and that person will always be healthy. Thus, many tourists come here only hoping to have the opportunity to take a sip of the holy water.
Also, Ba Vang Pagoda is famous for its artificial Penjing but built in a very natural way. Coming here, you can enjoy a peaceful atmosphere. The place makes your soul calm and gets rid of the unfortunate.
In addition to the above locations, a few other spots in the complex of Ba Vang Pagoda that you cannot miss visiting are Dai Hung Great Hall, Drum Tower, Bell Tower, Arhats Corridor, etc.
Address: Ba Vang Mountain, Quang Trung ward, Uong Bi city, Quang Ninh province.
Temples in Middle Vietnam
14. Tu Van Pagoda – Cam Ranh
Tu Van Pagoda was built in 1968. Undergoing historical events of the country during the war years, Tu Van Pagoda is not only a place of the pure spiritual practice of monks but one of the well-known Vietnam pagodas that attract numerous Buddhists and visitors from many parts of the country.
When entering Tu Van Pagoda, you can see corals and seashells everywhere, especially at Bao Tich Tower, a fairly elaborate construction build by monks at the pagoda. This 39m high tower was built in 1995. Nonetheless, to complete, it took the monks 5 years, from designing, collecting, and purchasing of materials, to constructing of the tower.
Next to Bao Tich Tower, you cannot miss the journey to “18 floors of hell”. It’s a 500m long, dark, humid, and winding tunnel. Through each door, you will know about the treatments at hell for each of the different crimes.
After passing “18 floors of hell”, you will reach Nai Ha bridge. It’s where you will end your journey and return to the earth through a door at the mouth of a dragon. Although these are only conceptions in the Dharma, surely when you end your journey here, you will find your heart more serene to continue your beautiful life. Definitely, this will be the most interesting experience for you on the journey to explore Tu Van Pagoda.
Address: 3/4 street, Cam Ranh city.
15. Linh Ung Bai But Pagoda – Da Nang City
Da Nang has 3 pagodas named Linh Ung the same. Those all locate on favorable positions of Da Nang city. The first pagoda is Linh Ung Non Nuoc which locates on the Water hill of the Marble Mountains. The second one is Linh Ung Ba Na. And finally, the Linh Ung Bai But Pagoda that locates halfway up the mountain of Son Tra Peninsula. Of all three beautiful Vietnam pagodas, Linh Ung Bai But seems to be a little more popular than the other two temples. Perhaps, this is because Linh Ung Bai But is the largest, the newest, and the most beautiful of those three Vietnam temples.
To be considered, this famous pagoda has the largest Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva statue in Southeast Asia. The Buddha statue is 67m high, standing on a lotus with a diameter of 35m. The statue is leaning back on Son Tra mountain, with eyes overlooking the human world and the sea. One Buddha’s hand is holding a jar, and the other hand is making a blessing to the people of the coastal city. The fishermen who are floating on the sea, whenever looking at the Buddha on the mainland, their heart will be more stable on each rising wave.
In a tourism development city like Da Nang, “owning” a Vietnam Buddha temple is famous both for its sacredness and its monumental architecture. Linh Ung Bai But became a famous Vietnam pagoda. Every year, many visitors come here to pray, especially on festivals held at the temple. Not only that, when coming here, seeing the gentle face that’s looking at the sea of the statue Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva, you can also feel serene and peaceful.
Standing on Linh Ung Bai But Pagoda, you can also see Da Nang Bay with turquoise water, a part of the Son Tra peninsula with a contour of the sea, far away is the famous Marble Mountains and Cham Islands, Van Pass, etc. In the evening, if you look down from the pagoda’s gate, you can admire the beauty of Da Nang city at night, with light trails illuminating an entire sea street.
Address: Hoang Sa, Tho Quang, Son Tra district, Da Nang.
16. Bridge Pagoda – Hoi An
For a long time, Bridge Pagoda isn’t only a tourist symbol of Hoi An ancient town, but it’s the soul bridge of the land and the local people. Bridge Pagoda as a piece connecting the past, the present, and the future. The bridge spanning 400 years of history has entered the subconscious of every child born and raised on the land of Hoi An with thousand years nostalgic. Today, the pagoda is still there, majestic but taciturn as a witness to the glorious history but still a bright place in the town.
Bridge Pagoda is called a pagoda but it doesn’t worship Buddha. Instead, it’s dedicated to Xuanwu, a protector of the region, who brings joy and happiness to people on this land. Therefore, every year, both residents and tourists visit here. It’s not a place to visit and explore but also to find a little peace and tranquility for the souls that have been too disturbed.
With top-notch beauty in architecture, Bridge Pagoda was recognized as a National Historical-Cultural Site in 1990. Being a very attractive destination to visit in Hoi An, but not so many guests notice that the image of Bridge Pagoda is printed on the VND200,000 polymer bill of Vietnam. Needless to say, this pagoda has great value and important both in the spiritual and real life of the locals in particular, and the Vietnamese in general.
Address: Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street, Minh An ward, Hoi An City, Quang Nam province.
17. Thien Mu Pagoda, or Linh Mu Pagoda – Hue
Thien Mu Pagoda, also known as Linh Mu Pagoda, is one of the most ancient temples in Vietnam. Located on the hill of Ha Khe, on the left bank of the Perfume River, this beautiful pagoda is 5km to the West of Hue city center. You can take a boat on the Perfume River or a road trip in Hung Long commune to visit this temple.
Coming to Thien Mu Pagoda, you will be surprised by its poetic beauty in the harmony of the natural scenery with mountains and clouds. The scenery at the temple is very beautiful and charming. In addition to visiting the temple, you can use the service “Dragon boat on the Perfume River” to see the scene as well as this beautiful temple in a more overview.
Thien Mu Pagoda is also considered to be the most ancient and monumental pagoda in Hue. The architectural works included in Thien Mu Pagoda such as Tam Quan Gate, Phuoc Duyen Tower, Huong Nguyen Communal House, Dai Hong Chung, steles, stone turtles, bell tower, Buddha statues, etc. Among those, Phuoc Duyen Tower is the top famous symbol of Thien Mu Pagoda. The tower was built in 1844 – 1845 under Emperor Thieu Tri. This 21m high tower has 7 floors and each floor is an altar of a Buddha.
If you have an opportunity to travel to Hue, make sure you don’t miss visiting and praying in Thien Mu pagoda, one of the biggest temples in Vietnam.
Address: Ha Khe hill, Huong Long ward, Hue.
18. Long Son Pagoda – Nha Trang
Nha Trang is not only well-known with the fine local cuisine and relaxing mud baths but a land with sacred Vietnam temples and pagodas for visitors to find inner peace. On top of that, there is Long Son Pagoda.
Traveling to the land Nha Trang, any pilgrims won’t miss visiting Long Son Pagoda, a well-known Vietnam Buddha temple full of incense and people come in and out all the time. Long Son is as quiet as a cradle that lulls the soul to the scene of calmness. Long Son quietly listens to the hearts, the feelings, and the dreams of so many pilgrims. Long Son is gentle by its sacred.
Coming to Long Son Pagoda, you can see the whole city of Nha Trang as stretching to the sea from a high level. Coming to this beautiful temple to let your spirits roam on the peaceful stream. Coming to Long Son to enjoy the pagoda’s rare scenery.
Address: no. 22, 23/10 street, Phuong Son, Nha Trang.
19. Po Nagar Cham Towers – Nha Trang
2km to the North from Nha Trang city center, the sacred Po Nagar Cham Towers locates neatly on a small hill by the gentle Cai river. The hill is airy with a 50m altitude above sea level. From afar, you can easily recognize the tower because of its unique architecture and shape.
Visiting Po Nagar Cham Towers, of course, you will hear stories about the legend of Lady Po Nagar, or Thiên Y Thánh Mẫu in Vietnamese. As well, there are many other stories about the gods worshiped here. In the past, the Cham people in Khanh Hoa province worshiped the goddess Po Nagar. She was always there to protect and take care of the lives of people, helping them to have land for living and cultivating. As the ancient Chams’ beliefs, Thiên Y Thánh Mẫu is a superior god, who’s worshiped by every person. She was the one who regenerated soil, water, tree, and food for the people. Therefore, the Chams regarded her as the origin of life.
Entering the main gate, you can have a general view of the whole area. Po Nagar Cham Towers’ relic area is divided into 3 sections from the bottom up that corresponding to 3 architectural floors. Inside, the tower is decorated with eye-catching sculptures describing the activities of the community at that period: hunting, boating, singing, and dancing. Furthermore, besides the main tower which is dedicated to Lady Po Nagar, there are other temples of Shiva, Sanhaka, and Ganeka.
It can be seen that the Po Nagar Cham Towers is a piece of clear evidence for the strong influence of Hinduism on the Chams, and later on the Vietnamese. Coming to Po Nagar Cham Towers from Mar 21 to 23 lunar calendar, you will have an opportunity to participate in the Lady Po Nagar festival. This is the best time to learn about the Po Nagar as well as immerse yourself in the cultural activities of the locals.
Address: 2/4 street, Vinh Phuoc ward, Nha Trang city.
Temples in South Vietnam
20. Big Buddha Temple – An Giang
Big Buddha Temple, or Big Buddha Monastery, is a beautiful Buddhist temple in Vietnam. Furthermore, it’s also one of the ancient Vietnam temples that affected by the Vietnam War.
The Big Buddha Temple was built in 1912, in a large area near the top of the mountain (at an altitude of 526m above the sea). The reason for such a name is because of the 1.8m in height of Buddha statue. At that time, this statue was taller than other worshiping statues in the area. And so-called, to distinguish from another Little Buddha Pagoda in the east, also on this mountain.
The temple had a long time being deserted after Cao Van Long, who is the first person to build and practice at the temple, was captured by the French colonialists. Until 1914, the administrative police of An Khanh village came to Cam Mountain and see the ruined scene of the temple. He then came back and requested a rebuilt of the temple. After facing a lot of problems created by the government of the French colonialists at that period, he was able to preserve the statue and the temple till now.
Currently, the Big Buddha Temple is being renovated on the old foundation. It is expanding the area up to 13.6ha, including the great hall, the bell house, the rest house, the electricity, and water system, etc. for worshiping and for pilgrim purpose.
Address: Cam Mountain, An Hao town, Tinh Bien ward, An Giang province.
21. Phuoc Dien Pagoda – An Giang
Hang Pagoda, or Phuoc Dien Pagoda as many people call, is located on the slopes of Sam Mountain, Chau Doc City. It is a famous landscape of An Giang province and a National Historic Landmark of Vietnam. Phuoc Dien Pagoda is about 1km away from the ruins of Tay An Pagoda, Ba Chua Xu Temple, and Thoai Ngoc Hau Mausoleum, along the Sam – Nha Bang mountain route.
Initially, around 1840 – 1850, this beautiful Vietnam temple was just a shrine made of bamboo and leaves. The shrine was created by Le Thi Tho, born in 1818, to be a place of spiritual practice, at a young age. As old stories told, there were two snakes, a green and a white, visited her every day to listen to her Mantra. They both disappeared the same time she passed away in 1899. Today, some people still circulate her Dharma Talks with the main idea is doing good to avoid evil.
In 1885, this pagoda was rebuilt to be the foundation of today’s architecture. It was renovated the second time in 1937. And currently, Phuoc Dien Pagoda ‘s still going on the third development.
From the temple gate, you will climb about 300m of different steps to the main area. Phuoc Dien Pagoda has 11m in the front, 10m in the side. In addition, it has a high floor of greenstone, covered with cement, tiled, brick walls of limestone tiles, reinforced concrete pillars, and large roofing. In front of the pagoda, there is a tall pillar with over 20m in height. Besides that, to the left and right of the main hall, there are other buildings for monks’ study and activities. At the bottom of the pagoda are a couple of lively lion statues. Standing here, you can look at the high mountains or immense fields.
On July 10, 1980, the Ministry of Culture and Information of Vietnam issued Decision No.92/VHTT-QD recognizing Hang Pagoda, or Phuoc Dien Pagoda, as a National Historic Site.
Address: Sam Mountain, Chau Doc city, An Giang province.
22. Ba Chua Xu Temple – An Giang
Ba Chua Xu Temple is always the top destination when people think of Chau Doc City. With the sacredness and fulfillment to wishes, Ba Chua Xu Pagoda attracts millions of visitors every year to come and worship. The temple is not only is the cultural and religious center of An Giang people in particular and people in Mekong Delta in general, but also an attractive spiritual tourist destination during holidays and New Year time.
According to French archaeologist Louis Malleret, researched in 1941, the statue of Ba Chua Xu at Sam Mountain a kind of Vishnu, a god in Hinduism. The statue is figured nobly with high-quality stone, resulted in high artistic value. The statue was carved at the end of the 6th century. Possibly, it is one of the ancient artifacts left over from the ancient Oc Eo culture.
In 2009, the Ba statue was recorded in the An Giang Record Book as the oldest sandstone statue in Vietnam and had the most worshiping clothes. Recently, Ba Chua Xu Pagoda is the “highlight” as one of the sacred Vietnam temples and attractive spiritual tourism of the Mekong Delta. People living in Ho Chi Minh City can visit the pagoda and travel around Chau Doc city within a day.
Address: under Sam Mountain foot, Chau Doc city, An Giang province.
23. Dai Tong Lam Pagoda – Ba Ria Vung Tau
Dai Tong Lam Pagoda is 70km from Ho Chi Minh City. Located on Highway 51K in Tan Thanh District, Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province, it is very convenient for you to spend a visit while on your way to Vung Tau Beach. The pagoda covers an area of 54 hectares. It’s placed in a quiet space surrounded by luxuriant greenery, built by Venerable Thich Thien Hoa in 1964.
Dai Tong Lam Pagoda has an architectural complex including temples, monasteries, retreats, Buddhist colleges, and places for the practice of monks and nuns from all regions. Especially, the massive architecture has helped this pagoda set 4 national records including the pagoda with the largest great hall of 3,000m2, the pagoda has the largest monolithic Buddha Maitreya statue weighing more than 40 tons, the pagoda has the most Buddha statue with more than 10,000, and the pagoda has the most concentrated monks and nuns up to 1,250 people.
The campus of this pagoda places many statues of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. However, the highlight of Dai Tong Lam Pagoda is the ecstatic area with 48 Amitabha Buddha statues made of marble, with 3.3 meters high and weighing 3.5 tons, molded in concrete and put in the middle of the vast space of heaven and earth. The entrance is coolly tiled. It helps to soothe the heat of summer for visitors to come to burn incense and pray. In addition, this place also has the Three Giant Buddhas standing towering in the immense space, below is a large aquarium with blue water.
As one of the most beautiful Vietnam pagodas, Dai Tong Lam is a worth-visiting destination for your soul and mind. Stepping into the great hall of Dai Tong Lam, you will feel the tranquility of the soul from the architectural style, stately statues, and temple bells echoing. From the four sides of the great hall, you can see the scenery outside with the trees and the blue sky, making your mind pretty much relax.
Address: Highway 51K, Phu My town, Tan Thanh district, Ba Ria – Vung Tau province.
24. Ba Thien Hau Pagoda – Binh Duong
Ba Thien Hau Pagoda is known to the indigenous people as the sacred Ba Pagoda (Chùa Bà), or Thien Hau Room (Thiên Hậu Cung). Until now, people still don’t know when Ba Thien Hau Pagoda was built, only know its first location was Huong Chu Hieu canal. In 1923, after the pagoda was heavily damaged by fire, the four Chinese groups here including Chaozhou, Guangdong, Hakka, and Fujian joined together to rebuild the pagoda as in its present location.
This temple consists of three rows of houses, in the middle is the main hall with three words “Thien Hau Cung”, meaning Thien Hau Room. Two rows of the houses next to it are considered as East Room and West Room of the temple. On the two main doors are four words “Quốc Thái Dân An”, meaning peaceful country gives people peace in mind. And on the two sides are couplets praising the merit of the Lady Thien Hau. At the main palace, people worship the righteous Lady Thien Hau, the statue is decorated with a solemn cloak and is always renewed. On the right is worshiping Mr. Bon, or Bon De Cong. And on the left is worshipping the five elements lady goddesses symbolizing: metal, wood, water, fire, earth.
The Thien Hau festival takes place on Jan 14th of the lunar month. This event is meant to bring light, scent, and good luck to your family. On the 15th, the palanquin procession of Lady Thien Hau, the main event, that attracts the most people as well as the most fun at this festival. This ceremony has the participation of more than 30 lion-dance unions creating a crowded and bustling atmosphere, dispelling all fatigue of everyday life.
Address: no. 4 Nguyen Du street, Thu Dau Mot city, Binh Duong province.
25. Vietnam Temples and Pagodas on Con Dao Island
There is an offshore archipelago that belonged to Ba Ria Vung Tau province, called Con Dao, which is 97 nautical miles from Vung Tau city, and 45 nautical miles from Hau River. The island is famous for its pristine beautiful beaches, and fine white sand that fascinates any visitors. In addition, the air on the island is very fresh like a resort paradise, which is a great destination for those who are looking to “escape” the noisy and hustling in the city. Notwithstanding, many people come to Con Dao to take part in a spiritual trip, heading to the sacred Vietnam temples and pagodas.
Indeed, Con Dao island is small. And you can obviously visit all the temples and pagodas on the island within a day. Your list of those sacred destinations will have:
Ba Phi Yen Temple
Phi Yen Temple, also known as An Son Temple. It is an ancient temple built in 1785 (later rebuilt in 1958) to worship Phi Yen, the second wife of King Nguyen Anh. Like many other Vietnam temples, Phi Yen Temple is very sacred. Likewise, it is associated with the tragic story of a talented, patriotic woman. After her death, the people on the island deeply mourned her. They created a big, beautiful temple to worship the mighty woman.
Nui Mot Pagoda or Van Son Pagoda
Nui Mot Pagoda or Van Son Pagoda is located on Mot Mountain, which was built in 1964. Over a period of degradation, the pagoda was started to be embellished on August 13, 2010, inaugurated on December 4, 2011. Located on a mountain, the pagoda has sweeping views of the sea, overlooking the whole town of Con Dao and Con Son bay, An Hai lake.
Hang Duong Cemetery
Formed in 1862, Hang Duong Cemetery is the burial place for tens of thousands of revolutionary soldiers. After the renovation period, the area is over 19,000m2, divided into zones A, B, C, and D. Each zone is associated with each historical period and names of dead heroic soldiers such as Le Hong Phong, Vo Thi Sau, Nguyen An Ninh, Cao Van Ngoc, Le Van Viet, etc. Particularly, Area D has 157 graves, most of them are anonymous tombs collected from the Hon Cau and Hang Keo cemeteries.
There are Pier 914, Hang Keo Cemetery, Ba Phi Yen’s Son Temple, and many shrines located around the island that people all spend their time to visit.
Address: around Con Son island, Ba Ria Vung Tau province.
26. Linh Phuoc Pagoda – Dalat
This is one of the most famous Vietnam Buddhist temples in the dreamland that you shouldn’t miss if you have an opportunity to travel to Dalat city. The pagoda was built in 1949. And in 1990, it was rebuilt on a much larger scale with the unique crockery mosaic architecture.
What makes the specialty of Linh Phuoc Pagoda is the architecture made by different pieces of terracotta, glass, porcelain, and crockery bottles. Because of this difference, this beautiful Vietnam pagoda is also known as “Bottles Pagoda”. However, Linh Phuoc Pagoda still keeps the country’s traditional sculpture of architecture.
The pagoda has an area of 6,666.84m2. The great hall is 33m long and 12m wide with two rows’ columns of crockery dragons. Above are the images of Amitabha Buddha’s history and the Sutra. Besides, Linh Phuoc Pagoda also has a dragon statue of 49m in length and 1.3m in width. To create the contour lines for the dragon body, people do not carve on concrete but use up to 12,000 bottles to make the body of the dragon.
Among the Buddhist temples in Vietnam, Linh Phuoc Pagoda is a remarkable destination in Dalat for visitors because of its most unique architecture. Coming here, people admire the splendid beauty from the colorful porcelain and crockery pieces of the pagoda. Alongside, being a spiritual place, the pagoda could help your soul relax in an ancient meditation place.
Address: 120 Tu Phuoc street, ward 11, Dalat.
27. Truc Lam Zen Monastery – Dalat
Referring to the Vietnam temples, it is impossible not to mention Truc Lam Zen Monastery, one of the most solemn and majestic spiritual destinations in the Highlands region.
This beautiful monastery was built in 1993, completed about a year later. Located on Phung Hoang Mountain, next to Tuyen Lam Lake, Truc Lam Zen Monastery significantly impresses the hearts of visitors by its majestic of Buddhist architectural works interspersed with the sacredness. Additionally, this Vietnam Buddhist temple highlights its beauty with the artificial lake added many colorful fishes and the ornamental garden in front of the great hall with all kinds of flowers in full color.
Standing in front of Truc Lam Zen Monastery, you can have a view on the Tuyen Lam Lake, which hidden in the shadow of vast pine forests. On the other hand, from the lake, you can follow the small path with 140 steps, through the vast pine forest to reach the monastery above.
With an area of nearly 24 acres, the monastery is the school to hundreds of monks and nuns at all ages. In particular, with the solemn precepts, the pure religious environment, Truc Lam Zen Monastery is admired by many domestic and foreign Buddhists, looking forward to once coming to visit and pray.
Address: 5km from Dalat City, on Phung Hoang Mountain, above Tuyen Lam Lake.
28. Giac Lam Pagoda – Ho Chi Minh City
In the bustling routine of Ho Chi Minh City, when people are busy working and find the great Saigon foods, there is still a calm, 300-year-old Buddhist pagoda that accompanies the development of Vietnamese people.
The architecture of Giac Lam Pagoda, which is a folk-style with 4 main columns, is considered as a symbol of Buddhist temples in Vietnam. In the past, there was no Tam Quan gate. However, in 1955, people established this gate and called the name.
The main space consists of many large columns. In this area, there are many wood-carved images. Especially, Giac Lam Pagoda has many precious Buddha statues such as Amitabha Buddha, Gautama Buddha, Bodhisattva Buddha, Maitreya Buddha, etc.
Address: 565 Lac Long Quan street, ward 10, Tan Binh district, Ho Chi Minh City.
29. Jade Emperor Pagoda – Ho Chi Minh City
Jade Emperor Pagoda is a sacred temple that locates quietly and peacefully right in the heart of the city center. Similarly to other pagodas in Vietnam, Ngoc Hoang Pagoda is dressed in a beauty of holiness that attracts many tourists and indigenous pilgrims. Evenly, President Obama visited the pagoda during his trip to Vietnam in May 2016.
The pagoda campus is about 2,300m2. There is a small shrine of Dharmapala in the front. The Tam Quan Gate is highlighted as the water-wave-shape of two dragons disputing the jewel ball. In the middle, there is a large fish tank of oversized fishes. Sometimes they have turtles in the tank.
Inside the pagoda, there are primarily three buildings: the Front Room, the Middle Room, and the Great Hall. The Great Hall is dedicated to the Jade Emperor, and the divine army and generals. Alongside this, the pagoda worships Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva and familiar gods in Chinese beliefs. To elaborate, the God of Thunder, the Door Keeper God, the God of Earth, the God of Kitchen, the God of Water, the God of Literature, the God of Lucky Stars, the God of Vocation, 13 Gods of Virtues, etc. Additionally, the pagoda also worships the God of Fortune. In general, the statues worshiped in Jade Emperor Pagoda all beautiful wooden sculptures.
Address: 73 Mai Thi Luu street, Da Kao ward, district 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
30. Thien Hau Temple – Ho Chi Minh City
In the middle of the bustling and hustling Ho Chi Minh City, there is still a separated corner to cool your soul, and for all the obstacles, rivalry to drift into that quiet space at Thien Hau Pagoda.
Thien Hau Temple is located in the heart of the city. It’s a spiritual house that has a great influence on cultural life, especially to the Chinese people there. After 256 years of existence, Thien Hau is one of the Vietnam ancient temples but still retains its unique architecture despite many renovations and repairs. Not only that, everything here seems to have been incubated by the time to make the space more solitary. Stepping through the small gate will get you lost in a place that is both somewhat mysterious and familiar at the same time to find inner peace.
Address: 710 Nguyen Trai street, ward 11, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.
31. Vietnamese National Pagoda – Ho Chi Minh City
VietnameseNational Pagoda, or Viet Nam Quoc Tu, is located on the basis of four pieces of land, formerly is 16 Tran Quoc Toan Street, Sai Gon, and now is 244 3/2 Street in Ho Chi Minh City. I mentioned the two pagoda’s address as it is the live witness of the country’s history, through the Vietnam War till now.
Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam built the pagoda on the land, which was belonged to Saigon, in early 1964. In 1975 when Vietnam is liberated, the government has temporarily requisitioned the pagoda after 10 years of being deserted. In 1993, after 5 years since a venerable abbot request to return the pagoda, and 10 more years for collecting donations, the pagoda is finally built and finished in nowadays shape.
Now, although with the tower of only 7 floors and 3,712m2 in the area, the existence of Vietnamese National Pagoda expresses joy for the noble Buddhists who give their lives to the nation and Dharma. Both the pagoda and the temple together mix in the harmony and fancifulness of Buddhism, expressed by a heart after 5 years of calling return, and 10 years of the restoration process make create the solemn Buddha scene of Vietnamese National Pagoda now and forever.
Address: 244 3/2 street, ward 12, district 10, Ho Chi Minh City.
32. Vinh Nghiem Pagoda – Ho Chi Minh City
Located right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, Vinh Nghiem Pagoda with its large campus and massive architecture attracts thousands of visitors every month.
The pagoda’s campus is about 6,000m2. The main style of buildings’ roof is designed as soaring, each with delicately carved and sculpted. Within the campus, the main parts include, in specific:
1. Tam Quan Gate
Tam Quan Gate is a monumental structure of a traditional-styled pagoda with a curved red tile roof. From here, you can have a panoramic view of the whole campus. The yard is vast. Opposite the Tam Quan gate is the central building and on the left of the temple yard is the 7-floor tower.
2. The Central Building
This is a solid and majestic building including 1 upper floor and 1 ground floor.
The ground floor has 2 parts: the outer part which is below the terrace with 3.20m high, and the inside is below the Great Hall with 4.20m high. Inside, space is divided into worship place with the altar of Bodhidharma, lecture hall, office, library, restroom, and classrooms.
From the temple courtyard, there is a 23-step staircase that leads to the upper floor of the central building including the terrace, the Buddha Hall, and the Bodhisattva Tower.
3. Bodhisattva Tower
Located on the left when coming from the entrance of the temple, the tower has 7 floors with nearly 40m in height. This is one of the most massive Buddhist towers in Vietnam.
4. Tower of Community Relic
Built-in 1982, there are 4 floors with 25m high. This is the place to hold the ashes of the dead bodies that their families send and preserve at the temple.
5. Vinh Nghiem Stone Tower
You will see the tower on the right as soon as you enter the temple. This tower builtin 2003 to worship the late Venerable Thich Thanh Kiem, one of the two founding monks of the pagoda. Also, this is the first stone tower in the South as well as in the list of the largest and tallest stone towers in Vietnam.
Stepping into Vinh Nghiem pagoda, the atmosphere there will help people feel their hearts are pure and peaceful, with no hustle and bustle among crowded places.
Address: 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia street, ward 7, district 3, Ho Chi Minh City.
33. Ba Den Temple – Tay Ninh
Ba Den is the highest mountain in the southern part of our country. With a height of about 986m, it is a symbol for the land and people of Tay Ninh province. Among them, the highlight is Ba Den Temple, or Linh Son Tien Thach Pagoda, where the bronze statue of Ba Den is placed. Along with Hang Pagoda (Linh Son Long Chau Pagoda) and Trung Pagoda (Linh Son Phuoc Trung Pagoda), Ba Den is one of the famous Vietnam temples located in the scenic area of Ba Den Mountain.
Millions of tourists come to Ba Den mountain each year. They come there not only because of the belief of visiting the blessed pagodas but also going there for sightseeing a relic, a mountain, a complex of famous temples in Vietnam. Moreover, visitors come here to find peace in their souls.
The temple was built in the 18th century and has gone under some restorations. Every year, crowded pilgrims cross the mountain to go to the temple praying. Usually, people come during the Lunar New Year, which lasts all the first month, and the special festival on the 5th and 6th of the fifth lunar month (around June of the normal calendar).
When coming here, you can use the cable car system, about 1,225m long, to go from the foot of the mountain to Ba Den Temple. In contrast, for those who love challenges and adventure, there is a way for you to trek to the temple.
Address: Thanh Tan town, Tay Ninh Province
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