Temples To Visit On Your Vietnam Tour

Waquar Habib


Vietnam's spiritual and religious tourism is a journey of cultural discovery. Ancient temples like Tran Quoc Pagoda and My Son Sanctuary reflect diverse faiths, from Buddhism to Cao Dai. Serene settings like Thien Mu Pagoda offer centuries of devotion amid lush landscapes.

Incense sticks drying outdoors in Hanoi, Vietnam | Shutterstock

Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi

Tran Quoc Pagoda is an ancient pagoda on a small West Lake island. Its origins can be traced back to the 6th century. The tranquil surroundings of the lake make it a peaceful and calm escape from the busy city. The most notable feature of the pagoda is the 11-story stupa, which symbolises the path to spiritual enlightenment.

The Tran Quoc Pagoda in the evening light | Shutterstock

Temple of Literature, Hanoi

This temple is dedicated to Confucius and other scholars. It was Vietnam's first national university, established in 1070. The temple features stunning traditional Vietnamese architecture with intricate design elements. The temple's highlight is the series of stone steles mounted on tortoises, inscribed with the names of all the graduates.

The Temple of Literature, established in 1070 | Shutterstock

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, Ninh Binh

Hoa Lu Ancient Capital was the political centre of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries. It is not a single temple - the site features temples dedicated to the Dinh and Le dynasties, offering a glimpse into ancient Vietnamese architecture amidst scenic landscapes. Some of the site's highlights include the Dinh and Le Temple.

View of the temple Hoa Lu Ancient Capital | Shutterstock

Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue

Thien Mu Pagoda, located on the banks of the Perfume River, is one of the oldest and most beautiful pagodas in Hue. Its main highlight is the seven-story octagonal Phuoc Duyen Tower, which provides panoramic views of the river and surrounding countryside.

The Thien Mu Pagoda is one of the ancient pagodas in Hue city | Shutterstock

Imperial City (The Citadel), Hue

Imperial City in Hue, Vietnam, contains temples, palaces, and gates representing Vietnam's imperial past. Highlights include Forbidden Purple City, Thai Hoa Palace, and Halls of the Mandarins, showcasing Vietnamese architecture and history.

A backpacker couple in the imperial city of Hue | Shutterstock

My Son Sanctuary, Quang Nam Province

UNESCO recognises the My Son Sanctuary as a World Heritage Site and comprises a collection of Hindu temples that the Champa Kingdom constructed between the 4th and 14th centuries. Despite being damaged by wars and various natural elements, the site retains its significance both architecturally and spiritually, with intricate carvings and temple ruins worth exploring.

A surviving structure at the My Son Sanctuary | Shutterstock

Cao Dai Temple, Tay Ninh Province

The Cao Dai Temple is the hub of the Cao Dai religion, a distinct syncretic faith that originated in Vietnam. The temple's architecture is a fusion of Eastern and Western styles, which mirrors the varied nature of the religion. Visitors can witness vibrant ceremonies and gain insights into Cao Dai beliefs, encompassing principles from Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity.

A mid-day mass at Cao Dai | Shutterstock

Po Nagar Cham Towers, Nha Trang

These 7th-12th century Cham towers are dedicated to the Hindu goddess Po Nagar. They feature intricate carvings of Hindu deities, showcasing Cham's architectural and sculptural techniques. The towers offer panoramic views of Nha Trang and the surrounding countryside.

A view of the Po Nagar Cham Towers | Shutterstock

One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi

This pagoda, built in the 11th century by Emperor Ly Thai Tong, is famous for its unique architecture that resembles a lotus flower emerging from the water. Despite its small size, the pagoda is dedicated to the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and is considered one of Vietnam's most iconic landmarks.

A view of the One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi | Shutterstock

Ba Na Hills, Da Nang

Ba Na Hills, famous for its French village and amusement park, has several temples and pagodas that visitors can explore. Among them are the Linh Ung Pagoda, which features a towering white statue of the Goddess of Mercy, and the Linh Phong Tu Tower with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and coastline.

An aerial view of the Ba Na Hills, Da Nang | Shutterstock

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