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Home Travel Guide Vietnam Travel Guide Top 9 Vietnam Temples to Learn about Vietnam’s Rich Culture

Top 9 Vietnam Temples to Learn about Vietnam's Rich Culture

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Vietnam has a long history and diverse cultures. The people of Vietnam lead a rich religious life and have built an impressive number of magnificent temples. These Vietnam temples bear the deep-rooted traditions and architectural ingenuity of the people. This article will take you through the top 9 Vietnam temples of different religions and in different locations for your Vietnam tour.

Different Religions and Vietnam Temples

Vietnam is predominantly a Buddhist country with about 55% of the population identifying as Buddhists. The influence of Buddhism is deeply rooted in Vietnamese culture. Thousands of temples and pagodas scatter throughout the country.

Christianity is the second most popular religion with about 7% of the population practicing either Catholicism or Protestantism. Catholicism became prevalent because of the historical influence of French colonialism, while Protestantism is common among ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands.

Other religions practiced in Vietnam include Caodaism, Hinduism, and other indigenous folk religions.

  • Buddhist Temples: There are thousands of Buddhist temples in Vietnam. They are centers for the everyday life of Vietnamese people, for worship, meditation, community activities.
  • Hindu Temples: Mostly found in Central Vietnam, they are remnants of the Champa civilization, dedicated to deities like Shiva.
  • Champa Temples: The Champa Kingdom left behind many legacies including numerous temples in Vietnam. My Son Sanctuary is one of the most famous.
  • ISKCON Temples: The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has established temples in major cities in Vietnam like Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Khmer Temples: Mostly in Mekong Delta region, they show Vietnam’s cultural ties with Cambodia.
  • LDS Temples: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has meetinghouses across Vietnam for its members.

1. Giac Lam Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City

Giac Lam Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City, is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Vietnam that dates all the way back to 1744. It is famous for peaceful gardens, ancient statues, and as a center for Buddhist learning and practice. The main hall houses statues of Buddha, bodhisattvas, and Arhats, religious artifacts. Both locals and visitors come here to pray and meditate.

  • Location: Ho Chi Minh City, South Vietnam
  • How to Get There: this Vietnam temple is in Tan Binh District; you can get there easily by bus or taxi.
Giac Lam Pagoda

2. Bach Ma Temple in Hanoi

Bach Ma Temple, or “White Horse Temple,” is one of Hanoi’s oldest and most renowned temples. It was built in 11th century. There’s a legend behind the name of this Vietnam temple. A white horse was said to appear before the king at the time and guide him in building the city walls. The temple is dedicated to the white horse who protected the city.

Bach Ma Temple remains a place of worship to this day. Inside, you’ll see a beautiful altar, historical artifacts, and wood carvings that tell the story of its origin. The architecture of Bach Ma Temple is typical of its period, with curved roofs and detailed sculptures.

Bach Ma Temple in Hanoi Vietnam
Bach Ma Temple
  • Location: Hanoi, North Vietnam
  • How to Get There: Bach Ma Temple is located in Hanoi’s Old Quarter; you can easily get there by taxi or motorbike from anywhere in the city.

3. Temple of Literature in Hanoi

The Temple of Literature was Vietnam’s first national university, established in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius. It is a great example of traditional Vietnamese architecture.

The complex has five courtyards and beautiful gardens. Inside it, you’ll find ancient steles inscribed with names of doctoral laureates, pavilions, and altars dedicated to Confucian sages. It is a famous Vietnam temple among students who visit to pray for success in their studies, particularly during exam seasons.

Vietnam Hanoi Temple of Literature
Temple of Literature
  • Location: Hanoi, North Vietnam
  • How to Get There: The Vietnam temple is in Dong Da District of Hanoi; you can easily get there by bus, taxi, or motorbike from the city center.

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4. My Son Sanctuary near Hoi An and Da Nang

My Son Sanctuary is a cluster of ancient Hindu temples in Central Vietnam, built by the Champa Kingdom between 4th and 14th centuries. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as one of Southeast Asia’s most important archaeological sites. The temples were dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva as a religious center for the Cham people.

Despite its history and damages caused by wars, many structures still remain surprisingly intact. You’ll see incredible carvings and sculptures that depict Hindu deities, mythological scenes, as well as daily lives of the Cham people. My Son sits in a lush valley surrounded by mountains. It is one of the best Vietnam temple sites to visit when you travel to Vietnam.

Vietnam My Son Sanctuary
My Son Sanctuary
  • Location: Quang Nam Province, Central Vietnam
  • How to Get There: My Son Sanctuary is about 70 km from Da Nang; you can take a bus, taxi, join a guided tour from Da Nang or Hoi An.

5. Bai Dinh Pagoda in Ninh Binh

Bai Dinh Pagoda is part of the biggest Vietnam temple complex located in Ninh Binh Province. It has grand halls and statues including a massive bronze Buddha. On site, there is an ancient pagoda, dating back over a thousand years, as well as a newly constructed area with modern buildings. You’ll have views of the surrounding countryside.

Bai Dinh Pagoda is a renowned Buddhist temple in Vietnam especially for its annual religious festivals. It is a major pilgrimage site for Vietnamese Buddhists as well as travelers.

  • Location: Ninh Binh Province, Northern Vietnam
  • How to Get There: Bai Dinh Pagoda is located about 95 km from Hanoi, accessible by bus, taxi, or motorbike.

6. Cao Dai Temple near Ho Chi Minh City

Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh Province is the center of Cao Dai religion in Vietnam, which blends elements of Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Confucianism. It is a religion local to Vietnam. The temple has colorful architecture; the religious ceremonies are worth witnessing as well.

The main hall is decorated with colorful mosaics, statues of various religious figures, and symbolic imagery representing the Cao Dai faith. Observe the daily worship sessions that involve rituals, chanting, and use of traditional musical instruments. You’ll also see gardens and a large bell tower in this Vietnam temple complex.

Cao Dai Temple
Cao Dai Temple
  • Location: Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam
  • How to Get There: Cao Dai Temple is about 90 km from Ho Chi Minh City; you can get there by bus or taxi.

7. Emperor Jade Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City

The Emperor Jade Pagoda is one of the most famous Taoist temples in Ho Chi Minh City. Built in 1909, the Vietnam temple is dedicated to the Jade Emperor, supreme god in Taoist theology. There are several halls with altars and shrines.

You’ll see wood carvings of dragons, phoenixes, other mythical creatures, as well as statues of Taoist and Buddhist deities and historical figures. The Emperor Jade Pagoda is a popular place of worship for many believers coming to pray and make offerings.

  • Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Southern Vietnam
  • How to Get There: The pagoda is located in District 1, accessible by bus, taxi, or motorbike from the city center.

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8. Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi

Tran Quoc Pagoda is the oldest Buddhist temple in Hanoi, dating all the way back to 6th century. It sits on a small island in West Lake. Its picturesque setting and historic significance have attracted many visitors.

This Buddhist temple in Vietnam has a main hall, several smaller shrines, and a beautiful garden with ancient bodhi trees. The main hall has statues of Buddha, other religious figures as well as ceremonial objects.

  • Location: Hanoi, North Vietnam
  • How to Get There: Tran Quoc Pagoda is on Thanh Nien Road; you can get there by taxi or bus from Hanoi city center.
Tran Quoc Pagoda Hanoi
Tran Quoc Pagoda & West Lake

9. Tu Hieu Pagoda in Hue

Tu Hieu Pagoda is also known as the “root temple” in Hue. It’s a Buddhist temple in Vietnam dating back to 19th century. It is best known as a center for monastic training and Buddhist studies. There are the main hall, meditation halls, and residential quarters for monks with lush gardens. Visit various shrines and take part in meditation sessions.

Tu Hieu Pagoda is also the resting place of many notable Vietnamese monks and scholars. It holds significance of spirituality and history for the local community.

  • Location: Hue, Central Vietnam
  • How to Get There: Tu Hieu Pagoda is located about 5 km from Hue city center; you can get there by taxi or motorbike.

Tips for Visiting Vietnam Temples

When you visit Vietnam temples, it’s important to respect local practices. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Dress Code is in place at all temples for both men and women. It is required to dress modestly. Cover your shoulders and knees. Avoid wearing hats and sunglasses inside.

Opening Hours vary for different temples, while they generally open in early morning and close in late afternoon or early evening. Some may not be open every day of the week. It’s best to check specific opening hours before visiting.

Respectful Behaviors are a must. Always remove your shoes before entering a temple. Keep a low volume and avoid touching statues or sacred objects.

Photography is usually allowed in Vietnam temples, though it’s polite to ask for permission before taking photos, especially if people are praying.

Making Donations helps support maintenance of the temple.

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