Top 14 Best Temples In Vietnam: A Spiritual Journey

Best Temples In Vietnam - Student Exchange Vietnam

Traveling to Vietnam on a mission of culture and spirituality? Visit the best temples in the country to fully immerse yourself in its rich religious history. Vietnam has a wide range of temples that are both historically significant and artistically alluring, from elaborate buildings that display exquisite architecture to tranquil sanctuaries tucked away in scenic surroundings. The travel blog Top 14 Best Temples In Vietnam: A Spiritual Journey by Student Exchange Vietnam will walk you through the best temples in Vietnam that should be on everyone’s itinerary in this article.

Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi

Tran Quoc Pagoda - Student Exchange Vietnam

Considered one of the most beautiful pagodas in Vietnam, Tran Quoc Pagoda is 1,500 years old and was the first temple built by King Lenam Duc (AD 541–547) on the banks of the Red River. When completed, its name was Kai Kuo Pagoda.

After renaming and relocating several times in the late 17th century, King Tran Hai Thong named it “Tran Quoc Pagoda,” as we know it today. Since then, it has also been on an island east of West Lake, now known as the West Lake District.

The first peculiarity of Tran Quoc Pagoda is the temple gate, with a gentle winding passage leading into the temple. Visitors must follow a single red-brick street to reach inner buildings, such as the Daxiong Hall in the center. The corridor continues with burning incense and an upper hall with a minaret in the background.

Tran Quoc Pagoda Hanoi - Student Exchange Vietnam

The highlight of Tran Quoc Pagoda is the unique tomb area. Behind the pagoda, there are several ancient pagodas dating back to the 18th century. Perhaps the most prominent of them is the 11-story, 15-meter-tall Huajian Pagoda. Established in 1998, it has 6 openings on each floor. Each chamber enshrines an Amitabha Buddha image. There is a stone statue of Cuu Pham Lien Hoa (9-story lotus tower) at the top.

  • Location : 46 Thanh Nien Street, Truc Bach Lake, Tay Ho District, Ha Noi City
  • Opening time: 8 AM to 4 PM, every day

Cao Dai Temple, Tay Ninh

Cao Dai Temple - Student Exchange Vietnam

The Cao Dai Temple was completed in 1955. Caodaists believe that all faiths are the same and that all aspire to promote tolerance across the world. This temple honors the Lord Buddha, Muhammad and Confucius, Jesus Christ, Joan of Arc, and Julius Cesar.

One of the biggest attractions of this temple is watching Caodiasts worship. They must wear long, flowing white robes for lay followers or yellow, blue, or red robes for priests. During the worshipping ceremonies, ladies sit to the left, men to the right, and all devotees sit in neat rows. The design is a mix of Oriental, Neo-Gothic, and Baroque elements. It is ornately ornamented with seven-headed cobras, dragon-wrapped pillars, and sky-blue ceilings.

  • Location: Pham Ho Phap Street, Hoa Thanh Town, Tay Ninh Province
  • Opening time: 7 AM to 6 PM, every day

Bai Dinh Pagoda, Ninh Binh

Bai Dinh Pagoda - Student Exchange Vietnam

There are several reasons why Bai Dinh Pagoda is one of the best temples in Vietnam. The main reasons must be its significant records, such as the biggest bronze Buddha figure and the largest bronze bell in Southeast Asia.

This temple was built about 1,000 years ago and is still standing tall today. It is a monument that symbolizes Buddhism’s ongoing impact in the spiritual lives of the Vietnamese people. The ancient Baiting Pagoda is also one of the old capital’s national historical and cultural monuments, with spiritual significance and magnificent environment.

Bai Dinh Pagoda Ninh Binh - Student Exchange Vietnam

Many main indigenous elements, such as Ninh Binh green stone, Tu Thiet wood, Bat Trang glazed tiles, and others, appear in the temple’s architecture with huge cubes and imposing imprints of Vietnam. Tam Quan gate, bell tower, Quan Am, Phap Chu, and Tam The palaces are the main features of Bai Dinh Pagoda.

To go to an attraction in this temple complex, you must travel a significant distance, usually by foot. This is a means for us to demonstrate our patience and willingness to set foot in the pure land of humanity.

  • Location: Gia Sinh Commune, Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province
  • Opening time: 7 AM to 6 PM, every day

Temple Of Literature, Hanoi

Temple Of Literature Hanoi - Student Exchange Vietnam

The Temple of Literature, or Confucius Temple, served as a place to educate and worship Confucius and his talented Confucian disciples. Kinh Ly Thanh Tong started to build this monument in 1070 as a project to continue the people’s enthusiasm for learning and talent in the country. After its completion, studies here began in 1076. This is one of the most famous and best temples in Vietnam.

The Confucius Temple is located in the southern part of the capital city of Thang Long. It covers an area of 55,027 square meters and is divided into 5 zones. The overall building of the Confucius Temple from the entrance gate includes the Confucius Temple Gate, Da Zhong Gate, Guiwen Pavilion, Dacheng, and Lan Taihe.

The first area from the main entrance of the Confucius Temple to the Dazhong Gate has 2 small gates to the left and right of Dai Trung Mon. The gate on the left is Thanh Duc Gate, and the gate on the right is Dat Tai Gate.

Temple of Literature - Student Exchange Vietnam

The second area is from Dai Trung Mon to Khue Van Cac, typical architectural works of Vietnamese literature and education. Built in 1805, Khe Van Cac is a wooden structure with a glowing Khe star.

The third area has a large rectangular well, which creates a harmonious water painting area for all Confucius Temple ruins. Two rows of stelae are engraved with the names of talented people. Each row has 41 stelae on the turtles’ backs, a symbol of immortality. 82 stellites are the most valuable cultural relics, which symbolize the Vietnamese people’s passion for learning.

  • Location: 58 Quoc Tu Giam Street, Dong Da District, Ha Noi City
  • Opening times07:30–18:00 in the summer (15 April to 15 October) and 08:00-17:00 in the winter

Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue

Thien Mu Pagoda - Student Exchange Vietnam

Thien Mu Pagoda, erected in 1601 during the reign of King Nguyen Hoang, is another of the best temples in Vienam. Despite the events of history, Thien Mu has always remained the oldest temple in the territory of the capital city, with works that keep the beauty from the beginning.

Phuoc Duyen is a picture of the Thien Mu Pagoda emblem. The tower has seven stories and is 21 meters tall. It was erected next to the temple. Buddha sculptures sit on every floor. A spiral staircase inside leads to the top floor, which formerly housed a golden Buddha statue. Along with stelae and copper bells, Thien Mu pagoda also has architectural masterpieces including Phuoc Nguyen tower, Dai Hung Palace, Ksitigarbha Palace, Quan Am Palace, etc.

Thien Mu Pagoda - Student Exchange Vietnam

In addition, the temple is the location of several priceless historical and artistic relics. The Dharma guardian statues, the Ten Kings statue, the Buddha Maitreya statue, the Tam The Buddha statue, the galleries, and the couplets here all serve as reminders of the Thien Mu Pagoda’s rich historical times.

The old construction of Thien Mu Pagoda, which is situated on the banks of the beautiful Huong River, has helped to accentuate the natural scene, making it more endearing, somber, and holy.

  • Location: Nguyen Phuc Nguyen Street, Hue City
  • Opening time: 08:00–18:00, every day

Van Thuy Tu Temple, Binh Thuan

Van Thuy Tu Temple - Student Exchange Vietnam

Van Thuy Tu Temple must be on any list of the top temples in Vietnam. Thuy Tu, a fisherman, founded it in 1762 to worship “Cá Ông”, or the whales. It reflects the whale worship practice in Vietnam.

Van Thuy Tu Temple employed the “Tu Tru” architecture, which has high architectural merit. The tops of the four pillars serve as the foundation for all of the rafters, pillars, and compartments. Precious woods are used for the wood construction systems, and each detail is intricately and painstakingly carved.

As of right now, Dinh Van Thuy Tu Temple possesses old architecture that is still in its original condition. This maintains a significant amount of Han-Nom cultural history associated with the fisheries, as opposed to the numerous Van temples worshiping Hai Than around the coast of Binh Thuan.

  • Location: Ngu Ong Street, Duc Thang District, Phan Thiet City, Binh Thuan Province
  • Opening time: 8 AM to 4 PM

Jade Emperor Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh City

Jade Emperor Pagoda - Student Exchange Vietnam

It was originally the Jade Emperor’s Palace. The temple was built in the early 20th century in the Chinese architectural style by Luu Minh (Guangdong, China). In 1984, the Jade Emperor Pagoda was renamed “Fuhai.” However, people keep calling it “Ngoc Huang.”

The Jade Emperor Pagoda is an ancient temple built in the style of a Chinese temple with exquisite ornamentation. This brick pagoda features yin-yang tiles, decorated with eaves, and colorful ceramic statues on the corners. Inside the temple, there are three palaces. The main hall was dedicated to the Jade Emperor Xuantian Beide and the heavenly soldiers and generals.

  • Location: 73 Mai Thi Luu Street, Da Kao, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Opening time: 7 AM to 6 PM, every day

Hanoi Perfume Pagoda

Huong Pagoda Hanoi - Student Exchange Vietnam

This large pagoda has existed since the end of the 17th century. It suffered severe damage in the war against France in 1947. After that, Thich Vien Thanh Monk rebuilt it in 1988. Perfume Pagoda is among the best temples in Vietnam and in South Asia.

Perfume Pagoda in Hanoi is a tourist attraction that attracts tourists from all over the world. Trinh Temple, Huong Tich Pagoda, Cua Vong Temple, Giai Oan Pagoda, and Tien Son Cave within the Perfume Pagoda are all must-see attractions.

Perfume in early spring also has a special spiritual value in Vietnamese culture. January 6 marks the opening day of the festival. The festival usually lasts three weeks, according to the lunar calendar. On this festival, millions of Buddhists and tourists from four provinces flock to visit the incense burning ceremony.

  • Location: Huong Son Commune, My Duc District, Hanoi City
  • Opening time: 8 AM to 4 PM, every day

Giac Lam Temple, Ho Chi Minh City

Giac Lam Pagoda - Student Exchange Vietnam

During the reign of Lord Nguyen Phuc Khoat, Ly Thuy Long, a layperson, constructed the pagoda in the spring of 1744. The pagoda’s original name was Son Can, which meant painted mountain. However, because its location was on the Cam Son mound, it eventually became known as Cam Son.

The main hall, the lecture hall, and the street (also known as Ong Giam’s home) make up the three rows of interconnecting dwellings that make up the Tam-shaped architecture of the Giac Lam Pagoda today. Giac Lam Palace Hall has two wings, four major columns, or four pillars, and is built in the manner of a typical folk dwelling. There are 56 large, intricately carved pillars inside the palace, which is quite wide and deep.

  • Location: 565 Lac Long Quan Street, Ward 10, Tan Binh, Ho Chi Minh
  • Opening time: 08.00–16.00, every day

Hanoi One Pillar Pagoda

One Pillar Pagoda Hanoi - Student Exchange Vietnam

The One Pillar Pagoda is a must-see attraction for all visitors. According to Vietnamese history, it is one of the greatest temples in Vietnam. King Ly Thai Tong started to erect this structure in the winter of 1049.

“Unique” describes the architecture of the One Pillar Pagoda. The temple’s design is like a lotus flower growing on the river, a flower that symbolizes Buddhism’s purity and grandeur. As a result, it is still referred to as Lien Hoa Dai (Lotus Palace).

The entire temple complex is built on a stone pillar beneath Linh Chieu Lake. Two stone blocks that were skillfully placed as one make up its pillar, creating distinctive temple architecture. Moreover, the pagoda features a variety of rare woods, delicate roof tiles, and majestic dragon patterns as essential emblems in temple construction from antiquity to the present.

To get to the temple, you must first climb a tiny set of 13 brick stairs. There are stone steles on the steps that provide a brief history of the temple.
Furthermore, inside the temple, there is a sophisticatedly decorated statue of Quan Am Buddha. The Buddha statue is meant to resemble King Ly Thai Tong’s dream of Quan Am Buddha sitting on a gleaming lotus blossom.

One Pillar Pagoda - Student Exchange Vietnam

One Pillar Pagoda is the highest point of Eastern philosophy in addition to having distinctive architectural qualities. According to several academics, the yin and yang principle was taken into consideration while designing the temple area. To represent the yin, the pagoda was constructed in the shape of a square. A circle of yang symbols supports the temple’s pillar. That is the balance of yin and yang, birth and death, heaven and earth.

  • Location: One Pillar Pagoda, Doi Khan, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi City
  • Opening time: 7 AM to 6 PM, every day

Keo Pagoda, Thai Binh

Keo Pagoda - Student Exchange Vietnam

This pagoda’s historical roots may be traced to the Nghiem Quang Tu temple, which King Ly Thanh Tong erected on the property in the hamlet of Keo in 1061, according to research by the Management Board of Thai Binh Province Relics. The pagoda has been there for about 400 years. Despite several additions, it still has the distinctive old architecture of the Vietnamese temple.

Its most notable pagoda-related architectural creations include Tam Ngoai Quan, Tam Quan Noi, Buddha Pagoda, Ong Ho Pagoda, Ong Muong, Tam Bao, Gia Roi, Thieu Huong, Phu Quoc, Thuong Dien, and ultimately Gac Chuong (Bell Tower).

The bell tower, a distinctive wooden piece of art representative of Vietnam’s historic architecture from the Le Dynasty, is one of Keo Pagoda’s most well-known architectural features. It lies on an 11-meter-square brick floor, has three stories, and links with painted mountains.

More interestingly, the Keo Temple Festival takes place on January 4 each year.

  • Location: Duy Nhat Commune, Vu Thu County, Taiping Province, Vietnam
  • Opening time: 08.00–16.00, every day

Quan Cong Temple, Quang Nam Province

Quan Kong Temple - Student Exchange

Quan Cong Temple, or Ong Pagoda, is another name for Quan Cong Temple. The Minh Huong people, a local group in Hoi An, Vietnam, created this religious site in the mid-17th century. Its structure consists of four towers, a vestibule, and two transepts on the left and right. Its tiled roof features an intricate dragon pattern as a decoration.

The monument of Quan Cong, together with two other sculptures, namely Chau Thuong, the general’s valiant and devoted servant, and Quan Binh Nghia Tu, are all located in the main hall, along with two horses that are the same height as the actual horses. These sculptures have sophisticated craft and display the virtuosity of the previous artists.

  • Location: 24 Tran Phu Street, Cam Chau Ward, Hoi An Town, Quang Nam Province
  • Opening time: 08.00–16.00, every day

Linh Ung Pagoda, Da Nang

Linh Ung Bai But Pagoda - Student Exchange Vietnam

Dating back to July 2014, Linh Ung Bai But Pagoda covers an area of 20 hectares and is 693 meters above sea level. Located on the Son Tra Peninsula, this temple has a unique turtle shape. Standing here, you can easily enjoy the beauty of the clear blue waters and the fresh air from the sea breeze.

Moreover, Linh Ung Pagoda is a sizeable pagoda complex with many works. Indeed, it includes the ancestral house, meditation monastery, library, main hall, and lecture hall.

In addition, Linh Ung Pagoda’s construction uses both contemporary designs and elements of Vietnamese religious history. Therefore, its main hall has a curving tile roof. Its dragon patterns are intricately carved all around the main hall’s sturdy pillars. Besides, Linh Ung Pagoda has a huge number of impressive structures, including the main hall, the ancestral home, the amphitheater, etc.

  • Location: Son Tra District, Da Nang City
  • Opening time: 08.00–16.00, every day

Thien Hau Temple, Ho Chi Minh City

Thien Hau Temple - Student Exchange Vietnam

Built in 1760, the pagoda was designated as a national architectural and aesthetic legacy in 1993. Despite its 256-year history, Thien Hau Pagoda remains one of the greatest temples in Vietnam because it has retained its unique architecture despite several repairs.

Thien Hau Pagoda is one of Saigon’s oldest temples, built in the manner of ancient Chinese pagodas, down to the designs and materials used. The temple has hundreds of antiquities ranging from the late 18th century to the early 20th century, including beautifully constructed and polished wooden sculptures, stone statues, stelae, copper censers, reliefs, and so on. A place known as the Thien Tinh, which aids in gathering light, air, and smoke, can be found between the rows of temples. Many people visit Thien Hau’s temple every day, according to those who look after it.

  • Location: 710 Nguyen Trai Street, Ward 11, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Opening time: 08.00–16.00, every day

For an enlightening spiritual trip, be sure to include these temples on your schedule while you tour the dynamic country of Vietnam. Each temple offers a special combination of architectural beauty, cultural significance, and a tranquil atmosphere that will enchant your senses. Join us on this cultural journey, and let the best temples of Vietnam make a lasting impression on your spirit.