Top 12 Famous Pagodas in Vietnam

If you want to visit a Buddhist place to pray for peace and health for you and your family, don't miss out on this list of the top 12 most famous pagodas in Vietnam.
March 09, 2021 | 14:22

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There are many famous pagodas and temples in Vietnam. Photo: Viet Fun Travel

Pagodas are one of Vietnam’s top attractions for travelers. They are not just historical monuments of the past: Vietnamese visit them regularly to receive blessings, to pray or to organize charity events.

The best time to visit a pagoda is early morning when it is not too busy. After the night falls, it is also interesting as the lights and candles can create spectacular effects. If you are lucky enough to travel to Vietnam during a special holiday, for instance, Tet, you will notice that pagodas will be more crowded than usual and that they will have more decoration.

Don’t forget to dress appropriately during your visit. Common sense prevails: Avoid shorts, bare shoulders, skirts or hats.

Here is a list of 12 beautiful pagodas that we visited in Vietnam from the north to the south. Don’t hesitate to share with us your favorite places by leaving a comment below:

1. Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi

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Photo: Hanoi Free Tours

Considered one of the best temples in Vietnam, Tran Quoc Pagoda with 1500 years of history is the first temple built under King Ly Nam De (541 - 547) on the banks of the Hong River. When completed, the pagoda was named Khai Quoc pagoda. After many renaming and relocations, by the end of the 17th century, the pagoda was named Tran Quoc by King Tran Hy Tong and was located on a single island east of West Lake, in the present-day Tay Ho district, according to Vietnam Discovery.

The first unique feature of Tran Quoc Pagoda is the entrance of the pagoda. There is a softly curved path leading to the temple. Going through the temple gate, visitors only need to follow the only red-tiled road to get to the inner structures including the main hall in the middle.

The corridor continues to be extended by the incense burner and the upper palace, behind it was the bell tower. The highlight of the Tran Quoc pagoda is the unique tomb tower of the pagoda behind the pagoda with many ancient towers which was built in the 18th century. Of which, the most prominent thing is probably the tower of an 11-floor lotus flower tower which is 15m high. It was built in 1998. Each tower’s floor has 6 doorbells. In each cell, there is an Amitabha Buddha statue made of precious stone. On the top of the tower, there is the Cuu Pham Lien Hoa stone statue.

2. Cao Dai Temple, Tay Ninh Province

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Photo: TripAdvisor

The construction of The Cao Dai Temple finished in 1955. Caodaists’s belief is all religions are the same and all are seeking to promote tolerance throughout the world. The Lord Buddha, Muhammad and Confucius, Jesus Christ, and Joan of Arc and Julius Cesar are all worshiped at this temple.

Watching Caodiasts pray is one of the main activities when visiting this temple. They must dress in long flowing robes of white for lay followers, or wear in yellow, blue or red for priests. When worship is held, women are seated on the left, men on the right and all devotees seated in orderly rows. The construction is a combination of Oriental, Neo-Gothic, and Baroque designs. It is ornately decorated including seven-headed cobras, dragon wrapped pillars, and ceilings of sky blue.

3. Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue

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Photo: Vietnam Discovery Travel

Thien Mu, meaning “Lady from Heaven,” is one of the top attractions in Hue. The Thien Mu Pagoda was built in 1601 by Lord Nguyen Hoang and it is recommended to visit it at sunset hours.

A symbol associated with Thien Mu Pagoda's image is Phuoc Duyen. The tower is 21m high tower, including seven floors. It was built in front of the temple. Each floor has Buddha statues. Inside, there is a spiral staircase leading to the top floor, where there used to be a golden Buddha image.

In addition to Phuoc Nguyen tower, Thien Mu pagoda also has architectural works such as Dai Hung Palace, Ksitigarbha Palace, Quan Am Palace, etc together with stelae and bronze bells. Besides, the temple is also home to many valuable artifacts in history and art. The statues of Dharma protectors, the Ten Kings statue, Buddha Maitreya statue, Tam The Buddha statue or the galleries, the couplets here all mark the golden history periods of Thien Mu Pagoda. Located on the banks of the poetic Huong River, Thien Mu Pagoda with ancient architecture has contributed to the adornment of the natural picture, which is more charming, solemn and sacred.

4. Bai Dinh Pagoda, Ninh Binh

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Photo: Authentik Vietnam Travel

Bai Dinh Pagoda is located at the western gate of Hoa Lu Citadel – a Historic vestige, which is near the 38B National highway, Gia Sinh town, Gia Vien District, Ninh Binh Province. The pagoda is about 15 kilometers from Ninh Binh city center and about 95 kilometers from Ha Noi.

Bai Dinh Pagoda is a complex of pagodas, which possesses the greatest number of records in Vietnam such as the largest pagoda, the biggest bronze Buddha statue, the pagoda with the greatest number of Arahant Statues and Sacred figs, said Vietfun Travel.

In 2010, Bai Dinh Pagoda was the host of the great festival of receiving The Buddha Sàrìrikadhàtu from India.

5. Huong Pagoda or Perfume Pagoda, Hanoi

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Photo: Viator

Huong Pagoda is a cultural and religious complex of Vietnam that includes a lot of Buddhist Pagodas, Temples, Shrines with the agricultural belief.

The center of Huong Pagoda is located at Huong Son town, My Duc District, which is about 60 kilometers from Ha Noi and along the right bank of Day River. The heart of this pagoda complex is Huong Pagoda located in Huong Tich Grotto, which is also known as Trong Pagoda (The Inside Pagoda).

6. Jade Emperor Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh City

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Photo: Lotussia Travel

The temple was originally the Jade Emperor's temple built by a man named Luu Minh (from Guangdong, China) in the early 20th century in the style of Chinese architecture. In 1984, the Jade Emperor Pagoda was renamed, Phuoc Hai. However, people still used to call it Jade Emperor.

Jade Emperor Pagoda is an ancient temple, made in the style of a Chinese temple with a decorative motif. The pagoda is built with bricks and roofs covered with yin and yang tiles, decorated with roof edges, and the corners are covered with colorful ceramic statues. Inside the temple are three palaces. The main palace worships the Jade Emperor, Huyen Thien Bac De with the natural soldiers and generals.

7. Giac Lam Pagoda, Hue

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Photo: Luxury Travel Vietnam

The To Mieu Temple, part of the UNESCO-protected Complex of Hue Monuments, was constructed by Emperor Minh Mang in 1821 in commemoration of former emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty.

One of the most well-preserved structures in the complex, this ancestral temple houses an ornate three-tiered pavilion, various personal items and portraits of its 10 emperors, as well as nine dynastic urns that were cast between 1835 and 1836. While travelers are free to explore the temple site, guided tours are available for those looking to know more about the history of Hue, Vietnam Guide reported.

8. Keo Pagoda, Thai Binh Province

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Photo: Yeudulich

According to research from the Management Board of Thai Binh Province Relics, this pagoda has an ancient origin from the temple named Nghiem Quang Tu, built on Keo village land in 1061 years of King Ly Thanh Tong. Spending nearly 400 years of existence, through many embellishments, the pagoda still retains the unique ancient architecture of the Vietnamese temple. Every year, Keo Temple Festival takes place on January 4.

The main architectural works of the pagoda population 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 finally Gac Chuong. The famous architecture of Keo Pagoda is the bell tower, which is a unique wooden artwork, typical for the ancient architecture of Vietnam in the Le Dynasty. It was built on a square brick floor, 11m high, with 3 floors, and connected by painted mountains.

9. Linh Phuoc Pagoda, Lam Dong Province

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Photo: AloTrip

Linh Phuoc Pagoda is the most special pagodas of Lam Dong Province. This pagoda attracts a great number of tourists, who come here to observe its strange and unique architecture. The whole pagoda is covered by fragments of porcelain and bottles, which creates such a strange and impressive appearance.

On paying a visit to Linh Phuoc Pagoda, the first impression of tourists must be the beautiful appearance of the 7-floor-tower, which is the highest pagoda’s tower of Vietnam. Legend has it that when the tower was completely built, there was a shining halo appearing on its top in several days.

Another highlighted feature of this pagoda is the Long Hoa Vien, which is a work of a 49-meter-long dragon winding around the statue of Maitreya Buddha. The fins of this dragon are made of 12 000 fragments of beer bottles. Under this wonderful work is a beautiful lake with some artificial mountains.

On the other hand, the Statue of Guanyin Bodhisattva is also a highlight of Linh Phuoc Pagoda. This statue is made of thousands of golden everlasting daisies on the occasion of Da Lat Flower Festival in 2011.

10. Linh Ung Pagoda, Da Nang City

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Photo: Hanami Hotel

Linh Ung Pagoda is located on Son Tra Peninsula, Son Tra District, Da Nang Province, which is about 10 kilometers to the Northeast.

This pagoda was built in July 2014 with a total area is 20 hectares and about 693 meters from sea level. Linh Ung Pagoda is halfway of Son Tra

Mountain. On paying a visit to this pagoda, you can easily contemplate the beauty of the blue sky and the sea as well as enjoy the pure and cool atmosphere of the ocean. Linh Ung Pagoda is a complex with many parts including the main hall, library, lecture hall, etc.

You will be certainly amazed when observing the statue of Guanyin Bodhisattva, which is 67 meters in height, of which the lotus’ diameter is 35 meters. This is also the highest statue of Vietnam.

11. Quan Cong Temple, Quang Nam Province

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Photo: Vietnam Discovery Travel

Quan Cong Temple is also known as Ong Pagoda. It was built by the Minh Huong people living in Hoi An and Vietnamese people in the mid-17th century.

The architecture of the Guan Gong Temple consists of four buildings, a vestibule, two left-wing areas, and a large hall. Four buildings were built in the form of an aperture to avoid overlapping structures. Its roof tiles are uniquely decorated with elaborate dragon motifs.

The main hall houses the statue of Quan Cong and the other two statues, which are the statue of Chau Thuong, who is the brave and loyal servant of Quan Cong and the statue of Quan Binh Nghia Tu; together with 2 horses which has the same height as the real horse. These statues are exquisitely made to show the virtuosity of the artisans of the past.

12. Thien Hau Temple, Ho Chi Minh City

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Photo: Nomadic Notes

The pagoda was built in 1760 and was recognized as a national architectural and artistic vestige in 1993. Although it has 256 years of existence, Thien Hau pagoda is always one of the best temples in Vietnam because it still retains its unique architecture after a lot of restorations.

Thien Hau pagoda is one of the oldest temples in Saigon, bearing the style of ancient Chinese pagodas, from patterns, architecture to construction materials. The temple has hundreds of antiques dating from the late 18th century to the early 20th century, including wooden statues, stone statues, stelae, copper censer, reliefs, etc meticulously crafted and refined. International. Among the rows of temples, there is a space called the Thien Tinh which helps to collect light, air, and smoke. According to those who take care of the temple, Thien Hau's temple welcomes many visitors every day.

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