Pagodas are one of Vietnam’s top attractions for travellers. They are not just historical monuments of the past: Vietnamese visit them regularly to receive blessings, to pray or to organise 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 favourite places by leaving a comment below:
Perfume Pagoda - Hanoi
The Perfume Pagoda is one of Hanoi’s most popular day tours. During high season, it will most likely be packed. You will have to take a short boat ride to the base of the mountain, then walk steep steps up to the cable car. The whole trip can be a fun learning experience if you are fit and if you don’t mind the other tourists and vendors.
One Pillar Pagoda - Hanoi
One of Vietnam’s oldest religious monument, the One Pillar Pagoda was built in 1049 by the Emperor Ly Thai Tong. It is an iconic sight of Hanoi.
Quan Su Pagoda - Hanoi
Quan Su Pagoda was built in the 15th century. It is also called the “ambassador’s pagoda” because it used to host foreign dignitaries visiting Hanoi.
Tran Quoc Pagoda - Hanoi
Tran Quoc Pagoda is located on Hanoi’s West Lake. Consisting of 10 shrines, it is the oldest Buddhist temple in the city. Highlights include the Bodhi tree in the garden and its red lacquered Buddha statue.
Thien Mu Pagoda - Hue
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.
Linh Ung Pagoda - Da Nang
Linh Ung Pagoda is located about eight kilometres from Da Nang, on a cliff off Son Thuy Mountain. Many people visit it to enjoy the panoramic view on the sea with the Marble Mountains in the back. It has a huge 67-metre statue of Guinyin, the goddess of mercy and compassion.
Linh Phuoc Pagoda - Trai Mat, Da Lat
Also called Ve Chai Pagoda, Linh Phuoc Pagoda was built using glass, porcelain and pottery pieces. You have beautifully decorated pillars in the form of dragons and a five-metre-high Buddha statue.
Linh An Tu Pagoda - Da Lat
Linh An Tu Pagoda is located one hour away from Dalat, in Nam Ban. It is remarkable for its giant Buddha statue on its right side.
Van Hanh Pagoda - Da Lat
Most visitors come to Van Hanh for its spectacular 24-meter-high golden Buddha statue. It is also a serene pagoda where you will enjoy walking around in the lush garden.
Ta Cu Mountain Pagoda - Phan Thiet
This pagoda in the vicinity of Mui Ne hosts the longest reclining statue of Buddha in Vietnam. A popular tourist attraction, the visit could be a half day trip from Phan Thiet. You will need to ride a car for 45 minutes, then pay a ticket for the cable car taking you to the top of the Tà Cú mountain, then climb stairs for several minutes. Don’t miss the three small Buddhas statues before you go back to the cable car.
Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda - Ho Chi Minh City
Tam Son Hoi Quan was built in the 19th century in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 5. Dedicated to the goddess of fertility, it is popular with moms-to-be and young brides.
Van Son Pagoda - Con Dao
Built in 1964, Van Son Pagoda is set in a quiet and beautiful location in the forest. It is also known as Nui Mot Pagoda.
These are some of the 12 most beautiful pagodas in Vietnam. Did we forget a place you like? Please leave a comment below and help us discover more great places to travel to.