Vitnam is a country with a rich tapestry of culture and history. Nowhere is this more evident than in its magnificent and spiritually significant temples, which are some of the finest in the region. These wonders provide a glimpse into the country’s religious practices but also its architectural grandeur and cultural heritage.

Whether you’re a spiritual seeker, a history enthusiast or just a lover of beauty, visiting Vietnam’s temples is a must-do activity on any tour through this part of southeast Asia. Here’s a guide to help you navigate these sacred spaces with respect and understanding.

Must-see temples in Vietnam

Vietnam has a diverse religious and spiritual landscape, but most of its temples are Buddhist. You’ll find different designs, styles and sizes all across the country, many having stood for hundreds of years. Some of the most iconic include:

  • Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi
  • Cao Dai Temple, Long Hoa
  • Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue
  • Bai Dinh Pagoda, Ninh Binh
  • The Perfume Pagoda, Huang Song
  • Giac Lam Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh City

Getting to Vietnam’s temples

Some of Vietnam’s most spectacular temples are close enough to big cities and towns, meaning you can walk or catch a short ride to them with ease. However, some are a little more remote. For these, there are usually local bus services to use, or you can pay for a private taxi.

Tours also provide a convenient option if you’re looking for a guided experience and they’ll typically pick you up from major tourist hotspots. Alternatively, cycling trips allow you to bike from temple to temple, seeing the country from a completely unique perspective.

Tips for visiting Vietnam’s temples

Many temples may be tourist attractions, but they’re also places of work, worship and spirituality for local people. There are many things to take into consideration before traveling Vietnam, but respecting local customs and etiquette on any visit is vital. Here are some of the main ways you can be culturally considerate:

  • Dress modestly: Most temples require visitors to cover their shoulders and knees. It’s a show of respect and, in many cases, mandatory.
  • Be quiet and respectful: Temples are places of worship. Speak softly and avoid interrupting ceremonies and prayers.
  • Remove your shoes: This is common practice before entering a temple’s main hall.
  • Photography: Always ask permission before taking photos, especially during prayers and ceremonies. Some temples may prohibit photography altogether.
  • Cultural etiquette: When making offerings, follow the lead of locals or ask for guidance. It’s also customary to leave a small donation to support temple maintenance.

Visiting the many magnificent temples should be on an itinerary when touring Vietnam. You’ll have the chance to admire spectacular architecture and connect with the country’s spiritual essence. Who knows – maybe you’ll have a spiritual awakening yourself!