Vietnam is full of must-visit locations. From amazing natural landscapes to booming city-life, there are many things to do in Vietnam.
If you want to experience a more traditional side of Vietnam, you must experience the Vietnamese pagodas.
Looking to experience Buddhism like never before? Want to be able to see beautiful pagodas up close and personal? If so, a trip to see Vietnam pagodas should be on your next itinerary.
Vietnam is home to numerous pagodas. With so many to see, you may not be able to see them all.
The good news is that we've listed the top 8 must-see pagodas. Keep reading to learn which pagodas you can't pass up.
Pagodas, known as “Chua” in Vietnam, are Buddhist places of worship. Pagodas are different from temples in that they are strictly meant for Buddhists. Anyone is welcome inside.
When visiting a pagoda, be mindful to respect the culture. As a traveler, you are highly recommended to walk into the pagoda on the right and exit on the left. Also, you should take off your shoes if required. Additionally, dress conservatively. No hats, bare shoulders, or shorts are allowed. Read more on Vietnam travel tips: Vietnam Dos and Don'ts.
Don't point at the altars or statues. Be respectful of locals who are praying. Finally, always ask before taking photos.
The best time to see a pagoda is in the morning before they are busy. Seeing a pagoda at night is also well worth it, but some are closed in the evening. An illuminated pagoda is a sight worth seeing!
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Now that you know all about pagodas let's discuss the ones you must see!
Perfume Pagoda or “Huong” Pagoda can be found in Hanoi and is one of the city's most popular attractions. If you visit during the high season which is around the Tet holiday (Feb.) and Huong Pagoda Festival, you will be surrounded by an average crowd of 60,000 people.
The Perfume Pagoda is most popular during the Huong Pagoda festival. The festival brings hundreds of pilgrims to the pagoda from February to March; specifically throughout the period from the 15th to the 20th of the second month of the lunar calendar.
About the compound of the Perfume Pagoda, there are some sites that you cannot miss such as Den Trinh Sanctuary, Thien Tru Pagoda, Huong Tich Cave (Cave of Perfume), etc.
Transportation to the pagoda is exciting in itself! You'll take a boat ride to the mountain, and then travel on a cable car. Despite the high volume of tourists, Perfume Pagoda is well worth seeing.
Entrance fee: VND 78,000 or ~$4
Canoeing: VND 50,000 or ~$2.5
Address: Huong Son Commune, My Duc District, Ha Noi
Another Buddhist place in the capital of Vietnam, the One Pillar Pagoda stands as one of the oldest monuments in Vietnam, built under the Ly's dynasty in 1049! The name is derived from its unique architecture: the small temple is erected upon one single wooden pillar, imitating a blooming lotus flower. The sacred place is also known as Dien Huu Pagoda.
One Pillar Pagoda is a symbol of enlightenment. It has been constructed to resemble a lotus flower after a dream by Emperor Ly Thai Tong. The legend said that the Holy Lady sat on a lotus and told King Ly to come up with a similar establishment. Throughout the historical horizon, although there have been several restorations to keep most of this religious construction, it has been partly modified. Today's Pagoda is a newly formed and recovered in 1955. Nowadays, the pagoda is one of the historical symbols of Ha Noi
Hours: 9 AM - 4 PM
Entrance fee: FREE
Address: Ong Ich Khiem Street, Ngoc Ha, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi - a part of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum premise
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Built more than 1500 years ago, this is the oldest pagoda in Hanoi!
Located on a small peninsula on the bank of Red River and the east side of the West Lake, this pagoda is the home of 10 shrines, including a red Buddha statue trimmed with the gold of Sakyamuni Buddha's Parinirvana, a masterpiece of Vietnamese sculpture. There are also historical relics dating back to the 1600s.
A garden and water surround the Pagoda. This is the go-to pagoda if you're looking for a scenic attraction. For a breathtaking view, visit this Pagoda at sunset.
See our comprehensive guide to the Tran Quoc Pagoda
Hours: 8 AM - 5 PM
Address: Beside the dazzling West Lake, on Thanh Nien Road, West Lake District, Hanoi
Thien Mu Pagoda is located in Hue. Unofficially, the pagoda has become the symbol of the city.
It is nestled between the Perfume River and a lush pine forest on Ha Khe hill. When translated, the name of this Vietnam Pagoda means Pagoda of the Celestial Lady. According to a local legend, Lord Nguyen Hoang ordered to build up this construction after hearing an old woman from heaven appear on the hill telling her that a Lord would establish a Buddhist house at this place.
The pagoda is seven stories high and dates back to 1601. Each of the seven stories is dedicated to the many human forms that Buddha has taken. Interestingly, visitors should see some spectacular constructions and valuable items such as Phuoc Dien Tower, a complex of monastic buildings in the center, and the Car in which the monk Thich Quang Duc had traveled before he burned himself to protest against the regime’s violations of religious freedom in 1963.
Hours: 8 AM - 5 PM
Entrance fee: FREE
Address: the end of Kim Long Road, in Huong Long Ward, on the northern bank of the Perfume River, Hue
Linh Phuoc Pagoda or Dragon Pagoda, located in the romantic city of Da Lat, is a one-of-a-kind pagoda that you should not miss when visiting Vietnam.
This attraction is built over the period of 1949-1952 and was all funded by the Buddhists. The design of the unique features of the construction was of 5th Master Monk Thich Tam Vi, and it has been kept and renovated until now. It is also interesting to note that the Pagoda was made of debris of glass, pottery bowls, and porcelain, so the locals usually call it Ve Chai Pagoda.
At this place, besides the special material of the construction, visitors have a chance to enjoy the intricate mosaics and the sophisticated sculptures. For instance, the pillars make this Pagoda super unique. Each of the colorful and decorated pillars forms a dragon. Especially, you would see a spectacular 4.9 meters statue of Sakyamuni Buddha. Thus, take pictures if you can!
Entrance fee: Free
Address: 120 Tu Phuoc, Ward 11, Lam Dong province, Da Lat
Linh An Pagoda is located in Da Lat. At first, this pagoda looks plain compared to others. However, a quick trip to the right of the pagoda shows the uniqueness of Linh An.
Visitors are interested in not only the nature-surrounding location including Elephant falls and deep green pines but also its religious architecture. If you would like to see the biggest and happiest Buddha, Thich Ca Di Lac, in Vietnam, you must visit Linh An Pagoda. This statue is 12.5m high and 6.5m wide.
Address: Thac Voi tourist zone, Nam Ban, Lam Ha district, Lam Dong Province
Van Hanh Pagoda is a pagoda of true serenity. This pagoda is also located in Da Lat and is one of the most well-known pagodas in the city.
Established in 1980, this place is set up by local Buddhists for worship activities of the Van Hanh assembly. Until 1994, the pagoda was substantially restored under the organization of monk Thich Vien Hanh, leading to the modification of main buildings and beautiful landscapes which every tourist can see today like the magnificent sanctum, Buddhist Garden, Buddha statues, etc.
Furthermore, it is an interesting fact to note that Van Hanh Pagoda offers visitors a golden Buddha statue that is 24-meters-high! The Statue attracts visitors from all over the world.
Address: 39 Phu Dong Thien Vuong Street, Ward 8, Lam Dong Province
Nui Mot Pagoda, located in Con Dao, is one of the newest pagodas in Vietnam. It was built in 1964 and is set in a serene and quiet location in the forest.
The pagoda was built by the government to remember those who served in the military or the administration. Nui Mot has become the go-to location on the island.
While the pagoda doesn't have an antiqued look or feel, it is a great place to connect with nature on a spiritual level.
The Nui Mot Pagoda sits on a small hill that offers fantastic views of the ocean. If you are seeking a peaceful pause, this is one of the Vietnam pagodas you must experience.
Address: Nui Mot Mountain, Con Dao District, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province
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If you want a truly authentic experience, consider a private group tour. A group tour allows you to see all of what Vietnam has to offer!
From pagodas to bustling cities, group tours are perfect for seeing the best of Vietnam.
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The Buddhist culture of Vietnam is ever so fascinating. I love visiting pagodas everywhere I visit in Vietnam. Those are great suggestions for my next trip. You guys are incredible