Like with the rest of the region, Vietnam has a vast collection of Buddhist temples and monasteries. And set in the middle of the country’s chilly Central Highlands region, Da Lat’s temples are unique in their own way. This is thanks to their usually-larger spaces and more picturesque surroundings.
Visiting the city and its surrounding areas is even as convenient as staying in most other tourist hotspots in Vietnam. Indeed, getting good deals on hotels is as easy as just entering a search query for “Hotels in Da Lat” (Khách sạn Đà Lạt). And wherever you’ll be choosing to stay, you’ll have convenient access to some unique Buddhist temples. Here are just a few that should be the closest to you.
Built at the top of a hill near the middle of the city, Linh Son is one of the Da Lat’s most accessible Buddhist temples. It’s also notable for being the current home of the Board of the Buddhist Association of Lam Dong Province. And despite the Pagoda being relatively new (having only finished construction in 1940), its wonderful design and traditional styling have made it one of the city’s main sightseeing spots.
One of Linh Son’s most noticeable features is the statue of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, seated on a lotus flower. And if you’re heading from there to the main structure, you’ll see that the base of the steps are flanked by two dragon statues. These act as both symbolic wards along the path, while also guiding visitors to the main temple hall.
A bit farther from Da Lat’s city center is the Linh Phuoc temple, which is also sometimes called the Ve Chai Pagoda. Because its structures are also relatively new, Linh Phuoc provides a good combination of classical Asian architecture with more modern elements and construction techniques. One of the best examples of this is the temple’s huge 49-meter-long dragon that was painstakingly constructed from recycled beer bottles.
Meanwhile, Linh Phuoc is also known for holding a couple of records for temples within Vietnam. One of these is for having the highest bell tower in the country, standing at 36 meters tall. This bell was also made to be remarkably heavy, weighing in at 8,500 tons. Visitors often write down their prayers in slips of pink paper and attach them to the bell. Other notable records for Linh Phuoc include having the largest indoor statue of the Buddha and the largest Bodidharma statue in Vietnam.
Among many things, Truc Lam is known as Vietnam’s largest Zen monastery, with the overall area coming in at about 24 hectares. But there’s far more to this large complex than its sheer size. Besides the scenic surroundings, what further separates Truc Lam from the pack is the unique way of getting to it. Indeed, its location in the middle of a big ravine means that you’ll need to ride a cable car to get to the temple. This allows you to take in the beautiful sights of the countryside just outside of Da Lat on your way to the temple.
Entering the temple’s main courtyard may be a bit of a workout, however. Luckily, you have a choice between a more direct entrance that has 61 steps and a longer and more scenic route with 222 steps. But once you enter the temple’s main ceremonial hall, you’ll be greeted by a statue of the Buddha seated on a lotus, along with the bodhisattvas of wisdom and dedication. But due to its more-secluded location, Truc Lam is best enjoyed by walking through the vast temple complex. Indeed, some spots provide great views of the Benhuit mountain and the Tuyen Lam Lake.
As with any predominantly Buddhist country, tourists flock to see Vietnam’s wonderful temples. If you ever find yourself in Da Lat city, make sure to pass by its own collection of temples and enjoy their magnificent structures, beautiful monuments, and scenic views.