7 Breathtaking Temples in Asia

by Gayle Keck

7 Breathtaking Temples in Asia

by Gayle Keck

Asia offers the opportunity to encounter examples of Buddhist, Confucian, Hindu, and Shinto religions that are host to spiritual temples — including several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. When your cruise stops at ports from Hanoi to Hong Kong, you can experience serene gardens and temples bustling with worshipers, the aroma of incense, the murmur of chants, and the splash of golden fish in a koi pond.

7
Wat Phra Kaeo in Bangkok / iStock / banjongseal324
Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto
1 of 7
2. Kinkaku-ji Temple

Port: Kyoto, Japan

This shimmering “Golden Pavilion” is as gorgeous as it is crowded. Avoid the selfie-snapping mob near the entrance and instead head to the pond to see the temple’s reflections in it. Save time to wander leisurely in the groomed gardens.

Location:

Port: Kyoto, Japan

This shimmering “Golden Pavilion” is as gorgeous as it is crowded. Avoid the selfie-snapping mob near the entrance and instead head to the pond to see the temple’s reflections in it. Save time to wander leisurely in the groomed gardens.

Location:

Longshan Temple
2 of 7
2. Longshan Temple

Port: Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan

Built in 1738, this bustling Chinese temple is filled with intricate carvings, painted ceilings, colorful ceramic tiles, and wafting incense. More than 100 gods and goddesses are worshiped here, including Matsu, Goddess of the Sea (at the rear center of the complex). Visit during the early morning to hear live chanting.

Location: 211 Guangzhou St., Wanhua District, Taipei City (Longshan Temple Metro stop)

Port: Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan

Built in 1738, this bustling Chinese temple is filled with intricate carvings, painted ceilings, colorful ceramic tiles, and wafting incense. More than 100 gods and goddesses are worshiped here, including Matsu, Goddess of the Sea (at the rear center of the complex). Visit during the early morning to hear live chanting.

Location: 211 Guangzhou St., Wanhua District, Taipei City (Longshan Temple Metro stop)

Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok
3 of 7
3. Wat Phra Kaew

Port: Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Thailand

The temple of the Emerald Buddha (it’s really jade) is part of the Grand Palace complex. Because this Buddha is protector of the kingdom, his home is lavished with gold leaf and decorative carvings, while fierce giants guard the entrance.

Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok

Port: Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Thailand

The temple of the Emerald Buddha (it’s really jade) is part of the Grand Palace complex. Because this Buddha is protector of the kingdom, his home is lavished with gold leaf and decorative carvings, while fierce giants guard the entrance.

Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok

Borobudur Temple in Java
4 of 7
4. Borobudur Temple

Port: Semarang, Java, Indonesia

It’s well worth the long ride to reach this 8th-century Mahayana Buddhist structure. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is the world’s largest temple, with 72 domed stupas (meditation structures), elaborate stone carvings, and spectacular views of the island and Indian Ocean.

Location: Magelang, Central Java

Port: Semarang, Java, Indonesia

It’s well worth the long ride to reach this 8th-century Mahayana Buddhist structure. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is the world’s largest temple, with 72 domed stupas (meditation structures), elaborate stone carvings, and spectacular views of the island and Indian Ocean.

Location: Magelang, Central Java

Temple of Literature in Hanoi
5 of 7
5. Temple of Literature

Port: Hanoi (Halong), Vietnam

Created in 1070 to honor Confucius, this five-courtyard complex is an excellent example of ancient Vietnamese architecture. Six years after opening, Vietnam’s first university was founded here; sitting atop stone turtles, ornamental steles list former students’ names and achievements.

Location: Văn Miếu, Đống Đa, Hanoi

Port: Hanoi (Halong), Vietnam

Created in 1070 to honor Confucius, this five-courtyard complex is an excellent example of ancient Vietnamese architecture. Six years after opening, Vietnam’s first university was founded here; sitting atop stone turtles, ornamental steles list former students’ names and achievements.

Location: Văn Miếu, Đống Đa, Hanoi

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
6 of 7
6. Shwedagon Pagoda

Port: Yangon, Myanmar

The 361-foot main stupa of this complex is covered in 11 tons of gold, and topped with 4,531 diamonds — including one that’s 72 carats. The country’s most sacred site is crowded with statues, stupas, and worshipers. Go at sunset to watch the gold stupas glow pink.

Location: U Htaung Bo Road, Dagon, Yangon

Port: Yangon, Myanmar

The 361-foot main stupa of this complex is covered in 11 tons of gold, and topped with 4,531 diamonds — including one that’s 72 carats. The country’s most sacred site is crowded with statues, stupas, and worshipers. Go at sunset to watch the gold stupas glow pink.

Location: U Htaung Bo Road, Dagon, Yangon

Chi Lin Nunnery in Hong Kong
7 of 7
7. Chi Lin Nunnery

Port: Hong Kong, China

A remarkable oasis amid the bustling city, these serene gardens and quietly beautiful buildings can make you feel rejuvenated. Wander through the Tang Dynasty-style Buddhist complex, where the cedar halls are host to various exhibits. The vast, flawlessly manicured gardens include a pagoda and a lotus pond with koi.

Location: 5 Chi Lin Road, Diamond Hill, Kowloon, Hong Kong (Diamond Hill MTR station, exit C2)

Port: Hong Kong, China

A remarkable oasis amid the bustling city, these serene gardens and quietly beautiful buildings can make you feel rejuvenated. Wander through the Tang Dynasty-style Buddhist complex, where the cedar halls are host to various exhibits. The vast, flawlessly manicured gardens include a pagoda and a lotus pond with koi.

Location: 5 Chi Lin Road, Diamond Hill, Kowloon, Hong Kong (Diamond Hill MTR station, exit C2)

Up next...

10 Best Ports for Fun Fall Activities

Koblenz, Germany
Go Back
Find The Best Cruises
Find a cruise

Find the best deals!

Click on multiple sites to get the lowest prices

Click on multiple sites to get the lowest prices