Temples Around the World
Collected by Lara Takenaga, AFAR Contributor
Visiting a temple can transport you to the heart of another culture, revealing the traditions, values, and aesthetics that have been revered for centuries. Here are 15 houses of worship that span the globe from Seoul to San Francisco.
100 Linden Ave, Wilmette, IL 60091, USA
Suburban Chicago isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of major religious centers. But Wilmette, a small town located less than 10 miles north of the Windy City, is home to the only Bahá’í House of Worship in North America....
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai has around 300 wats, or temples, in and around the city, some of them dating back 700 years. Each is seemingly more ornate than the last and you could spend hours exploring the details and observing the monks that reside there in their...
Tarn Taran Sahib, Punjab 143401, India
Sikhs and non-Sikhs go to Amritsar for one reason – to see the Golden Temple (Hamandir Sahib) so, that is what I did on my most recent trip to India. Except, I went on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday which is a national holiday in India and because of...
Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
The secret to having a good time in Bagan has nothing to do with getting there - all that takes is faith in a Burmese pilot and his ancient aircraft, or an unwavering belief that your 13-hour bus ride from Yangon will actually deliver you to the...
30 Beckett St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Often, when I feel overly strapped to my desk, hankering for a trip to another land, I stroll into San Francisco's Chinatown. Once I'm off the main drags and into the residential neighborhoods or the commercial streets chockablock with shops...
Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
This religious site is within a quarter mile of the popular Gyeongbuk Palace and is worth a visit. The courtyard in front of this wall of buddhas is shaded by bamboo. The atmosphere is extremely peaceful unlike the busy streets just outside this...
Tân Hòa, Tân Bình, Tp. Tây Ninh, Tây Ninh, Vietnam
One of the most beautiful temples in Vietnam, Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh, almost 3 hours drive from Ho Chi Minh The meaning of the name is The highest spiritual place where God reigns. Must visit for its architecture, Colors, Ceremony and People....
Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Better known as the Tomb Raider Temple since its starring role in the Hollywood movie of the same name, Ta Prohm has at least as much star quality as Angelina Jolie. Cloaked in dappled shadow and locked in the embrace of the vast root systems that...
ตำบล ป่าอ้อดอนชัย อำเภอเ มืองเชียงราย เชียงราย 57000, Thailand
While there’s no shortage of spectacular temples in Thailand – or Asia for that matter – one of my absolute favorites is without doubt the distinctive Wat Rong Khun. Perhaps better known by the name ‘The White...
Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Crowds may swarm upon it daily from sunrise onwards, but exposure hasn’t dulled the impact of the largest religious monument in the world. Commissioned by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century as the centerpiece of the mighty Khmer empire,...
294 Kiyomizu 1-chōme, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 605-0862, Japan
Kiyomizu-dera on Mount Otowa is one of the most famous temples in Japan, a place that appears in every sequence of Japanese travel photos. The landscape is all cherry trees and forest; it is among Kyoto's loveliest spots. The current structure...
158 Thanon Wang Doem, Khwaeng Wat Arun, Khet Bangkok Yai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10600, Thailand
Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) is a Buddhist temple in Bangkok's Yai district. It is situated on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The temple is one of the best known Thai landmarks. The mosaics which cover the temple create a pearly sheen during...
Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia
One of the best places to watch the sun set is from the cliffs of Pura Luhur Uluwatu, or the site of the old Uluwatu Temple on the island of Bali. The dramatic cliffs overlook the ocean, and arriving before sunset allows you to explore before...
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