9 Beautiful Temples You Need To Visit In East Asia

East Asia is a large and fascinating region, spreading out across hundreds of islands and thousands of miles into the Pacific ocean. But perhaps the area’s greatest cultural export is its temples. If you’re planning a visit to East Asia, be sure to check them out for yourself. 

Sewu Temple
The Sewu temple is an ancient Buddhist monument that creates an immediate imposing atmosphere, flanked by beautiful mountains in the background. The complex actually contains more than 250 different temples, all dedicated to specific gods. It is the second-largest site of its kind on Java - one of the biggest of the Indonesia islands. And it is close to Hindu temples, suggesting that both religions coexisted peacefully throughout their history. 

Pura Luhur Uluwatu
If you’re looking for a classic temple close to the sea, then you’ll want to check out Pura Luhur Uluwatu. This unique place which features a multi-tiered roof dedicates itself to Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa. It is one of Bali’s most beautiful locations and regularly swamped by tourists, coronavirus permitted. In the evening, it provides among the most beautiful sunsets you will ever see in your life. 

Wat Chayamangkalaram Temple
The Wat Chayamangkalaram Temple is one of the most colourful Buddhist places of reflection in the world. It sits among skyscrapers and apartments for rent Penang, providing a much-needed respite from the surrounding urban jungle. As you approach the temple, the first thing you see are two large statues, one red and one green, surrounded by all kinds of mythical creatures, including dragons. Aside from the main building, there are many other smaller shrines and booths, plus a tall golden pagoda. 

Bagan Temples

If you head to Myanmar, you’ll want to spend some time in the city of Bagan, one of the most interesting places in the world. Here you’ll find the incredible scene of the Bagan Temples - a group of around 10,000 temples that cover the landscape for mile after mile in every direction. Even seeing a modern city as impressive as this would be special. But knowing that the temples are nearly 1,000 years old makes the entire place one of the greatest treasures of history. There is genuinely nowhere like it anywhere else. If you plan on visiting the location, you are best to see it by bike.

Kek Lok Si
Another stunning temple on the island of Penang, Kek Lok Si provides those who go there with stunning views of the surrounding rolling countryside. If you want to experience the location at its best, go and visit it during Chinese New Year celebrations. Stewards light up the temple during the night, making it stand out like a burning brazier on the mountaintop. 

Wat Pho
Bangkok is a city of contrasts, none more so than the famous Wat Pho. Inside, you’ll find a 160-foot reclining Buddha in shimmering gold. Around the rest of the ancient temple, there are additional shrines and teachings from the Buddhist texts. The great thing about this temple is its proximity to other services. After meditation, you can quickly find a massage parlour for even more relaxation.

Cebu Taoist Temple

Buddhism isn’t the only religion where adherents built extraordinary temples. So too did the followers of Taoism, an ancient philosophy based on the teachings of the sage Lao Tzu. Cebu Temple is one of the best examples, featuring an entrance that replicates the great wall of China. The site, in the Philippines, is a major Taoist centre and one of the best environments in which to find enlightenment. 

Angkor Wat
Perhaps the most famous temple in the world, Angkor Wat in Cambodia has been inspiring tourists for generations. More a city than a place of religious observance, it is around six kilometres from Siem Reap and definitely somewhere you want on your bucket list. It’s also one of the best places you’ll find in East Asia for photos. 

Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot isn’t so much a structure but a temple carved directly into the rock. The enigmatic location attracts thousands of tourists every year and acts as a directional monument, providing sightlines of other important sites across Bali. Interestingly, the rock that the temple sits atop crumbled during the 20th century. But the location proved so popular that the Indonesian authorities reconstructed the flood defences and parts of the structure, preventing it from going to ruin. 

Visiting temples on holidays isn’t just about absorbing the culture. It’s also personal. The more you can get in touch with your spirit, the better your travel experiences will become. 

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