Southeast Asia has some of the world’s most beautiful and fascinating temples. Almost every tourist that visits this region will more than likely visit a number of temples that highlight the strong religious beliefs. So here is a list that we have compiled of the must see temples in Southeast Asia.
Located in the largest city in Myanmar the Shwedagon Pagoda is believed to be the world’s oldest temple at over 2500 years old and covered with hundreds of gold plates. The top of the stupa is encrusted with 4531 diamonds; the largest of which is a 72 carat diamond. It is clearly one of the wonders of the religious world and the most visited site in the country.
What originally started out as a Hindu Temple in the 12th century this huge temple complex is one the largest in the world attracting thousands of visitors every day from all over the world. Angkor Wat in Cambodia is a miniature replica of the universe in stone and represents an earthly model of the cosmic world. The central tower rises from the center of the monument symbolizing the mythical mountain, Meru, situated at the center of the universe. Its five towers correspond to the peaks of Meru. The outer wall corresponds to the mountains at the edge of the world, and the surrounding moat the oceans beyond.
Wat Phra Kaew
Also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha it is regarded as the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand. With the adjoining Grand Palace it creates one of the most spectacular attractions in the region. Within the temple grounds there is a green Emerald Buddha, which no one is allowed near except the Thai king, who conducts rituals at the temple throughout the year.
Pha That Luang
The national symbol of Laos and also the most sacred monument in the country this important Buddhist monument is believed to enshrine a sacred relic of the Buddha. The temple with a golden 45 metres high stupa was originally built sometime between 9th and 14th centuries during the ancient Khmer civilisation and is covered with 500 kilos of gold leaf. It is built on 3 levels, which symbolize the ascent from the Earth to the sky.
Wat Rong Khun
Better known as the ‘White Temple’ it is regarded as one of the most beautiful temples in the world. Situated just outside the town of Chiang Rai it attracts a large number of visitors making it one of the city’s most visited attractions. Decorated by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a local artist he decided to completely rebuild the temple and fund the project with his own money. The artist built the temple to be a center of learning and meditation and for people to gain benefit from the Buddhist teachings.
Built in 1105 AD during the reign of King Kyanzittha of the Pagan Dynasty. It is one of four surviving temples in Bagan and considered to a lasting masterpiece of the Mon architecture. The temple is hosts a yearly week-long festival held during the month of Pyahto where 1000 monks perform continuous chanting of scriptures for 72 hours.