Dalat is home to several prominent religions, with a comparatively strong predilection towards Christianity. But Buddhism remains a dominant practice, as evidenced by several expansive and intricate religious sites, and many smaller pagodas dotting the pine-covered region.
Dalat’s cool weather, peaceful atmosphere and gorgeous scenery create a wonderful backdrop for many of the city’s dedicated monks and nuns. Linh Phuoc Pagoda is among the city’s most famous and one of the most intricate and gorgeous pagodas in all of Vietnam. The building exteriors at Linh Phuoc are meticulously laid with shattered glass and pottery, while stunning jade, stone and wood sculptures and statues are strewn about almost carelessly. The magnificent pagoda holds several records in Vietnam for its exhibits.
A less ostentatious but more popular pagoda is the Truc Lam Pagoda at the end of the cable car at Robin Hill. The expansive grounds make use of Dalat’s fresh flora and panoramic views, attracting tourists from all over the world. Monks here hold public meditation classes on the second Sunday of every lunar month.
Smaller, less touristy pagodas are also worth a visit. The Linh Son Pagoda is popular among locals and Vietnamese tourists, not far from Dalat’s central market. This is the leading pagoda in the Lam Dong province, and plays a leading role in decision making for the province’s pagodas. It’s a peaceful, solitary environment more suitable for quiet prayer than the aforementioned tourist-magnets.
Linh An is around 30 kilometers southwest of Dalat city, notable for the giant laughing Buddha dominating the space. Lam Ty Ni is Dalat’s “weird pagoda” because of the resident monk Vien Thuc, who has created thousands and thousands of brush paintings in his home-studio on pagoda grounds, mainly selling these off to tourists. Other monks and locals are not very fond of Mr. Thuc, as he seems to focus more on selling his works than the practice of Buddhism.
Another pagoda popular with Vietnamese tourists is the Thien Vuong Co Sat Pagoda. This is a Chinese pagoda, as evidenced by the calligraphy and architecture. During Tet, monks draw custom calligraphy for a fee by the entrance of the temple.
Dalat pagodas are situated on hillsides, streetsides, isolated among nature, crammed in packed alleyways, off-the-beaten path, in tourist-heavy spots, built on hills and flatlands, and are prominently visible and imperceptibly situated. If you’re a fan of the pacifying atmosphere, any pagoda on your way in Dalat can warrant a visit.