The Best Monasteries in Asia

If you’re planning a trip to Asia, one of the top places to visit is a monastery. Many Buddhist monasteries are scattered throughout the continent. While visiting them can be a great way to learn about Buddhism, you may also want to check out temples and stupas in the area. Below, you’ll find some of the most popular monasteries in Asia. You can choose from Angkor Wat, Phugtal Gompa, Thiksey Monastery, or Tidrum.

Angkor Wat

This magnificent temple is surrounded by a moat. It contains four well preserved shrines with elaborate carvings and designs. These intricate carvings are a wonder to behold and are especially stunning in the pink hue. The best time to visit this monastery is during the dry season between October and December. Since it is located at an altitude of over ten thousand feet, getting to the monastery requires a hike. The hike is 10 kilometers long and takes between five and six hours to complete. The trail consists of a mix of barren land, forests, and stairs.

The Angkor temple complex is the largest religious monument in Southeast Asia. The name Angkor means ‘city’ in Sanskrit and is also known as ‘Temple of the Holy Mountain’. The original structure included an immense enceinte, which is now only the sanctuary. The scattered stones remind us of how grand this structure once was. There are many stories surrounding this edifice.

Phugtal Gompa

The beautiful landscape of the mountains surrounding the monastery is a must-see when you visit the region. Its white buildings are arranged in a strict order of importance. A visit to Phugtal Gompa will give you a spiritual and peaceful experience. Visitors will feel the serene aura of the monastery from a mile away, and you’ll feel a connection with the lord almighty. The monastery is also filled with scriptures and sculptures that tell the story of Buddhism and its beginnings.

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It is not easy to get to Phugtal Gompa. It is an isolated monastery located in the remote Lungnak Valley in the autonomous Himalayan region of Ladakh. Its main monastery is built inside a cliff and resembles a honeycomb. It is a fascinating and mind-blowing experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Thiksey Monastery

One of the most famous Buddhist monasteries in Asia is Thiksey Monastery, located 19 km outside of Leh town. This sprawling complex is reminiscent of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The monastery contains more than 500 monks and features a collection of Buddhist journals and Thangka paintings. There is a 49-ft statue of Maitreya Buddha at the monastery.

The monastery is open seven days a week, from 7am to 6pm. You should visit between October and December to avoid the monsoon. Due to the altitude, you will have to hike from the monastery base to the monastery. The trail is around 10 kilometers long and takes five to six hours to hike back down. The trek includes a mixture of barren land and forests. The steep, rocky terrain requires careful walking and careful use of handrails and stairs.

While you’re in Ladakh, you might want to stop by the famous Thiksey Monastery. The 15th-century monastery sits in a remote valley with bordering China and Pakistan. It reminds us of our ancient Tibetan heritage, despite the fact that Tibetans fled across the border following a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. In many parts of Ladakh, they still live in what is known as a Little Tibet. They send at least one child to the monastery to study.

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Tidrum

A trip to the monastery is not to be missed! Located in the valley of Tidrum, 16 km from Drigung Til, it’s home to over a hundred nuns. The history of the nunnery is closely connected with the life of King Trisong Detsen’s wife, Yeshe Tsogyel. The nunnery was expanded in the eleventh century, and was spared destruction during the cultural revolution. Despite damage done to the buildings, the nuns rebuilt the chapels and began to practice their faith.

A visit to a Buddhist monastery is an excellent way to learn about Buddhism in a more in-depth way. You will encounter Tibetan culture, the values of a Buddhist monk, and the way a monk lives their life. A volunteer at a Buddhist monastery is also required to have a positive attitude and be tolerant to new cultures. While it’s not easy to understand the language and customs of a monk, you will soon understand why it’s so important to respect their lifestyle and practice the Buddhist values.

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