The 6 Most Beautiful Asian Temples in the Los Angeles Region You Must See

Explore diverse Asian cultures with these 6 stunning Asian temples in and near Los Angeles.

Last updated: April 24, 2024

The Main Shrine | Roads and Destinations
Hsi Lai Temple is one of the most beautiful Asian temples in the Greater Los Angeles Area

The Best Asian Temples to Visit in and near Los Angeles

My fascination with the Asian temples in the Los Angeles area started a few years ago. Around that time, Roshan began introducing me to Asian cultures. The first place he showed me was Malibu Hindu Temple.

Needless to say, I was instantly smitten by the magnificence of the first Asian architectural masterpiece I ever saw in Los Angeles. I remember thinking that it looked exactly like those Hindu temples in Bollywood movies. It was such a surreal experience. Later, more and more Asian temples in the Greater Los Angeles Area opened their doors to my curiosity.

With respect to all religions and not trying to offend anybody, I’d like to make some clarifications before going further. Under the term “Asian temples”, I mean, first of all, the stunning architectural styles and cultural traditions.

These incredible details make you wonder how in the whole world it was possible to create something spectacular like this. For me, these gorgeous temples are true masterpieces that deserve recognition and admiration. Without further ado, let’s visit some of the most beautiful Asian temples in and near Los Angeles.


1. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Chino Hills

Address: 15100 Fairfield Ranch Rd, Chino Hills, CA 91709

The BAPS Shri Swaminarayn Mandir is one of the largest Hindu temples in Southern California. Moreover, it’s the first earthquake-proof temple in the world. Located in Chino Hills, this is by far one of the most stunning Asian temples in the Greater Los Angeles Area.

The structure is so beautiful that it’s hard to describe it in words. Everything about this Asian temple is unique. In the construction of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir were used only two materials: Carrara marble, white marble quarried in Carrara, Italy, and Indian Pink sandstone.

Before sending the marble and sandstone to Los Angeles, artisans in India meticulously hand carved each and single piece. You can see their love and dedication everywhere in the temple. Their skillful carvings cover every inch of the temple, from external walls to internal pillars and ceiling.

TIP: The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is open for people of any religion. Yet while visiting this Asian temple, show respect and adhere to the dress code accepted here. Be sure to cover your legs, arms, and shoulders.

Asian temples in the Los Angeles area | Roads and Destinations
Asian Temples in the Los Angles area: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Chine Hills

2. Malibu Hindu Temple

Address: 1600 Las Virgenes Canyon Rd, Calabasas, CA 91302

Despite its name, the Malibu Hindu Temple is located in the city of Calabasas near Malibu. This Asian place of worship was built in 1981 in accordance with traditional South Indian style. The walls of the temple are completely white and covered with beautiful carvings of the Hindu gods.

What makes this place stand out from the other Asian temples in the Greater Los Angeles Area is that the Malibu Temple has shrines not just for one but many Hindu deities. On top of that, it boasts two complexes. Each of them conducts many ceremonial gatherings and offers space for meditation.

TIP: Make sure to visit this temple on weekends when you can try some delicious Indian vegetarian food.

Malibu Hindu Temple | Roads and Destinations
Asian temples in Los Angeles: Malibu Hindu Temple

3. Hsi Lai Temple – One of the Largest Asian Temples near Los Angeles

Address: 3456 Glenmark Dr, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

Hsi Lai Temple (“Hsi Lai” means “Coming West“) is the largest Chinese temple and monastery in the United States. The temple is affiliated with Fo Guang Shan, a Buddhist organization from Taiwan, and focuses on Buddhist outreach and unity.

The design of Hsi Lai Temple complies with traditional Chinese architecture and consists of several temple buildings, gardens, and statuaries. Be sure to take a walk through this Asian temple and enjoy its beautiful complexes and gardens.

If you want to know more about the Hsi Lai Temple and Chinese culture, request a guided tour for a group of 15 people or more. You can also explore this Asian temple on the outskirts of Los Angeles on your own or take a class on Buddhism or Chinese culture and language provided by residing monks and nuns.

Last but not least, don’t forget to check out the temple’s cafeteria and eat Chinese and Taiwanese home-style cooked vegetarian lunch.

Finding Zen behind Tall Walls of Hsi Lai Temple, Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
Hsi Lai Temple is one of the most beautiful Asian temples in the Greater Los Angeles Area

4. Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine – One of the Most Enchanting Asian Temple-Gardens in Los Angeles

Address: 17190 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

I had visited Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine way before I developed interest in Asian temples and monasteries in the Greater Los Angeles Area. Yet unlike all other temples that boast intricately-carved exterior walls and lavish statues of deities inside, Lake Shrine Temple lured me with its otherworldly Meditation Gardens.

Lake Gardens in One of the Most Peaceful Asian Temples in Los Angeles

Peace and tranquility reign in the Asian temple-paradise, nestled in the affluent neighborhood of Los Angeles, a few blocks away from the ocean. At the farthest end of the garden, the Golden Lotus Archway with the Gandhi World Peace Memorial at its foot observes the lake.

A number of tiny meditation benches, painted in bright colors typical for South Asian traditions, are tucked off the walking path along the lake. Nestled opposite to the Golden Lotus Archway is an old Dutch windmill that has been converted into the Chapel of silent meditation.

But small things diligently cared for are what makes this secluded lake shrine especially alluring. Lush greenery bespeckled with red, yellow, and purple flowers around the lake and graceful swans, grey turtles, and large koi fish in the water fill the temple-garden with their undeniable charm and make it one of the most stunning Asian meditation temples in Los Angeles.

Main Temple

Perched on top of the hill overlooking the ocean, the worship center itself lacks the lavishness most of the other Asian temples in the Los Angeles area are known for. Its simple white walls are mostly stripped off the elaborate carvings. In this regard, the Asian temple feels like an extension of the Lake Shrine Meditation Gardens, a garden like no other anywhere else in Los Angeles.

TIP: The Asian temple in the western region of Los Angeles offers morning service on Sundays. The lake gardens are free to visit Wednesday through Sunday. Advance reservation, however, is required.

Asian temples in Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
Lake Shrine | Asian temples in Los Angeles

5. Thien Hau Temple

Address: 756 Yale St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Located in Chinatown Los Angeles, the Thien Hau Temple is one of the most popular temples among the Asian residents of the Los Angeles area. The temple is dedicated to Mazu, the goddess of the sea.

Originally, the building belonged to the Italian Christian Church. In the 1980s, the God-fearing community in Chinatown Los Angeles purchased the structure and have been using it as their favorite Asian temple for worship.

The Thien Hau Temple is especially festive before and after Chinese New Year. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, the Asians come to the temple to receive blessings and burn incense. During this time, you can see lion dancers’ performances and popping firecrackers – traditional rituals to scare evil spirits away.

6. Wat Thai of Los Angeles

Address: 8225 Coldwater Canyon Ave, North Hollywood, CA 91605

Not as big and impressive as the other Asian temples in Los Angeles, the Wat Thai Buddhist Temple deserves to be mentioned here as a place where you can get the best Thai food in the city. Sounds surprising?

This Thai Temple in the Greater Los Angeles Area started serving food from an outdoor food court in its parking lot almost four decades ago and has been doing it ever since. Every weekend you can get a taste of the real Thai street food without traveling all the way to Bangkok.

Green curry, goat noodles, chicken curry dumplings, mango sticky rice… just to name a few of them. Everybody, vegetarians as well as meat-eaters, will satisfy their taste buds here. Make a plan and head out to the Wat Thai Temple next weekend and try it yourself.

Hidden Gems in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles | Roads and Destinations
Wat Thai of Los Angeles is one of the best Asian temples in the city to savor traditional Thai food

1 Comment

  1. Jason
    September 9, 2016 / 5:07 pm

    You have made some really good points there.

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