Lama Temple

Address: Yonghegong Avenue, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China

- Budget


Light a few sticks of incense at Beijing’s most important Tibetan Buddhist temple.

A former Imperial palace turned lamasery, this magnificent Buddhist temple is still very much active, with ‘state-approved’ monks and worshippers prostrating themselves at various alters throughout its incensed-filled halls. If you’re particularly interested in learning which mystical deity or tantric statue is which, I’d suggest hiring one of the English-speaking guides around the temple entrance. Otherwise you probably need only spend an hour or so here, but make sure you get all the way to the Wanfu Pavilion to see the gargantuan statue of the Maitreya Buddha, said to be sculpted from a single block of sandalwood.

Value for money

Price advice

Tickets cost about 25 RMB, with audio guides available for a supplement.

Expert tips

After your visit, cross Yonghegong Avenue west to Wudaoying Hutong, a hip alley lined with cafes, arty shops and cute restaurants.

Recommended for

  • Culture vultures
  • Families with teenagers
  • First-time travellers
  • History
  • Design and architecture