Mix Picks: Temple Tours

Many temples in Asia are breathtaking to behold, and some of them offer corporate groups the opportunity to be including in an incentive or team-building trip:


Where is it? Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

What’s to do there? Explore the temple ala Indiana Jones

Crawl through dark passageways, climb over rubble and brave the rooftop of this fallen temple, built in the style of Angkor Wat and located around 60km from Siem Reap. The tour, hosted by Beyond Unique Escapes, also includes lunch by one of the temple gates, and afterwards, a visit to Banteay Srei II, a "working" temple where visitors can learn more about the life of a Buddhist monk.

Recommended group size: Groups of up to 8 at most.

Rates: US$5 per person for the temple’s entrance fee, plus US$32 per person for the temple ruins tour, inclusive of lunch. Group discounts may be arranged upon booking (Beyond Unique Escapes arranges special tours for MICE groups).

Contact: www.beyonduniqueescapes.com



Where is it? Gochang County, Jeolla Province, South Korea.

What’s to do there? Immersion in Korean Buddhist culture.

Retreat to Seonunsa Buddhist Temple on the scenic Mt Dosol and learn what it’s like to live an ascetic's life, participating in ceremonies after waking and before going to bed; attending a class in temple etiquette, baru meal offering ceremony and tea ceremony; trying a hand at striking the bell; taking classes in Zen, wood carving and the Walking to Dosol Am meditations; and learning to make tea, prayer beads and execute the 108 prostrations. Activities vary depending on your chosen programme – Recuperation, Standard, Practicing and Themed – and groups may do more than one during their stay. Each programme lasts at least two days and a night, though a longer temple stay period may be arranged.

Recommended group size: Groups of up to 25 may be accommodated.

Rates: KRW80,000 (US$71) per person for the themed programme, KRW60,000 (US$54) for the Standard and Practicing programmes and 40,000K(US$36) for the Recuperation programme (for two days, one night).

Contact www.seonunsa.org



Where is it? Hangzhou, China.

What’s to do there? Join Buddhist monks during their chanting and tea ceremonies.

Drop by Yongfu Temple while on a day trip to briefly take part in Buddhist chantings and tea ceremonies. No need to stay the night; groups need only to make arrangements with the temple authorities to participate.

Recommended group size Groups of up to 50 people.

Rates: This will depend on the date and time of visit, as well as the number of visitors.

Contact: Jackson Wang of Hangzhou New China Travel Service Co, Ltd (jacksonwang@hzncts.com)



Where is it? Xiamen, China.

What’s to do there? Eat!

Burgers and beer are the highlights in this temple, not a deity. Located in the company of quaint shops, art studios and a host of bed and breakfasts in the village of Zeng Cuo An, the establishment also serves pizzas and pasta, as well as coffee and beer. Food and beverage prices start from 15RMB. 

Recommended group size The place can hold up to about 200 people.

Contact www.templecafe.com



Where is it? Bangkok, Thailand.

What’s to do there? Get a massage.

Bangkok’s largest temple, which houses a 46-metre long, 15-metre high golden Buddha reclining on its side, is also the place to experience traditional Thai massage or Wat Po Massage. Opt for a 30- or 60-minute session, an hour of herbal compression, or a foot massage. Those willing to spend longer time in Bangkok may also want to learn some of the massage’s basic moves at the nearby Wat Po Thai Traditional Medical School, located within the temple complex. Sign up for the 30-hour (five days) General Thai Massage Course and learn the proper techniques, steps and procedure in giving a whole body Wat Po Massage.

Recommended group size Scores of tourists flock the temple every day, so it’s best to keep your group to a tight-knit 10 to 15. As for the massage session, coordinate with the temple managers; one instructor can teach four to five students at a time.

Rates: Temple admission is at THB50 (US$2) per person; the General Thai Massage Course costs THB9,500 (US$309) per student.

Contact www.watpho.comwww.watpomassage.com

Johna Baylon

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