Temple Do’s and Don’ts

Temple do’s and don’ts

We have written this to help you with visiting a Buddhist temple without having a problem just as we do and making the most of the times when you arrive. We have unfortunately seen many people turn up to a Buddhist temple in shorts and a T-shirt or sleeveless tops and either being turned away or told to put something over their shoulders and legs. This is because many people turn up unaware of the required attire. So we have compiled some do’s and don’ts when visiting a Buddhist Temple, to help you enjoy your visit.

Bev & Shams lighting incense in a temple, wearing the appropriate clothing.


  • Do be respectful to the religion and people around you,
  • Do give offerings in a form of a lotus flower – these can be purchased cheaply at the side of the road before entering the temple,
  • Get involved with the rituals carried out at the temple – this is a great way to learn what happens in a temple, and is a great experience.


  • Don’t come to temple in just sleeveless and shorts – this is seen as disrespectful. Everyone attending the temple will always wear long trousers, and a love sleeve t-shirt which covers most of the shoulders and arms.
  • Always wear white – White clothing to temple is customary, however if you don’t have anything white, try and wear something which is plain in colour and not too bright. 
  • Do not have your back to the Buddha statue when taking a picture – again this is seen as being disrespectful to the lord Buddha. You can take some pictures in temples but other temples may restrict photography or filming, always follow the rules.
  • Take your foot wear off before entering the temple, you will either be shown where to put your foot wear, or you may see a section where others have left their foot wear. Take them off and leave them there, they will be there when you return. We always love walking in the temple grounds bare foot, as it feels so lovely with the feel of the sand on the feet,
  • If you have any Tattoos of the Buddha anywhere on your body, make sure this is covered inside and outside of the temple. Again having a Buddha tattooed on your body maybe a great symbol for you, but some people do see this as disrespectful to Lord Buddha. Therefore if you have a Buddha tattoo, it would be advised to cover it at all times! I have seen in the news, that people with a Buddha tattooed on their body in plain sight, arriving at the airport for their holiday, when the tattoo is seen, they have been sent home soon after they have arrived. You do not wish to have your holiday cut short just because you have a tattoo.
  • Be quiet, as people around you are worshipping.
Temple Do’s and Don’ts – never take a picture with your back to Lord Buddha

We love to visit the temples as we find it so relaxing, peaceful and tranquil, we could spend many hours here. Each year we visit, there is always at least one temple stop. We have never had problems with visiting any Buddhist temple because we always follow the above rules, and would advise you to do the same for a hassle free trip.

Should you need any help on visiting a temple, or visiting Sri Lanka, then please contact us.

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