4 beautiful pagodas to visit in Saigon
- on Dec 6, 2019       By: BN
If Ho Chi Minh City is known for the incomparable energy of one of the most dynamic economic and cultural centres of the country, it still has several old pagodas and temples in this timeless mix. Known as sacred places in the spiritual life of the inhabitants, these pagodas attract many visitors by their remarkable historical and architectural beauty. It’s a trip you can do without hesitation to enjoy the serenity in the middle of an urban life in turmoil.
Whether you have the belief or not, the first month of the Lunar New Year is an opportunity to go to the temples and pagodas in the neighbourhood or to a further religious place. For some, we go there to ask good things for oneself and one's family, for others to find oneself in a sacred place for meditation in the depths of one's soul and for the others still, to contemplate an architectural vestige full of ancestral traditions. Here are the addresses of the pagodas in Saigon.
Ngoc Hoang Pagoda or Jade Emperor Pagoda
One of the most famous and colourful of Saigon, it is also known by another name, Phuoc Hai Tu, located in District 1 in the city centre. The Jade Emperor pagoda has Chinese architecture that is rich in elaborate ornaments. Built between 1892 to 1900, it covers an area of more than 2,000 m². The pagoda is the religious centre of the city where the inhabitants come to wish peace, prosperity and especially to ask for children. It abounds in statues of deities including the Jade Emperor, the Buddha and Kim Hoa Thanh Mau or sacred goddess managing procreation which is surrounded by the twelve matrons.
Remarkable for statues of finely carved wood, it is also unique in the country where you can admire the ancient statues made of paper mache that tell the sacred session between religious figures and Emperor Jade. This place was part of a visit by former US President Barack Obama during his trip to Saigon in 2016.
Location: 73 Mai Thi Luu Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Thien Hau Pagoda
Quite small compared to others, it is one of the most frequented pagodas by locals and travellers. Its original name is Thien Hau Mau or Thien Hau Temple dedicated to Thien Hau, the protective goddess of ships in Asian belief. As a meeting place for Chinese worshipers in the city and surrounding areas, Thien Hau Pagoda is also known as Chua Ba Cho Lon for its location in Cholon, China's district in Saigon.
It’s one of the first places of worship that the Cantonese built around 1790. Coming here, you will admire the traditional decoration still intact in four connected, old buildings. With objects of great historical value, it is well worth the detour for these amazing wood and ceramic sculptures, whether in the roof, columns, statues or the altar. Truly a corner of serenity where one comes to form his vows of health and happiness under a ceiling filled with spirals of incense.
Location: Nguyen Trai 710, Ward 10, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City
Vinh Nghiem Pagoda
Nestled in pleasant surroundings, away from the action, it is recognised from afar by its magnificent seven-storey Quan The Am tower measuring 40 metres high, one of the largest in the country. Erected in 1964 on a large area of 6,000m2, it is known for one of the most sumptuous pagodas of Ho Chi Minh City.
As a great reference for Buddhist architecture from the time of the Ly - Tran kings, the Vinh Nghiem pagoda is inspired by the traditional style of the pagodas of northern Vietnam. You will find beautiful wooden sculptures with sacred animals of Vietnamese culture - dragon, lion and phoenix. On the tables of worship, the meticulous reliefs recall the famous pagodas in Vietnam and Asia. In front of the Great Hall of Worship, you stand before the imposing statue of Quan Am, goddess of mercy. In its large courtyard, stands a remarkable seven-storey stone tower Vinh Nghiem that is 14 metres high and is very rarely seen in the rest of the country.
Location: 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ward 7, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Giac Lam Pagoda
Dating from the year 1744, it is one of the oldest pagodas in Saigon, also called Son Can, Cam Son or Cam Dem. It is distinguished by its characteristic pagoda style in the south with three rooms supported by 98 columns, most of which are beautifully gilded. In its courtyard, there is a small temple containing the dazzling statue of Quan Am and then a secular Bodhi tree offered by Narada, revered Sri Lankan.
The main sanctuary itself is worth visiting to appreciate its rich decoration with innumerable gilded statues and columns carved with inscriptions in Nom character. A tour of the buildings allows you to contemplate 113 statues based on different materials that are as beautiful as each other. The Giac Lam pagoda was classified in 1988 in the list of national heritage sites.
Location: 565 Long Quan Lake Road, Ward 10, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City
You now have some ideas about the beautiful religious sites that might interest you during your next stay in Saigon. To prepare a complete and exclusive plan, take the time to read the following articles will be really useful to you: