The 7 most mysterious temples & pagodas in Saigon

By Karl-Heinz Kronpass

By Karl-Heinz Kronpass

The 7 most mysterious temples & pagodas in Saigon

The temples and pagodas in Saigon are at the heart of Vietnamese culture. Important relics are kept here as a center of worship and serve to make the mysterious traditional writings known.

Faith is expressed here with breathtaking beauty and a great sense of aesthetics. Statues, writings, detailed carvings and colorful mosaics create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, which is enhanced by the ubiquitous scent of aromatic incense.

Most pagodas and temples in Vietnam are built according to Chinese tradition. The ones listed below are definitely worth a visit as they show inspiring beauty and provide valuable insights into Vietnamese culture and history.

The best time to visit the pagodas and temples in Saigon is early morning. It is cooler and you can see the monks starting their day with prayers and morning chores.

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Bà Thiên Hậu Pagoda

The Ba Thien Hau temple in Saigon, located in Chinatown, was built in 1760 in honor of Mazu, the “Lady of the Sea”. It is believed to protect and save ships and people at sea.

Mazuism is linked to traditions and beliefs of both Taoism and Buddhism. Mazuism is therefore the inclusion of various aspects and traditions that have come together to form a new faith.

The dioramas in the temple show scenes from a Chinese city of the 19th century and contain colorful figures such as actors, demons, animals as well as Persian and European seafarers and traders. In one scene, actors show a duel on horseback between revered halberd-wielding General Guan Yu from the novel Three Kingdoms and another fighter. Another scene shows three Taoist ways that represent longevity, fertility and prosperity.

Opening times: 8 a.m. - 4.30 p.m.

Address: 710 Nguyen Trai Street, District 11, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City

General Lê Văn Duyệt's Tomb

Lê Văn Duyệt (1763 or 1764 - July 30, 1832) was a Vietnamese general who helped Nguyễn Ánh - the future emperor Gia Long - to quell the rebellion of Tây Sơn, unite Vietnam and establish the Nguyễn dynasty.

“Because of Duyệt's military capabilities, he quickly rose through the ranks of the Nguyễn army and became a marshal when the Tây Sơn-Nguyễn war ended. After the establishment of the Nguyễn Dynasty, Duyệt served as a high-ranking Mandarin and later as Viceroy of southern Vietnam.

His reign greatly contributed to the development of the southern third of Vietnam, making it a rich and peaceful region. In addition, Duyệt opposed the rise of Emperor Minh Mạng and defended Christian missionaries and converted from the Emperor's isolated and Confucian policies.

These attitudes brought Duyệt into conflict with Minh Mạng and led to the posthumous desecration of Duyệt's grave, which provoked his adoptive son Lê Văn Khôi to rebellion against the court. Emperor Thiệu Trị, the successor of Minh Mạng, later rehabilitated Duyệt and restored his grave.

Source: Wikipedia

Opening times from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Address: Tomb of Le Van Duyet, District 1, Bình Thạnh District.

Ông Bổn Pagoda

Chùa Ông Bổn is a temple that was built by two Chinese Fujian communities in Cho Lon around 1730 to worship Zheng He. Other revered gods are Yù Huáng (Jade Emperor - Ngọc Hoàng), Guānyīn (Goddess of Mercy - Quanm), Guan Di (Quan Đế) etc. The temple was renovated in 1875, 1901 and 1990.

Ong Bon is also the god of wealth, which is why followers put ghost money as an offering in the oven of the pagoda. This ritual serves to bring financial blessings to individuals and their families. 

Address: 264 Hai Thuong Lan Ong, Phuong 14, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Phung Son Tu Pagoda

A small temple built by Fukien Chinese in 1940. Incense coils hang in the open fountain of the pagoda dedicated to Ong Bon, the guardian of happiness and virtue.

The temple is a good place to relax from the hectic city.

Address: 338 Nguyễn Công Trứ, Phường Nguyễn Thái Bình, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh

Bửu Long Pagoda

Di Buu Long Pagoda is located in District 9 and with its unique architecture is one of the most beautiful pagodas in Vietnam.

The pagoda is known throughout Vietnam due to its many influences from several Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. It is also called "Thai temple" by some locals.

As in the other temples mentioned above, you will still find peace here.

Address: 81 Nguyễn Xiển, Long Bình, District 9

 

Chùa Bà Châu Đốc 3 Temple in Saigon

The unique temple is located in the middle of the Dong Nai River near the Bửu Long Pagoda.

It was founded in 1965 under the direction of Venerable Thich Nhat Phat.

From a distance, you can immediately see the temple gate, a picture of the dragon that winds along the river in the deep blue sky. Hearing the temple bells here gives you a feeling of calm and lightness. 

The Chau Doc 3 temple in Saigon is a great destination for anyone who loves peaceful places and nature.

Address: Long Bình, District 9, Ho Chi Minh City

Tran Hung Dao Temple in District 1

This temple in Saigon was built to worship Tran Hung Dao, a famous Vietnamese general. He is known for successfully repelling three Kublai Khan invasions in the 13th century during the Mongolian-Vietnam War. His victories are one of the greatest military successes in Vietnam.

If you love architecture and Asian cultures, you will be impressed by the richness of detail of the artistic decorations.

There is also a gallery from the Tran dynasty to see interesting antiques. Unfortunately, the gallery only opens on Tet Holiday and Gio Ong - a big celebration for Tran Hung Dao on the 20th of the 8th lunar month.

Address: 36 Võ Thị Sáu, Tân Định, District 1, Hồ Chí Minh

Opening times: 8 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. daily

What is the best way to visit these temples?

Especially if you are traveling in small groups or with your family and have children, a private vehicle is the best choice. So a private vehicle, or simply combine the visit with a private city tour to visit these mysterious temples in Saigon

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