Vinh Nghiem Pagoda
Vinh Nghiem literally translated means “ever solemn.” Built over a span of seven years, this pagoda, unlike the others in Ho Chi Minh City, was constructed using concrete. The structures of the pagoda fuse Vietnamese architecture with that of the Japanese. The complex has an area of around 6,000 square metres and consists of the pagoda itself, a four storey-tower that stands behind the pagoda, and a building with classrooms and housing for the monks and nuns. It serves as a centre for Buddhist beliefs and practices, while is also one of the most beautiful attractions for tourists to stop by and explore.
You can visit the pagoda all year around, but the best time is during Lunar New Year or the 15th of every month. You will be surrounded by many other people, so you will get a chance to witness their rituals and have a chat or two.
339 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Phường 14, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam, +84 28 3848 3153
Giac Lam Pagoda
Giac Lam pagoda was built in 1744, making it one of the oldest pagodas in the city. However, it has undergone a couple significant renovations, keeping the look of the temple in sync with modern times. The stupa set amidst garden-like grounds is seven stories tall, so if you manage to climb all the way up, you will be rewarded with nice views of the bustle of the city, since the pagoda is located in an urban location. For the sick and elderly, this climb is a minor pilgrimage, as they believe that if they ring the bronze bell found at the top, their prayers will be answered.
The bodhi tree in the front garden was a from a Sri Lankan monk in 1953.
565 Lạc Long Quân, Phường 10, Tân Bình, Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam, +84 28 3865 3933
Thien Hau Temple
Thien Hau Pagoda is located smack bang in the middle of Ho Chi Minh City’s own Chinatown, or Cho Lon as the locals call it. This pagoda is a Chinese-style temple dedicated to the Chinese sea goddess Thien Hau, or Lady of the Sea. It’s rather old — having been originally constructed by Chinese immigrants from Guangzhou in 1760. However, it has undergone regular restorations since it is regularly used by the locals.
The pagoda has many valuable antiques, including a set of incense burners that were made in 1886. The smell of incense will help you make your way through the interior, which is a partially covered courtyard. As you walk around, pay attention to the intricate details of the structures. The roof is decorated with small and delicate porcelain figures depicting scenes related to Chinese legends and religions. These were produced by ceramic kilns in China in 1908.