Located in the southwest of Ho Chi Minh City, District 6 is part of Chinatown (or Chợ Lớn as locals call it), which spans districts 5, 6 and 11. To fully experience this unique neighbourhood, Culture Trip recommends these 10 distinct activities.
Bình Tây market is the most popular attraction for tourists in District 6. Unlike touristy Bến Thành Market, Bình Tây offers a shopping experience that is more authentic and easier on the wallet. You will be able to find everything locals in the area use, wear and eat, amidst colorful stalls displaying a range of items. You’ll still need to bargain your way through, so get those negotiating skills ready!
57a Tháp Mười, phường 2, Quận 6, Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam, +84 28 3855 6130
Chinatown is full of pagodas, and District 6 is home to many. Popular sites include Giác Hải Pagoda, Từ Ân Pagoda and Thiền Đức Pagoda. Head to any of these and you’ll find they’re still used as active worship sites today. Buy yourself a couple of incense sticks and take part in a ritual, or just watch from the side. People won’t mind.
Culture Trip recommends Giác Hải Pagoda if you are strapped for time. While many ancient temples in this city have been restored in concrete and neon, Giác Hải retains most of its original fittings. This serene temple is also a unique curiosity: whereas almost all temples in this neighbourhood were inspired by Chinese architecture, Giác Hải more resembles a Catholic church.
District 6 has enough handicrafts on offer to get all your souvenir shopping done. Bình Tây Market offers a wide array of souvenirs for purchase, from the elegant áo dài (Vietnamese national dress) to the emblematic nón lá (conical hats), but for those who want to go the extra mile, check out the little handicraft village on alley 1017 Hồng Bàng street.
The craftsmen and their families that reside here have devoted their entire lives to creating handicrafts such as Buddha statues and other little decorative trinkets, most having religious significance. Some of these processes and traditions have been passed down through generations for centuries.
District 6 has its very own flower market, supplying fresh bouquets which locals use in their homes, offices, and pagodas for religious ceremonies. Head over to the Hậu Giang flower market and experience walking into a giant, aromatic garden. Make sure to take your camera as there are plenty of colours to add to your Instagram feed.
Watch as talented actors and actresses at the Trinh Kim Chi theatre creatively depict scenes from Chinese and Vietnamese folklore. Be warned though – none of it is going to be in English. Nevertheless, you’ll find you can’t help but join in the fun.
Alleyways are extremely unique and special to Vietnam. They are extensive, intimate and absolutely teeming with life, and some of the best alleyways can be found in District 6. You will find many interesting things, from cute homes and traditional Chinese medicine stores, to small pagodas and shrines. There are also unique cafes serving some of the best coffee in the city.
It will certainly be remiss to forgo eating Chinese food while in Chinatown. Plenty of restaurants line the streets and alleyways of District 6 serving up Chinese favorites, and even delicious Chinese-Vietnamese fusion cuisine. Just choose a restaurant that appeals and you’ll find yourself having a nice home-cooked hearty meal.