Updated: Feb 28, 2020
You want to visit some pagodas and churches in Ho Chi Minh City? You want to explore some beautiful religious sites to complete your list? Here is what you need for your trip in Saigon!
Pagodas and churches are also something making Ho Chi Minh City reputation besides some most joyful tourist attractions. Some of them were established a thousand years ago, witnessing the long-standing history of Ho Chi Minh City.
Let me make a list of some religious sites that you might need for your trip in Ho Chi Minh City. Furthermore, I just want to make sure that you should keep in kind these following things when visiting some religious sites in Vietnam in general, and in Ho Chi Minh City in specific.
Ask before taking photos in religious sites
Don’t wear tight-fitting, overly short attire
Wear shirts with sleeves and shorts should be long to the knees
Remove hats when visiting a sacred site
Never touch the head of anyone or any statue
Never point your feet on anyone or any sacred statue
Now, let’s discover some sacred sites you should visit in Ho Chi Minh City. It should be noted that I just list some religious sites located in or near the city center, I mean District 1, so that you can take time to visit more conveniently.
Pagodas and churches
First of all, these are some famous cathedrals I believe that you should visit if you want to complete your list of must-visit destinations in Ho Chi Minh City.
Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon
Add: No. 1, Công Xã Paris Street, District 1
Well, this is one of the most well-known historical buildings of the city which you must visit. The cathedral was built by French colonials when they occupied Vietnam. First, it was built 1880s. Then, in 1895 the cathedral was added 2 bell towers reaching the height of 58 meters.
All materials to construct the cathedral were imported from France. Time by time, the cathedral has changed its name many times until 1962 it had the name as it is today.
Going inside the cathedral, you might be shocked of its furniture and features. It is used today for visitors and people who come for worshipping. Outside the cathedral is a garden with the statue of Our Lady of Peace.
Tân Định Church
Add: 289 Hai Bà Trưng Street, District 1
You want to check in at an eye-catching pink-colored church? Visit Tân Định Church to admire how it beautiful. It is also called “Pink Church”. It was constructed from 1870 to 1876 that it has been witnessing the history of this old city. Since it was renewed many times, it has a combination of Gothic, Roman, and Baroque design, architecture.
It should be noted that you should ask for visiting and taking photos of the inside house, especially when there is no worshipping taking place.
Huyện Sĩ Cathedral
Add: No. 1 Tôn Thất Tùng Street, District 1
Despite being located closed by the Backpackers’ area (a combination of Đề Thám Street, Bùi Viện Street, Phạm Ngũ Lão Street), Huyện Sĩ Cathedral is not as famous as two mentioned sites above since it is a local one. This is also one of the churches owning big gardens for celebration.
Huyện Sĩ is the name of a rich man in Saigon hundred years ago. He and his family were all Catholics and donated their land and money to build the church. Therefore, people named the cathedral by his.
Jeanne d’Arc Church
Add: 116A, Hùng Vương Street, District 5
Also known as Ngã Sáu Church, the church is located in the Chinatown area (District 5). Built in 1928, this landmark of Ho Chi Minh City has been witnessing the ups and downs of the city, especially the lives of people in District 5 and 6.
In the neighborhood, you can easily find some popular Vietnamese street food with affordable price. Trust me, the food is amazing! Try them if visiting Jeanne d’Arc Church!
Otherwise, if you don’t want to visit famous attractive churches in Hồ Chí Minh City, you can find some local churches in any district. Actually, you might not be disappointed with the architecture and the history of each one.
Now, there are hundreds of pagodas in Ho Chi Minh City that I’m unable to list here. Hence, I only write down some famous pagodas that I think they are worth visiting.
Vĩnh Nghiêm Pagoda
Add: 339 Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa Street, District 3
This is the first pagoda in Vietnam to be built in Vietnamese traditional architecture style but with concrete meaning with a modern design. This is also one of the 3 biggest pagodas situated in Hồ Chí Minh City where a ton of people visiting everyday and a number of hundred coming on special occasions.
If visiting this pagoda on the 15th of each month of the lunar calendar or the Lunar New Year, don’t be so surprised with the lines and groups of people gathering here.
Ngọc Hoàng Pagoda
Add: 73 Mai Thị Lựu Street, District 1
Some people translate the name of this pagoda into Jade Emperor Pagoda since Ngọc is literally translated into Jade and Hoàng into Emperor. However, I don’t think this translation is correct as Ngọc Hoàng is a proper name used for a king. Well, this is just my own opinion and I don’t want to make it serious. Then, let me tell you some information about Ngọc Hoàng Pagoda.
As you may know, this is the pagoda where Former President of the USA, President Obama, visited when he took an official visit to Vietnam. At Ngoc Hoang Pagoda, people worship Ngoc Hoang (the main chamber), the Buddha and the genies; Kim Hoa Thanh Mau (a goddess taking responsibility for giving birth), Twelve Midwives and wet nurses taking care of children. Therefore, many people go to the pagoda to pray for having a baby and luck for pregnant women.
Việt Nam Quốc Tự Pagoda
Add: 244 Ba Thang Hai Street, District 10
This is one of the highest temples in the city where thousands of Buddhists and people visiting on special occasions. Why should you visit this pagoda? Since you might be impressed by its religious landscapes, imposing beauty…
There are other famous pagodas in Hồ Chí Minh City you can visit such as Pháp Hoa Pagoda, Hoằng Pháp Pagoda, Bửu Long Pagoda… The reason why I don’t mention them in this list it since they are located quite far away from the city center that it takes your time to visit them.
But if the location is not your concern, take time to visit them one time.