Ho Chi Minh City, aka Saigon, is huge. It has more than 50km wide and about 9 million people living in it. It is almost the same population as my country, Portugal!! There are many temple in Ho Chi Minh, but not all of them are worth a visit. Usually, travelers tend to think this is just a chaotic place with not much to do or see, but the truth is that there are many temples in Ho Chi Minh that are worth a visit. As I’m staying here for almost one year, I have visited many of them, and this is a list of the ones that I believe are worth a visit. They might be far from each other as the city is so big, so choose the ones that suit better your schedule.
Here are the best temples in Ho Chi Minh city that you should visit if you have time:
Bửu Long Pagoda
This is for me the most beautiful temple in Ho Chi Minh city. It reminds me of Thailand with a mix of Cambodian architecture. It is big and beautiful with many details and a fountain in front. This was the first place where I saw a monk in Ho Chi Minh city. The closest public bus stops 2 km away, so you will need to walk about 30 minutes to get there, so I think the best option is to book a Grab bike as it is cheap! I went there with Vietnamese friends who have a motorbike…
Chùa Bà Châu Đốc 3 (Chùa Phước Long)
This temple in Ho Chi Minh is nearby the Buu Long Pagoda (above), so if you visit one, it is worth to visit the other. I also went there with my Vietnamese friends. It is so crowded!! The most crowded temple I have visited in the city. The temple is on an island and to reach it we hop on a boat from Hoi Son Pagoda. There were absolutely no tourists here, and it was my friend taking care of everything. I’m sure these people don’t speak English but if you show them where you want to go they will help for sure. The boat ticket was cheap, about 10K dong.
As it is on an island, from the temple you can have a view of the river and surroundings, including the Buu Long Pagoda. It has a lot to see! We were offered some lucky bracelets by the nuns that were there. It was fun!
Pháp viện Minh Đăng Quang
Not so close to the city center is this temple in Ho Chi Minh. I don’t know why, but on google the address is wrong. This temple is just next to Estella Place, less than 5 minutes walk. Estella Place is a shopping center and reachable by bus. From there you just need to walk a bit and you will see the temple. This is the biggest temple I have seen in Ho Chi Minh city. The area is huge and the temple itself too. On the other hand, it is is one of the emptiest ones I have seen. It’s so big, and almost no one is there!!! The best part of visiting this temple is that you can climb 8 floors in one of the towers and have an amazing view of the city. The sound of the traffic is constant, but I found this place very relaxing, also cause I was the only one climbing up. If you have free time, pay it a visit.
Thousand Buddha Temple
Closer to the city center you can find Chùa Vạn Phật or the Thousand Buddha temple. This one is totally worth a visit having in mind that it is so close to District 1. It’s a temple in Ho Chi Minh surrounded by houses, so looking from outside you will never guess the wonder hidden inside! The temple has several floors, and it is on the third one that you will discover why it is called the 1000 Buddha temple. The walls are covered with small statues of Buddha and it’s just amazing to see! I was overwhelmed! I have never seen a temple like this before, so for me, it was totally worthy. There are huge statues of Buddha, and one of them is sitting in a lotus flower. Only after listening to a guide that was there with tourists I realized that each leaf under the Buddha statue has a small buddha statue that I wouldn’t notice if I haven’t listened to that guide saying it. I was amazed! There were even more statues than I thought!!
I noticed that the people were leaving after seeing this floor, but there are 2 more floors. They clearly lack maintenance as the floor is covered with dust and dog poop. But it has some nice paintings on the wall. The last floor is at the open sky and it has a garden. It is super quiet and relaxing. I couldn’t avoid sitting there and enjoying the sound of calmness for a while.
This temple in Ho Chi Minh has many cats and dogs walking inside. I actually saw a dog peeing in one corner to mark his territory. On the ground floor, there is an exotic bird in a cage with marvelous tweets. I loved to listen to this beauty.
Saigon Cao Dai Temple
Not far from the thousand Buddha temple is Thánh thất Sài Gòn, a beautiful exemplar of a Cao Dai temple that can only be seen in Vietnam. Cao Dai temples are super colorful and beautiful and this one isn’t an exception. If you don’t have time to visit the Cao Dai temple outside the city, visit this one. Vietnam has plenty of Cao Dai temples that you can identify by the architectural style, and you can’t leave the country without seeing one of these, so this temple in Ho Chi Minh is your opportunity!
Address of this temple: 891 Đường Trần Hưng Đạo, Phường 1, Quận 5, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Sri Thandayuthabhani Temple
If you have never been to India and seen a Hindu temple, here is your opportunity. This one is in the middle of the Hotspots of the city, so you can easily visit while walking on the street. It is small but feels very relaxing and colorful. You will not spend a lot of time visiting it, so just have a look inside and maybe you will find some Indians performing a ritual.
*picture from google
Temple Goddess Mariamma
This is another Hindu temple in Ho Chi Minh, bigger than the previous one I mentioned, so if having to choose between one of them just visit this one instead.
Ngọc Hoàng Pagoda
The temple isn’t very big but it has many details and as usual, I stopped for a long time to enjoy them. I’m always the person that stands longer in the same place. I also found it very photogenic with all its pink shades. I was staying for so long in the same place that I was able to spot caterpillars on the plants… There is a place with turtles and a “lake” with cat fish. Nice to watch!
There are many people here and this seems to be a very important temple for the locals. Even Barack Obama was here! It is totally worth a visit!
Khánh An Monastery
This monastery is the only building resembling Japanese architecture that I found in Ho Chi Minh city. It is distant from the city center, but if you pass by, it’s worth a stop as the buildings are really beautiful. The place is very peaceful with many Vietnamese taking pictures. I guess many people come here just for the scenario. It has some ponds with koi fish and many flowers around. When I visited the monastery, there was some ceremony happening as many people were sitting inside singing. If you are looking for a relaxing place this might be it. I was there for a long time appreciating the silence, but the complex isn’t very big.
If visiting these temples, you can make sure that you are seeing the best temples in Ho Chi Minh.