Worth a look if you have time
Dating back to 1849, Vinh Trang Pagoda is a large, peaceful Buddhist temple around one kilometre north of My Tho city’s centre and it’s worth the visit if you’re in town, especially during the morning prayers.
The pagoda brings together Chinese, Vietnamese, Khmer and European architecture, and has various Buddha statues, including a large scale standing Amitabha, reclining Buddha and big bellied laughing Buddha.
Vinh Trang has a number of impressive features like the ornate gate, built by craftsmen from Hue, and detailed woodwork within—look for the dragon's tongues running down the wooden pillars on each side of the altar. Bricks and mortar aside, the temple will be memorable if you can arrive when the monks are chanting, around 10:00 in the morning, which is followed by drumming and a procession to the dining hall for a vegetarian feast fit for a monk—buckets of soup included—at around 10:45. The monks chant a prayer at the table before commencing.
Vinh Trang Pagoda is sometimes a stop on Mekong Delta day trips from Ho Chi Minh City, usually the more expensive small group tour—check on inclusions when booking. If you’re really into temples, it will be worth choosing a tour that includes it, hopefully arriving in time for the chanting and procession to the meal. In fact, for us it was the highlight as Vinh Trang was the only stop on our tour that didn’t include hoards of other tourists.
The temple does good work with homeless and disadvantaged children. Admission is free, and donations are much appreciated.
Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you'll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.