Tallest Buddhist tower in the city
Published/Last edited or updated: 26th August, 2017
It’s not the oldest, biggest or most important, but Vinh Nghiem Pagoda makes up for it with elaborate, ornate interiors.
Located next to the canal at the end of Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, builders needed seven years and tons of earth to turn the swamp land into a 6,000 square metre complex that includes a school and two storey main building. It was opened in 1971, while the 35 m stone tower behind it was added in 2003. Today there’s even a vegetarian restaurant on site.
Inside is a riot of red and gold decorations. The best reason to visit Vinh Nghiem is to witness one of the many celebrations the temple hosts. The area becomes packed with people on important days. The large bowls of incense grow into piles of smouldering ash, the main hall fills with people praying, there’s a queue to ring the large bell and the front gate turns into a mini market with vendors selling bushels of incense sticks.
It is a bit of luck to be in Ho Chi Minh City during one of these events. Buddhist days are the first and 15th of every lunar month. This temple would be busiest around Tet, the lunar new year.
Vinh Nghiem is located in District 3, about 4.5 km north of Pham Ngu Lao, 2.5 km northwest of Reunification Palace. Free admission, with a small fee for motorbike parking. Vendors outside the gate will insist you need to buy incense—you do not, but feel free to add money to the temple donation box.
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.
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