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Giac Lam Pagoda

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If you don’t mind a bit of a trip from downtown, Giac Lam Pagoda, Saigon’s oldest place of worship, may appeal.

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Constructed in 1744 and funded by the Chinese community, Giac Lam has been renovated and added to over the years. For example, the 32 m high stupa visitors will immediately see at the entrance began in 1970 and was not completed until the 1990s. The stairs up were not open to the public when we visited in 2017.

Gardens and dragon. Photo taken in or around Giac Lam Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

Gardens and dragon. Photo: Cindy Fan

Unfortunately, the pagoda was also locked up when we visited. Inside the modestly sized rectangular building, supported by 98 pillars, are three rooms: the main hall, preaching hall and dining hall. The interior is supposedly chock full of antique sculptures and ornately carved images.

The grounds are expansive and when we grew tired of peeking into the windows, we enjoyed a stroll through the gardens which include a big Buddha and in the northwest corner, a modern prayer hall where we listened to serene chanting at around 10:00 in the morning.

Make an offering. Photo taken in or around Giac Lam Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

Make an offering. Photo: Cindy Fan

It does take some time to reach Giac Lam Pagoda and it would make sense to combine it with Giac Vien Pagoda (Chua Giac Vien) since they are only two kilometres apart. While not as old as Giac Lam, Giac Vien impressively dates back to 1798. We obviously weren’t having much luck that day in June 2017: Giac Vien was closed for what looked like major construction work. We sincerely hope it isn’t being demolished.

Giac Lam is 6.5 km northwest of Pham Ngu Lao and is best reached by motorbike taxi. GrabBike made it relatively easy and straightforward for us to get here: 40,000 dong one-way, taking 20-30 minutes. Bus #145 from Cholon also rolls past the entrance.



Giac Lam Pagoda
118 Lac Long Quan St, Ward 10, Tan Binh District
Mo–Su: 05:00–12:00 & 14:00–21:00

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Location map for Giac Lam Pagoda

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