Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is a bustling city in Vietnam with a rich history. It is home to some spectacular monuments. Read about them below and include these attractions in your travel itinerary.
Saigon Opera House (Municipal Theatre)
Saigon Opera House is a charming 800-seat opera house constructed in 1897 by a French architect Eugene Ferret. Later, it played the role of South Vietnam’s Assembly House and underwent several renovations. However, soon after, the opera house started serving as a theatre again. The lovely, tree-lined boulevard surrounding the building is impressive. Take pictures here with your family or friends. One of the best ways to experience Saigon Opera House is by attending the shows, events and activities conducted at the venue.
Fun Fact: To avoid the traffic noise, the theatre was built two metres higher than the road surface.
Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral
Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, officially the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception, is an architectural marvel created between 1863 and 1880. This Catholic cathedral features red brick façade, tarnished glass windows, a quiet garden and two towers consisting of six bronze bells. The English-speaking personnel in this holy place offer relevant information to the visitors from Monday to Saturday (9 AM to 11 AM). The mass is held in English and Vietnamese on Sundays at 9:30 AM. There’s a Virgin Mary statue in front of the cathedral which was rumoured to have shed tears in the October, 2005!
Ho Chi Minh City Hall
Ho Chi Minh City Hall is a French colonial building with excellent façade, arched windows, modish engravings and a high-clock tower. Its exterior design is inspired from the Hotel de Ville in Paris. You can enjoy a leisurely walk around the open courtyard and observe the arched windows above. The classical motifs at the pyramid-shaped dais are impressive too! The city hall’s popular bell tower, typical to European town halls, is an elegant addition to the structure.
Giac Lam Pagoda
Constructed in 1744, the Giac Lam Pagoda is the city’s oldest pagoda. It has impressive images of Lord Buddha and his different incarnations. Icons of Taoist deities are kept too. The ceremonial hall has a large statue of Amitabha Buddha encircled by five small Buddha images. The nine dragon altar in the main hall portrays birth of Prince Siddhartha, who was later known as Gautama Buddha. All in all, the Giac Lam Pagoda has 118 statues made of bronze, wood and cement. You can enjoy the panoramic view of the city from the top floor of the pagoda.
Ba Thien Hau Temple
Ba Thien Hau Temple is a 19th century Chinese-style monument dedicated to goddess Mazu, the Lady of the Sea. The temple is accessible through an iron-gate and an undersized courtyard. Inside, on the main dais, there are three figures of ‘The Lady of the Sea’ surrounded by the guardians. The dioramas unveil colourful images and scenes from a 19th century Chinese city. The temple’s roof showcases porcelain figurines related to Chinese legends. Ba Thien Hau Temple’s big bronze bell is rung whenever large donations are accepted.