In Daily Life, To Do In Saigon, Traditions

Ha Chuong Hoi Quan pagoda is one of the most colorful pagodas you can visit in Cholon. It was built by a Chinese community from the southeastern region of Fujian. 

The Ha Chuong assembly hall is dedicated to several deities among which the most popular one is Thien Hau, also known as Mazu or Ma-Tsu, goddess of Seafarers. She is sometimes simply called “the lady of the sea”.  According to long-lost traditions, before or after a long journey, people come to this pagoda to pay tribute to Thien Hau as did many boat people in the 1980s when they left the country.

What makes this pagoda so special are its four carved stone pillars wrapped in painted dragons. Quite interesting to observe carefully, those pillars were crafted in China and brought to Vietnam by boat. 

Apart from that, the wall paintings and the ceramic embossed scenes on the roof are remarkable.

During the French colonial period this temple was considered as one of the most beautiful in the whole city. One can admire magnificent examples of false doors (to prevent evil spirits from entering) and sanctuaries linked by circular openings representing the sun and the moon.

The best time of the year to visit it is definitely on the Lantern Festival which falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month (this year it was on the 22nd of Feb). On that special date, the pagoda becomes full of life with many visitors and worshippers.

If you want to visit this pagoda in the heart of Saigon’s Chinatown, book our self-guided tour and come investigate the strange case of Dr Lam!

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