The Vinh Nghiem Pagoda is one of the truly great attractions in Ho Chi Minh City. This beautiful temple is the largest Mahayana pagoda in Saigon. It is a working Buddhist temple in every sense being also a centre for Buddhist education and practice. It genuinely is one of the most beautiful of all tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City and is a well known and popular landmark.
The Vinh Nghiem Pagoda’s name means ‘ever solemn’. The temple took seven years to build, the work being completed in 1971. As always with Vietnamese Temples it is more than one building and in fact a complex of several. It covers an area of 65,000 Square feet (6,000 square metres), and consists of the pagoda itself, plus a 25 metre four-story tower. This watches over the pagoda from behind and was completed 11 years later in 1982.
The pagoda itself is a two storey affair with a sanctuary on the upper floor and the ground level open to visitors. An additional building hosts classrooms and study rooms for the monks and nuns.
Holidaymakers who travel to Saigon might be surprised to notice the Japanese influences here, this is not an accident. The Vinh Nghiem Pagoda was built with the assistance of the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Association. There is a large, Japanese-style Buddha statue here, standing with a goddess on either side. The four sacred creatures of Buddhism are also represented. Surprisingly for some the mythical unicorn, dragon, and phoenix and the very real tortoise.
Sitting in the middle of District 1, the Vinh Nghiem Pagoda is right in the heart of the city. Within easy striking distance of here is The Independence Palace, Notre Dame Basilica and the Old Post Office. Even District 3’s the War Remnants Museum is just round the corner. It is possible to see 5 of the best attractions in Ho Chi Minh City in one day’s sightseeing.