Ho Chi Minh city is very diverse when it comes to religions, many of which have been existing in harmony there. Those ranges from Buddhism, Catholic, Protestantism, Caodaism, Islam, Hoa Hao to minority religions such as Baha’i Faith, Tinh Do Cu Si Phat Hoi in Vietnam, Champa Ba-la-mon.
Nowadays, there are more than 300 churches in Ho Chi Minh City which include over 200 Catholic churches, 87 Protestant church, several churches belong to Caodaism, Islam, Hoa Hao as well as a large number of pagodas and temples. Most of them are available and free for travelers to visit, however, travelers should be aware of the appropriate way to dress and some particular rules in some churches.
I - Catholic Churches In Saigon
1 - Catholic churches in Ho Chi Minh District 1
Notre Dame Cathedral in Sai Gon
- Address: No.1 Cong Xa Paris Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Official name: Immaculate Conception Cathedral Basilica
Located in the downtown of Ho Chi Minh City, Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon was established between 1863 and 1880 by French colonists who initially named it the Church of Saigon (French: l'Église de Saïgon)
The architecture of Notre Dame Cathedral was influenced by both Roman and Gothic styles. It has a maximum capacity of nearly 1.200 people. On the front of this cathedral is a huge campus stands an Our Lady of Peace statue which weighs up to 8 tonnes. Besides, it has two bell towers, reaching a height of 58 meters (190 feet) containing six bronze bells with a total weight of 28.85 metric tonnes.
Huyen Sy Church
- Address: No.1 Ton That Tung Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Official name: Église Saint-Philippe
The cathedral was constructed in 1902 and well-known as one of the oldest churches in Ho Chi Minh City at the present.
Its architecture follows Neo-Gothic structure style and includes an impressive huge campus. Its total length is about 40 meters which were divided into 4 parts. Moreover, the front side of the cathedral was covered with vast granite following Neo-Gothic style.
Saint Joseph Seminary of Saigon
- Address: No.6, Ton Duc Thang Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Official name: Saint Joseph Seminary of Saigon
The cathedral was constructed in 1863 by Father Wilbaux and the Paris Foreign Missions Society.
Saint Joseph Seminary of Saigon was also influenced by Gothic structure style. Nowadays, it becomes a popular place for foreign Catholics to come to observe and carry out rituals. Inside the church building, there were three floors displaying old antiques, sculptures, religious and folk arts.
After visiting these churches in district 1, tourists can visit Saigon Opera House - another famous attraction that has french architectural style.
2 - Catholic churches in Ho Chi Minh, District 3
Tan Dinh Church
- Address: No.289, Hai Ba Trung Street, Ward 8, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
- Official name: Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Built during the French colonial period in the 1870s and completed on 16 December 1876, when Vietnam was part of French Indochina, Tan Dinh is a Roman Catholic church. The architecture of the cathedral is mainly neo-Romanesque, however, it also contains some neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance elements. Furthermore, the whole cathedral has been painted pastel-pink both inside and outside since 1957, therefore, it has been well known with the nickname "the pink church". Its interior is also alternatively impressive, especially two giant rows of columns decorated with Gothic style that leads to the main altar.
Giao Xu Vuon Xoai Church
- Address: No.413, Le Van Sy Street, Ward 12, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.
The cathedral was founded in 1947 by Sai Gon archbishop Jean Cassaigne. Its original name was “Giao Diem Vuon Xoai So Rac” which has been used for a very long time.
Ky Dong Church
- Address: No.38 Ky Dong Street, Ward 9, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.
- Official names: The resurrected Jesus Saigon or The Mother’s Savior Church.
In the 60s of the 20th century, there were a number of Catholics living in this area which is quite far from the existing churches in Tan Dinh or Cho Dui. As a result, Tan Dinh archbishop had asked Redemptorist Monastery for permission to found a new parish. After several years of preparation, it was officially established in 1963 and became one of the newest parishes up to now.
3 - Catholic churches in Ho Chi Minh, District 5
Cho Quan Church
- Address: No.120 Tran Binh Trong Street, Ward 2, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.
- Official name: église du Sacré Cœur de Jésus
Being the oldest Church of Ho Chi Minh City, the cathedral had suffered a lot of destruction during the Indochina War and Vietnam War. As a result, it was rebuilt several times in 1727, 1733, 1793, 1862, 1882 and the final version which existed until now was reconstructed in 1896. The cathedral was influenced heavily by Romanesque style with the significant yellow pastel. Its structure follows the ancient architecture which includes into 5 parts starting from the bell tower to the basilica. Stands right after those parts is a series of six great domes held by giant columns which create a separated main altar with others.
Cha Tam Church
- Address: No.25 Hoc Lac Street, Ward 14, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.
- Official name: Saint Phanxicô Xaviê Church.
The building of the cathedral was initiated in 1900 after the ritual performed by Archbishop of Saigon Mossard and finished two years later. The dedication of the cathedral chapel was proceeded solemnly in January 1902. In general, it has the architecture following Gothic style mixed with some Chinese elements.
Saint Jeanne d'Arc Church
- Address: No.116A Hung Vuong street, Ward 9, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.
- Official name: L'église Sainte-Jeanne-d'Arc.
Saint Jeanne d'Arc Church was constructed from 1922 to 1928 and named after its patron saint - Jeanne d'Arc. The cathedral has a Gothic outlook which is similar with most of the churches in Ho Chi Minh City. It has an impressive frontside with four great bell towers. Along two sides of the cathedral were decorated with arched windows, colorful glasses, and patterned embellishments. The interior of the cathedral is mainly covered with yellow pastel mixed with delicate decoration creating a harmonious atmosphere.
4 - Catholic churches in other districts
Chi Hoa Church (Tan Binh District)
Located in No.149 Banh Van Tran Street, Ward 7, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, the Cathedral was built under the permission of Father Mossard (Mão) in 1890. Its whole foundation area of 600 acres was donated by Huyen Sy Le Phat Dat.
Hanh Thong Tay Church (Go Vap District)
Address: No.7B, Quang Trung Street, Ward 11, Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City.
Official name: Saint Giuse Church.
Hanh Thong Tay Church was founded after Mr. Le Phat An left a considerable amount of money to construct. Mr. Le Phat An is the son of Mr. Huyen Sy - one of the four famous landowners in the South at that time, and widely known as uncle of Empress Nam Phuong.
The cathedral was built due to a different architecture - Byzantine style while most churches in Vietnam are influenced by the Gothic style.
II - Protestant Churches In Ho Chi Minh City
The most popular protestant churches that visitor can visit when traveling to Ho Chi Minh city
Nguyen Tri Phuong Church
Located in No.314 Ngo Quyen Street, Ward 8, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City, the church was built in 1953 and has gone through a number of ups and downs during its history of formation and development. Nowadays, it is managed by pastor Nguyn Ngoc Dung.
Sai Gon Protestant Church
Located at No.155 Tran Hung Dao Street, Co Giang Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, the church has been managed by pastor Nguyen The Hien.
Visiting Ho Chi Minh churches is one way of exploring how Christian religion in Vietnam is. Those catholic and protestant churches being mentioned above are the great suggestions for those who are interested in.