The Chinese community in Ho Chi Minh City has been known for their specific customs, which contribute to the diverse culture of this more-than-300-year city. Coming to Ho Chi Minh City, especially the Chinese Street in District 5, you will be overwhelmed by the crowded streets, unique constructions and typical cuisine that you cannot see anywhere in Vietnam except for Ho Chi Minh City. Of all the places of interest, you should not ignore Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda, one of the most ancient pagodas in this city.
- Location: 118 Trieu Quang Phuc Street, Ward 11, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 06.00 – 22.00 daily
Entrance fee: no charge
Dress code: formal clothes
I. Overview of Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda
Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda is one of the worshiping places of the Chinese community in District 5, Ho Chi Minh City. Built in 1839, after many times of restoration, nowadays, we can see a pagoda in the red color, the character that can be easily seen in the religious construction of the Chinese. Tam Son Hoi Quan used to be the pagoda to worship Kim Hue Thanh Mau, or the Goddess Thai Sanh. Later, Thien Hau Thanh Mau became the main goddess of worship. Not only the Chinese but also many people from other regions come to Tam Son Hoi Quan to pray deity for an heir.
II. Highlights of Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda
Tam Son Hoi Quan is the concentrated center of the immigrants from Fuzhou, Fujian Province, China. Tam Son means “three mountains”, which are Binh Son, Cuu Tien Son and Viet Vuong Son in Fuzhou. According to some historical documents, Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda was built in 1839, but on the stone stele set up in 1954 to record the restoration event of this Pagoda, no one knows when the pagoda was built. Also as written in the stone stele, the front building of the pagoda was constructed under the Gia Khanh era (1796) and first restored under the Quang Tu era (1887).
Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda is located in Trieu Quang Phuc Street in District 5 of Ho Chi Minh City, where a lot of Chinese people live. The surrounding area of Tam Son Hoi Quan has many other religious constructions, including churches, pagodas and temples. Each construction owns its special traits that cannot be mistaken to the others. If you have a chance to visit Tam Son Hoi Quan, you should not miss the nearby attractions of this pagoda.
3. Architecture and Structure
The total area of Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda is about 1000 square meters, consisting of a front yard, a front hall, a middle hall and a main shrine. The more you go into the shrines, the higher the floor is.
The three-door gate of the pagoda leads the way to the front yard. On the main entrance, there is a relief sign with the letter “Tam Son Hoi Quan” written in Chinese characters. Above the relief is a wooden sign, and on the two sign of the main entrance is a pair of wood panels. All the characters are written in Chinese.
After passing the front yard, you will reach the front hall of Tam Son Hoi Quan. The roof of the front hall is decorated with the reliefs made in Buu Nguyen Pottery Village in 1914, with the ceramic statues of the Sun and the Moon. The middle hall is at a higher position than the front one, which leads to the main shrines with the altar of Thien Hau Goddess.
Like other temples and pagodas in the area, there are quite a few horizontal lacquered boards and pairs of woods in Chinese characters. The art of carving on the horizontal and vermilion lacquered wood panel creates an unique artistic value for Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda.
Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda is the place of worshiping goddesses such as Thien Hau Thanh Mau and Kim Hue Thanh Mau. According to the locals, Thien Hau Thanh Mau was honored by the Chinese imperial as a sacred goddess that helped the good people and the fisherman. Kim Hue Thanh Mau was the goddess that blessed the couples to give birth to and raise children. Therefore, Tam Son Hoi Quan has long been famous as a holy pagoda attracting many barren and childless families.
III. What to See and Do in Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda?
1. Admiring the architecture of the pagoda
The red color of the pagoda is quite exclusive that makes the construction outstanding among other buildings. Each step in Tam Son Hoi Quan will give you a full feeling of a religious place, with the quiet and peaceful atmosphere, the smell of incense and the image of the moving mass of pilgrims. Every hall, every shrine and every altar emanates a sacred appearance, where humans have a connection with their goddess.
2. Wandering around to visit the nearby attractions
There are many other pagodas, temples and churches and mosques near Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda that you should pay a visit such as Ong Bon Pagoda, Phuoc An Hoi Quan Pagoda, Ha Chuong Pagoda, Quan Am Pagoda, Hai Nam Goddess Pagoda, Ong Pagoda, Cho Quang Church and Cholon Mosque. Each one has its own traits that distinguishes itself from the others, so they are all worth your visit.
3. Enjoying local foods
The Chinese streets in District 5 are not strange to those who love Asian foods, especially Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine. Going deep inside a local market, stopping at a food stall and enjoying a bowl of noodles or a meat dumpling will give you more energy to continue your discovery journey.
IV. How to Get to Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda?
Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda is about 7 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City center. To reach this pagoda, you can choose to go by taxi, by bus or by motorbike.
If you go by bus, the buses number 01, 05, 08, 10, 56 and 150 stop near the pagoda and you will need to walk in about 6 minute to get to Tam Son Hoi Quan in about 40 minutes.
If you go by motorbike, from Ho Chi Minh City center, you follow Vo Van Kiet Boulevard to the southeast direction, then turn right to Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street and continue to turn right to Trieu Quang Phuc Street. You will reach Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda in 20 minutes if you choose to go by motorbike.
And if you want to go by taxi, this kind of transportation is quite convenient in Ho Chi Minh City. From your hotel, you can catch a taxi and ask the driver to take you to Tam Son Hoi Quan as well as other places of interest. It takes you about 17 minutes to go by taxi.
V. Extra Tips
- You should dress politely when coming to the worshiping places in general and Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda in particular.
- Remember to keep silent, especially when the rituals are taking place in the pagoda.
- There is no parking place inside the pagoda, so if you go by motorbike, you should park your vehicle outside.
- Keep the environment clean; do not discharge garbage and arbitrarily pick flowers on the ground of the pagoda.
- Don’t forget to pray for health, happiness and safety for yourself and your family.
Leaving the bustling streets of a dynamic and modern city, you can find a place of peace where people pull strings for the super nature goddess to fulfill their wishes. Should you have a chance to Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda, don’t hesitate to leave a comment and share your feelings.