Caodaism is a monotheistic religion, officially established in the city of Tay Ninh, Southern Vietnam in 1926. The religion's followers engage in practices such as prayer, worship of ancestors, nonviolence, and vegetarianism and the ultimate goal of freedom from the cycle of birth and death. There are around 2 to 3 million followers of this religion. We visited the Caodaist temple in Tay Ninh. Adherents to the religion dress in bright colours either white, yellow, red or blue. We observed their religious ceremony from a balcony in the temple.
The Chua Giac Lam (To Dinh Ciac Lam) Temple is not in ther normal tourist areas of Saigon. It is in the Tan Binh District, a very Viet only area towards the airport.
This is my wife's families temple where they attend and are interned.
It is open to the public and while you may not see many tourists, they are not uncommon.
The grounds are beautiful and the temples amazing.
We paid our respects to my wife's ancestors and lit incense, after which we were able to meet with the ''Thuy Tru Tri", which is the monk in charge of the temple.
This was quite an honor as he seldom meets with anyone and is rarely available.
He gave us his blessing, after which we made our prayers and spent the day walking the grounds and lighting incense at different Buddha sites.
Once you leave the grounds there are some stores where you can get small gifts.
The easiest way to get to the temple is by taxi.
I have decided that this will probably be my final resting place and was told I would be the first Westerner to be interned there. Hopefully NOT in any near future.
APB operates through majority-owned Vietnam Brewery Ltd (VBL) and wholly-owned Asia Pacific Brewery (Hanoi) Limited in Vietnam.
VBL manages and operates four breweries in Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Quangnam and Tiengiang. Together, this group of VBL breweries serves the beer market in central and southern Vietnam with beer brands comprising Tiger, Heineken, Bivina, Larue, BGI and Foster’s.
VBL’s brewery in Ho Chi Minh City which started operation in 1993 is the Group’s first brewery operation there. Demonstrating our commitment to the Vietnamese beer market and building our capacity to meet growing demand for our beers, this brewery has been expanded from time to time. Today, it boasts to be equipped with the fastest, biggest and most advanced canning line in Vietnam.
Through Asia Pacific Brewery (Hanoi) Limited, APB taps on the opportunities up in northern Vietnam. Commissioned in October 2003 and occupying a land area of 30 hectares, this wholly-owned brewery of APB supplies the beer market there with Tiger beer, Anchor beer and Heineken amongst others.
Our beers are famed for their exciting propositions and qualities in this country. Testimony to the consistency and popularity of the breweries' excellent quality brews, VBL and HBL have both clinched the Golden Dragon Award, an award in recognition of enterprises which offer products that are highly favoured by the Vietnamese consumers.
Bastos is actually a portuguese company that manufactures various cigarettes in vietnam (they are available in Europe Too) and they have a variety of local tobacco products and among the most popular with locals is their iconic Bastos Cigarettes which are available in menthol and reds and the cost of 1 pack is cost 8,000 VND for a pack of Bastos Menthol Cigarettes and 12,000 VND for a pack of the Red Bastos Cigarettes. They taste like marlboro lights! available everyhwere, you have to taste it!
I bought two packs not only for curiosity but since "Bastos" is a filipino Word for "Horny" and hence I must buy it and show to my friends for the sheer fun hehehe.
The Cholon District of Saigon being the Chinese District is home to lots of pagodas dedicated both to buddhist and native chinese taoist deities. Among the many pagodas in Cholon is the Ong Bon Pagoda, which we visited. the Pagoda is Dedicated to Ong Bon, the guardian of Happiness and Virtue, the pagoda features an intricately carved wooden altar. The pagoda sits next to a huge school, so expect to be inundated by throngs of happy and curious kids if you arrive between 4 and 5 pm
address: 264 Duong Hai Thuong Lai Ong, Cholon, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
opens: 5:00 am to 5:00 pm everyday.
The Turtle Lake or Ho Con Rua is located in Pham Ngong Thach Street, just after passing the Diamond Plaza Hotel and Mall and it located on a roundabout. the Turtle Lake was made by the last South Vietnamese President, Nguyen Van Thieu, for Feng Shui reasons and the turtle to represent wisdom. However, not long after the fall of Saigon, a group of national minorities apparently blew up the structure and it has been left as it is. The Turtle lake is a towering concrete lotus flower with a lake surrounding it and a destroyed turtle. if is famous for locals to hang around here and around the surroundings as there are many coffee shops and restaurants lining the area.
Nguyen Hue Street is part of the City Center of Saigon and hence many of the landmarks are located in this wide, tree line boulevard that starts at the Saigon River up to the front of the Municipal City Hall and one of the less known landmarks in this street is the National Treasury Building, this was the former National Treasury of the South Vietnamese Government and is now converted as a Branch of the National Treasury of Unified Vietnam. The facade is of the french colonial architecture design and is just located in the front of the Huge Bitexco Financial Center, that dwarfs it.
So when going to the Bitexco Financial Center and to see the Saigon Sky deck, you can pass by this structure and take pictures of it.
address: Ngô Đức Kế and Nguyen Hue Street, Phường Bến Nghé, District 1 (Quan 1)
Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
The Great Communist Revolutionary and President of North Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh was born in May 19, 1890 and since he was responsible in making vietnam a nation (altough he died in 1968, 7 years before the North Vietnamese finally conquered South Vietnam). the 122nd birth anniversary of Ho Chi Minh is celebrated all around Vietnam and more so here in Saigon as it was renamed to Ho Chi Minh City on May 1, 1975, just a day after Saigon Fell to the PAVN and the NLF (Vietcong). They have erected special memorial wall at the park facing the municipal opera house facing le loi street to Honor This legendary Icon. They also have posters and banners all around Saigon to honor the birth anniversary and have exhibits at the ho chi minh museum.
The Mekong delta is only a couple of hours drive from Saigon and a nice place to visit for a day or two when you are in Saigon and feel the need of some clean air.
The delta has a lot of islands and you can easily navigate around there by boat.
The people who live in the delta makes a living from fishing and farming mainly, but tourism is also becoming a growing economic factor there.
Yuo can visit the delta as part of a tour that you can easily buy in Saigon or you can go there on your own by bus or with your own vehicle if you have one.
After a couple of days of Saigon this is really a good idea.
I wanted to get a nice oil painting and the ones at Dong Khoi Street was a tad bit expensive. Then I discovered the Nam Ky Khoi Ngia Street which "housed" a lot of painters and their paintings. The one I got (as per the photo) was from this shop along the road (photo - card). His place is near the pagoda in the map attached.
This guy COULD NOT speak english AT ALL! .... But the power of the calculator "speaks" a purchase for me. I won't say how much i got this oil painting but it was a bargain as compared to the paintings on Dong Khoi Street. His paintings are fantastic and the finishing is incredible.
You could get pictures with colored stones/seashells at Andong Market too.
If you've had enough of shopping, museums and really feel you've been offered one coconut too many then get out of town to the Saigon Water Park in Thu Duc district.
The water park, which was an Australian joint project, has been open for about 5 years and offers a total escape from the city and all the usual attractions including six slides (for singles, doubles and triples), a lazy river, wave pool and an infant pool. All are well policed with lifegaurds on permanent duty. There are no hawkers so you really will be able to escape for a few hours.
The only downside in a country with such tasty food in abundance is the quality of the food on offer inside which ranges from boring pseudo Western fair to equally average local food at inflated (by VN standards) prices. Risk the wrath of the management and smuggle your own in.
Entrance is around 70k Dong (around 4.50USD). As for getting there - There is a bus from the centre of the city or you can take a boat from Bach Dang wharf. Personally I would splash out (pun intended) on a taxi which is the easiest way to get there and should only cost about 6USD each way.
If you are in HCMC for more than four days you really should treat yourself to a day here or at one of the other water parks around Saigon such as Dam Sen.
Handicraft factory on the road between Ho Chi Minh city and My Tao in the Mekong Delta, It's one of many scattered throughout Vietnam, managed by a government ofice . Large hall concentrated dozens of workers , that carrying on their bodies the results of the American bombing during the war . The workers are specialized in sticking eggs and shells fractions. , creating beautiful paintings on vases and pasting them .the place is a very touristic factory , allowing the visiters to see and walk in evry corner of of the place
I was actually looking for a tall pagoda with many golden Buddha statues that look over HCM but the clerk at Sapaco misunderstood and gave me directions to this temple. It is popularly visited by the locals.
It is at the Hai Ba Trung Str. that leads from the airport. If you come from the airport, it is on the right side after a bridge. From the city, it is on the left.
I went there by No.4 (green coloured) bus which I took from Ben Thanh Market bus station. The conductor could not speak English but when I showed her the written name of the temple, she nodded and later, stopped the bus right opposite the temple. The bus fare was just 2,000 Dong one-way. To go back to the city, wait at the bus stop 5 mins walk away, at the right side of the temple as you come out.
Although there doesn't seem to be much to look at from the outside, in the upper level hall, there are many beautiful Buddha statues & decorations that were a mixture of Vietnamese-Thai. When I was there, I saw a pair of giant candles, about 3 metres high (see the photo). A worker was also getting ready the place for mass chanting. Unfortunately I couldn't ask him when it would be held.
At the back of the hall, there are altars for the tablets of the dead. I like to check out these things as they are different from those found in temples and Chinese associations in Malaysia.
Just take the chance and leave the main streets. Turn into any side street and youu will be in the middle of the real life in...it's not important where you do this. Everywhere you will meet friendly people.
English will however not bring you far, so better to use hands and feet to communicate.
Nui Ba Den is situated near the Province of Tay Ninh. The place is now a far cry from what it was in the past. Currently, there's a temple that's located near the entrance to the mountain's nature park. There's even a chair-lift to bring you up the mountain, and a toboggan that let's you slide down it.
In the past, the mountain was a North Vietnamese hideout and gathering point before they attacks on Tay Ninh. Heavy battles were fought there and the mountain had been occupied by both the Americans and the North Vietnamese. Nui Ba Den was also the end of the Ho Chi Minh trail as supplies were sent from the north to support the work of the guerillas and the people of Cu Chi who sympathised with the North.
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