7 Best Things To Do In Saigon Chinatown Cholon, Vietnam
Saigon Cho Lon is the largest Chinatown in Vietnam, with a long and vibrant history. The area is a colorful combination of old and new, with many traditional shops, markets, and local food stalls.
About Saigon Cholon Chinatown
Saigon Chinatown is mainly located in District 5, District 11, and part of District 6 of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
This area offers impressive views of the Chinese’s unique cultural, culinary, and architectural characteristics, thus creating a completely different vibe from the rest of Saigon.
Things to see and do in Saigon Chinatown
1. Notice the architecture
Visiting Chinatown, you will feel like you are in a residential area of Hong Kong or get lost in China.
Most of the houses in this area were built in the late 19th century and the 1920s, with architectural styles imbued with Chinese characteristics.
Entering the neighborhood, you can see most red-tiled houses lying close. In front of the house are red lanterns or a few pieces of red paper.
For the traders, the shop’s signboard has two languages: Vietnamese and Chinese.
2. Explore Hao Sy Phuong alley
In the heart of Saigon, there’s a 100-year-old alley named Hao Sy Phuong, where most residents are of Chinese descent.
The most impressive feature here is the colorful houses and their architecture.
The houses in the alley were built as apartments, including many small places arranged on two floors with connected stairs.
The alley has an entry from Tran Hung Dao street and an exit to Ngo Quyen street. The system of stairs is also very unique, different from other alleys in Saigon.
3. Visit Ha Chuong Assembly hall
The Chinese in Saigon are expatriates, so they set up many temples and assembly halls, such as Ba Thien Hau Pagoda and Ha Chuong Assembly Hall, to meet and worship ancestors.
Located at 802 Nguyen Trai, District 5, Ha Chuong Assembly Hal is known for its unique architecture.
This work is highlighted by combining wood, stone, and brick sculpture, the vivid decoration with the statues of dragons, phoenixes, soldiers, castle models, and houses.
4. Admire the architecture at Thien Hau Pagoda
Located at 710 Nguyen Trai street, District 5, Thien Hau pagoda is considered a spiritual house that significantly influences the Chinese living in Saigon.
The pagoda was built in 1760 and has undergone many renovations but retains the quiet, solitary appearance dating back centuries.
This temple has a reputation for being very sacred. People here pray for fortune or the peace of their families and loved ones.
5. See the Chinese medicine pharmacies
Tran Hung Dao – Hai Thuong Lan Ong area is considered the backbone of the neighborhood.
This area has many shops selling traditional Chinese medicine. The drug stores have Chinese names such as Dai Hung, Thien Phuoc Duong, Thuan Thien Duong, etc.
6. Have fun at Lantern street
Lantern Street, located on Luong Nhu Hoc Street, is one of the best places to enjoy the essence of the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is something that has faded away in the heart of modern Saigon.
People come here to buy lanterns or drums, take pictures, or enjoy the bustling atmosphere in this place.
7. Enjoy Chinese food
Chinese food in Saigon is both rich and tasty, making people fascinated.
There’s a variety of restaurants such as dumplings, wonton, or duck noodles. Prices here vary by store but are generally affordable.
Most signs and menus in these areas are presented in Chinese and Vietnamese.
If you have a sweet tooth, you can go to Chau Van Liem street to experience traditional Chinese desserts and drinks.
I guess you have covered in detail all the important aspects of Saigon Chinatown. I just wanted to know how different is the cuisine of the Chinese dishes when compared to the ones of Vietnam. Are they fully different? Prayer is an important part of the culture of Asia and the same is reflected in wherever the settlements come up as bought up by you. I must appreciate the genuine photos that reflect the place in reality. Kudos to you
The alleys,colourful houses,their architecture and the restaurants reminded me of China Town in Singapore where a lot is so identical. Would love to see the Pagoda and visit Lantern street. Also a visit to one of the medicine stores to check them out. Interesting read.
This seems like my kind of a cultural tour. Those houses do look interesting – I guess people still stay there and hence you could not visit inside. I sure would have loved to see how the layout within each of those apartment styled places would be. The Pagoda seems quite peaceful and those medicine shops do make me curious. Am quite intrigued by the Lantern street. Guess that comes to life at night
We loved Saigon when we visited a couple of years ago. Other travelers warned us that it was the type of place we’d only want to pass through and not spend any time there, but after the disappointment of Phnom Penh, I was blown away by Saigon. We used it as our hub and traveled north and south, but each time coming back to the city. We walked miles each day, and the food was amazing. I’m gutted that we didn’t make it to Cholon – there’s so much to see in this city, and your article has made me want to go back and see more of it. Thanks!
The Chinatowns of every city is a must- visit place.It shows how much China has influenced a city.My favorite thing to do in Chinatowns is eating. You can also experience the vibe, it will make you feel like you are in China or Hongkong.
The traditional Chinese medicine always intrigued me.Thank you for this guide as I am also planning to go to Vietnam next year.
My earliest memories of a Chinatown was in Lagos, Nigeria. It was chaotic and busy although the architecture was breathtaking! Then I visited the Chinatown in London and Dubai and I saw them as unique, vibrant and colourful as you have described the Chinatown in Saigon.
I am most interested in the architecture at Thien Hau Pagoda. It’s the sort of history I love, built in 1760, it must hold lots of stories that I’ll find interesting.
I remember first learning about Saigon when I was much younger because of the musical Miss Saigon. I never took a deep dive into the town though. I definitely would enjoy the food stalls and medicine market. We usually check out the open air markets selling fruits, vegetables and hand made wares. I have never seen a market of traditional medicines though.
I have seen Chinatowns in Kolkata and Yangon. The one in Saigon looks a bit different from these two. The buildings and architecture of Hao Sy Phuong alley are definitely beautiful. I love Chinese food, but the ones we get in India are heavily Indianised versions. I would love to know more about the Chinese food in Saigon. The Thien Hau Pagoda really looks so serene and peaceful.