Cho Lon – Ho Chi Minh City

Cho Lon is a quarter of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It lies on the west bank of the Saigon River, having Binh Tay Market as its central market. Cho Lon consists of the western half of District 5 as well as several adjoining neighborhoods in District 6 and District 11. The quarter has long been inhabited by Chinese people, and is still called “Chinatown”.

This oldest section of Ho Chi Minh City is packed with markets, temples, restaurants and shops, definitely not to miss. The first place to drop in is Binh Tay Market, which gives the town the name “Big market” (Cho Lon). The market has remained almost unchanged since American War. Like Ben Thanh Market, it also offers some great shopping and dining opportunities, even much more fascinating with a Chinese taste.

For greater sense of Chinese culture, you should head to Quan Am Temple (112 Lao Tu St), one of the busiest and finest temples all over Vietnam. Its statues, decorations and ritual instruments have been well-preserved for hundreds of years. You may also follow the locals to make some offerings. Entrance is free but a small donation will be highly appreciated, especially when the monks offer to show you around.

A complete visit to Cho Lon should also include Giac Lam Pagoda (118 Lac Long Quan St), the oldest pagoda in town. It was built in 1744 and restored in early 20th century. It houses more than one hundred statues of Buddha and Arhats, including a striking white statue of the Goddess of Mercy (Quan The Am Bo Tat). Its original architecture and elaborate decorations have been well preserved.

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