vietnam travel covid 19 updates

Stay updated with the latest news of the COVID-19 situation in Vietnam and information for traveling to Vietnam. Read more here.

Vietnam Travel Information

i Tour Vietnam | Top-rated private Ho Chi Minh City tours and Vietnam travel guides.

Old Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh: Giac Lam Pagoda


Each religion or sect in Vietnam has its main spiritual center as a gathering site for followers on special occasions. As far as Lam Te Zen, which is a Zen school of Buddhism, is concerned, Giac Lam Pagoda is considered the most important Lam Te Zen place in Southern Vietnam and it is now an attractive religious place to both locals and tourists.

Address: 565 Lac Long Quan, Ward 10, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 5 AM - 12 PM and 2 PM - 8 PM from Monday to Sunday
Entrance fee: Free
How to get there: Giac Lam Pagoda is over 7 km away from the city center, and it can be easily accessed in the city taxi or the bus route number 27 from the bus station at Ben Thanh.

History of Giac Lam Pagoda

Giac Lam Pagoda was set up by an immigrant from Minh Huong, China, named Ly Thuy Long in the spring of 1744. Originally, the pagoda was named Cam Son as it was located on Cam Son Hill. However, it was over 30 years later that the monk Vien Quang was appointed as the new abbot of the pagoda, which was later given the new name of Giac Lam. From then on, Giac Lam Pagoda has played an essential role in teaching commandment to monks in Southern Vietnam and copying, engraving important Buddhist books.

Over the years, the pagoda has been well kept by various abbots and gone under several renovations and the notable ones were under the guardianship of Thich Vien Quang and Thich Hong Hung abbot in the 18th and 19th century. The pagoda is now one of the oldest ones in Ho Chi Minh City with a solid architecture and precious religious values.

Check out our private motorbike tours with professional local guides
for fun and insightful trips in Ho Chi Minh City!

family outing in ho chi minh city motorcycle

Structure of Giac Lam Pagoda

To come in the pagoda, you have to cross the triple gate which was just built in 1955. Each gate has its own roof decorated with sophisticated patterns. Entering the gate, you will see the front garden and get impressed with the big Bodhi tree brought to Vietnam as a great gift by a Sri Lanka Buddhist monk named Narada in 1953. Under the tree, there is a small statue of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, and you will feel such a tranquil atmosphere when seeing the grave and statues in the middle of the open garden. You will see sights of locals doing small walks or jogs upon entering.

giac lam gate 2

The triple gate of Giac Lam Pagoda

giac lam garden buddha statue

giac lam garden buddha statue 2

The statues of Buddha in the pagoda’s garden

giac lam yard cement tiles

Sophisticate cement tiles with lotus imprint

Xa Loi Stupa or the 7-story stupa is 32m high and each floor is in the shape of a hexagon. It is built to store the samples of relics of Gautama Buddha brought along with the Bodhi tree by monk Narada many years ago. Therefore, you will obviously see many ancient Buddhist relics displayed in the stupa. Also, there is a statue of Bodhisattva standing in front of the stupa, on the stairs leading to the entrance. Originally, the pagoda was first set up based on the design of architect Vinh Hoang in 1970 but the construction was suspended in 1975 until 1993. In 1994, the stupa was officially inaugurated and it has been a noticeable landmark in Ho Chi Minh City since then.

giac lam stupa

Xa Loi Stupa standing as a landmark of the city

The pagoda is featured by the rectangular-shaped building which was set up based on the word “tam” Ξ in Kanji. More specifically, there are 3 smaller buildings, namely: the main ceremonial hall, altars of patriarchs, and dining hall and they were all designed in typical Vietnamese architecture. In general, the building is supported by a total of 98 sophisticated pillars carefully carved with Buddhist couplets.

Within the altars of patriarchs, there are many antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries stored in the wooden and glass cabinets and more than 100 old statues; some are made of bronze and some are of wood.

The steep roof tiles of the main hall were designed for quick drainage on rainy days, and there is a narrow corridor with solid fence surrounding. The arch of the main hall’s entrance is also attached with many artistic crockery plates, which presents the traditional customs of doing pottery of Southerners. Inside the hall are sacred altars with the main one worshiping Amitabha Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha and four bodhisattvas who are Samantabhadra, Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara, and Mahasthamaprapta. Along the two passages of the main hall, two 18-Arhat statues and the statues of 10 kings of hell are placed on the altars, and they are among the oldest statues of the pagoda.

giac lam main hall outside

The main hall looked from the outside

giac lam main hall inside 2

The main altar with the statues of Buddhist gods

giac lam main hall inside

Two ancient sets of arhats are placed on the passages in the main hall

The altars of patriarchs are particularly important in worshipping because numerous plaques of monks and Buddhists have been placed there for many decades, which shows the development of Buddhism in Southern Vietnam and Vietnam as a whole. As for the dining hall, there is an altar of Buddha gods and the atmosphere is archaic but still cozy for everyone.

giac lam patriaches altars antiques

The antiques kept in the altars of patriarchs where the abbots and monks are worshipped

giac lam kitchen

Kitchen hall

giac lam main hall lefside 5

Entrances to Zen hall, on the left of the main hall

giac lam main hall lefside 4

Zen hall for learning Buddhism

On the left of the building, there is a complex of abbots’ stupas. Among them, the stupa worshipping the monk Thich Vien Quang is the oldest one. Most of the stupas have 3 to 4 floors and there is one special square statue which is the symbol of four immeasurables: love, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity (tu, bi, hi, xa).

The Cultural Value of Giac Lam Pagoda

Every year, on Tet holiday or the Vesak, Giac Lam Pagoda attracts many people who come to pray to the Buddha and bring offerings to the deities. Because of its long history and quiet location, it is ideal for you to visit the pagoda to see how Buddhists and Vietnamese as a whole pray for good things during these cultural days.

As a religious place built by a man from China, Giac Lam Pagoda has been renovated and embellished the Vietnamese way, preserving values in terms of architecture, religion, beliefs, and Vietnamese customs. Constructed in 1744, the pagoda is a big artifact where you can learn the spiritual values of the Vietnamese ancestors and the culture over time. In 1988, the pagoda was recognized as a historical-cultural heritage site by the Ministry of Cultures, Sports, and Tourism, a worthy title given to the witness of decades in Ho Chi Minh City.

Summary of the Giac Lam Pagoda

Giac Lam Pagoda is one of the oldest Vietnamese pagodas with traditional architecture and lasting religious values. It is ideal for you to get the sight of serenity, get away from the hustle and bustle of the vibrant city out there, at the same time learn about Vietnamese culture and religious values.

Get the world-leading travel insurance for your adventure in Vietnam:


And for the most exciting trip in Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam, check out our highly trusted travel services and numerous Ho Chi Minh travel blogs.



Guest - Kenneth Mccarthy on Saturday, 26 October 2019 11:40

would love to visit here on our next tour

would love to visit here on our next tour :D
Already Registered? Login Here
Monday, 18 October 2021

Captcha Image

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to



This Vietnam travel information page is written by a team of professional tour guides in Vietnam. More about us or visit home page

Private Ho Chi Minh Tours

private ho chi minh tours

All tours are private, customizable, and led by professional English-speaking guides. For more reference, read our customer reviews or see below for the tour package in Ho Chi Minh that works for you.

Half-day City Tour

Night Tour

Food Tour

Saigon's Other Side

Shore Excursions

Vietnam Travel Information

Check out the necessary information for traveling to Vietnam

First Time in Vietnam

To Pack List for Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Adaptors

Major Cities in Vietnam

Family & Elderly Travel

LGBT Travel

Vietnam Festivals and Holidays

Best Vietnamese Dishes

UNESCO World Heritage in Vietnam

Responsible Travel in Vietnam

Vietnamese Culture

Religions in Vietnam

Ethnicities in Vietnam

Tipping in Vietnam

Vietnamese Currency Guide

Best Dishes to Try in Vietnam

20 Must-try Vietnamese Dishes

Unusual Foods to Try in Vietnam

Street Food in Vietnam

Vietnamese Grilled Dishes

Rice Dishes in Vietnam

Pho Dishes in Vietnam

Holiday Dishes to Try during Tet Holiday

Chinese Dishes in Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Northern Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Central Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Southern Vietnam

What to Eat in Ho Chi Minh City

What to Eat in Hanoi

What to Eat in Hue

What to Eat in Hoi An

What to Eat in Da Lat

What to Eat in the Mekong Delta

Traveling to and within Vietnam

Airport Arrival Tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh)

Airport Arrival Tips at Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi)

Major Airports in Vietnam

Taking Trains in Vietnam

Bringing your Motorbikes on Trains in Vietnam

Bringing Your Own Vehicles to Vietnam

Bringing Your Pets to Vietnam

How to Take Motorbike Taxis

Taking a Ferry in Vietnam

Renting a Car in Vietnam

How to Travel from Hanoi to Da Nang

How to Travel from Hanoi to Hue

How to Travel from Hanoi to Sa Pa

How to Travel from Hanoi to Mai Chau

How to Travel from Hanoi to Moc Chau

How to Travel from Hanoi to Cao Bang

How to Travel from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai

How to Travel from Hanoi to Ha Giang

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Mui Ne

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Da Lat

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Phu Quoc Island

How to Travel from Da Nang to Hoi An

How to Travel from Hue to Phong Nha

Vietnam Travel Itineraries

Vietnam One-month Itinerary

Vietnam One-week Itinerary

Taking a Gap Year in Vietnam

Backpacking in Vietnam

Expat Tours in Vietnam

Honeymoon in Vietnam

Vietnam Visa, SIM Cards, and WiFi

Visa Info & Where to Buy Sim Cards

Traveling with Wifi in Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Safety Tips

Travel Insurance

Is it Safe to Drink Tap Water?

How to Avoid Mosquitoes

Food Safety in Vietnam

Getting Vaccinations

Common Diseases and How to Prevent

Wearing Face Masks in Vietnam

Can Tourists Drive in Vietnam

How to Avoid Scams

Travel Safety Tips

Best Places to Stay in Vietnam

Deluxe Hotels in Vietnam

Best Hotels in Ho Chi Minh

Best Hotels in Hanoi

Where to Stay in Ha Long Bay

Where to Stay in Mai Chau

Where to Stay in Moc Chau

Where to Stay in Ha Giang

Where to Stay in Cao Bang

Where to Stay in Lang Son

Where to Stay in Sa Pa

Where to Stay in Mu Cang Chai

Where to Stay in Kon Tum

Where to Stay in Da Lat

Where to Stay in Mui Ne

Where to Stay in Hoi An

Homestays in Vietnam

Find more hotels to stay in Vietnam below:


Ho Chi Minh Travel Guides

First Time in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh Attractions & Activities

Places to Eat & Drink

Shopping in Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh City Districts

Local Activities in Ho Chi Minh

Hanoi Travel Guides

First Time in Hanoi

Hanoi Attractions & Activities

Places to Eat & Drink in Hanoi

Shopping in Hanoi

Hanoi Districts

Local Activities in Hanoi

North Vietnam Travel Guides

First Time in Ninh Binh

First Time in Ha Giang

First Time in Ha Long Bay

First Time in Sa Pa

First Time at Yen Tu Mountain

First Time in Moc Chau

First Time in Mai Chau

First Time in Hai Phong

First Time in Cao Bang

First Time in Lang Son

First Time at Bai Tu Long Bay

Central Vietnam Travel Guides

First Time in Hue

First Time in Hoi An

First Time in Da Nang

First Time in Nha Trang

First Time in Da Lat

First Time in Mui Ne

First Time in Buon Ma Thuot

First Time in Kon Tum

First Time in Phu Yen

South Vietnam Travel Guides

First Time in the Mekong Delta

First Time at Con Dao Island

First Time in Vung Tau

First Time at Phu Quoc Island

First Time in Ca Mau

First Time in Can Tho

Powered by 12Go Asia system