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Apart from worshipping spiritual entities, Vietnamese culture also worships real humans, and a famous example is Tran Hung Dao. In Ho Chi Minh City, there are two different Tran Hung Dao Temples. In this article, we will talk about the more well-known one on Vo Thi Sau Street.
The temple is used for worshiping Tran Hung Dao – a famous Vietnamese general. He is most well-known for successfully defeated three Kublai Khan’s invasions in the 13th century, during the Mongol – Vietnam War. His victories are among Vietnam’s greatest military feats – a proof of how a small country can win over a warfare juggernaut. Due to his indisputable military prowess, intellect, and loyalty, Tran Hung Dao was sanctified and worshipped widely, mainly as a peace protector (there are over 1,000 religious relics related to him now). Tran Hung Dao Temple on Vo Thi Sau Street is the biggest temple devoted to him in Southern Vietnam.
There are 3 gates to Tran Hung Dao Temple. The main gate only opens on festivals.
The temple was first built in 1932 on the ground of Van An Pagoda, and in 1958, it was rebuilt entirely. Nowadays, the temple comprises of three smaller ones: one main temple for Tran Hung Dao and his companions; one for Buddha and Bodhisattva; one for Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap.
The main temple worships Da Tuong and Yet Kieu - Tran Hung Dao’s famous companions - as well.
The Buddhism temple is on top of the Tran Dynasty gallery.
Through numerous restorations, the temple, though it still bears the original shape, now is adorned with golden figures like dragons, tigers, and phoenixes… and a sacred Tran Hung Dao statue in the middle of its yard. From the entrance to the main temple, there are reliefs depicting Tran Hung Dao’s many resounding victories.
A relief at the entrance of Tran Hung Dao Temple.
Tran Hung Dao’s statue in the middle of the yard. Worshippers often pay their prayers here.
The temple’s exemplary Asian interior is new thanks to good care. Among the three, the main temple’s decor is the most impressive. If you love architecture and Asian cultures, it will definitely wow you. There are many lacquered boards, horizontal and vertical, carved with praises for the talented strategist, as well as a number of intricate incense tables and parasols. Beware that you can’t burn the incense inside, and remember to take off your shoes to show respect.
The temple is in gold and red - powerful and sacred colors which are often seen in temples.
There is also a Tran Dynasty gallery that showcases interesting antiques. Unfortunately, the gallery only opens on Tet Holiday and Gio Ong - a major celebration for Tran Hung Dao on the 20th of the 8th lunar month. So you might want to visit here on those days for a more wholesome experience.
Tran Dynasty Gallery on the right side of the temple.
Address: 36, Vo Thi Sau Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, HCMC
Opening hours: 6 AM – 11 AM and 2 PM – 6 PM daily
On Foot: Walking is a good way to both explore the dynamic city and to travel for free. If you are at Le Van Tam Park, Tan Dinh Church, Turtle Lake, or Ben Thanh Theater, try walking (under 15 minutes) to Tran Hung Dao Temple.
Bus: VND 5,000 – 10,000/ride
Nearby bus stops and bus number:
18, Vo Thi Sau Street: 10, 18, 54, 91
Le Van Tam Park: 150, 54, 91, 93
Look up the bus routes on the bus map app, HCMC MCPT official site, or this map.
Taxi: Fare varies among brands.
Taxi is a convenient way to travel quickly around the city when you are tired of Saigon’s burning sun. However, beware of dangerous scams.
Ride-hailing apps: Depend on apps and time, the fare will vary.
Travel like a millennial with these easy-to-use apps. Many drivers don’t speak English, but there are clear instructions, so the only thing you need to worry about is your 3G/4G.
Motorbike for Rent: VND 120,000 – 300,000/day
Parking in Tran Hung Dao Temple: VND 5,000/motorbike.
Tran Hung Dao Temple’s main temple.
The temple is not crowded on most days, especially in the morning.
Check out our private motorbike tours with professional local guides
Tran Hung Dao Temple embodies the unique sanctification act in Vietnamese culture, which is one fascinating difference from Western customs. It also bears beautiful architecture and rich military-related history of Vietnam. Therefore, if you want to escape crowded attractions, how about spending a cool morning steeping in the sacred atmosphere of this historic temple?
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© Written by Ngan Mai for itourvn.com
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