Ho bỏ ra Minh City’s mang đến Lon, the world’s largest china Town, is a bustling district just west of District 1. With its storied history, markets, pagodas, và restaurants, it is a unique mix of Chinese and Vietnamese influences. If you’re visiting Ho đưa ra Minh City, cho Lon is a must. Read on khổng lồ find out more about this fascinating area!

History Of CholonWhere Is Cholon Located?Things to lớn DoEat The Local FoodShop Till You Drop!Explore Cholon’s Hidden AlleysVisit Traditional Medicine ShopsCheck Out Cholon’s Religious SitesTake A Guided Tour

History Of Cholon

Old traditonal Binh Tay market in đài loan trung quốc town // Photo on Shutterstock

Cho Lon’s emergence was heavily linked lớn the Hoa (overseas Chinese) people, whose historical migration to Vietnam dates back lớn the 1644 collapse of the Ming dynasty. Subsequent political crises in china over the years meant the numbers of Hoa people steadily grew in Vietnam into a fully-fledged diaspora, which today is made up of five different groups: the Cantonese và the Hakka, from Guangdong province; the Chaozhou, from eastern Guangdong province; the Fujianese, from Fujian; và the Hainanese are from the southernmost island.

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Cho Lon itself first emerged in 1779 around the time of the Tay Son rebellion, which was a massive peasant revolt against the ruling Nguyen dynasty in Southern Vietnam. Ethnic Chinese, who were supporters of the Nguyen dynasty, feared reprisals và were forced lớn flee Bien Hoa và the surrounding towns where they lived. They settled in mang lại Lon (which means big market), which remained a đô thị in its own right và a major business hub until 1932 when it morphed into the rapidly urbanising Saigon in 1932.

During the Vietnam War, đến Lon became notorious as a đen market for US soldiers selling American Army issue supplies, and it also suffered bombings during the first days of the Tet offensive. Fortunately, most of the famous pagodas and traditional Chinese architecture survived. The late 1970s saw an exodus of Hoa people in the wake of the Sino-Vietnamese war và resulting anti-Chinese backlash. Despite its topsy-turvy past, đến Lon’s businesses và traditions have stood the chạy thử of time và it remains a thriving district.

Where is mang lại Lon located?

Cho Lon is primarily located in District 5, on the west ngân hàng of the Saigon River, but it also spills over into the eastern kết thúc of District 6 & parts of District 10 & 11.

Getting to mang đến Lon by yourself is easy enough – it is only a 10-minute drive from most hotels in District 1. Take a xe taxi – we recommend Grab or Go Jek (on-demand transport apps) because you can put your address in before travelling. If you’re hailing a xe taxi from the street, have your desired address written in Vietnamese before travelling và make sure the meter is on.

Things To vị In mang đến Lon

Eat The Local Food
Hủ tiếu cá (fish noodle soup) // Photo on expatolife.com

Over the years, Hoa people have brought over countless delicious dishes, making cho Lon a foodie’s paradise. Much of the food in mang đến Lon is distinct from or fused with Vietnamese cuisine, & for this reason, it makes a great spot lớn try out some new grub.

Chinese restaurants pack the streets, giving you an amazing array of choices to sample the local fare. Make sure you try out some of the following dishes:

Hủ tiếu cá (fish noodle soup): thinly sliced snakehead fish is added khổng lồ thick Chinese style noodles & a pork broth and topped with traditional Chinese spices, giving this dish a succulent và sweet flavour.Hủ tiếu sa tế (Chili paste noodle soup): this noodle dish, which originated from Teochew, China, combines trăng tròn different herbs and spices with beef strips. Well worth a try if you like a good kick of chili!Sủi cảo (dumplings): If you want to start your day lượt thích the Hoa Chinese, grab yourself a steaming hot plate of dumplings in mang đến Lon. These Chinese-style dumplings are usually made with pork or crab, and you can enjoy them fried, steamed or boiled.

Aside from the restaurants, kiểm tra out the Chinese bakeries, which sell both traditional Chinese pastries và seasonal mooncakes alongside western-style bread và sandwich loaves. Whatever you do, just don’t leave cho Lon without eating – it is one of the best things to do in the area.

Shop Till You Drop!
Soai khiếp Lam fabric market // Photo on kenh14

Move over Ben Thanh – Binh Tay market may be the number 1 market in town! Packed full of fresh produce and food stalls, this is where locals come to vị their shopping. As a tourist, you’re unlikely to be hassled like in D1, meaning you can slip under the radar.

Goods come from all over Vietnam và Asia, from silk and lanterns to tropical fruit from the Mekong delta. So, if you’re interested in a change of scene from your local Vinmart or Coopmart, make a trip khổng lồ the busy Binh Tay market to see what bargains you can find.

Other markets worth a visit include An Dong và Soai ghê Lam markets, which specialise in fabric, clothes, và traditional crafts. Perfect if you’re in the market for a new suit or dress!

Addresses in Ho đưa ra Minh City:

Binh Tay Market: 57A Tháp Mười, Phường 2, Quận 6,An Dong Market: công trường thi công An Đông, Phường 9, Quận 5Soai ghê Lam Market: 545 Đ. è Hưng Đạo, Phường 14, Quận 5Explore đến Lon’s Hidden Alleyways
Hao Sy Phuong alley // Photo on expatolife.com

Part of the charm of cho Lon is getting lost in its hidden alleys. Head to Hao Sy Phuong alley, which has become one of mang lại Lon’s most popular tourist attractions in recent years. Located just off Tran Hung Dao street, the alley has many colourful houses and buildings built in a different style to the rest of Ho bỏ ra Minh City.

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As you explore, you’ll notice the fusion of French, Chinese, và Vietnamese architectural styles which have remained untouched amidst Saigon’s rampant urbanisation. But for the motorbikes and wiring, the chất lượng style, the Chinese street signs & the Cantonese-speaking locals will make you feel as if you’ve stepped into early 20th century Shanghai or Hong Kong.Vis

Visit Traditional Medicine Shops
Traditional medicine shops // Photo on expatolife.com

The most visible businesses in đến Lon beyond the obvious Chinese food are Traditional Chinese Medicine shops. Nearby Luang Nhu Hoc street, you can find an area dedicated to Chinese traditional medicine, which is especially popular amongst older Vietnamese. If you go on one of Saigon’s many tours, your guide should be able to make sense of the wide range of dried herbs và plants on offer.

Check Out mang lại Lon’s Religious Sites

Cho Lon is trang chủ to some of the best-preserved Chinese architecture & pagodas in Southern Vietnam, and they make a great place lớn rest from the hectic traffic. The different deities worshipped also showcase the distinct origins & provinces of the Hoa people.

Below are three of the best ones worth visiting:

Thien Hau Pagoda
Thien Hau Pagoda is the most important pagoda in cho Lon // Photo on asiawebdirect.com

Thien Hau Pagoda is the most important pagoda in mang lại Lon. Built by Cantonese migrants at the beginning of the 19th century, Thien Hau Pagoda is mainly dedicated khổng lồ Mazu, a Chinese sea Goddess worshipped by the Fujianese community. As one of the most popular places of worship in mang đến Lon, the pagoda can get fairly busy và packed full of smoky incense.

As you stroll through the grounds of the pagoda, you’ll notice the hundreds of small paper strips which line the main walls. On each strip is a prayer, which worshippers traditionally believe the wind carries off to Mazu.

Address: 710 Nguyễn Trãi, Phường 11, Quận 5, tp.hồ chí minh 70000

Phuoc An Hoi quan Pagoda
Phuoc An Hoi quan tiền Pagoda // Photo on tripadvisor

Phuoc An Hoi quan tiền Pagoda is quality in that it isn’t dedicated khổng lồ a deity. Instead, it pays tribute to lớn a military leader from imperial Chinese history, quan tiền Hong, who was known for his bravery and honesty. The fact that he never mix foot in Vietnam yet remains an important figure for the Hoa people reflects their enduring traditions.

Wonderfully gold-crusted Chinese characters and red paint cover the entrance và interior, where there are a range of offerings và altars khổng lồ other deities such as the Taoist Jade Emperor và Buddha. Fun fact: this pagoda was President Obama’s first destination in HCMC during his năm 2016 Vietnam tour, where he paid tribute lớn the cultural traditions of Vietnam.

Address: 184 Hùng Vương, Phường 12, Quận 5, thành phố Hồ Chí Minh

Chua Ong Bon PagodaChua Ong Bon Pagoda // Photo on spectralcodex.com

Chua Ong Bon Pagoda is the oldest Chinese pagoda in Ho chi Minh City, and it has played an important role in the community for hundreds of years. The pagoda is located inside a 2500 square metre complex, which contains a courtyard filled with walled paintings and religious tributes.

Built by Fujianese around 1730, colourful ceramics & ancient carvings surround the main shrine, which pays tribute khổng lồ Ong Bon, the God of wealth và virtue. And judging by the bustling businesses & restaurants in the surrounding area, he’s not held back with his blessings.

Address: 264 Đ. Hải Thượng Lãn Ông, Phường 14, Quận 5, tp Hồ Chí Minh

Cha Tam (St Francis Xavier) Church
Cha Tam (St Francis Xavier) Church // Photo on vietnamdiscovery.com

Vietnam is home to some 7 million Catholics, so it is perhaps unsurprising lớn find a Catholic church in mang đến Lon. Dating back khổng lồ the 19th century, thân phụ Tam Church lies at the end of Tran Hung Dao street, standing as a relic of the French colonial period và an important symbol of faith for Hoa Catholics.

Nestled in the middle of its peaceful grounds is Mother Mary like you’ve never seen her before – in a Chinese-style pagoda ornamented with a cross. During the 1963 South Vietnam coup d’état it was also the infamous site of refuge for disgraced South Vietnamese president, Ngo Dinh Diem. Any prayers he offered clearly went unanswered as he was assassinated the following day.

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Address: 25 học tập Lạc, Phường 14, Quận 5, thành phố Hồ Chí Minh

Take A Guided Tour
Good shoes and light clothes will be needed lớn make your trip more enjoyable & comfortable // Photo on vietnam-guide.com

Saigon không tính tiền Walking Tours, an NGO run by Hoa Sen University students, offer miễn phí tours (you just pay 70,000 VND to lớn cover transport costs). This offers students the chance lớn hone their skills as guides và in the English language. You will get great insight into daily life in đến Lon & the best eating spots và alleys. Plus, you’ll have all the help you need when negotiating in Binh Tay market. Vì chưng foot the bill for food and drinks – it’s a nice gesture for the students’ time!

For a more professional & structured experience, book a tour with Back of the xe đạp Tours. Prices cost 1,145,000 per person, và you’ll get a comprehensive half-day tour of đến Lon and District 1 – including food, transport, all the sites, và more. It’s #4 on Tripadvisor Saigon for a reason!

Soak In The Atmosphere

From the food và architecture to lớn its bustling businesses and turbulent history, cho Lon represents the Hoa people’s resilient and enterprising spirit. As one of Saigon’s most historic & diverse districts, it deserves its spot on your travel itinerary.

If you’re keen khổng lồ discover more of Ho bỏ ra Minh City, take a look at our 1-2 day itinerary guide