The Jade Emperor Pagoda was built by the Chinese community in Saigon (as HCMC was then known) in 1909. Both the outside and inside are covered in wood carvings and papier mache statues of dragons, birds, animals, and Taoist and Buddhist deities, including the goddesses of fertility and mercy. A statue of the namesake Jade Emperor sits in the graphically decorated Chamber of 10 Hells. The grounds around the temple are also beautiful and atmospheric, full of trees, rows of dangling red lanterns, and a couple of ponds.
The Jade Emperor Pagoda can be visited independently, as it’s conveniently located in the central city. It also features on many half or full-day organized sightseeing tours of HCMC that include other attractions like the Ben Thanh Market and the War Remnants Museum.
Things to know before you go
*There is no entrance fee, although donations are appreciated. *Unlike in many places, it’s OK to feed the tortoises in the pond outside--doing so is actually considered part of worshipping at the temple. *Be mindful that this is a working temple, so keep out of the way of people worshipping and be respectful when taking photos.
How to get there
The Jade Emperor Pagoda is 2 miles (3.5 kilometers) north of the Ben Thanh Market in central HCMC, so is best reached by taxi or motorbike taxi.
When to get there
The temple is open from early morning until early evening. It’s a very popular temple among locals, and is not very large, so can be crowded at any time of day.
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