Vietnam has many famous and attractive tourist destinations. Catholic church in Saigon are like hidden gems you shouldn’t miss when coming here. These churches have unique and distinctive beauty, combining Western architecture with Vietnam’s characteristic culture. Below, we will share the most famous churches in Saigon.
Overview of the History of Catholicism in Vietnam
What percentage of Vietnam is Catholic? According to statistics from the Vietnam Episcopal Council in 2022, the country has up to 7.2 million Catholics, accounting for 7.21%. This is also the country with Asia’s 5th largest number of Catholics.
The history of churches in Vietnam began in the 16th century when traders, diplomats, and religions from European countries came to Vietnam. The first church built in Saigon was the Notre-Dame Cathedral in 1863. The French government and French sponsors built this church together.
After that, other churches began to be built in Saigon and other cities throughout the country.
In the early years of the 20th century, the Catholic Diocese of Vietnam was established, and churches were built in all provinces and cities of Vietnam. Different dioceses began to build unique architectural works, reflecting Western architecture’s beauty and Vietnam’s cultural diversity.
During the war, many churches were destroyed or severely damaged. However, these churches have been restored and brought back to their beauty. Nowadays, churches in Vietnam are not only religious works but also attractive tourist destinations, attracting many domestic and foreign visitors.
Top 7 Catholic Church in Saigon Vietnam
To find more Catholic churches in Saigon, Vietnam, refer to our list below.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Regarded as the symbol of Ho Chi Minh City, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is the special architectural work of Saigon. The Immaculate Conception Cathedral Basilica is the official name of this church. After many years of wind and rain, it retains its ancient and impressive architectural features.
The Cathedral has a total length of 91m, a width of 35.5m, a main roof height of 21m and two bell towers on both sides nearly 57m tall. The architecture of Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral is heavily influenced by the French Gothic style, designed by architect J.Bourard. The construction of this landmark began in 1877 and was completed in 1880.
With a spacious and airy interior, the Cathedral has become an iconic symbol of Ho Chi Minh City, attracting both local and international tourists.
Inside Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral is a specially designed basilica that can withstand ten times the weight of the entire structure. The interior furnishings of the church consist of one main nave, two rows of prayer houses, and two side aisles.
The entire Cathedral has a length of 93m, a maximum width of 35m, and a vaulted roof height of 21m. With this area, the interior of the Cathedral can accommodate 1,200 people.
Visitors will be truly impressed by the bell towers, considered the church’s soul when visiting the Cathedral. Initially, the construction only had two bell towers, 36.6m tall, without a roof. In 1895, the Cathedral added two spire roofs to cover the bells, which were 21m high. Thus, the complete design of the bell towers is 57m tall.
If you travel to Vietnam, you must attend this famous Saigon Cathedral. You will surely have many unforgettable memories with it.
- Address: 01 Cong Xa Paris Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Weekday Masses: 5:30 am, 5:30 pm
- Sunday Masses: 5:30 am, 6:45 am, 8:00 am, 9:30 am (English mass), 4:00 pm, 5:15 pm, 6:30 pm.
Tan Dinh Church
Tan Dinh Church is one of the must-visit destinations in the list of Catholic churches in Vietnam. The church was built in 1870 when Vietnam was still a colony. This building has a large area and impressive architecture and is considered the most beautiful in Saigon today.
Before 1975, Tan Dinh Church was light yellow, but after many renovations and refurbishments, it was painted pink. As a result, this church has become unique and attracts many tourists. The church is an artistic work that combines Gothic, Baroque, and Roman architecture.
The unique pink color, along with the dome-shaped roof architecture and intricate carvings, creates ancient and beautiful architectural work amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.
The main tower of Saigon – Tan Dinh Church is 52.6m high, and on top is a copper-made cross. Standing at the foot of the church and looking up, you will be amazed at the unique architectural background.
The two side towers of the church have a dominant pink color, with many lamp towers and floral windows; and unique patterns tightly attached. The tiled roof is shaped like fish scales, with double-twisted lines, similar to decorative designs that make the building more attractive and prominent.
In addition, inside the tower, 5 bells weigh up to 5.5 tons, with exquisite carvings. Visitors can feel lost in a dreamy Italian church but maintain a solemn atmosphere.
- Address: 289 Hai Ba Trung Street, Ward 8, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
- Weekday mass schedule: 5 am, 6:15 am, 5:30 pm, 7 pm
- Saturday and Sunday mass schedule: 5 am, 6:15 am, 7:30 am, 9 am, 4 pm, 5:30 pm, 7 pm.
Cho Quan Church
Cho Quan is a well-known Catholic church in Saigon. After many upheavals, in 1882, the parishioners decided to rebuild the Cho Quan church on the old land to make it more splendid.
The church has Gothic architecture with a red tiled roof. People spent 14 years building and perfecting the church and continuously renovating it throughout the following years. The total area of the church land is about 16,000 square meters.
In 1967, the Catholic church in Saigon was newly built by the parishioners, but Cho Quan church is still one of the ancient churches that many people come to visit. Cho Quan Church is one of the artistic works that you should visit.
Its sharp vaulted roof and large and small interwoven pillars give a sense of solidity and elegance. Another highlight is the 3-story bell tower. Standing on the top floor and looking down, the surrounding space is captured within sight. You should experience this feeling rather than imagine it through words.
The church bell tower consists of three floors: the bell-pulling floor, the bell storage floor, and the top floor, with five bells. The bells were cast in France and transported to Vietnam by ship. Five elephants were used to pull the bells up to the tower.
- Address: 120 Tran Binh Trong Street, Ward 2, District 5
- Weekday mass schedule: 5:00 am, 5:30 pm
- Sunday mass schedule: 5:00 am, 6:30 am, 8:00 am, 4:30 pm, 6:00 pm
Huyen Sy Church
If you want a wonderful Catholic church tour in Saigon, you should not miss Huyen Sy Church. It is one of the large churches closely associated with many historical events and important milestones of the past in Vietnam.
The church was built with 1/7 of Mr. Le Phat Dat’s property. The church was built in 1902 and took three years to complete in 1905. Mr. Le Phat Dat, also known as Huyen Sy (1841-1900), was among the four wealthiest people in Saigon and Southern Vietnam. He was also the grandfather of Queen Nam Phuong, the wife of King Bao Dai – the last emperor of Vietnam.
The main design style of the church is Gothic, creating many interesting features. On the roof is the central bell tower, standing 57 meters high, with four bells cast in France in 1905 inside the building.
The primary material used is Bien Hoa granite, which covers the façade and primary columns of the church. On each roof, a cross shape is combined with light pink paint to make the overall look more prominent.
Inside the church is an area of over 700 square meters, with four sections built with load-bearing vault structures. In the center is the sanctuary, adorned with a statue of Christ with outstretched arms.
The inner walls have many pointed arch windows, with columns covered in Bien Hoa granite. Each window is decorated with stained glass, a common feature in churches.
You will not be disappointed when visiting and praying at this church.
- Address: 1 Ton That Tung Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Weekday mass times: 5 am, 5:30 pm
- Sunday mass times: 5 am, 6:30 am, 8 am, 8:30 am, 4:30 pm, 6 pm, 7:30 pm
Nga Sau Church
Nga Sau Church is one of the famous religious destinations in Saigon. It was built in 1922 with a unique architectural style. Nowadays, Nga Sau Church is one of the ancient churches in Saigon.
Visitors can see a 47-meter bell tower and a multi-level cathedral within the church grounds. The bell tower is particularly noteworthy as it is built from bricks with a vertical cylindrical shape and sharp square corners; creating a robust and distinctly European architectural style.
In addition, Nga Sau Church also contains many notable works of art and images. The statue of Jesus carved on marble is one of the church’s most beautiful works of art. The Cathedral is also adorned with solid wood and ceramic walls.
With its unique beauty and special cultural value, Nga Sau Church attracts many tourists for sightseeing and photography every year. Nga Sau Church is worth exploring if you are interested in architecture or want to learn about local history and culture.
- Address: 116A Hung Vuong Street, Ward 9, District 5
- Weekday mass times: 5 am, 5:30 pm
- Sunday mass times: 5 am, 7 am, 9 am, 4 pm, 6 pm
Chi Hoa Ancient Church
Regarding Saigon churches, one cannot miss Chi Hoa ancient church. This is one of the prominent religious structures in Ho Chi Minh City. Built-in the 1890s, the Chi Hoa church is designed in Baroque and Roman architectural styles, creating a unique and luxurious beauty.
The building is designed with delicate decorative details, square columns, and stunning stained-glass windows. In particular, the green color of the windows creates a special highlight for the architecture of Chi Hoa church.
In addition, the church has a limestone pedestal shaped like a small castle. This pedestal is considered the symbol of the Chi Hoa church and is used as a background for many wedding photos.
Chi Hoa church is also the venue for many festivals and ceremonies of Catholic followers. Every year, especially during Christmas and Easter, Chi Hoa church attracts thousands of people to attend prayer and commemoration.
With its excellent architectural beauty and profound religious value, Chi Hoa church is one of the must-visit destinations when coming to Ho Chi Minh City. If you want to find a Roman Catholic church in Vietnam, you should not miss it.
- Address: 219/20 Dat Thanh Street, Ward 6, Tan Binh District
- Weekday Mass: 5 am, 3 pm, 5:30 pm
- Sunday Mass: 5 am, 6:30 am, 8 am, 9:30 am, 3 pm, 4:30 pm, 6 pm
Ky Dong Church
On this list, Ky Dong is the last Catholic church in Ho Chi Minh City. The church was built in the late 1940s but still has unique features. After many renovations, the church is still a great suggestion for those new to Saigon.
It is one of the most gorgeous works of art in the locality. The triangular blocks of houses, crescent-shaped doors, and windows exude a solemnity that is often seen.
The stone caves and meticulous landscapes create a peaceful space that makes the congregation feel light and indescribable.
- Address: 38 Ky Dong, Ward 9, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
- Weekday Mass: 5 am, 6 am, 6 pm
- Saturday Mass: 5 am, 6 am, 2 pm, 4 pm, 6:30 pm
- Sunday Mass: 5 am, 6:30 am, 8 am, 3:30 pm, 5 pm, 6:30 pm, 8 pm
Tips for Visitors to Explore the Churches
When visiting Catholic churches in general and Catholic church in Saigon in particular, you may need to note the following:
- Proper attire: To respect the church’s sacred space, you should wear formal clothes and avoid revealing clothing. If you are not sure about the dress code, you can ask the staff or look for signs posted at the entrance.
- Silence to avoid noise: In the church, it is essential to maintain a quiet and respectful atmosphere by refraining from speaking loudly. This helps to uphold the sanctity and reverence of the space.
- Other rules: Each church may have its visitor behavior guidelines. It is important to review and abide by these rules to avoid causing inconvenience or offense to the faithful.
- Ask before taking photos: If you wish to take pictures inside the church. It is vital to ask for permission and follow church rules. Avoid taking photos of saints, statues, or areas that are off-limits.
- Respect others’ religious beliefs: Religious places often have followers of different faiths. It is important to respect others’ religious beliefs and avoid causing offense or engaging in religious debates.
- Visiting hours: Churches are typically open from morning to evening, but there may be different holidays or Christmas schedules. It is recommended to check the church’s website for its schedule before visiting.
Who can help you get the best tour to visit the churches?
A Thai Travel is a professional travel company in Vietnam with years of experience in the tourism and customer service industry. With a dedicated staff team knowledgeable about the culture, history, and architecture of the churches in Saigon, A Thai Travel can help visitors have a memorable and enjoyable experience.
If you want to visit Catholic church in Saigon, A Thai Travel is the best choice to help you plan an interesting and meaningful trip. We can provide suitable options based on your available time and preferences.
We hope that the list of Saigon Catholic churches shared in this article will help you find the most exciting locations. Let A Thai Travel be your reliable companion on your journey to discover the Catholic churches in Saigon.
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