Cho Lon (District 5)
If you want to learn about the cultural diversity in the seemingly monotonous Ho Chi Minh City, visit District 5.
Location & History
Cho Lon was once an entire city that was home to one of the first waves of Chinese settlers in South Vietnam before it was merged with Saigon. The Chinese are the largest and wealthiest ethnic group in Vietnam and are renowned for their excellent trading skills.
The center of Cho Lon area is Cho Lon, which means “big market” in Vietnamese. This is the oldest market in Ho Chi Minh City and the wholesale center of the whole of Vietnam, far ahead of its tourist sister Ben Thanh market in terms of quantity of goods exchanged and revenue. In addition to Cho Lon, many other cultural attractions can give you a glimpse into the cultural life of the Vietnamese of Chinese descent.
Like most Chinatowns in Southeast Asian countries, Cho Lon is resplendent with vibrant lanterns and beautifully decorated shops. Also, the temples should not be overlooked. Nghia A communal house worshiping Quan Cong (Lord Quan), Quang Trieu communal house worshiping Goddess Thean Hock (Mazu) are the two most worthy temples to visit.
For Catholics, Cha Tam Church, named after its founder – Pierre d’Assou, is a must-visit church in this area. The church is a perfect combination of Gothic style and traditional Chinese architecture and is one of the oldest churches in Ho Chi Minh City.
Photo by @ tommy.tcn
Remember to start your day with delicious dimsum on Ha Ton Quyen Street, also known as dimsum because there are many eateries selling this Chinese dish on this street. When coming to Cho Lon, do not forget to absorb some basic knowledge about the spiritual life of the Chinese here. It’s all reflected on the facade of their house!
How to get there
Since District 5 is close to District 1, one can easily follow Tran Hung Dao Street – the main route to enter Cho Lon. You can do this by bus number 1, which stops at Ben Thanh or take a taxi to get there.
Location: Cho Lon, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City
Best for: Families, couples, alone
Hours: All hours
Distance to city center: 8.2km (5.1 mi)