Saigon travel

Area: 2,098.7 sq. km

Population: 6,105.8 thousand habitants

Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Hoa, Khmer, Cham…

Districts: District 1, District 2, District 3, District 4, District 5, District 6, District 7, District 8, District 9, District 10, District 11, District 12, Tan Binh, Binh Thanh, Phu Nhuan, Thu Duc, Go Vap, Binh Tan,Tan Phu.

Rural districts: Nha Be, Can Gio, Hoc Mon, Cu Chi, Binh Chanh.

Geography

In the core of the Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is second the most important in Vietnam after Hanoi. It is not only a commercial center but also a scientific, technological, industrial and tourist center. The city is bathed by many rivers, arroyos and canals, the biggest river being the Saigon River. The Port of Saigon, established in 1862, is accessible to ships weighing up to 30,000 tons, a rare advantage for an inland river port.

Climate: The climate is generally hot and humid. There are two distinctive seasons: the rainy season, from May to November, and the dry season, from December to April. The annual average temperature is 27ºC. The hottest month is April and the lowest is December. It is warm all year.

Tourism

Today, Ho Chi Minh City is the big tourism center in Vietnam, attracting a large of visitors to Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City has various attractions as Ho Chi Minh Museum, formerly known as Dragon House Wharf, Cu Chi Tunnels, system of museums, theatres, cultural houses… Recently, many tourist areas are invested such as Thanh Da, Binh Quoi Village, Dam Sen Park, Saigon Water Park, Suoi Tien, Ky Hoa…, which draw numerous tourists

Despite its quite recent past, Ho Chi Minh City nevertheless possesses various beautiful buildings, displaying a characteristic combination of Vietnamese, Chinese and European cultures. These include Nha Rong (Dragon House Wharf), Quoc To Temple (National Ancestors Temple), Xa Tay (Municipal Office), Ho Chi Minh Municipal Theatre as well as many pagodas and churches (Vinh Nghiem, Giac Vien, Giac Lam, Phung Son pagodas…). After more than 300 years of development, Ho Chi Minh City presents many ancient architectural constructions, famous vestiges and renowned sights. It is remarkable for its harmonious blending of traditional national values with northern and western cultural features.

 

Festivals

Ky Yen Festival at Binh Dong Communal House

Time: From the 10th to the 14th day of the second lunar month.

Location: Ward 7, District 8, Ho Chi Minh City.

Objects of worship: Masters of vocational training in the hamlet.

Activities: Worshiping ceremony of the ancestor of the work and long for peace ceremony.

Binh Dong Communal House lies on the bank of Ba Tang canal which is one of the two communal houses with the biggest of visitors in the city. The Ky Yen Festival includes: ceremony of worshipping the inventors, memorize the masters of vocational training in the hamlet; ceremony of reciting the Buddhist scriptures for long peace, ceremonies of worshipping god, tien hien, hau hien (sages of former time), who are generations reclain virgin soil, set up the hamlet and built welfare constructions for the hamlet. Boi (tuong) singing for worshipping god.

Ky Yen Festival at Truong Tho Communal House

Time: the 17th day of the second lunar month.

Location: Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City.

Objects of worship: The village’s tutelary god, tien hien, hau hien(sages of former time).

Activities: The offering must be a living pig. There is no boi (tuong) singing as many other communal houses in the South, because taboo with genies.

Ong Dia Temple Festival

Time: The 2nd day of the second lunar month.

Location: 125 Le Loi Street, Ward 3, Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City.

Objects of worship: Genie of the earth Phuc Duc Chinh Than and many other popular genies.

Activities: Bong roi singing, tuong (classical drama) performance.

Ong Dia Temple was built early in the 19th century, honoured in 1852 by King Tu Duc. Every year, the festival is held on the 2nd day of the second lunar month, that is the birth anniversary of the Earth genie Phuc Duc Chinh Than. This festival represents for temple festivals in Ho Chi Minh City and Southern part with the beginning ceremony “giong trong khai trang” beating drum), then followed “moi trau” rite by singing of bong roi, which invites deities to attend the ceremony. A comedy classical drama called “Dia Nang” is performed. Two characters Ong Dia (a genie of the earth) and Nang Tien (a fairy), put together a criticism of the wrong doings of the feudal regime. The festival then concludes with a distribution of gifts.

After that, traditional artists perform dances of mam vang (golden tray), mam bac (silver tray) and do choi (toy game). At the end of the festival is the ceremony of giving gifts.

The death anniversary of the founder of jewelry

Time: The 7th to the 9th day of the second lunar month.

Location: Le Chau Congregation, 586 Tran Hung Dao, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.

Objects of worship: The founder of jewelry.

Activities: Ancestor’s death anniversary.

The festival includes two rites: the sacrifices – offering ceremony to the ancestor on two first days, and the ceremony of sacrifices – offering to the tien hien, hau hien (sages of former time) on the last day. On the evening of the 7th day, a performance of cai luong (reformed Theatre) is performed by artists and goldsmiths. During the festival, goldsmiths from Ho Chi Minh City and Southern provinces gather to worship ancestor, exchange experiences as well as help each other to develop jewelery trades of the ancestral. Those who could not attend the anniversary may make offering to the ancestors at home, but only after the ancestor’s death anniversary that held in Le Chau Congregation.

Ba Thien Hau Pagoda Festival ( Ho Chi Minh City)

Time: The 23rd day of the third lunar month.

Location: 710 Nguyen Trai Street, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.

Objects of worship: Lady Thien Hau.

Activities: The via Ba (her birthday anniversary) ceremony is hold at Thien Hau Pagoda, which is one of the oldest pagodas of the Chinese in Cho Lon. Many Chinese people come to the festival, they make two effigies of Ong Thien (Good God) and Ong Ac (Evil God) with 3m long. At the end of the festival, the effigies are burned for worshipping.

Phan Cong Hon Temple Festival

Time: The 25th day of the second lunar month.

Location: Ba Diem Commune, Hoc Mon District, Ho Chi Minh City.

Objects of worship: Phan Cong Hon who led the people of 18 hamlets of Betel Garden in an attack on the residence of District Chief in 1885.

Activities: The death anniversary is held resembling the genie worshipping ceremony.

Every year, on the 25th day of the second lunar month, his kinship and the villagers of Ba Diem Commune organize the anniversary of his death at the temple as the genie worshipping ceremony. There are many people attend the festival to commemorate the hero who sacrificed his life to help the villagers escape from repression and arresting, bring honor to the tradition of 18 hamlets of Betel Garden.

Ong Pagoda Festival

Time: The 24th day of the sixth lunar month.

Location: 676 – 678 Nguyen Trai Street, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.

Objects of worship: Quan Cong and many other Chinese gods.

Activities: Incense offering ceremony, statue-washing ceremony, unicorn dance, boi singing

Le Van Duyet Tomb Festival

Time: From the 30th day of the seventh lunar month to the 1st day of the eighth lunar month.

Location: Le Van Duyet Tomb, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City.

Objects of worship: Ta quan Le Van Duyet.

Activities: Cau yen ceremony, performance of many people.

Ong Bon Pagoda Festival

Time: 15th day of the eighth lunar month.

Location: Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City.

Objects of worship: Ong Bon, Quan Cong, Quan The Am, Ba Chua Sanh.

Activities: Incense-offering ceremony.

Welcoming the Lord Whale Festival

Time: From the 15th to the 17th day of the eighth lunar month.

Location: Mausoleum of the Water General, Hung Thanh Hamlet, Can Thanh Commune, Can Gio District, Ho Chi Minh City.

Objects of worship: Ong Fish (The Whale).

Activities: The cult of the whale of the fishermen in the coastal areas. Traditional ritual of procession and sacrifice offering.

The festival of welcoming the Lord Whale or the cult of the Lord Whale is popular in many coastal localities from Ngang Pass to Ha Tien, Phu Quoc Island. This constitutes one of the biggest festivals of the fishermen. Different names are given to this festival: the procession of the Whale’s skeleton, the ceremony of praying for fish, the sacrifice offering ceremony dedicated to the Whale, the festival of welcoming the Whale and so on. However it is believed that the Whale is holy sea creatures, the saviour of fishermen and those living in the sea in general. This traditional popular belief has been handed down from generation to generation of fishermen in many localities.

The tomb of the Water General, who King Tu Duc conferred the title of Nam Hai Tuong Quan (The General of the Sea), is the venue for the annual ceremony of the fishermen in Can Gio in remembrance of the Whale.

On the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, many cultural activities take Location, stirring up the festive atmosphere.

At about 10 a.m. in the morning of the 16th day of the eighth lunar month, village dignitaries in traditional outfits carry out the procession of the palanquin of Nam Hai Tuong Quan to the sea. The fleet of dragon boats sets out at the Can Gio Wharf in Vung Tau. The fishermen and other people burn incense and present offerings in welcoming the fleet along its way to the sea. The dragon boat welcoming the Water General is accompanied by hundreds of boats of various sizes and decoration. An altar and a tray of offerings are put in the front of the dragon boat. It takes about two hours for the fleet to come back to the departure point. Then a procession of the Water General to his tomb is held. A group of lion and dragon dancers perform to welcome the procession.

The procession follows solemn rites in accordance with traditional rituals. Other cultural and artistic activities also take Location inside and outside the Water General’s tomb, even until late into the night.

From 8 a.m to 10 p.m on the 17th day of the eighth lunar month, a ceremony of reading the royal order of promotion of the Water General is held. This ceremony also features religious singing. This ritual also puts an end to the festival.

The festival in the tomb of the Water General is inspired with the sincere wishes of the fishermen for safety in service of their business and their gratitude and honor of the Holy Whale.

Transportation

Ho Chi Minh City is the main junction for trains, roads, water, and air transportation systems for domestic trips and for foreign destination.

Roads: Ho Chi Minh City is 1,730km from Hanoi, 99km from Tay Ninh, 30km from Bien Hoa (Dong Nai), 70km from My Tho, 125km from Vung Tau, 168km from Can Tho, 308km from Dalat, and 375km from Buon Ma Thuot. The City has National Highway 13 which connects Vietnam with the rest of Indochina.

– Train: Thong Nhat express train connects Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, vie many provinces in Vietnam.

– Air: Tan Son Nhat International Airport, 7km from center of city, is the biggest airport with many domestic and international routes. There are flights from Hanoi and Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City and between the City to many regions as well a lot of countries on over the world

 

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