Trip Planner:   Asia  /  Vietnam  /  Ho Chi Minh City  /  Historic Sites  /  Phuoc Hai Temple Jade Emperor Pagoda

Phuoc Hai Temple Jade Emperor Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh City

(800+ reviews on the web)
Religious Site
Stop by Phuoc Hai Temple Jade Emperor Pagoda, a colorful temple honoring the supreme Taoist god. Built by the Chinese community in 1909, the temple features a large statue of the God of Heavens, with two assistants seated in the central hall taking numerous offerings. Light a candle or burn incense, and observe worshippers reading sutras and socializing in the tropical garden outside the pagoda. Visit the central pond to see the many resident tortoises, which you can feed. Famous for its intensely colored life-size figurines--considered among the finest in the city--the temple serves as a vital and popular religious center. Arrange to visit Phuoc Hai Temple Jade Emperor Pagoda and other attractions in Ho Chi Minh City using our Ho Chi Minh City vacation route planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Visited this site as one of my most desired attractions in HCMC. Found a stuffy, hot, dirty place with little atmosphere. Many rooms containing relics double as storage rooms for junk, and a thick lay...  more »
  • I think this was built in the 17th century, very good insight in how they used to live back then, great photos  more »
  • I really enjoyed the landscapings of Emperor Jade Pagoda visited about 18days ago. I like the very old bonsai trees grown in the larger ports. I could see, Very nicely maintained gardens. Some of the ...  more »
Google
  • Even though the local populace might be loath to admit it, this Vietnamese Pagoda has much of a Chinese feel to it. The three large smoldering joss sticks, positioned a few meters directly in front of the main entrance, reinforce this assessment. The interior is also a bit of a surprise. In keeping with the Buddhist following of the country, I was expecting to see an array of the Buddha’s images. Instead there was an odd mix of historical figurines and effigies adorning the walls and alcoves. This, as I’ve come to find in my travels throughout the region, is not entirely unexpected. As with Thailand, Laos and Cambodia Buddhism, in Vietnam, is infused with local folk religions. The figurines and effigies staring down at me from the walls were, no doubt, revered ancestors and saintly figures from the historical past. My assessment of the pagoda’s interior is confirmed when a local lady asks me “are you here for good luck for having a baby.” The temple, as I’d already guessed, has a lot to do with fertility rites. I’m further informed “many foreigners come here for good luck for having a baby.” In this regard this temple, for the locals, is an eclectic mix of a spirit house and religious site for worship. I am told that spirits, in Asia at least, are nothing to be feared. Unlike the West, and its interpretation of ghost’s, spirits here are generally viewed as a source of good. More merit makers arrive to pay homage to the ancestral spirits. The routine is always the same. After igniting a bundle of incense sticks the worshiper moves in front of his, or her, preferred deity for the day. The bundle of smoldering sticks is clasped between upturned palms and held high to the forehead. In a standing position prayers, or incantations, are spoken softly between forward bends in the direction of the deity. After a minimum of three forward bends (bows) the worshiper then plants the burning incense sticks in the large earthen ware pot set up to receive all the smoldering offerings. The turtle, or tortoise, is held high regard in Vietnam; it is a symbol of longevity. It may also be considered a symbol of virility due to its longevity. For this reason alone turtles, and tortoises, are a revered and protected animal in Vietnam. Paying homage to the turtle spirits, and any beings associated with them, will hopefully bring good fortune to those planning to have a family. More visitors arrive and light up fresh bundles of joss sticks to continue the ritual. After getting plenty of good shots inside the temple it was time to focus my attention back outside. When I arrived I noticed a large pond on the right hand side of the grounds. A quick peek over the edge revealed a swarm of small turtles flapping about on the dry bottom. I was intrigued to see what the story was. I stepped back outside and made my way across to the pond perimeter wall. The cement wall is approx. one meter high above ground level and the bottom of the pond is approximately two meters below. I look over and see the swarm of small turtles still flapping away. This time however, there’s also a man with a garden hose, squatting nearby, giving them a relieving spray of cool water in the midday heat. I’m at a loss as to why there should be mass of small turtles at the bottom of a dry pond. Even stranger is the white lettering that’s on the backs of many of them.
  • Interesting to look at. There are some greatly detailed word work. This place had many people coming to pray. It's a bit smokey with all the incense burning. This place isn't very big so plan to only be here for 15 minutes unless you going to pray.
  • Very historic and beautiful architecture. Also a small pond with a large amount of turtles... A peaceful, shady place to relax or reflect. If Incense bothers your don't even think about going
  • Heavy on the incense and great scary sculptures. Turtles were cute too
  • Nothing at all like BioWare's classic 2005 multi-award-winning action-RPG Jade Empire. Unless you enjoy not being able to step into the role of an aspiring martial-arts master and following the path of the open palm or the closed fist, don't waste your time with this pretender to the throne. I'd personally much rather be at home playing Jade Empire than be here.

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