The religious architecture of Saigon

Temples, pagodas, churches and mosques and the people who built them

The religious architecture of Saigon

The religious architecture of Saigon

Saigon has always been a city of immigrants. Immigrants brought with them cultures and beliefs that have shaped the modern city.

We explore Saigon’s history through its religious architecture – the  temples, pagodas, churches and a mosque. These structures represent the traders, refugees, missionaries and invaders who made the city their home over the centuries.

The tour will take us into areas of the city that see few visitors.

Catholicism in Saigon ©Mark Bowyer

In the grand sweep of Vietnamese history, Saigon is a new city. Nguyen Huu Canh claimed a collection of villages for the Hue based Nguyen clan in 1698. 

We’ll visit Vietnamese and Chinese pagodas, an Indian Tamil temple, a mosque and colonial era church buildings for unique insights into the people and values that built this remarkable city. 


“Duong was an enthusiastic and charming guide. This is not your run of the mill tour. I highly recommend this for anyone wanting to dig a bit deeper, and to traverse 400 years of history through to modern day, thriving Saigon.”  – Haike Manning

“Duong possesses a wealth of knowledge. She communicates this with passion, humbly. I am glad I squeezed this experience into my very short stay in Ho Chi Minh. It’s a well curated walk, where all locations are handpicked.” – Fatih Taskin

“Nhi was so full of knowledge she completely had me engaged throughout the walking tour. Was friendly but at the same time very focused on the task at hand. Told me so much detail that I had to make notes for the future. Over conversation over dinner too was quite stimulating. For anyone who loves history and culture I recommend this tour as a must do when they come to Saigon city. It was a pleasure to have known Saigon through Nhi and well done The Old Compass.” – Janice Goveas

Streetside altar, Saigon
Spiritual practices on street corners in Saigon. © Mark Bowyer



You’re a curious, active traveller interested in exploring Saigon through the city’s religious architecture. You’ll need to be mobile – but we move at a casual speed. Expect to be on your feet for 3 – 4 hours with some breaks.


We walk between some of the places we visit. For longer distances we travel by taxi or minivan (included).  The tour commences at 8.30AM at The Old Compass Cafe in the heart of Saigon where we begin with a briefing. We conclude at around 12PM in District 1.


Comfortable walking shoes, hat, sunscreen.


$260US 1 – 4 travellers. This is a private tour.


Expert guide, drinks, tablet presentation, morning coffee  / refreshments at Old Compass Cafe briefing, entrance fees, transport (taxi or minivan).


You should be holding comprehensive travel insurance.

Tour Brief

  • Private tour operates by request
  • $260US per group (1 – 4 travellers)
  • Mix of walking and transport to religious sites around Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).