Located at 2 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, The Hung King Temple was designed by the architect Auguste Delaval and built in 1927-1929. The temple was named as Temple du Souvenir Annamite which means Annamite Temple of remembrance and primarily to honor the memory of at least 12,000 Vietnamese soldiers who fount and died in French armed forces during the World War I of 1914 – 1918.
Temple du Souvenir Annamite was built of masonry around a wooden frame and supported by 12 wooden pillars, each of which represents a sign of the zodiac. It was described as “a place where the great figures of history, the mandarin benefactors of the people, the writers of talent and the dead of the Great War will be combined in a single official cult” by Le Progrès Annamite newspaper on 1st January 1929. Designed in the typical style of tombs of Nguyen Kings in Hue City and pure Annamite style, the temple has dragons flanked the stone steps, three-layered curved roof decorated with dragons and phoenixes, interior decorated with sculptural motifs bringing cranes, unicorns, turtles, phoenixes, and dragons. In the center of the temple was placed a marble stele with names of Le Van Duyet, Phan Thanh Giang, and many more names of Annamites who died in the fight.
In 1955, the temple was renamed National Hung King Ancestor Temple and rededicated to the memory of Hung dynasty – the legendary Vietnamese rulers of the Hong Bang period. After the reunification, the memorial stele was removed. Today, the Hung King Shrine was placed in the center of the temple. A set of eight bronze-tipped weapons, a gong, a drum, two replica Dong Don drums, and a model of the main Hung King Temple in Phu Tho Province in North Vietnam are highlights of the temple.
Every year, on the 10th March of the lunar calendar, the official Hung King Ancestors Festival of Ho Chi Minh City is held solemnly at the National Hung King Ancestor Temple. The festival gives thanks to the Hung dynasty for their contribution to the Vietnamese nation.
Location: 2 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; inside the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden at the same address.
Opening hours of the Hung King Temple: 8:00 – 11:30, 13:30 – 16:30 from Tuesday to Sunday, closed on Monday; Opening hours of the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden: 7:00 – 18:30.
Entrance: because the temple is inside the zoo, you must pay 50,000 VND for the entrance fee at the zoo.