General information about Viet Nam Quoc Tu Pagoda
Location: 244 Ba Thang Hai Street, Ward 12, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City. It is situated at the corner of Le Hong Phong and Ba Thang Hai Streets. CLICK HERE to see the location of the pagoda on Google Maps. Viet Nam Quoc Tu Pagoda is 3.5 km from Ben Thanh Market so visitors can reach it easily from central districts of the city.
Opening hours of Main Hall: 7:30 – 11:00; 15:00 – 19:30 daily | On special days including 1st, 14th, 15th, 29th, 30th of each month in the lunar calendar: 7:00 – 11:30; 13:30 – 22:00.
Rules and regulations:
- Simple clothes, top with sleeves; no short skirts, pants, trousers, shorts, skin-tight clothes.
- No photo, incenses and candles in Main Hall.
- Walk slightly, be quiet and solemn.
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1963 – 1975
After the 1963 South Vietnamese Coup when President Ngo Dinh Diem was deposed by Army of the Republic of Vietnam officers, the Unified Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam was founded. The new government of the Republic of Vietnam leased a 4-ha land to the Buddhist Sangha for 99 years, the rental price was only VND 1.
The foundation stone-laying ceremony was held on 26th April 1964 at 8:00 AM. The pagoda was designed by the famous architect Ngo Viet Thu, who also design the Independence Palace. They planned to build a seven-story stupa with upward curved roofs and delicate carved decors and buildings in Vietnamese traditional styles and harmony with nature on a 45,000 m land. However, only the constructions of the stupa and rooms for monks were started but has not completed.
In 1967, the Phuong Nam Institute of Buddhism was established. Quach Thi Trang Orphanage was founded after that.
After the Independence Day, the new government got back a large majority of the land. The total area of the pagoda remains 3,000 m2. The government built an amusement center and Hoa Binh Theater on the pagoda grounds between 1975 and 1985.
In 1988, Buddhist monk Tu Nhon sent a form to the government and ask for the own of the remaining land around the stupa. On 28th February 1993, the government agreed to give him the 3,712 m2 land and the original stupa.
In 1993, the pagoda was restored and more items were completed.
On 31st October 2015, Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam called to prayer and cast a statue of Buddha which is 7.5 m high and 35 tons weigh. The statue is the biggest bronze statue in Vietnam, it is placed in the Main Hall now.
On 12th October 2014, the construction of the new pagoda was started. On 7th November 2017, the Viet Nam Quoc Tu was inaugurated solemnly. The cost of the construction and restoration was VND 250 billion. The restoration of the Main Hall costs VND 180 billion. Ho Chi Minh City acquired the land with a total area of 7,200 m2 for the purpose of pagoda’s construction projects. Until the end of 2019, the land area of the pagoda is 11,000 m2.
The 13-story stupa with a height of 63 m was started to built on 3rd August 2015 and was completed at the end of 2018. The 8,000 m3 basement used as a parking lot for visitors, the ground floor functioning as a hall, the second floor functioning as offices were completed.
Viet Nam Quoc Tu Pagoda is the headquarters of the Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam (the former headquarters was Xa Loi Pagoda).
On 23rd May 2019, Bodhisattva Thich Quang Duc’s relics, including bones and unburnt heart and set of Phap Hoa prayer books attaching his secret journey were moved from Quan Am Pagoda to Vietnamese National Pagoda.
Red, gold, white, grey and yellow colors dominate the pagoda.
Vietnamese National Pagoda has two gates, the main gate is on Ba Thang Hai Street, the side gate is on Le Hong Phong Street. The main gate is bigger and more beautiful then the other. Similar to most of the pagodas in Vietnam, the main gate has three entrances and 4 pillars. On top of the far left and right pillars are two lion statues as two mighty guards protecting the entrances to the pagoda. The red signboard on which written the name of VIỆT NAM QUỐC TỰ is hung on the middle entrance. On the 4 stone pillars were 4 sentences:
- “Mở Cửa Từ Bi Đón Tiếp Mười Phương Du Khách”
- “Hộ Quốc An Dân Mang Lại Văn Minh Toàn Đất Việt”
- “Tốt Đời Đẹp Đạo Tiến Lên Phong Phú Khắp Trời Nam”
- “Bước Lên Bảo Tháp Thiêng Liêng Thắng Cảnh Quy Y”
Three red curved roofs are decorated with red dragon and phoenix ornaments at the eaves and on the top. There is a yellow dharma wheel on the top of the middle roof. The gates are painted golden and has countless lotus flowers.
One of the highlights of Viet Nam Quoc Tu Pagoda is the 13-story stupa with a height of 63 m. The cross section of the stupa has a square shape, all the roofs are red-brown, curved upward and decorated with phoenix ornaments. The floors have yellow painted walls and many windows. On the top of the stupa is installed a 6-ton bronze stupa cast in bronze casting village in Y Yen District, Nam Dinh Province.
The stupa has 13 floors because it was built to memorize the protest held by Vietnamese Buddhists and monks against religious inequality in 1963. The 13-story stupa represents the union of 13 Buddhist organizations, societies, branches participating in the protest in 1963.
Kuan Yin Statue
A standing Kuan Yin Statue is placed on a pedestal in a lotus flower shape. Visitors must walk up a granite staircase to the top of the high and wide station with lotus petals in order to pray to Kuan Yin.
The main building is very spacious, faces the main gate. Looking from the main gate, the building has 3 floors, looking from the side gate, it has up to 4 or 5 floors. All the roofs are in red color, curved upward and decorated with delicate dragon and phoenix ornaments.
The most important is the Main Hall where Buddha and ancestors are worshiped. The Main Hall has a total area of more than 2,000 m2 and a capacity for 1,500 people. As mentioned above, the bronze Buddha Statue in the Main Hall is Vietnam’s biggest bronze statue, it was made right at the current place by sculptors and workers from Y Yen District, Nam Dinh Province. The Buddha statue, including the lotus, is 7.5 m and 35 tons weigh. It is placed in front of a carved wooden panel with cloud pattern. In front of the huge statue are 7 wooden statues of Buddha posture. Besides the statues of Buddha, the pair of candles with a diameter of 40 cm and delicate dragon decorations impresses visitors. On two sides of the hall are worshiped 18 Arahats, on the corridor of the main hall there are two Vajrapani. The splendid ceiling is a perfect mix of golden lotus flowers and modern lighting system.
On the yard in front of the Main Hall there are two steeples where to hang a bell and place a drum. Made in a traditional bell making village in Thua Thien – Hue Province, the bell is 2.9 m high, 1.6 m wide and 3 tons weigh. It is decorated with lots of Vietnamese traditional and Buddhist patterns including lotus petals and the text “Việt Nam Quốc Tự”. The wooden pillars and roof frames blends perfectly with the wrought iron fence with golden lotus flowers, buds and leaves.
Drum and bell
Main Hall and Buddha statues
Reception Room, Hall, Office
It has a 730 m2 hall with a capacity for 1,000 people on the ground floor. The corridor has a capacity for 3,000 people. The reception room is also located on the ground floor.
Vegetarian restaurants and street vendors outside Viet Nam Quoc Tu Pagoda
Many good Vegetarian restaurants around Viet Nam Quoc Tu Pagoda includes:
Buffet Lau Chay; Location: 727 Le Hong Phong, Ward 12, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City, Opening hours: 11:00 – 14:00 | 17:00 – 21:00; Prices: VND 149.000 – 179.000.
Huong Dao Vegetarian Restaurant; Location: 715 Le Hong Phong, Ward 12, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City, Opening hours: 9:00 – 22:00; Prices: VND 30.000 – 80.000.
Vajra Vegetarian Restaurant; Location: 711 Le Hong Phong, Ward 12, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City, Opening hours: 07:00 – 23:00; Prices: VND 25.000 – 150.000.
On the ground floor of Vajra Vegetarian Restaurant, they sells Buddhist cultural products, meditation tools and souvenirs. On Le Hong Phong Street, visitors can find not only vegetarian restaurants but also vendors selling birds for releasing.
Some of the reviews about the pagoda
The Quoc Tu Pagoda is a located in District 10, next to a kids amusement park. The park is called “Ho Ky Hoa” or “Lake and Gardens” Park. There you will find lakes where you can sail on boats and fish. There is also a small swimming pool open to the public. The Quoc Tu Pagoda is quite a wonderful sight. Its huge tower impressed me. Inside the temple you will find the typical Buddhist statues and an altar. Remember that you have to use proper clothes to visit the Pagodas. You also have to remove your shoes (and your cap), to get in the temples. To get here you should hire a taxi — a moto-taxi, if you are traveling alone.
This is typical of many of the pagodas found throughout the area. It’s several stories high, has the usual statues of Buddha inside, and the odor of incense is heavy. People are usually coming and going, praying and lighting the incense sticks. Another typical trademark of these pagodas are the vendors and beggars outside but are not that persistent if one declines to buy or give something.
This pagoda stays on 3/2 street. It is rather near the center of the city. It is smaller than Vinh Nghiem Pagoda but I prefer it. This pagoda is especially cool at night with many lights. I think it is one of the most beautiful pagodas of Ho Chi Minh City. But you should come at night.
Worth a visit
This relatively new (built in 1963) pagoda is easily spotted when cruising down the busy street of 3 Thang 2. It’s also a shame to miss, as the pagoda is full of colorful, oversized statues of religious figures which make for some fun viewing. If you’re lucky enough to be around on the first of fifteenth of the month, the pagoda opens up the third and seventh floors of the pagoda. That is if you’re feeling up to the climb… Visitors who are less inclined to hike and/or are not visiting on those days are still invited to hike up to the second floor to visit a stunning and dreamlike shrine made up of countless miniature Buddhas floating against a cloudy sky mural.
The main complex of the pagoda spans seven stories, with the first two open to the public. Visitors are given access to view the beautiful Buddha statue that is the centrepiece of the pagoda and allowed to walk the grounds. Although the outside area is usually dominated by street peddlers, as the temple is situated next to a children’s amusement park, the interior is quite clean and the surrounding gardens and lakes make this one of the better pagodas in the city for those looking for a relaxing stroll.
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