Pagodas, temples and churches - the religious architecture of Saigon

Saigon has always been a city of immigrants. And immigrants brought with them cultures and beliefs that have shaped the modern city. This tour explores Saigon’s history through its religious architecture – the  temples, pagodas, churches that represent the traders, refugees 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.

Spirituality on the streets, 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. Since its founding, Saigon has been a place of commerce and migrants. These two forces shaped the city’s spiritual life too. This tour explores the city’s past through the sacred architecture created over three centuries.

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 Saigon.

The tour takes us to parts of the city that see few tourists.



“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


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.

$65USD per person

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

Travel insurance. You should be holding comprehensive travel insurance.

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