In every region in Vietnam, markets are considered as a necessary thing for people’s daily life. With Ho Chi Minh city, it has many markets but one of the famous markets is Big Market. Whoever staying in Ho Chi Minh city often pays a visit to this place, a super vast market town where attached directly to a crowded space of Saigon life. Chợ Lớn or Cholon is the name of the largest Chinatown district in Vietnam. It lies at the West bank of the Saigon River, covers a vast area from the residential quarters in Districts 5 and 10 to the vicinity of Districts 6 & 11, comprising several markets, in which Binh Tay Market is the central one. The Hoa people living there still preserve their age-old cultural, architectural, and religious values. The classical beauty of their architectural style finds expressions in rows of tile-roofed houses, which seem to be caught forever in a brownish gray color. Cholon was built by the Hoa (Chinese minority of Vietnam) living in Bien Hoa who had to take refuge in what is now Cholon because they were retaliated against by the Tay Son forces for their support of the Nguyen lords.
Cho Lon Market
During daylight, Cholon is bustling with buyers and sellers trading goods. Binh Tay Market, one of the most important markets of Ho Chi Minh City, is located inside Cholon. It can be said that everything is sold here. Tourists getting around this famous market town mostly can find here anything they may think in mind. In the evening, Cholon seems to rejuvernate. From distance, one can see neon signs of various sizes, shapes, and colours. Tourists flock into this area not only for purchasing goods but tasting the gastronomy of the Hoa as well. In this lively area, visitors can enjoy mouth-watering dishes, such as dumplings, Duong Chau fried rice, Tu Xuyen tofu, and so forth. Today, Cholon has become part and parcel of every itinerary to this significant city and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Saigon. It attracts a number of tourists, especially those from Mainland China and Taiwan. Aso, it is known as a scenario of Marguerite Duras’s autobiographical novel The Lover (1984), where the young French girl fell in love for the first time with her Chinese lover. The majority of tourists are lured by the beauty in here so let’s come and explore.
Located in the center of Cholon (China town) of Ho Chi Minh city, Thien Hau pagoda is a Chinese style temple which is dedicated to Thiên Hậu, the lady of the Sea. It was built by the Cantonese Congregation in 1760 in order to express their gratitude to this Goddess for her protection during their immigration trip to Vietnam by sea. In the main sanctuary, huge circles of incense, some of which are one meter in diameter and can burn for a whole month are hung to people show their sincerity. There are intricate ceramic friezes above the roof line of the inner courtyard while the two land turtles are said to be the protectors of the pagoda. Two miniature wooden structures are used in parading on the 23rd day of the third lunar month are located near the large braziers. On the main dais are 3 figures of Thien Hau, one in front of each other, all flanked by 2 servants or guardians. To the left of the dais is a bed for Thien Hau, to the right, a scaled down boat and the Goddess Long Mau (Protector of Mothers & Newborns). This pagoda always attracts a mix of worshippers and visitors year around.