Want to visit some beautiful Catholic churches in Saigon? Here are a few to add to your list!
I have to say for a country of mostly atheists, Vietnam is home to some of seriously stunning religious structures. The really cool places to visit are the temples, but I’ve found more than one beautiful church while wandering around.
Catholicism is definitely the dominant Christian religion here, though that number is still pretty tiny compared to Buddhists and either atheism or folk belief. It’s been around since the first Spanish and Portuguese missionaries in the 1500s, though it was under French colonialism in the 1800 and 1900s that all of these churches below were built. I’m going to make an educated guess that France’s preference for Catholicism is why it’s practiced more here.
While you can visit all these churches, I think it’s only the Notre Dame Cathedral that offers English services if you actually want to attend mass. Follow the Catholics in Saigon Facebook page for any and all updates!
And without further ado, the most beautiful churches in Saigon!
6 Churches in Saigon that I’ve Visited
1. Huyện Sĩ Church
- Neighborhood: Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1
- Address: 1 Đường Tôn Thất Tùng
- Vietnamese Name: Giáo xứ Chợ Đũi – Nhà thờ Huyện Sỹ
- Other Name: Church of St. Philip the Apostle, Cho Doi Church
Huyện Sĩ Church’s name comes from a wealthy Saigonese man who provided the land for the church’s construction. He was actually the grandfather of the last empress of Vietnam, Empress Nam Phương. Both he and his wife are buried behind the church.
The church itself was built after he passed, between 1902 and 1905, and features a bell tower over 57 meters high. One of its unique aspects is the Ave Maria cave-like structure next to the church.
It’s not quite near the main tourist attractions in District 1. I visited after I met a friend at the nearby cafe, Dabao Concept, and then had about 20-minute walk until I reached Nguyen Hue Walking Street.
2. Jeanne d’Arc Church
- District: Phường 9, Quận 5
- Address: 116A Đường Hùng Vương
- Vietnamese Name: Nhà thờ Thánh Jeanne d’Arc, Nhà thờ Ngã Sáu
- Other Names: Church of St. Joan of Arc, Ngã Sáu Church
Jeanne d’arc Church was built between 1922 and 1928 and sits in a unique spot in District 5 at the center of a 6-way intersection, hence the Vietnamese nickname – Ngã Sáu Church. It also happens to sit on a former graveyard!
While you can’t go into the church, and it’s definitely a bit more worn down than others on this list, it’s still worth stopping by as you explore Cho Lon and District 5!
3. Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon
- Neighborhood: Bến Nghé, District 1
- Address: 01 Công xã Paris
- Vietnamese: Nhà thờ Đức Bà Sài Gòn
- Other Names: Saigon Cathedral, Vương cung thánh đường Chính tòa Đức Bà Sài Gòn, Basilique-Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Saigon, Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception
The most famous on the list! I’d say if you’re visiting Saigon, it’s almost impossible not to see the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Especially as I’m writing this and it’s been under various stages of renovation for the last few years.
Original construction on the church began in 1877 and finished in 1880. The reddish color comes from the bricks of Toulouse and the granite Virgin Mary statue was made in Rome and installed in 1959!
Hopefully by the time you read this post and can visit, they’ve finished with renovations. Otherwise you’re just going to see the church hidden behind a bunch of ugly scaffolding!
4. St. Francis Xavier Church
- District: District 5
- Address: 25 Học Lạc, Phường 14, Quận 5
- Vietnamese Name: Nhà thờ Thánh Phanxicô Xaviê
- Other Names: Nhà thờ Cha Tam, Cha Tam Church
Located in the midsts of Cho Lon, Cha Tam Church was built between 1900 and 1902. Its name comes from Father Francis Xavier Tam Assou or Cha Tam for short, and you can find him buried right next to the entrance.
Architecture-wise, while the church was built in the Gothic style, there’s something distinctly Chinese in the details; for example look for the lotus decorations on the outside!
Another historical fun fact – this is where President Ngo Dinh Diem was arrested from in November 1963.
5. Tân Định Church
- Neighborhood: Phường 8, Quận 3
- Address: 289 Hai Bà Trưng
- Vietnamese Name: Nhà thờ Tân Định
- Other Names: Pink cathedral, Nhà thờ màu hồng, Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, hà thờ Thánh Tâm Chúa Giêsu
Saigon’s bright pink church is actually one of the older ones in the city! It was completed at the end of 1876 but has only had its Pepto Bismal exterior since 1957. Its architecture is more Romanesque with Gothic and Renaissance details.
Tân Định Church’s name comes from the nearby Tân Định ward, and it was initially built under Father Donatien Éveillard. You can find his tombstone at the nave of the church, though I haven’t been able to go inside either times I’ve visited.
Pro tip: Head over to the Cong Caphe across the street to grab a coffee and see the church from its 2nd floor!
4 Churches in Saigon I Still Want to Visit
6. St. Joseph Seminary Chapel
- District: Bến Nghé, Quận 1
- Address: 6 Đ. Tôn Đức Thắng
- Vietnamese Name: Đại Chủng Viện Thánh Giuse Sài Gòn
Actually, funny story – I feel like I’ve walked by the entrance to St. Joseph Seminary once or twice not really knowing what was there or even if I was allowed to go in! Turns out its home to a beautiful chapel with a cream-colored Gothic facade that almost looks like it belongs in a storybook.
The seminary was built in 1863 under Father Theodore Louis Wilbaux though the chapel came later between 1867 and 1871. As you can guess, his tomb sits behind the chapel, though this one rests within a mausoleum. While there you can also visit the Traditional House which is home to around 2,000 antiques both Catholic and simply from Vietnam’s various cultures.
7. Chợ Quán Church
- Neighborhood: Phường 2, Quận 5
- Address: 120 Trần Bình Trọng
- Vietnamese Name: Nhà thờ Chợ Quán
- Other Name: Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Chợ Quán Church is in a bit of a random location in that it’s not quite near the major spots in Cho Lon but it’s also not near anything major in District 1 either. In fact, when I went to look on the map, the closest thing I had marked down was a Korean skincare clinic I’ve gone to for a facial!
Anyway Chợ Quán Church is actually the oldest of all the churches in Ho Chi Minh City, having been established in 1722, though what you see now mainly comes from renovations done in 1896. Like others on this list, it’s a mix of Roman and Gothic architecture styles with its exterior being a sort of light peach color. Apparently its foundations come from people moving out of Hue in Central Vietnam.
8. Fatima Bình Triệu
- District: Hiệp Bình Chánh, Thủ Đức
- Address: 52 Đường số 5
- Vietnamese Name: Nhà thờ Giáo xứ Fatima Bình Triệu
I actually saw Fatima Bình Triệu while on a sunset cruise along the Saigon River. It looks pretty big from the water, and I was intrigued as I hadn’t ever heard of a Catholic church near the water or seen photos of this one in particular!
The church itself is considered a place of pilgrimage for the Virgin Mary, hence the “Fatima.” Its location near Bình Triệu bridge accounts for the other half of its name. It was built between 1982-1966, so it’s fairly young.
And there you have it! Some of the most beautiful churches in Saigon to add to your bucket list while here. Any I’m missing? Let me know below!
For more Vietnam travel, read these posts next:
I’ve been able to explore a lot of this country, so here are all my other guides:
- 50 Vietnam Travel Tips
- How to Plan a Trip to Vietnam
- 22 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Vietnam
- How to Plan the Ultimate Leaving Vietnam Trip
- The Best Things to Do in Hanoi
- Hanoi to Halong Bay: How to Get There
- A Day Cruise Along Halong Bay
- Mu Cang Chai Travel Tips
- A Secluded Sapa Itinerary
- Hiking & Herbal Baths with the Red Dzao in Sapa
- Historical Things to Do in Hue: Ultimate Guide
- Hue in One Day: A Speedy Itinerary
- Azerai La Residence Hue Review: A Luxury Stay
- A Semi-Relaxing Phong Nha Travel Itinerary
- Quirkiest Things to Do in Dalat
- How to Visit Yok Don National Park
- Top Things to Do in Hoi An
- How to Spend 3 Days in Hoi An
- Hoi An Tailors: Tips for What to Get Made
- The Vietage: A Luxury Train in Vietnam
- Anantara Quy Nhon Villas: A Luxury Review
- Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City: A Bucket List
- A Guide to 15B Hem Le Than Thon: Little Japan Saigon
- Where to Go in District 5 & Cho Lon of Saigon
- Best Things to Do in District 1, HCMC
- What to Do in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet
- Anantara Mui Ne: Best Resort for a Girls’ Getaway
- Mekong Delta Day Trip: What to Expect
- A Guide to Vinh Long in the Mekong
- Con Dao: An Island Travel Guide
- Azerai Can Tho: A Luxury Stay in the Mekong
- Odys Boutique Hotel Review: A Chic Mid-Range Stay in HCMC
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