The Cao Dai Temple at Tây Ninh near Saigon

Temple Cao Dai Tay Ninh

Visit the Cao Dai temple, its decor and masses

If you’re taking a day out from Ho Chi Minh to discover the Cu Chi tunnels, you should visit this magnificent Caodaïste temple in Tây Ninh, 100 km from HCMC.

Temple Cao Dai Tay Ninh

Flickr – dalbera

Visit the temple

The temple is attended by 50,000 devotees in central Vietnam. Like all Cao Dai temples, prayers are held four times a day, at 05:30, 11:30, 17:30 and 23:30. This event (you’re sure to attend the 11.30am-12am prayer) is a real spectacle, watched by hundreds of visitors from the balconies inside the temple, or near the entrance gates.

Temple Cao Dai Tay Ninh

The door on the left leading to the complex is for women, the one on the right is for men. Shoes must be removed before entering. The sanctuary doors are separated in this way for devotees, although priests of both sexes use the central door. Behind the main altar stands an enormous globe with the « divine eye ». Cao Dai, symbol of Caodaism.

Temple Cao Dai Tay Ninh

Flickr – SURF&ROCK (Miguel Navaza)

A sign reading « van Giao Nhat Ly » (all religions have the same reason) hangs from the ceiling opposite the altar. Behind the golden letters is an image of the founders of the world’s five greatest religions. From left to right: Mohammed, Lao Tzu, Jesus, Buddha and Confucius.

Temple Cao Dai Tay Ninh pancarte

Wikimedia – Thomas Schoch

As you pray, you’ll notice that everything is very well organized. Nothing is left to chance.

Temple Cao Dai Tay Ninh Prière

Flickr – theboywiththethorninhisside

Before or after prayer, take a tour of the temple to admire the motifs and architecture. There are also gardens nearby. Don’t forget to take photos.

Entrance to the temple is free, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a donation.

Temple Cao Dai Tay Ninh extérieur

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How do I get to Cao Dai Temple from Saigon?

As with the Cu Chi tunnels, I suggest you go to De Tham Street. Don’t take your tour at your hotel, but rather at one of the agencies on this street in the backpacker district. You can easily visit the Cao Dai temple in the morning, then the Cu Chi tunnels in the afternoon, and come back in the evening for a nice cold beer for less than €0.70.

In terms of budget, the Cao Dai Temple alone will cost you between VND100,000 and 130,000 (approx. €3.50) for the bus + guide from Saigon. If you’re a group of 4 to 6 people, take a cab or private van. It’s cheaper and quicker.

Have you visited the Cao Dai Temple? It’s one of Saigon’s must-see activities!