Vanishing Saigon

Sights, stories and secrets from Vietnam’s most dynamic city

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Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown, known as Cholon, which literally translates to “big market.” spans over Districts 5 and 6. Cholon is home to many of the city’s ethnic Chinese, the culture of which is reflected in the shops, restaurants, and pagodas of Cholon.

Initially founded in 1778 as a city separate from Saigon, Cholon was populated by Chinese emigrants. The city officially merged with Saigon in 1931, but maintained its distinct Chinese flavor. Today visitors can sample this flavor by bargaining for souvenirs at the bustling Binh Tay Market, observing the beauty of the area’s ornate pagodas, or just taking a stroll through the vivid streets. Cholon today serves as a reminder of the many layers that make up Vietnamese culture.