Emperor Jade Pagoda (Phuoc Hai)
One of the great things about Saigon is the pleasure of stumbling upon a peaceful pagoda hidden amidst the endlessly evolving urban sprawl. There are several gems in the city, but this is the one that visitors tend to make a priority of visiting. It's not the easiest place to get to – if you are new to the city, piloting a metered taxi here is essential – but it's worth the trip to see one of the city's finest Taoist pagodas. Built in 1909 by the Cantonese Congregation, the temple is filled with statues of divinities and heroes while the pungent smoke of burning joss-sticks fills the air. Other visual treats to look out for are elegant woodcarvings decorated with gilded Chinese characters and a depiction of the Hall of the Ten Hells – carved wooden panels illustrating the torments awaiting evil-doers in each of the Ten Regions of Hell.
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