Guidebook District 5 (Cho Lon)


District 5 (Cho Lon)

“Chaotic, energetic, Chinese-influenced,” Cho Lon literally means “Big Market”, explains Silver Kris. Consisting of the western half of District 5 and several District 6 neighbourhoods, “you’ll see signboards with Vietnamese script giving way to brightly-coloured Chinese characters, traditional medicine shops and ornate pagodas.”Go on a shopping trek to Binh Tay Market, the country's largest, and “make sure to bring your camera as there are many distinctive temples in the area,” advises City Pass Guide.

“Every city worth its salt has a Chinatown,” says Saigon for 91 Days, “but the award for World’s Largest Chinatown (at least in terms of area)” goes to Cholon. “This district was actually its own city for a long time, until eventually being swallowed up by its bigger neighbor to the east … today, there are nearly a million Chinese-speaking people in the country, and it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that they’re all crammed into this one district.” The first wave of Chinese immigrants arrived in the late 17th century, with additional waves throughout the centuries, says Travelfish, and “they were powerful players in Saigon’s world of trade right up until the end of the Vietnam War.” When Chinese refugees came here over 200 years ago, “not only did they bring their delicious cuisine, but they also brought with them their traditions, culture, and etiquette,” explains Christina’s.

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