Cao Dai Temple - The Ultimate Guide
The Cao Dai Temple, with its vibrant blend of architectural styles and captivating ceremonies, has captivated travelers for decades.
If you want to visit this destination but don't know anything about it yet, don’t worry - we will show you the ultimate guide to Cao Dai Temple!
Overview of Cao Dai Temple
- Address: Pham Ho Phap Street, Long Thanh Bac, Hoa Thanh, Tay Ninh Province.
- Opening hours: Worshipping hours at 06:00 and 18:00 daily
- Ticket price: 110.000 VND per customer (~US $4.6)
The Cao Dai religion formed in Vietnam during the early 1920s. Yet, it was officially codified in 1926. It combines Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Confucianism, becoming Vietnam's third most popular religion.
In 1933, the followers of Cao Dai built the first Holy See temple in Tay Ninh Province to serve as their main place of worship.
However, due to interruption by war during construction, it took them 22 years to complete the temple. The Grand Temple finally stood tall, a beacon of hope and unity.
The Hustling Ambiance At Cao Dai Temple
Despite its sacred status, the temple was bombed and shelled throughout the Indochina Wars. Cao Dai was officially recognized as a religion after the Vietnam War ended, and repairs were allowed by the Vietnamese government.
The Tay Ninh Holy See is still a renowned pilgrimage site and one of Vietnam's most famous Cao Dai temples.
What To See at Cao Dai Temple
The actual size of Cao Dai Temple is 97.5m long and 22m wide. The temple has a vivid, ornate structure with bright colors and symbols after a Christian cathedral.
The unique architectural highlight of this place is that it is built entirely of bamboo-reinforced cement.
Cao Dai Temple Has A Unique Architectural Structure
Cao Dai Temple has 12 Tam Quan gates built in 3 different architectural styles. The main gate is Chanh Mon; the remaining 11 gates are numbered from 1 to 11. Each of them is carved with images of the Four Sacred Spirits.
While you are at the temple complex, take your chance to enjoy these highlights:
Chanh Dien has 18 pillars divided into two sides, carved and decorated with exquisite dragon shapes.
These rows of pillars divide the Cuu Trung Dai area into nine compartments, each 18cm apart. It is the ceremony area for each level of believers.
When the worshiping ceremony takes place, dignitaries and followers will each have a separate position corresponding to their rank in Cao Dai Buddhism.
Chanh Dien Is Decorated With Religious Elements
Above the ceiling is a painted image of stars and clouds symbolizing the heavens.
In the middle of each box is a ventilation box shaped like six dragons fighting each other. These dragons are often mentioned with a sutra: "In the time of the six dragons, traveling is impossible."
The Cosmic Egg is a giant sphere 3.3m in diameter and made of brass.
On the globe's surface are painted 3072 stars, which dedicates the connection between 72 globes and 3000 worlds. In the sphere's center is the Thien Nhan - a symbol of light and wisdom.
The Cosmic Egg Is Considered The Symbol Of The Universe
The Cosmic Egg is a sophisticated work of art that clearly demonstrates the worldwide harmony between different religions and beliefs.
Bagua Tower is built in an equal eight-sided shape. The tower is 12 steps high and is arranged in descending order, symbolizing the path of human practice.
At the top of the tower, 3 Buddha statues are facing three directions and are called Tam Thanh. We’re sure you’ll be overwhelmed by wonderful paintings and statues of Buddha and Saints in the tower.
Bagua Tower Is Vibrant With The Yellow Paint
How to get there from Saigon
With a distance of nearly 100km from Ho Chi Minh City, you can start by reaching the center of Tay Ninh province.
Next, you just need to travel about 5km more to get to Cao Dai Temple.
- Price: 30,000 - 40,000 VND (~ US $1.3 - 1.7)
You can choose bus route 703 to go to Moc Bai, then take bus route 05 from here to go to Tay Ninh.
Although the fare is quite cheap, this method will take you lots of time, from 4 - 5 hours.
- Price: 100,000 - 150,000 VND (~ US $4 - 6)
You can refer to some reputable bus companies to go to Tay Ninh. The coach will take you to the Tay Ninh center.
Then, you can take a bus or taxi to Cao Dai Temple. You will be at the temple within 3 - 4 hours.
Consider The Best Coach Brands Going To The Cao Dai Temple
- Price: 200.000 VND ( ~ US $9)
If you want to enjoy the bustling ambiance while going to Cao Dai Temple, have yourself a motorbike.
You need to spend 3 - 3.5 hours to arrive at the temple. However, if the traffic is unfavorable, the time may be stretched to 4 hours.
Explore Nearby Destinations
Although Cao Dai Temple is a picturesque destination, beyond its walls lies a tapestry of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
If you want to know more about the beauty of Vietnam, check out these ideal places near the temple:
Sun World Ba Den Mountain
- Opening hours: Opens 24/24 daily.
- Distance from Saigon: 100-110 Km from Saigon.
- Address: Ba Den Mountain, Ninh Phu Quarter, Ninh Son Ward, Tay Ninh City.
- Ticket price: From 200.000 to 500.000 VND
Sun World Ba Den Mountain is a stunning resort sprawling across the slopes of Ba Den Mountain.
While here, you can embrace the picturesque landscape and tranquil ambiance on cable cars.
Ba Den Mount
Also, take your time to explore the historical and spiritual significance of the Ba Pagoda complex. It is a spiritual work associated with the religious life of local people.
Cu Chi Tunnels
- Opening hours: From 7:00 to 17:00 daily.
- Distance from Saigon: Approximately 70 Km.
- Address: TL15, Phu Hiep, Cu Chi District, Ho Chi Minh City.
- Ticket price: 70.000 VND per person.
Cu Chi Tunnels is one of Vietnam’s most fascinating and sobering historic sites.
This network spanned over 250 Km and was utilized by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War era as a hiding spot.
Discover The Mysterious Underground Cu Chi Tunnels
If you are here, you must take a guided tour of the tunnels and discover several secret rooms.
Also, don’t forget to learn about the significant history of the tunnels.
Saigon Central Post Office
- Opening hours: From 07:00 to 19:00 daily.
- Address: No. 2 Paris Commune Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
- Ticket price: Free
Built between 1886 - 1891, the Saigon Central Post Office houses both a functioning post office and a fascinating piece of history.
The building boasts a stunning blend of French and Vietnamese architectural styles.
The Vintage Beauty Of Saigon Central Post Office
While at the office, let yourself be immersed in the hustle and bustle of communication in a bygone era.
We suggest you buy a unique postcard depicting the post office as a priceless souvenir.
While visiting Cao Dai Temple, you may get in trouble due to unexpected problems.
Hence, it is important for you to take note of the following local tips for the best experience:
- Dress modestly
You must respect the temple's religious significance by dressing conservatively. We recommend you wear long pants or skirts that cover your knees and avoid revealing tops.
Don’t forget to remove shoes and hats before entering the main hall.
- Visiting time
It is best to be at the temple at noon. You'll be able to observe the intricate rituals and listen to the chanting in Vietnamese and French.
Moreover, you can capture the temple's details and vibrant colors in photos at noon.
- Scam caution
Some may approach you offering "lucky money" or blessings in exchange for a donation - often a ploy to extract money from tourists.
Politely decline and avoid engaging with such individuals.
Cao Dai Temple will always be the top-list destination for anyone who wants to enjoy the religious values of Caodaism. Have yourself a trip to the temple now to embrace the tranquil ambiance seamlessly blended with the prayerful chants.