Vietnamese Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh: Location & History

Vietnamese Cao Dai Temple (Toà Thánh Cao Đài in Vietnamese or Vietnam Vatican, Cao Dai Holy See) is the center of Caodaism faithful in Southern Vietnam. It is famous site for a unique architectural style reflecting its blended traditions as well as attracts a lot of visitors exploring the Caodaism, an indigenous Vietnamese religion combining the teachings of Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and others… Located just 100km away from Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnamese Cao Dai Temple is a perfect place for a day tour or combined trip with Cu Chi Tunnels.

  • Location: Phạm Hộ Pháp, Hoà Thành Town, Hoà Thành District, Tây Ninh Province
  • Opening Hours: Always Open for Visiting from outside
  • Entrance Fee: Free of Charge
  • Dress Code: Clothes to Cover Your Knees and Shoulders
  • Mass Schedule: Daily at 6:00 AM, Noon, 6:00 PM and Midnight


  • History of Vietnamese Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh:

Cao Dai Temple (also called Tay Ninh Holy Land) was started to build in 1933 and officially inaugurated in 1955. It is a special religious Complex of Caodaism (Cao Dai Religion), located in Hoa Thanh District, about 4km from Tay Ninh City. In the early 1920s, Caodaism was established in Southern Vietnam by founders Ngô Văn Chiêu, Cao Quỳnh Cư, Phạm Công Tắc, and Cao Hoài. Caodaist believe God spoke to these people to establish a new religion. But it had not been officially codified until 1926. It is the 3rd largest religion in Vietnam mixing elements & beliefs of Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Confucianism, and Islam.


It is currently estimated that there are nearly 3 million followers nationwide, living in 38 provinces and cities, mainly concentrated in the South and some in Central of Vietnam. The symbol of Vietnamese Cao Dai Religion is an eye in a triangle, representing the God. This divine eye is depicted in many places around the temple, especially the main door. God is represented by an eye in a sphere that resembles God seeing over the earth. In addition, the religion also worships Shakyamuni Buddha, Jesus Christ, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Lady Guanyin.

  • Creation Beliefs of Vietnamese Caodaism:

Cao Dai Religion teaches that before God existed, there was Tao. Tao is the unchanging, nameless, formless, immortal source. Then the Big Bang occurred, and out of the Big Bang, God miraculously blessed us with his birth and was poured onto us from the universe (emanationism). The Universe could not be formed so the Yin Yang were created by the Almighty himself.


Like Adam took one of his ribs to create Eve, God took control of yang and a part of himself, thereby creating the Goddess to assemble with yin. Now that the Union was completed, the Universe was formed. The Goddess, Holy Mother, is referred by Caodaiist as Mother Buddha. Cao Dai teaches that there are 36 levels of Heaven, and 72 planets having intelligent life. The first planet is closest to Heaven while number 72 is closest to Hell. Earth is number 68.

  • Architecture of Vietnamese Cao Dai Temple:

The architectural of Vietnamese Cao Dai Temple is itself an attraction. The building is a combination of Neo-Gothic, Baroque and Oriental design and is very ornately decorated including dragon wrapped pillars, seven-headed cobras, and ceilings of blue sky.


There are toally 12 gates to Cao Dai Temple, all of them are decorated with sculptures of four sacred animals of Asian belief and lotus. The main entrance is the biggest in size with the words “Dai Dao Tam Ky Pho Do” in both Vietnamese and Chinese. This main gate is only opened on special occasions to welcome heads of states or leaders of religions.

There are about architectural works around the site connected by wide road. In a spacious courtyard, you will walk around the Buddha statues and lush gardens before reaching the Great Temple – one of the most outstanding buildings. It is 97m long and 22m wide and characterized by three 36m-high towers and two 25m-tall pavilions sheltering steeples and drums.


The Great Temple was built according to the architectural requirements of the Cao Dai Sect. The construction is a harmonious fusion of Asian and European styles, with domes and embellishments exemplifying the spirit of the region. The floor of the temple is divided into 9 levels called “Nine Fairy Levels”. The high domed ceiling is painted sky-blue with fluffy clouds. At the end of the temple is a large sphere, representing the universe with 3,027 stars around and the Divine Eye on it.

  • What to Do & Things to See in Cao Dai Temple?

Beside its unique architecture, watching Caodaism prayer is one of the main highlights when visiting the temple. Most worshippers wear pure white robes while men with the rank of priest and higher have brightly colored robes reflecting their own spiritual allegiance: yellow for Buddhism, blue for Taoism or red for Confucianism. Both the bishops and cardinals have the Divine Eye which is emblazoned on their headpieces. During worship, men are seated on the right and women on the left with all devotees seated in orderly rows.


Ritual prayers are held four times everyday at 6:00 AM, Noon, 6:00 PM and Midnight. For day-trip visitors coming from Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, the ceremony at noon is suitable to see. Female tourists will enter the temple through a door at the base from the left side and then roam around the outside of the colonnaded hall as a clockwise direction. Meanwhile, men will enter from the right side and move around the hall as an anticlockwise direction. During the visit, you can to take pictures of the prayer sessions from the upstairs balcony, but under the instructions of the priests. Remember there are some places you have no permission to take photographs.


In addition, Duc Chi Ton Great Ceremony and Dieu Tri Kim Mau Festivals are two largest annual festivals held in Cao Dai temple on the 9th day of January and the 15th day of August in lunar calendar respectively.  and the full moon day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar are the two biggest festivals of the Cao Dai Temple. The holy land of the South welcomes on these occasions thousands of followers and visitors from every corner of the country coming here to soak up in the festive atmosphere.

  • How to get to Cao Dai Temple from Saigon/Ho Chi Minh?

Cao Dai Temple is located in Hoa Thanh District of Tay Ninh Province, distance about 90km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City and approximately 55km of the Cu Chi Tunnels. You can combine a visit to Cao Dai Temple and Cu Chi Tunnels on a day trip. There are some options to reach to Cao Dai Temple from Ho Chi Minh City on your won. Depending on your interest, you can choose one:

– By Motorbike: For those who are familiar with driving motorbike in Vietnam and don’t want to depend on any schedule, this option is the best. Tourists can hire a motorbike from a shop in Saigon and drive to Cao Dai Temple. It will take you around 2-2.5 hours to reach there.

– By Local Public Bus: If you cannot drive a motorbike but still want to find a budget option, taking a bus is alternative. First, you catch a bus #703 from Ben Thanh Market bus stop to Moc Bai, then catch a bus #05 to Tay Ninh Bus Station. After that, you should take a taxi or motorbike taxi to reach to Cao Dai Temple, about 6km away. It will take you at least 3 hours since you have to get on and get off several buses.

– By Private Car/Grab Taxi or Guided Tour: The most convenient and popular way to get to Cao Dai Temple is to book a tour with a local travel agent who will arrange all services from transfer, local tour guide, entrance fees… for you. You can either visit both Cu Chi Tunnels and Cao Dai Temple in a day or just Cao Dai Temple.

Adventure Journey

See Also:

Vietnamese Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh: Location & History Vietnamese Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh: Location & History

Rate This Place

Best of Vietnam

Best Vietnamese Food You Have to Try in Vietnam

Best Vietnamese Food You Have to Try in Vietnam

Best Food in Vietnam: Vietnamese Traditional Food is top World well known to be both healthy and...

Read More

10 Best National Parks in Vietnam

10 Best National Parks in Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Guide: If you look for the Best Wildlife Discovery Experience in Vietnam, here are...

Read More
Best Souvenir to Buy in Vietnam

Best Souvenir to Buy in Vietnam

If you look for Best Things to Buy when traveling to Vietnam to bring home for your family & friends...

Read More
The 10 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam

The 10 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Guide: Home to an extensive collection of historical and cultural attractions,...

Read More
Top 10 Museums You Should Not Miss in Vietnam

Top 10 Museums You Should Not Miss in Vietnam

Vietnam, 4.000 years old country has a unique and lengthy history, culture with 54 ethnic groups. It...

Read More

Find your trip