Saigon Opera House

If you have a chance to go to Ho Chi Minh City, you certainly can’t take your eyes off the elegant architecture of the Saigon Opera House.

Location & History

Photo by @TinNguyen

In the heart of Ho Chi Minh City stands the magnificent Saigon Opera House with the iconic Caryatid statues. This opera house, which perfectly exemplifies the French Colonial architecture, has been used for different purposes, mainly for theatrical productions and classical music concerts. 

It had served as the seat of the Lower House of the former South Vietnamese government before its original function as a music theatre was restored following the North Vietnamese government’s takeover.

Typical French Architecture

Since the theatre is only open for concerts, entries for visiting purposes are currently unavailable. Therefore, most of the time, you can only see its magnificent beauty from the outside, which is more than enough for you to learn about the French Colonial architecture in this Southeast Asian country. 

The architecture of this building bears a resemblance to that of Petit Palais in Paris, with the facades having three doors and the statues of two women following the style of Greek Caryatids of Erechtheion. On top of the building lie two angels honouring the Lyre guitar, which is also a highlight of the building’s facade.

Photo by @Jenny Jimin

Recent Renovation

In order to celebrate the 300th birthday of Saigon, the municipal government invited some of famous architects and artists to restore the house in 1998. Today, renovated with new materials, the theatre is equipped with state-of-the-art electric appliances, lighting and sound systems, and safety equipment. Many original architectural and decorative features have been incorporated, including a stone veranda, white stone statues at the entrance, colourful granite tiled floors, chandeliers, bronze statues in front of the stairs and richly-engraved auditorium arch and wall statues. The Opera House is surrounded by new shopping plazas and posh hotels, which allow you to combine the trip to the Opera House with a shopping tour. 

Arts Performance

Photo by @Duong Nguyen The

Saigon Opera House is also the venue where the À Ố Show, which demonstrates Vietnamese lifestyles with bamboo tools, takes place. If you have time, do not hesitate to buy a ticket to get inside this world-renowned building and immerse yourself in its heavenly atmosphere.

Tips

If you want to take photos with the facade of the building, visit it in the late afternoon (from 15:00 hours to 17:00 hours) as this is the time when the lighting is the best for photos.

Useful Information

  • Location: Saigon Opera House, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
  • Best for: Family, couple, solo
  • Entrance: Free
  • Hours: Varies
  • Distance to city center: 9.5km (5.9 mi)
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