The Central Mosque was built in year 1935 by South Indian Muslim traders who were residing in Ho Chi Minh City at the time. The mosque is considered one of the most beautiful structures in the city and stands at the site of a much older mosque. It is one of the 12 mosques found in Saigon City and is immaculately clean and well-kept amidst the bustling Dong Khoi area.
The mosque is built in a traditional Muslim fashion that contains a main minaret, four eye-catching minarets, a large courtyard and two separate verandas. Its blue and white color never fails to get noticed by passers-by as the striking mosque stands amidst the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh. Since the verandas are shaded, the stone floors make it the perfect place to read, sit or pray. Located in front of the sparkling structure is a pool for the ritual ablutions that are required by Islamic laws before prayers. Today, Muslims from as far as Pakistan come to the Central Mosque to pay their respects and pray. Prayers are held here five times each day.
When visiting the Central Mosque, one important tip to know is that you need to take your shoes off before entering the structure. Make sure to dress conservatively and decently as doing otherwise will be highly rude and offensive in such sacred places. As tourists, an underlying respect should always be maintained for such sanctified structures.
After visiting the mosque, make sure to have a taste of halal food, which is readily available right outside the mosque. Halal foods are foods that are permitted or lawful to eat under Islamic dietary guidelines. Basically, Halal foods are ones that are made (in the case of meat dishes) using only the most humane methods of “harvesting” meat from animals as Muslims believe that animals should be treated with respect. Oftentimes, bread and biscuits are found being sold right outside the mosque. Just across the street, a famous halal restaurant that serves Vietnamese halal food can be found. For a unique and exciting experience, make sure to stop by the restaurant.
The Saigon mosque is located along Dong Du Street of Quan 1 in Ho Chi Minh City. Follow the Le Loi Avenue and make a right turn at the Dong Khoi Street. The mosque is about a kilometer north of the famous Ben Thanh Market and is situated near the Sheraton Hotel. The mosque is open during weekdays from 7 to 11 in the morning and 1:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon. It usually gets crowded during Fridays when several dozen worshippers who are mostly non-Indian Muslims are present, so make sure to avoid visiting on such days. There is no entrance fee required to get in.
Aside from being a place of sanctuary, the Central Mosque opens its doors to be a tourist attraction for many travelers curious about the remarkable structure. Although the Muslims in Vietnam are quite low in number, the grandeur of the mosques makes up for the small worshipping population. The Central Mosque is a very peaceful place that Vietnam tourists can visit to know and understand the Muslim culture of the country of Vietnam.