is the Chinese district or a sort of China town in Ho Chi Minh City
or Saigon. In fact it is the largest district of its kind in Vietnam
. It lies at the West bank of the Saigon River, Tran Hung Dao Boulevard, comprising several markets, in which Binh Tay Market is the central one. Today, Cholon has become part and parcel of every itinerary to this significant city and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Saigon to study the daily life of the City population.
Cho Lon literally means "big" (lon) "market" (cho). In 1778, the Hoa (Chinese minority of Vietnam) living in Bien Hoa had to take refuge in what is now Cholon because they were retaliated against by the Tay Son forces for their support of the Nguyen lords. In 1782, they were again massacred by the Tay Son and had to rebuild. They built high embankments against the flows of the river, and called their new settlement Tai-Ngon (meaning "embankment" in Cantonese).Incorporated in 1879 as a city which was 11 kilometers from Saigon; it had expanded and became coterminous with Saigon by the 1930s. On April 27th, 1931, the two cities were merged to form Saigon-Cholon by the French colonial government. By 1956, the name Cholon was dropped from the city name. These days, Cholon attracts a number of tourists, especially those from Mainland China and Taiwan. Aso, it is known as a scenario of Marguerite Duras's autobiographical novel The Lover (1984), where the young French girl fell in love for the first time with her Chinese lover.
Cho Lon in the past
Cho Lon today
Cholon now covers a vast area from the residential quarters in Districts 5 and 10 to the vicinity of Districts 6 & 11. The Hoa people living there still preserve their age-old cultural, architectural, and religious values. The classical beauty of their architectural style finds expressions in rows of tile-roofed houses, which seem to be caught forever in a brownish gray color.
During daylight, Cholon is bustling with buyers and sellers trading goods. Binh Tay Market, one of the most important markets of Ho Chi Minh City, is located inside Cholon. It can be said that nothing is not sold here. Three or four-star hotels, restaurants, including Aquatria, Dong Khanh, Bat Dat, Ngoc Lan Dinh, Soai Kinh Lam, Ai Hue, Thien Hong, and A Dong, the fairly popular names in Sai Gon. Tourists getting around this famous market town mostly can find here anything they may think in mind!
In the evening, Cholon seems to rejuvernate. From distance, one can see neon signs of various sizes, shapes, and colours. Tourists flock into this area not only for purchasing goods but tasting the gastronomy of the Hoa as well.
In this lively area, visitors can enjoy mouth-watering dishes, such as dumplings, Duong Chau fried rice, Tu Xuyen tofu, and so forth.