Giac Vien Pagoda is located on Lac Long Quan Street, District 11, Ho Chi Minh City. In 1798, a monk who was in charge of taking care of the restoration of Giac Lam Pagoda, built a small pavilion for his daily prayers, called Quan Am Cac (Kwan Yin Pavilion). In the third year under king Tu Duc's reign (1850), the pavilion was rebuilt and named Giac Vien Pagoda. When building Dam Sen Tourist Park, the Management Board decided to preserve Giac Vien Pagoda intact and incorporate it into the park, making the park more attractive due to its cultural-historical value.
Built in the Nguyen Dynasty of the 19th century, Giac Vien Pagoda’s architecture is of the ancient time of the southern area with the most typical features. The main shrine also a big hall is the place for worshiping Buddha. To the east and west of the pagoda there are corridors, and a room for the monks to prepare clothing before assisting the Superior Monk. At its rear is a large and spacious compartment. Along the corridors, there are small altars with worshipping items. In particular, there are rows of wooden pillars engraved with parallel sentences. The letters are carved delicately and painted with red lacquer and trimmed with gold. Around them there are decorative designs of leaves and climbing plants. All 153 statues in the pagoda are made of jack wood. The faces and postures of the statues look honest and they are placed low, creating a close feeling between them and the viewers.
The items that attract visitors to Giac Vien Pagoda most are 60 plates made with gold. They are engraved on both sides made of jack wood. The most beautiful plate is engraved with 18 fat, honest and smiling Arhats, with each riding on the back of a buffalo, a cow, a pig, a goat... Some plates are engraved with birds, ducks, fish ... but all looking alive. Other plates are carved with fruits popular in the South, such as coconut, mangos teen, durian, rambutan… These wooden engravings are the only ones that have been kept intact in Vietnam.
Giac Vien Pagoda has been classified by the State as a cultural relic and a mini-museum of wooden engravings of historical and artistic value. For this reason, it attracts a lot of researchers and visitors all year round.