Giac Lam Pagoda, built in 1744, is the oldest Buddhist temple in Ho Chi Minh City and as such was listed as a momentous historical site by the Vietnamese Department of Culture in 1988. Situated in Binh Than District, the pagoda is surrounded by spacious, walled garden and fronted by statues of mythical dragons, the defensive guardians to many temples here. Inside, this opulently decorated shrine is comprised of three areas: the ceremonial hall, the chanting hall and the cafeteria. This large and sprawling establishment houses beautifully rendered images of Buddha in diverse incarnations, along with several Taoist deities, each with own altar. All the wooden pillars are feestoned with red-and-gold Chinese characters.