HCM City,cemeteries
About 7.5ha of land in Da Phuoc Cemetery in Binh Chanh District are covered in graves. Photo courtesy of nld.com.vn

“My son died from cancer in January 2021. Burial costs were too high and it was not easy to find a cemetery in HCM City. So I decided to cremate. Since six temples nearby my house refused to store my son’s ashes, we had to go to District 8 to do so,” Nguyen Mot, a resident of Hiep Binh Chanh Ward in Thu Duc City told Người Lao Động (The Labourer) newspaper.

Phoi Ngoc Thanh, owner of Cong Tho Phuc’s funeral service in District 5, said that Binh Hung Hoa Cemetery in Binh Tan District was once the largest cemetery in HCM City with a scale of more than 100,000 graves. However, it has temporarily stopped burials as authorities are carrying out relocation and clearance of some graves.

Da Phuoc Cemetery in Binh Chanh District is currently considered the largest cemetery in HCM City at 67 hectares wide. Existing graves cover 7.5 hectares of the area.

“Compared to private cemeteries with land plots and construction services priced at VND350 million to 2.5 billion per grave, Da Phuoc Cemetery offers a much lower price point. But it is still considered high compared to locals’ average income,” Thanh said.

“Specifically, the land price here ranges from VND5 to 10 million per square metre and the total cost after installing ceramic tiles and granite is VND50 to 100 million per grave. From the seventh year onwards, locals have to pay a maintenance fee of VND350,000 per year,” he added.

“With that, most people choose to bury their loved ones in cemeteries in neighbouring provinces such as Thuan An City in Binh Duong Province, Long Thanh District in Dong Nai Province and Can Giuoc District in Long An Province, among other places to save costs. The lower cost is about VND50 million,” Thanh said.

More than half of Thanh’s clients who have hired funeral services from his facility have burial needs, while the rest have chosen cremation. The cremation process is challenging as many temples do not have places to worship the ashes.

The largest place to store ashes in HCM City is Long Tho Tower Cremation Park in Cu Chi District. The cost of storing ashes is VND500,000 to tens of millions of dong, depending on the storage time and location of the ashes. Every year, there are additional costs of cleaning, checking and sending images or videos to relatives. 

 

Some private cemeteries in District 12, Thu Duc City and Binh Chanh District charge VND5 to 80 million per 10 years per urn.

According to the HCM City Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the city currently does not allow burial in residential areas. Private cemeteries are small, with few burials allowed.  

30-hectare cemetery in Can Gio District

The HCM City Department of Planning and Architecture recently sent the city People’s Committee a planning roadmap for a 30-hectare cemetery in Binh Loi Hamlet in Binh Khanh Commune in Can Gio District. 

Can Gio District currently has two cemeteries in Long Hoa and Binh Khanh communes. Long Hoa Cemetery has been closed for about five years now, and Binh Khanh Cemetery has only 150 slots left to deal with burial needs in the district. 

With the urgent need for burials, the city Department of Planning and Architecture believes it is necessary to establish a cemetery soon and make sure it is in line with the development plan of Can Gio District.

On a different note, Venerable Thich Nhat Tu, permanent deputy director of the Vietnam Buddhist Academy in HCM City, said that Vietnam has over 18,000 temples nationwide.

Many have no available space to store ashes, so some temples carry out a water burial and release the ashes into the river.

“Vietnamese people have the custom of burials, but the high price of land has encouraged them to switch to cremation and water burials,” Venerable Thich Nhat Tu said, adding that some families have chosen to dry a small amount of ashes into a stone for worship.  

Source: Vietnam News