Built in the early 19th century, Thien Hau pagoda is the most famous sacred place in the middle of prosperous Saigon, Vietnam. This 200-year-old temple is also a peaceful spot to pray for blessings for their families and loved ones.
Where is Thien Hau pagoda?
Thien Hau Pagoda, or Chua Ba Thien Hau, was built by a group of Chinese people in 1760 and underwent many renovations. It’s located at 710 Nguyen Trai, District 5, in the middle of Saigon Chinatown.
Considered one of the oldest Chinese temples in Vietnam, this spiritual house has a significant influence on the cultural life of the Chinese people.
How to get to Thien Hau pagoda?
Thien Hau pagoda is located in District 5, close to the city center, so it is easy to get there. There are three main ways:
- Motorcycles: You can rent bikes and explore Thien Hau pagoda and other tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh city.
- Taxi: Some reputable taxi companies are VinaSun, Mai Linh taxi
- Hailing transport services: We recommend using Grab or Go Viet to order your car or bikes to get around the city.
Why is Thien Hau pagoda special?
For hundreds of years, since the first Chinese people crossed the sea to immigrate from their homeland to Vietnam for a new life, they also brought their culture, which contributed to enriching the culture of the South.
In the 17th century, the Thien Hau temple was built to worship Thien Hau Thanh Mau.
It is said that Thien Hau Temple has a great influence on the cultural life of the Chinese community living in Saigon.
Many sculpted lines, sculptures, artifacts, and historical values are still preserved in this sacred place.
The legend of Thien Hau
So who is Thien Hau? Why do Chinese people worship and worship her?
Thien Hau was born in Fujian, China, in 1044.
Legend has it that Mrs. Thien Hau was intelligent since childhood, and she successfully achieved enlightenment from a set of “secret principles” of ancient books she obtained. She often looked at the stars, predicted the weather, and helped the fishermen in the area.
One time, she discovered her father and two brothers were in danger in the sea. At that time, she was sitting to weave fabric beside her mother, but her soul went out to save her father and brothers.
Unfortunately, she only saved two brothers, and her father was swept away.
Since then, the strange story of her miraculous ability spread, and she accidentally became a goddess worshiped by many fishermen. They prayed to her often in times of danger.
Best time to visit Thien Hau pagoda
Thien Hau Temple is open year-round.
Many people visit this pagoda to pray for blessing on Tet holiday or the 1st and 15th of the lunar month.
Also, the pagoda will hold a festival on 23rd March of the lunar month every year. On this day, the statue of Thien Hau will be placed on the palanquin and carried around the nearby area. These days, people head to the temple to pray for peace for their families and loved ones.
If you’re interested in local culture and customs, these days are the best time to visit.
However, if you’d like to admire the architecture in silence, you should visit in the remaining days. The number of visitors is much more deserted than the holidays.
Thien Hau pagoda architecture
Visiting the temple, we were first impressed by how quiet and sincere the place was. We learned that all materials, from bricks, tiles, to ceramics mounted on the roof, were imported from China.
Thien Hau Pagoda has the main entrance and two corridors on the sides. The gate is beautifully painted in green and exquisitely carved.
Thien Hau pagoda includes three main sections: Front Hall, Central Hall, and Back hall.
- Front Hall has the altars of Phuc Duc Chanh and Mon Quan Vuong Ta. There are stelae inscribed with the legend of the Thien Hau and large paintings depicting her demonstration on the waves.
- Central Hall set up a set of “Phat Lan” cast in 1886 during the reign of King Quang Tu, flanked by an ancient palanquin and an ancient dragon boat painted in gold.
- On Back Hall (also called the main hall), Thien Hau Thanh Mau, Kim Hoa Nuong (right) and Long Mau Nuong Nuong (left) are worshiped.
Thien Hau’s statue is placed in a pure black wooden frame that adds to the mystery and holiness here.
The highlight of Ba Thien Hau pagoda is the unique incense rings hang on from the ceiling. There is a skylight in the middle of these blocks that allows light and incense to fly upwards.
Also, another feature of the temple is 400 antiques, mainly the carvings of dragons and phoenixes.