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Friday, April 20, 2018

A Day at Ba Thien Hau Temple

I love going to temples and I guess the fascination stems from the frequent temple visits that I had with my father when I was a child. Prior to our trip to Ho Chi Mihn City last summer, I list down all the places that I wanted to visit and that includes Ba Thien Hau Temple in District 5.

Ba Thien Hau Temple (or popularly known as Thien Hau) is one of the oldest Chinese temple in Ho Chi Mihn and was built in 1760. Of course, it has undergone more than several restorations since then but some of the original materials such as wood, and some of the metal items are still around.

Ba Thien Hau temple is also known as Lady of the Sea or Tuc Goi La Ba. It is dedicated to the sea goddess, Mazu. Thien Hau, the goddess is greatly revered by fishermen and seafarers whom they pray to for safe voyage, travel, and protection from the sea.

A lot of people (locals and tourists) come to Thien Hau daily to light incense (and maybe pray for protection, safety, and other intentions). It's quite an overwhelming experience to visit this temple as there's so much to see.

This is the main altar of Thien Hau. Aside from lighting an incense, one can also place offerings (food or flowers, or money) on the plastic plates provided.

For some, lighting incense is not enough or maybe they just prefer candles.

These suspended cones are incense coils. One gets the incense from the office (or ask the lady in charge), then you write your name or maybe wish on the pink paper, and then light up the incense before you hand it to the man in charge of hanging it. It's a nice subject matter for photography but the smell and smoke coming from the incense can be an overwhelming (literally) experience.

This one is an antique censer, I think. The lady in charge doesn't speak much English so I wasn't able to find out.

This one below is one of the altars from centuries ago. It is housed in a glass case to prevent it from getting  damaged. There are very fine and detailed design on the woodwork, a real work of art.

These rods here are actually telescopes. Priests or monks in the olden days dabble in astronomy. They study the position of the stars and they use that as basis to predict what will happen (ex. eclipse).

This is the receiving area. A photo of Ho Chi Mihn is proudly displayed.

How to go to Thien Hau from District 1:
1. Book a Grab
2. Taxi
3. Bus

Ba Thien Hau Temple
710 Nguyen Trai,
Cho Lon, District 5
Ho Chi Mihn, Vietnam


  1. I find temples really intriguing. I've never really taken the time to visit one though. I'd love to experience it soon. This one looks really full of history.

  2. We're supposed to visit Ho Chi Mihn this year but changed of plans. I'm still contemplating if we will visit temples in BKK. This temple really looks old but it is still pretty.


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