The Thien Mu Pagoda is also called the Linh Mu Pagoda, but it is important to know that the name translates to Heavenly Lady Pagoda. This historic attraction can be found on the banks of the Perfume River in Hue and it must be close to the top of your itinerary when you visit this beautiful destination in Vietnam.
While you can easily visit the Thien Mu Pagoda on your own, this is one of the attractions that all the tour groups stop at, so keep that in mind as one of your options.
The Thien Mu Pagoda can be found up on top of the Ha Khe Hill in the Village of Huong Long, which is approximately three miles from the center of the city. The pagoda looks out at the water of the Perfume River from the northern side and pine trees and flowers are scattered about the grounds.
According to a legend that has been passed down through the generations, the Thien Mu Pagoda was constructed after an old woman suddenly appeared on the hill and claimed that a Lord would construct a pagoda right at that site one day. It was when Lord Nguyen Hoang heard about that legend that he decided that he would be the person to build the pagoda and fulfill the prophecy.
The initial construction began in 1601 and while the original structure was simple, those who succeeded Lord Nguyen Hoang kept adding on to the area and making improvements.
If you plan to go to the front of the Thien Mu Pagoda, you will need to climb up a really steep staircase that starts at the edge of the river. The Phuoc Duyen Tower is one of the first things that you will see when you reach the top of the stairs and many people stop there and stare at it as they catch their breath, so don’t worry if you do the same thing!
The tower is seven levels high and it is the most prominent feature of the entire Thien Mu Pagoda. The height is sixty-eight feet and each of the seven levels is dedicated to the one Buddha who came to visit in human form. You are going to want to spend a good portion of your day at this tower, but make sure you leave sooner than later so you have plenty of time to see the rest of the sights on the more than two hectares of land the pagoda sits on.
The pavilion to the right of the tower is an eight-foot stone stele, which is sitting on the back of a marble turtle. There is text inscribed on the stele and that text was put in place by Lord Nguyen Hoang himself. The giant bronze bell, Dai Hong Chung, is to the left of the tower. The bell was cast back in 1710 and weighs more than five thousand pounds. According to the locals, this bell can be heard up to six miles away every time it is rung.
The Dai Hung Shrine, or main sanctuary, contains statues of three Buddhas, as well as many other important artifacts. The Buddhist monks who work at this pagoda live just past this shrine, on the left of the sanctuary hall.
Other places to see while at Thien Mu Pagoda include the Dia Tang Temple, Kuan Yin Temple, and the immortal car Austin Westminster.
There is no entrance fee for the Thien Mu Pagoda, but you may need to pay to get to the area. The most popular options by land include cyclo, bicycle, and bus, while arriving via the river will require taking a boat ride. The temple is open every day of the week, so you will not find yourself limited to specific times at all. That means that you can visit whenever it is most convenient for you!
When you are finished exploring the Thien Mu Pagoda, there are plenty of other things to see in Hue. You may want to start over at the Hon Chen Temple and then continue to the Minh Mang Tomb, the An Hien Garden House, and the Hue Citadel. By taking the time to see these sights right after your time at Thien Mu Pagoda, you will save yourself a lot of time, since everything is right in the same area.
There are many spectacular pagodas and temples in Hue, which means that it can be quite difficult to determine which ones to see during your time there and which ones to leave for another time. We definitely recommend having Thien Mu Pagoda closer to the top of your list of things to do, just because it is one of the most impressive ones.
We know that you will agree with us once you have seen this pagoda for yourself!