Vietnam culture tours – One day in the mysterious Thien Mu Pagoda


Vietnam culture tours in Central Vietnam can never be complete without Thien Mu Pagoda. It is not only an attractive tourist spot but also a symbol of Hue City.

Where is Thien Mu Pagoda?


The front gate of Thien Mu Pagoda

Most tourists would love to come to Thien Mu Pagoda while visiting Hue City. Besides the Nguyen Dynasty Royal Palace and Trang Tien Bridge, the pagoda can be considered one of the top ten places that you should go in Vietnam cultural tours

Thien Mu Pagoda, which is also called Linh Mu Pagoda, is located about 5 kilometers from the center of Hue City. Established in 1601, the pagoda was built on the poetic Ha Khe Hill on the left bank of Huong River. The surrounding area is covered with green trees and possesses exceptionally romantic landscapes.

After being restored and expanded for many times and overcoming a great number of natural catastrophes, Thien Mu Pagoda still remains until today.    

The history and legend of Thien Mu Pagoda

If you have a chance to listen from tour guides, the history of Thien Mu Pagoda will be even more fascinating. And this can be your best tour in Central Vietnam.

Generally, the pagoda was built in Hue City during the dynasty of King Nguyen Hoang – the first emperor of the Nguyen royal family who ruled Dang Trong (South Vietnam). There is one mysterious legend about the establishment of Thien Mu Pagoda which has been handed down until present.


Phuoc Duyen Tower

When the King worked in Thuan Hoa and Quang Nam Province, he traveled through all of the places in order to discover their terrain and build the country. One time, he saw the small Ha Khe Hill rise up from the river, looking like a dragon. He immediately asked the locals about it and found out that there had always been an old lady waiting for him here at night.

She wore a red outfit and told the locals that a king would come and build a pagoda on this hill. This would help him gather the spiritual strength and make his country even mightier. The King thought that she was definitely a God coming up to help him.

Therefore, he set up a pagoda on this hill and named it “Thien Mu”.

How to get to Thien Mu Pagoda?

If you have time and want to contemplate the beautiful landscapes along the Huong River, taking a boat will be the best idea. It takes about 600,000 – 800,000 VND/ride ($26.33-$35.10). But if you want to save money, renting a motorcycle will be more convenient. Just ride along Kim Long Street about 5 kilometers and you will see the pagoda.

Best sites in Thien Mu Pagoda

After arriving at the pagoda, you will start one of the best culture tours in Vietnam. Some must-visit destinations that you should not miss are as follows:

Phuoc Duyen Tower

The first spot that you can see from Huong River Station is Phuoc Duyen Tower which stands precisely on the ground in front of the gate of the pagoda. This majestic tower was built in 1844 during King Thieu Tri Dynasty and had an octagonal shape.

The tower was about 21 meters high and had 7 floors. There was a Buddha statue on each floor and they have been well-preserved until now.

Dai Hung Temple

Passing Phuoc Duyen Tower, you will get to Dai Hung Temple – the main temple in this pagoda complex. Although it has undergone various ups and downs of the country, the temple is almost undamaged. In fact, its antique, imposing, and splendid beauty has never been changed. Around the temple, there are many gardens and ornamental plants, which are carefully taken care of every day.

Thich Quang Duc’s Car


Thich Quang Duc burned himself

This is a special relic that you can only see in Thien Mu Pagoda. Thich Quang Duc was a monk who set himself on fire in 1963 to protest against the Buddhism suppression of Ngo Dinh Diem government. His car still retains and has been one of the most crucial spiritual properties of Thien Mu Pagoda.

On the wall around where the car is placed, you will see the photograph capturing Thich Quang Duc burning himself. This brutal but real photo reveals a fierce period in the history of Hue in particular and Vietnam in general.

Additionally, standing in the middle of the pagoda to look over the poetic Huong River is another great thing to do. Sitting under the green foliage of the trees and looking at the tranquilly beautiful pagoda, you will feel incredibly peaceful. Try having some photos and your culture tour in Vietnam will be complete.  

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