Ho Chi Minh City

Ba Thien Hau Pagoda

More commonly known as the Thien Hau Temple, this 19th century place of worship honors the Chinese sea goddess Mazu.

Protection from the Sea

One of the most prominent temples in Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown, the Ba Thien Hau Pagoda is dedicated to Mazu, a goddess who protects seafarers from harm. Though a temple to Mazu existed in the same location in the 1700s, the current structure dates back to the 1800s. It is a beautiful example of classical Chinese architecture.

A Holy Site

Though foreign visitors frequent the pagoda, it’s still a working Taoist temple. Visitors can expect to see Vietnamese worshippers lighting incense and praying. Elaborate carvings decorate the courtyard. Though weathered, they still demonstrate great craftsmanship. And inside the temple are dozens of colorful statues and lanterns.

Perhaps the most famous feature of the temple are its hanging incense coils. These red, swirling structures dangle from the temple’s ceiling, sending sweet, scented smoke into the air. Thien Hau is not far from Chua Ong Temple, and Binh Tay Market is also nearby.