There are so many places to visit in Vietnam, but one that you must check out is the Hue City, which is located in the central part of Vietnam. You can find the Hue about 700km south of Hanoi and it is also 1100km north of the Ho Chi Minh City. The Hue is famous for the Perfume River as its main landmark. So, if you have plans of visiting the Hue City, then it will be best to explore the Perfume River going to the Thien Mu Pagoda and you can finish this exploration in just a half day. To reach the Thien Mu Pagoda or the Chua Thien Mu or also known as the Linh Mu Pagoda, it will be best to cruise the Perfume River.
The Perfume River or the (Song Huong) or also known as the Huong Giang is a river in the Hue City. It will be best to come to the Hue City during the Autumn because at this time, the flowers from the orchards fall into the water and these flowers are the ones that are giving the river a scent and aroma that is why it is called, the Perfume River.
If you are going to cruise the Perfume River, you have to be aware that the rivers are coming from the mountain ranges of the Day Truong Son and the Truong Dong mountains. The river is flowing from the south to the north and from north to the west, passing various temples of the Hon Chen and the Ngoc Tran. It also flows to the northeast, coming from the Song Huong or the Huong River, to the Hue City. It also passes various villages, the Sinh junction and to the Tam Giang lagoon.
After cruising the Perfume River, you will reach the Thien Mu Pagoda, which is often referred to as an unofficial symbol of the earlier imperial capital. The Thien Mu Pagoda, is located on the Ha Khe Hill that is 3km from the Citadel of Hue, and it is on the northern part of the Perfume River banks. In 1601 the seven stories of the Thien Mu Pagoda were constructed during the reign of Lord Nguyen Hoang. It was later on renovated in 1665 under the reign of Lord Nguyen Phuc Tan. In 1710, a great bell was contributed under the reign of Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu and a stele created on the tortoise made of marble in 1715. Later in 1864, under the reign of Emperor Thieu Tri, the Phuoc Dien Tower was added in front of the pagoda.
What will you see in the pagoda anyway? The first thing that you can find is the Phuoc Dien Tower that is in octagonal shape and is 2m high, having seven levels. You will find the twelve wooden sculptures of the temple guardians, so do not be afraid if they look fearful. Next is the great bell that is 2.5m high and weighing 3285kg. You will find the marble tortoise that is 2.58m high. You will also find here a monastic building where monks do their usual routines.
Near the house, you will also find a national relic of the car, which Thich Quang Doc used to ride from the temple to Saigon in 1963. It is from this car, where he stepped out and sat down in the intersection in a lotus position and later on burned himself. He sacrificed and died to show protest against the exploitations of the religious freedom from the regime.
That ends your half day tour of the ancient capital of the Hue city. You will take the boat to go back to the city center and as you leave the place, you will surely keep the history and stories behind the pagoda.