Thean Hou Temple is a Chinese temple in Kuala Lumpur dedicated to worship Mazu, the Chinese sea goddess.

The six-tier temple was constructed by Hainanese living in Malaysia. It was completed in 1987 and was officially open to the public in 1989.

You can find elements of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism in the temple’s architecture. Red is the primary color of the temple because it symbolizes prosperity and good fortune for the Chinese. Sculptures of dragons and phoenixes, both auspicious creatures with the power to bless, adorn the roofs of the temple.

A modern Buddhist pagoda awaits you as you stepped into the temple’s compound. To your right, you will find a statue of Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) standing beside a pond teeming with koi fishes. There is a small platform for devotees to kneel in front of her statue. When someone kneels on the platform, ‘holy water,’ which a worshipper can receive with his or her hands, a bottle or a container, will flow out of the vase that Guan Yin is holding.

Lady Worshipper Receiving 'Holy Water' from the Statue of Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy)
Lady Worshipper Receiving ‘Holy Water’ from the Statue of Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy)

Thean Hou Temple has 4 floors, and every floor serves different purposes:

Level 1: Souvenir stalls and a canteen.
Level 2: Multi-purpose hall.
Level 3: Administrative office.
Level 4: Consists of 3 tiers and this is also where the praying hall is located.

On every floor, you will find massive pillars, grand roofs with detailed carvings and paint jobs.

Inside the prayer hall, you will find devotees carrying out their prayers with the backdrop of many Buddhist-related pictures and paintings on the wall. The temple’s ornate architecture that combines traditional design with modern architectural techniques is why it is such a popular attraction among travelers.

Even though the original purpose of the temple was to worship Mazu or Thean Hou, the Chinese also come to the temple to pay their homage to Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, and Shui Wei Sheng Niang, the Goddess of the Waterfront.

Just beside the temple, there is a small garden with impressive sculptures of Chinese gods and 12 animals representing all the Chinese zodiacs.

Thean Hou Temple is also where local Chinese go to for marriage registration, and to host their wedding banquet.

Attraction Type

Religious Site

Name in Local Language

Mandarin: 天后宫 (tiānhòu gōng)
Malay: Tokong Thean Hou

Key Attractions

Thean Hou Temple is one of the larger temples in the region. The following are some of its main attractions that you should check out when you are here.

Prayer Hall

Prayer Hall at Thean Hou Temple
Prayer Hall at Thean Hou Temple

Thean Hou Temple features a grand prayer hall with three extravagantly-decorated altars.

The altar for Mazu or Thean Hou, a goddess said to protect fishermen, sits in the center of the prayer hall. To her left is the altar for Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy while to her right is the altar for Shui Wei Sheng Niang, the Goddess of the Waterfront.

During the day, especially on weekends, you will see worshippers holding joss sticks around the prayer hall. Some of them will kneel down on a cushion in front of the altars, praying for the blessing of the goddesses.

Lighting up joss sticks, and placing them in the burner is more of a cultural activity, so visitors are welcomed to try it out. You can also buy a small lotus-shaped candle, light it up, make a wish, and place it on the altar outside the prayer hall.

Lady Wishing Before Drawing Fortune Telling Sticks (Kau Cim)
Lady Wishing Before Drawing Fortune Telling Sticks (Kau Cim)

You can also try kau cim, a fortune telling method practiced by most Chinese around the world. In front of the prayer hall’s side entrances, there is a cylinder containing Chinese fortune sticks. If you are interested to find out your fortune, follow these steps:

  1. Hold the whole bunch of fortune telling sticks up vertically.
  2. Close your eyes, clear your mind, and release the sticks back into the cylinder.
  3. Pick the only stick that is protruding out from the rest.
  4. Repeat the steps above if there is no protruding stick or there are more than one that are standing out from the rest.
  5. Once you have your stick, open the drawer with the number that matches it.
  6. Retrieve the piece of paper that explains your fortune from the drawer.
  7. Put the stick back into the cylinder.

Garden for Chinese Zodiac Signs

Under the Chinese zodiac classification system, every year gets assigned to an animal according to the following cycle:

  • Rat
  • Ox
  • Tiger
  • Rabbit
  • Dragon
  • Snake
  • Horse
  • Monkey
  • Rooster
  • Dog
  • Pig

The cycle repeats itself every 12 years, and each animal in the cycle has a set of known attributes that gets associated with the year when an individual is born.

Garden of Chinese Zodiac Signs at Thean Hou Temple
Garden of Chinese Zodiac Signs at Thean Hou Temple

Upon entering Thean Hou Temple, look to your left for this small garden where you can find the statues of these animals. There is a plaque under each of them stating the years they represent as well as the common characteristics of people born in those years.

Registration of Marriage Proceedings

More than 5,000 couples choose Thean Hou Temple as the place to register their marriage each year. At the same time, they like to come to the temple to have their wedding photos taken.

Marriage Registration Office at Thean Hou Temple
Marriage Registration Office at Thean Hou Temple

You can find the marriage registration office at Level 2. The best time to be here to witness couples registering their marriage is in the morning during weekends. You will see a small crowd, including well-dressed brides and grooms-to-be with their family members, around the office.

The crowd waiting for their turns to celebrate marriage registrations gets even bigger on Valentine’s Day or during auspicious days to get hitched according to the Lunar Calendar.

Celebrations of Chinese Cultural Festivals

On the days when the Chinese celebrate cultural festivals such as the Mooncake Festival, which falls on the eighth Lunar month, and Wesak Day, thousands of people will come to the temple.

These are the times when you can get an authentic sense of how the local Chinese population celebrates a festival and their culture.

At the same time, the temple will give its furnishings a refresh, presenting you with its grandest appearance. It is during these festivals when you can take the most beautiful photos at Thean Hou Temple.

Chinese New Year Celebrations

Thean Hou Temple is probably the best place in Kuala Lumpur to visit during Chinese New Year.

Not only that the entire temple gets decorated with brightly-lit red lanterns, but there will also be cultural activities that are open for visitors’ participation.

Gallery

Getting There and Around

Unlike many attractions in Kuala Lumpur, you cannot reach Thean Hou Temple by taking a train. You can only drive, take a taxi, or request for a ride using a ride-hailing service to reach there.

To minimize your costs to get there, you can consider taking a train to KL Sentral or Tun Sambanthan Monorail Station before flagging down a taxi or requesting for a ride.

By Ride-hailing Services

Registering an account with GRAB or Uber after clicking on the links below gives you and kuaby RM10 worth of free rides.

GRAB, and Uber are the preferred ride-hailing services in Kuala Lumpur. You can use them to travel from the city center or anywhere in the Klang Valley to Thean Hou Temple.

If you have never used either of these services before, here are the steps to register an account:

GRAB

  1. Click on this link to register a GRAB account.
  2. Download GRAB to your mobile phone from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
  3. Open the app and follow the steps to sign in.
  4. Select your pickup spot.
  5. Search for “THEAN HOU TEMPLE” and use it as your drop-off spot.
  6. Click on “Book” and a driver will be on his or her way.

Uber

  1. Click on this link to register an Uber account.
  2. Download Uber to your mobile phone from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
  3. Open the app and follow the steps to sign in.
  4. Tap on the ‘Where to?’ field.
  5. Set your pickup location by either searching for it or by moving the pin on the map.
  6. Tap on the ‘Where to?’ field.
  7. Search for ‘Thean Hou Temple’.
  8. Tap on the ‘Thean Hou Temple’ located in Kuala Lumpur to set it as your destination.
  9. Tap on ‘uberX’, followed by ‘REQUEST UBERX’, and a driver will be on his or her way.

Taking a ride around the city center using either of these services will cost around RM5 to RM20, depending on distance and traffic conditions. These apps will show you the approximate fare before you confirm your request.

By Taxi

Most taxi drivers in the city center know the directions to Thean Hou Temple. They will drop you off within its compound.

It is a well-known fact that taxi drivers in Kuala Lumpur may sometimes quote exorbitant fares for travelers, citing poor traffic conditions, the long distance, rain or other excuses. Insist on paying according to the meter or at least a reasonable fixed fare.

Use a ride-hailing service if you cannot find a taxi driver who is willing to cooperate.

The following is a list of estimated taxi fares from key attractions around Kuala Lumpur to Thean Hou Temple:

  • Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Thean Hou Temple: RM70 to RM120
  • KL Sentral to Thean Hou Temple: RM10 – RM16
  • PETRONAS Twin Towers to Thean Hou Temple: RM15 to RM25
  • Bukit Bintang to Thean Hou Temple: RM13 to RM18
  • Mid Valley Megamall to Thean Hou Temple: RM12 to RM17
  • KL Tower to Thean Hou Temple: RM13 to RM18
  • Batu Caves to Thean Hou Temple: RM27 to RM40

The estimated fares above are for budget taxis, and the final amount may vary due to traffic conditions. Also, the estimated fares above do not include the 50% midnight surcharge.

Things to Note

  • You need to leave your shoes at the entrance before entering the prayer hall.
  • If you are driving to the temple, do not leave your valuables in the car.
  • The tiles and floor in the temple can get slippery after a downpour. Watch your steps.
  • Please dress in a manner decent enough for a religious site even though there is no strict dress code.
  • Visitors cannot bring food and drinks into the prayer hall.

Opening Hours

Opens daily, from 8:00am to 10:00pm.

Admission Fees

Free, but the temple welcomes cash donations.

Facilities

  • Toilet
  • Wheelchair lift (From Level 1 to Level 2 only.)
  • Food court
  • Souvenir stalls

Parking

Weekdays
Free

Weekends and Public Holidays
RM3 per entry.

Contact Information

Website
http://www.hainannet.com.my/v2/index.php

Email Address
[email protected]

Phone Number
+60 (3) 2274 7088

Address
65, Persiaran Endah,
Off Jalan Syed Putra,
50460 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia.

GPS Coordinates

3.12181, 101.6855313

Travel Blog Mentions

Roofs Adorned with Red Lanterns, Sculptures of Dragons and Phoenixes at Thean Hou Temple
Roofs Adorned with Red Lanterns, Sculptures of Dragons and Phoenixes at Thean Hou Temple

Surviving Chinese New Year in Kuala Lumpur: Paper Plane Hostel, Thean Hou Temple, Sky Bar at Traders Hotel, Tom Yum Campur and More

Anton Carranza, a travel blogger from Manila, Philippines, visited Kuala Lumpur during Chinese New Year in 2016. You can probably tell from his photos that Chinese New Year is the best time to visit Thean Hou Temple. There were cultural performances during his visit, and the whole temple was adorned with bright red lanterns. Read Anton’s blog post if you are curious how the temple looks like during Chinese New Year.

Thean Hou Temple: Malaysia’s Greatest Chinese Architectural Masterwork

Bowdy, another travel blogger from the Philippines, visited Kuala Lumpur and Thean Hou Temple in April 2016. The photos he took when he was at the temple is colorful and beautiful. Bowdy’s blog post is definitely the one I will recommend to friends if they want to see more of what Thean Hou Temple has to offer.

#lovingyou #6 – Valentine’s Day Mass R.O.M. @ Thean Hou Temple

The blog post that Charmaine Pua, a lifestyle blogger from Malaysia, wrote is very different than all the other blog posts about Thean Hou Temple. She actually celebrated her Valentine’s Day in 2016 by getting hitched with hundreds of other couples at the temple. Click over and read all about her experience. It will be interesting to you because the experience is one that not many people get to have.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Uniqueness
Fun Factor
Accessibility
Budget-Friendliness
SHARE
Wayne Liew

Wayne fell in love with traveling and every aspect of it when he traveled to Singapore in 2013. He is a newbie when it comes to traveling and he loves chatting with other travelers to learn from their experiences. Are you a traveler? Let’s connect!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here