Thean Hou Temple: Buddhist Temple with a View in Kuala Lumpur

Written by Katherine

December 13, 2023
Last Updated on February 29, 2024

When searching for things to do in Kuala Lumpur, Thean Hou Temple would appear as one of the places you should visit in the city. Since we had a longer stay in Kuala Lumpur this time, we decided to visit the temple. I didn’t go with much expectations since I assumed it would be similar to the temples we have in Singapore. But oh boy, this place became one of my favourite places to visit in Kuala Lumpur! ⸜( *ˊᵕˋ* )⸝

BEFORE YOU GO

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History of Thean Hou Temple

Thean Hou Temple is a beautiful temple in Kuala Lumpur dedicated to Mazu, the Goddess of the Sea. It was built in the 1980s by the Hainanese community, seafarers by tradition. For the Hainanese people, Mazu is their divine guardian who protects them when they are out in the sea.

Exploring Thean Hou Temple

Since Thean Hou Temple is not accessible by public transport, hubs and I booked a car through Grab to get us there. The temple is located on top of a hill and is six-tier high. Once we alighted, we can’t help marvelling at the beautiful bright red structure. The temple gives off the same vibe as our Buddha Tooth Relic Temple but on a much grander scale. ( ´ ω ` ) Beautiful lanterns were hanging from the edges of the rooftops across the whole temple ground. Both the lanterns and architecture stood out beautifully against the clear blue sky.

The main entrance of Thean Hou Temple and the lanterns adorning the whole place

Something Unique About the Temple

As I was taking some photos around the Chinese Zodiac area, I saw many well-dressed people coming and going. I thought there was an ongoing wedding in the temple, worried that we might be unable to roam freely around the temple. But it turned out there is a marriage registry office in the temple! Yes, you heard that right! You can get registered here at the temple. (´• ω •`)

The marriage signage and the way to the marriage registration office in Thean Hou Temple. Also a view of someone praying to the God of Love and Marriage (Yue Lao)

I don’t know how popular getting registered at Thean Hou Temple is, but it seems like many people were getting married on the day we visited. Many brides and grooms were waiting outside the registry office with their family members. I have never seen so many brides and rooms in one place before, much less a temple. So, this was quite an interesting sight for us.

Getting a View of KL’s Skyline

After checking out the registry office area, hubs and I moved on to the main hall on the top floor of Thean Hou Temple. A lot of activities were taking place in this area. Wedding couples were having their photos taken. There were also devotees doing their prayers inside the main hall. Besides that, there were also others who were making offerings and burning incense outside the main hall. We spotted quite some foreigners in this area, taking photos and watching what everyone was doing. ( ´ ω ` )

A wedding couple having their photos taken in front of the Thean Hou Temple's main hall and devotees praying to Mazu in the main hall

Walking down from the main hall, we came to an empty area. This spot seems popular with wedding photographers since you could capture a snippet of Kuala Lumpur’s skyline here. There is also a beautiful dragon sculpture at the end of the stairs. From here, you can take a photo of the temple, which stands out against the beautiful blue sky we had that day. And because of the clear sky, hubs and I were sweating like crazy in the heat. ٩(× ×)۶ It was no wonder there were so many people just sitting around in the sheltered area since it was so hot just a minute under the sun.

A grand view of the temple from the bottom of the stairs and a Thean Hou Temple flag flying on the flagpole

A Neverending Amount of Things to See

Thean Hou Temple was bigger than we had expected. When we thought we were finished, we spotted another area to explore. We saw the HUGE Chinese Chess Board and the Twenty-four Chinese Filial Exemplars before we gave up exploring the temple. It was just way too hot, and our energy was totally drained. Haha! If you are coming to Thean Hou Temple, you can look at this guide map on the Hainan Association website to check out the attractions in the temple! (´• ω •`)ノ

The Chinese Chess Board, Guan Yin statue and the Twenty-four Chinese Filial Exemplars in the temple

Things to Note Before Visiting Thean Hou Temple

Festival & Events

I was totally not expecting so many people in the temple on a non-festive day. There was a blood donation drive taking place in one of the halls, so that might explain why there were more people than expected. The Hainan Association will also hold several events around the year in the temple to promote Hainanese culture and traditions. ( ´ ω ` )

Besides that, Chinese festivals such as the Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival and Vesak Day are also held at the temple. According to our Grab driver, he shared that during these Chinese festivals, the temple will be crowded with devotees and visitors. He mentioned that cars will usually line the whole road, all the way down the hill, as people come here to pray. Due to the long line of vehicles, Grab drivers will avoid picking up passengers from the temple as it will be impossible for them to come up. This might be something you have to consider if you are visiting during these festivals. Since this area has no public transport, coming to and fro the temple would be a mega headache.

Entry Fees and Dress Code

There is no entrance fee to enter the temple. You are free to roam around the whole area. There is also no dress code, similar to Singapore’s temple. As usual, be respectful and do not wear revealing clothes, and you should be fine.

Overall Experience at Thean Hou Temple

Putting aside the crowd that we experienced that day, I actually love the experience we had at Thean Hou Temple. Due to its Chinese influence, Thean Hou Temple’s architecture is more vibrant, with red as the primary colour of the building. This is in contrast to the white and gold structure that you will see at temples in Thailand.

The dragon sculpture at the end of the stairs and the signage of Thean Hou Temple

Aside from our Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, this is probably one of the most beautiful Chinese temples I have visited. As a photographer, I can’t help taking many photos of the structures and pillars because they look so beautiful. I definitely recommend visiting Thean Hou Temple if you are visiting Kuala Lumpur! Remember to plan your visit on the right day to avoid the crowd. ⸜( *ˊᵕˋ* )⸝

Information about Thean Hou Temple

THEAN HOU TEMPLE

⏰ Opening Hours: 8 AM – 10 PM
☎️ Phone Number: +60 3 2274 7088
📒 Guide Map

You can find out more about Thean Hou Temple here:
🔎 Website | Facebook | Instagram

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