Explore Hue Royal Tombs

As the Old Capital where the Nguyen dynasty ruled, Hue hides the fascinating royal tombs which reflect the kings' temperaments, philosophies, and priorities.

The tombs are the place for the kings to relax while alive and to bury them. Exploring these spectacular architectures, tourists will discover that the tombs not only embody the lives and souls of the Nguyen Kings but also recount the story of one of Vietnam’s most engrossing historical periods, including national unification, military conquest, and the cultural impact of French colonialism. Out of 7 tombs in the city, these are the 3 most renowned ones.

 

MINH MANG TOMB

  • Distance from Silk Path Grand Hue Hotel & Spa: 10.2 kilometers
  • Opening time:  7:00am – 5:30pm
  • Entrance ticket fee: 100,000 VND/ adult & 20,000 VND/  child

King Minh Mang is the second ruler of the Nguyen Dynasty who governed southern and central Vietnam from 1820 to 1840.  Minh Mang King had appointed design and location himself, the tomb was built mostly by his successor and son – Thieu Tri King from 1840 to 1843 since Minh Mang had passed away in 1841.  Set along the Perfume River, the burial site comprises 40 structures, including a building for the emperor’s clothes, pavilions for mourners, and the tomb itself. The bright colors, elaborate ornamentation, and lacquered finishes on the buildings contribute to the site’s elegance and beauty.

Minh Mang’s tomb draws 500,000 visitors annually—around 350,000 Vietnamese and 150,000 international tourists. The site was always intended to double as a tomb complex and national park, with landscaped gardens, terraces, lakes, and bridges that surround and connect the buildings. The plan for the burial site was dictated by geomancy, a form of divination using natural elements, because it was thought that the placement of the emperor’s grave could affect the fate of the entire dynasty. The tomb also functioned as a link between this life and the next, and thus Minh Mang’s burial site was arranged in the shape of a womb, representing Mother Earth and rebirth in heaven. This colorful landscape is an important national monument, continuing to educate visitors about the country’s history and culture.

 

TU DUC TOMB      

  • Distance from Silk Path Grand Hue Hotel & Spa: 4.4 kilometers
  • Opening time:  7:00am – 5:30pm
  • Entrance ticket fee: 100,000 VND/ adult & 20,000 VND/ child

Born in 1829 and died in 1883, Tu Duc had reigned for over 35 years since 1848 who was the longest among rulers of the Nguyen Dynasty. His tomb is the most popular, imposing and impressive of the royal mausoleums, designed by Emperor Tu Duc himself before his death. Tu Duc tomb was completed in 1867  with the enormous expense and the numberous forced labour.

The tomb is 5km South of Hue on Van Nien Hill in Duong Xuan Thuong village. The tomb is divided into three main parts which includes Temple, Tomb and Stele House Areas. From the entrance, there is a path leading to Luu Khiem Lake. In the middle of the lake is a tiny island, where Emperor Tu Duc used to hunt small game. Across the water to the left is Xung Khiem Pavilion. In the past, he often sat with his concubines to compose or recite poetry.

Hoa Khiem Temple is where Tu Duc and his wife, Empress Hoang Le Thien Anh, were worshipped; today it houses royal artefacts. The larger throne was for the empress; Tu Duc was only 153cm tall. Minh Khiem Chamber, to the right behind Hoa Khiem Temple, was originally meant to be a theatre. Dress-up photo opportunities and cultural performances are available here. Directly behind Hoa Khiem Temple is the quieter Luong Khiem Temple, dedicated to Tu Duc’s mother, Tu Du.

Around the lake shore is the Honour Courtyard. Similar to other emperors, in order to avoid robbery, Emperor Tu Duc’s real burial place was situated in another area. There was a legend that about 200 laborers were beheaded after they returned from the real burial site in order to preserve the secret of its location. Until now, the real tomb of Tu Duc still remains hidden for future generations to discover.

 

 

KHAI DINH TOMB

  • Distance from Silk Path Grand Hue Hotel & Spa: 7.5 kilometers
  • Opening time:  7:00am – 5:30pm
  • Entrance ticket fee: 100,000 VND/ adult & 20,000 VND/ child

Emperor Khai Dinh ruled the country for 9 years from 1916 to 1925. Under Khai Dinh, Western culture vigorously infiltrated into Vietnam. Khai Dinh himself made a tour to France in 1922. As a result, his tomb is the blend of the western architecture and the nation’s traditional art.

In comparison with other tombs, Khai Dinh surface area is much smaller than his predecessors. However, the building is much more elaborated than others of it era. It is a rectangular block leaning against Chau Chu mountain. To get to the main palace, you will have to climb 127 stairs. The steps leading up to the forecourt are guarded by four dragons, which creates an imposing scene for the tomb. In front of the palace, there is a concrete stele monument written by his son – Emperor Bao Dai. Besides, there are also stone statues including the King’s bodyguards, mandarins, elephants, and horses.

Inside Thien Dinh palace, visitors will see the appearance of many different schools of art, most affected by Western architecture. The tomb is decorated with precious furniture from all over the world. Most of the decorations are made of porcelain and crystal. There are also some of Emperor Khai Dinh’s personal stuffs such as a gold chair, photographs of his life and other countries’ tributes. The most impressive art of the tomb is the ceiling of the palace. It is decorated with the picture of nine intricate dragons. Besides, there are also copper statues carved an image of Khai Dinh King standing and sitting. With all sophisticate elements, all corners in this fascinating architecture can leave every tourist speechless

 

TIPS WHEN VISITING THESE ATTRACTIONS:

  • Tickets combo are available:
    • Combo 1 (including entrance tickets to the Imperial City, Minh Mang and Khai Dinh Tomb: 280,000 VND/ adult
    • Combo 2 (including entrance tickets to the Imperial City, Minh Mang, Khai Dinh, Tu Duc Tomb: 360,000 VND/ adult
  • It’s recommended to wear clothes with full-length (skirt or trousers), not shorts or sleeveless shirts.
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