Hue is famed not only for its historic monument complex but also for its huge and spectacular mausoleum system, which buries the monarchs of the Nguyen Dynasty. The Khai Dinh Tomb is one of the mausoleums that travelers should not miss when visiting Hue. It is the last architectural work of the Nguyen Dynasty and one of the most beautiful and unique tombs in Hue’s mausoleum system, impressing many various schools of international architecture.
If you have the chance to visit Hue, don’t forget to visit the tomb of Khai Dinh – a lovely virtual check-in place. Now let’s have a look at what the Khai Dinh Tomb Tour has to offer with VM Travel in this article!
Khai Dinh Tomb – Explore Vietnam’s Architectural Masterpiece
Show table of content
- 1. Khai Dinh Tomb History
- 1.1 Location
- 1.2 History
- 2. Architecture of Khai Dinh Tomb
- 2.1 First Terrace
- 2.2 Second Terrace – Mandarin Courtyard & Stele Pavilion
- 2.3 Highest Terrace – Thien Dinh Palace
- 3. Khai Dinh Tomb entrance fee
- 4. Best time to visit Khai Dinh Tomb
- 5. How to get to Khai Dinh Tomb
- 5.1 By private car
- 5.2 By motorcycle
- 5.3 By boat
- 5.4 By Bus
- 6. Khai Dinh Tomb Tour
- 7. Nearby attractions
- 7.1 Thieu Tri Tomb
- 7.2 The Standing Buddha
- 7.3 Chin Ham Prison
- 7.4 Thuy Tien Lake
- 7.5 Minh Mang Tomb
1. Khai Dinh Tomb History
The tomb of King Khai Dinh is located in Thuy Bang commune, Huong Thuy district, Thua Thien Hue province, located on Chau Chu mountain, about 10km from Hue city center. In front of the Khai Dinh royal tomb is a low peach tree with a criminal record; on the right side there is a white tiger, and on the left there is a dragon (green dragon). Chau Mountain acts as both an aftershock and a prism surface.
From 1916 to 1925, Khai Dinh was Vietnam’s penultimate monarch; yet, he was unpopular among Vietnamese people due to his close collaboration with the French authority (he was widely considered as a French puppet). Khai Dinh, like some other Vietnamese emperors, diligently prepared a tomb before his death. The mausoleum, which was built in the early twentieth century and was highly influenced by French architectural forms, necessitated a 30% increase in the national tax.
From 4/9/1920 until 1931, the Khai Dinh Tomb was constructed under the reigns of two emperors: Khai Dinh and his son Bao Dai. This is the longest construction period for an imperial mausoleum in Vietnam’s history. Thousands of workers were deployed, including many talented artisans from Hue and beyond. They risked death due to malaria and inadequate care due to their isolated mountainous location. The monument took 11 years to construct and was finished in 1931, making it one of the newest Hue Royal Tombs. The Ung Mausoleum is another name for the Khai Dinh Tomb.
2. Architecture of Khai Dinh Tomb
Hue’s Khai Dinh Tomb is a rectangular floating block with 127 stairs. The iron gate is accessible via the first 38 stairs. The first courtyard is followed by 29 steps to Tam Quan Gate, then Nghi Mon and Bai Dinh courtyards. On the roof are two floors of courtyards, one 13 steps away from the other. Thien Dinh Palace is at the pinnacle of luxury, with one-of-a-kind and spectacular architecture.
The Khai Dinh Tomb is a work of royal porcelain mosaic art from Hue. It adds to and diversifies the Hue tomb complex as well as Hue’s legacy in general. The architecture of Khai Dinh Tomb is a wonderful blend of Asian and European forms, both ancient and modern, that are still in use today. This location still has historical, aesthetic, and cultural elements that are highly valued for a period of cultural intrusion between Vietnam and Western countries after nearly a century. If you enjoy art or the beauty of architecture, you should visit the Tomb of Khai Dinh right away to view the unique beauty of the architecture that this area has to offer!
2.1 First Terrace
There are four dragons crawling down the steep staircase that leads from the road to the front door. Visitors cannot find the sacred animal in larger sizes anywhere else in Hue. French wine bottles are used to make the dragons’ eyes. When you go, remember that almost everything in the tomb has at least a slight variation in sort. The right walkway is where you can check your tickets, and the left walkway is where you can leave. There are two mandarin halls (houses) on either side of the first paved yard where the officials used to prepare everything and rest before ceremonies. Visitors must once again ascend numerous, steep steps to reach higher terraces. When it rains, water rushes from the top down to this area, forming graded falls. There are extra flowers in the spring to enable people to take pictures.
2.2 Second Terrace – Mandarin Courtyard & Stele Pavilion
- Mandarin Courtyard: The second terrace of the Khai Dinh Tomb is known as the “Mandarin Courtyard.” It has the most stone statue rows in Hue, with two on each side. Seven solemn military and literature mandarins stand in front, followed by an elephant, a horse, and five guards. Historians explain why there are four rows instead of two rows as a method to demonstrate the king’s personality, which is like differences. The Khai Dinh Tomb contains 24 exquisitely sculpted stone statues of mandarins, martial arts authorities, servants, elephants, and horses in a 1:1 ratio. That is a fancy blend of rows of stone statues and pillars with Indian architecture imprints.
- Stele Pavilion: Ung Lang’s Bi Dinh is an octagonal communal home with a 3.1-meter-high stone stele. A ten-ton enormous stele engraved with the Khai Dinh emperor’s life and achievements can be found inside the octagonal pavilion. It was built to honor his father by his son, Emperor Bao Dai. A memorial stele named “Thanh Duc Than Cong” (honoring the deceased king) can be found in the Stele Pavilion. It has an architecture that was created by perfectly borrowing and blending features from Asia and Europe. It is possible to see Baroque, Gothic, and traditional decorative themes such as the bat (happy) or dragons (king’s power). According to locals, the mouth of the tunnel that enabled passage for Khai Dinh’s coffin to travel in the Sepulchre is hidden beneath this. Two towers with ornate designs from India, China, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and ancient Champa cultures stand between staircases and fences with Christian crosses. The pair signifies the eternal candles that people left for the late Emperor.
2.3 Highest Terrace – Thien Dinh Palace
The main building of the tomb, Thien Dinh Palace, is located in the highest point. This piece is divided into five pieces that follow one another. On the left and right sides are rooms for the soldiers who watch the tomb; in front is the Khai Thanh Palace, which houses the King Khai Dinh altar and portrait; and in the center is the Buu altar, which contains the King Khai Dinh statue. The king and his tomb are located below; the altar holding the king’s memorial tablet is located in the innermost chamber.
- The interior of the Thien Dinh Palace is rich in art. Local artists created stunning artwork for the walls that featured mosaics of broken glass bottles and ceramic shards, as well as expertly crafted imitation marble covers. The murals include eight rare items, a Chinese longevity letter, four seasons, four varieties of trees or flowers, four holy creatures, and more. In the middle was the king’s altar. It is unique in that it is made of concrete cement and is decorated with vibrant ceramic mosaic panels. A bronze incense burner is moving forward while two pairs of cranes stand on the turtle in front, signifying a balance between Heaven and Earth.
- The ceiling fresco is a work of Vietnamese art. It was drawn by the feet of Phan Van Tanh, an artisan, and depicts a scene of nine dragons in the cloud. This fresco has never been reproduced or updated until the present day.
- The throne of Khai Dinh King: Visitors are still amazed by the room inside Thien Dinh Palace. The throne, cast by two French sculptors and shipped to Vietnam by sea, draws the greatest attention. Above, a beautiful parasol weighing two tons has been designed. The French wreaths provided during the funeral are exhibited on the wall.
3. Khai Dinh Tomb entrance fee
Opening hours: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm
How much money do you have to spend to experience cultural tourism at the Khai Dinh Tomb?
The entrance fee to Khai Dinh Tomb will definitely surprise you. Tourists only need to spend 150,000 VND (about 6 USD) and only 30,000 VND (about 1.2 USD) for children from 7 to 12 years old or heights from 0,8 to 1,3 meters, and free for smaller ones to be able to experience as well as have sparkling check-in photos here.
4. Best time to visit Khai Dinh Tomb
Hue is located in the central region of Vietnam. The climate in Hue is divided into two distinct seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. The dry season in Hue lasts from March to August, with hot weather and bright sunshine. There are times when the temperature peaks at 38–40 degrees Celsius. The rainy season in Hue lasts from August to January of the following year. During the rainy season, there are heavy rains, and the temperature in the rainy season is also quite erratic
The tomb of Khai Dinh is open all year round, so people can come here at any time to visit. However, the best time to visit Khai Dinh Tomb is from January to April because this is the time when the weather in Hue is very cool and pleasant, so it is ideal for traveling with family and friends.
5. How to get to Khai Dinh Tomb
The Tomb of Khai Dinh is located 10 kilometers south of Hue city center, alongside the same-named road. This attraction is easily accessible by all modes of transportation, including taxis, private cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and buses.
5.1 By private car
If you go in a group of 4-5 people, you can choose a car to get there. You will have to spend a fair amount of money if you rent a taxi or private car to get from the city to Khai Dinh Mausoleum. However, you will not need to worry about the cost of renting a private car if you book a Hue City Tour because it includes a visit to Khai Dinh Tomb as well as many other tourist attractions.
5.2 By motorcycle
If you like the feeling of traveling and don’t want to feel constrained, a motorcycle will be a good choice for you. Renting for a day, so you can admire the scenery while getting there. It would be really cool. Go straight towards Highway 49, and you will see a sign leading to the mausoleum.
5.3 By boat
You can also reach the Khai Dinh tomb by boat, although it would take about 45 minutes, which is 20 minutes longer than driving. Surely, moving to the tomb of Khai Dinh by boat will be a new feeling for visitors. You will be able to see the beauty of the poetic Huong River.
5.3 By Bus
If you want to save money, the bus is for you. You should take the southern bus route to Dong Ba Market-Tuan Bridge or vice versa; this route will have a bus stop at Khai Dinh Mausoleum. Ticket price is only 4,000 VND/ person.
6. Khai Dinh Tomb Tour
The Khai Dinh Tomb Tour is for you if you like learning about history, are fascinated by architecture, and are drawn to the beauty of many architectural styles from Asia to Europe, as well as the beautiful fusion of Eastern and Western civilizations. If you want to learn more about the mausoleum system in Hue besides the Khai Dinh Tomb, don’t hesitate to book a Hue City Tour right away to have the opportunity to explore and learn about the architectural works of the Nguyen Dynasty.
7. Nearby attractions
7.1 Thieu Tri Tomb
Thieu Tri (1807-1847), the third emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, is buried 4,5 kilometers distant in the Tomb of Khai Dinh. It was built following the death of its owner, and Tu Duc was in charge of the building. It speaks to the emperor’s personality because it is not encompassed by a wall and is surrounded by fruit gardens and rice fields. Its design was inspired by his father’s and grandfather’s mausoleums. The worshiping castle was adorned with numerous poems written by him.
7.2 The Standing Buddha
Tu Tuong Mountain is home to the Avalokitesvara Buddha Tower, often known as the Standing Buddha. Standing on top of the peak, you can see four mountains packed together, like four elephants. Tu Tuong is the name of the mountain since the statue is positioned on top of one of the four elephants’ heads. The monument to Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara was constructed in 1969 and refurbished in 1999. The statue stands 14 meters tall, stands 7 meters tall, and weighs 24.6 tons of cement. Visitors must cycle another 1.5 kilometers along Khai Dinh Rd. before turning left onto an uphill route. Pilgrims must ascend over 145 steps to reach the Buddha.
7.3 Chin Ham Prison
This historical site, located three kilometers northeast of the tomb, is famous for its martyr temple and nine jails. Despite its name, Chin Ham Prison has only eight basements and one guard house. This is a French Army combat weapon storage facility that was established in 1941. Following the Japanese coup against France on March 9, 1945, Japanese fascists seized control of the country’s weaponry. The Chin Ham section is deserted. Ngo Dinh Can has used this site to isolate Communists and certain Hue citizens who opposed his family rule, which was led by the Ngo family, since 1954. Communists were imprisoned and persecuted in this country before leading uprisings to stop the country’s wars.
7.4 Thuy Tien Lake
Thuy Tien Lake, often known as the Abandoned Water Park, is located 3,5 kilometers northwest of the tomb. A magazine named it one of the world’s creepiest places shortly after it opened. The main attraction is a massive dragon in the center of a lake. Steps leading to its head and mouth have graffiti-covered walls. Abandoned automobiles, waterslides, outdoor stages, and other park features can still be seen in the surrounding region. Because the environment makes the visit more mysterious, early morning and late afternoon are the two most popular times to visit. In recent years, Thuy Tien Lake has also been one of the places that not only attracts the curiosity of tourists but is also chosen by photographers and filmmakers as a location for filming and photography because of its mysterious beauty.
7.5 Minh Mang Tomb
Minh Mang Tomb, also known as Hieu Lang, is located 3.6 km from Khai Dinh Tomb. This is the tomb of the second king of the Nguyen Dynasty. Despite not having East-West interference in architecture like Ung Lang, Minh Mang Tomb still has a very traditional beauty and is rich in Confucian colors. The mausoleum is located in what is considered a “prime location”, the intersection point of the Ta Trach and Huu Trach streams, which then merge into the dreamy Huong River flowing around Hue. When you visit Minh Mang Tomb, you will have a lot of beautiful places to check in and take pictures with family and friends.
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