Khai Dinh's Tomb - review by Rusty Compass
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Khai Dinh's Tomb

| 14 Nov 2018
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Khai Dinh's Tomb
Chan Chu, Hue
7.30 - 5.30PM

Our rating
14 Nov 2018

Khai Dinh was the last of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors to have a grand mausoleum built in his honour. His is the most bizarre, and along with Tu Duc's, the most visited of the imperial tombs. It is aroud 10kms from Hue - a short drive or a pleasant cycle. Combine a visit with other tombs and temples in the area.

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Emperor Khai Dinh reigned from the Imperial Citadel of Hue from 1916 until 1925. His tomb, utterly distinct from the styles developed in other Nguyen Dynasty tombs fuses Asian and European elements.

Khai Dinh's Tomb,Vietnam,Hue
Photo: Mark BowyerEntrance to the mausoleum

Set in  beautiful hills 10kms from the citadel, Khai Dinh’s Tomb is perhaps the best known of the Nguyen dynasty tombs. Completed in 1931, six years after his death, it was the last lavish tomb of the Nguyen Dynasty.

As his reign coincided with the apogee of French colonialism, he enthusiastically added European motifs to his parting monument. The result is striking rather than stunning.

monument,royal tomb,Khai Dinh's Tomb,Tombs,Hue,Vietnam
Photo: Mark BowyerKhai Dinh's Tomb, Hue

The tomb was built into a steep hillside and consists of four terraces energetically decorated with stern mandarins, dragons and elephants. There are plenty of stairs as well. The temple interior takes the design hyperactivity to another level. At its centre is a life sized bronze statue of the emperor himself.

One of the rooms to the left of the main temple contains a small collection of Khai Dinh. memorabilia. It’s one of the few times in Hue where the traveller can add some human dimension to the Nguyen Dynasty period.

Khai Dinh’s tomb is 10kms from Hue and is easily accessed on a pleasant cycle. Minh Mang and or Tu Duc’s tomb can also be easily added to the cycling tour. Khai Dinh’s and Tu Duc’s tombs are those normally visited by travellers short on time.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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