• Russell Roy

Vietnam Emperor Khai Dinh's Tomb

For being the smallest of the Nguyen Dynasty tombs, Khai Dinh's tomb is still very large, extravagant and well worth the visit. The tomb located on the slopes of Chau Chu mountain near Hue, Vietnam. This tomb, along with several others makes for an excellent day trip from Hue. Set aside several days if you wish to visit all of the tombs.

Khai Dinh's tomb is architecturally stunning as it melds Asian, Western, Hinduism, Buddhism, Roman and Gothique styles into something that works. The scale and details of the carved stone are impressive and the mosaic work is exquisite.

The tomb is situated atop the sixth tier of a cascading design. You get to the top by ascending six sets of stairways of differing heights. At the top of each stairway, lies a platform with temples, statues, stele, obelisks, and other ornaments. As you ascend, the back views of the surrounding mountains become much more impressive.

The entry and first stairway. The stairways are steep enough that you do not see the top until you get near; a sure way to build anticipation.

The second stairway.

The largest and most interesting platform on your way up.

Your first view of the temple building itself.

A white marble carved guardian at the final stairway and detail of one of the doorways.

Behind the doorway there is a corridor that provides a shrined glimpse of the emperor himself.

And finally, behind the corridor, the tomb itself lies within and beneath one of the most heavily decorated places we've ever encountered.

The tomb use of traditional architectural styles gives you the impression that it is very old. The truth is that is was recently completed in 1931. The diagram below should provide some context to how the tomb is laid out. Is it what you expected having looked at the photos?