The royal tombs in Hue are one of the most impressive things we have seen in recent months. And that means something! We visited them as part of a city tour, since they are a bit out of the center and we didn't want to rent a moped because of the daily rain showers.
The King's Tombs Tour
The city tour actually starts in the morning with the citadel. However, since we had already checked them out on our own, we were picked up later (at 10:30 am – a very convenient time for us late risers 😉 ).
First stop: a garden house on. Sounds rather unspectacular, but is very pretty to look at.
2. Stop: Thien Mu Pagoda and the turtle
After that I went to the Thien Mu Pagoda, one of the most famous buildings in Vietnam. It was founded back in 1601, the 21 meter high tower was added in 1844.
Next to the tower are two pavilions – in one of them a turtle carries a plaque on which the history of the pagoda is written down. Turtles are a symbol of luck in Vietnam, which is why we stroked them diligently.
I must have done something wrong, because I had no luck at all afterwards: For two days I lay flat with fever, followed by a day when I had a rash from head to toe.
On the grounds we also had a look at a beautiful old car, which unfortunately has a not so beautiful history: In 1963 a monk let himself be driven with the car to his self-immolation. With this radical step he protested against the suppression of Buddhism by the Catholic president Diem.
After visiting the pagoda we went back to Hue for lunch. For once there was not only fried rice (a tour classic), but a buffet filled with many goodies.
The royal tombs: Minh Mang and Khai Dinh
But now to the highlights of the day: The royal tombs cost 100 each.000 Dong entrance fee per person (4 Euro) – in total you look at three tombs. However, since two are similar and the one was also being renovated when we were there (early November 2015), we only looked at two: Minh Mang and Khai Dinh.
Minh Mang's tomb is huge in area and beautifully landscaped. It was planned during his reign (1820 to 1840), but built only by his successor.
The royal tomb of Khai Dinh
The tomb of Khai Dinh looks completely different: Outside the black colored concrete stands out and inside the many colorful mosaics. Very worth seeing!
Village visit and boat trip
The tour ended with a visit to a village selling incense sticks, hats and paintings. And an unspectacular boat trip, where a huge German tourist – wrapped in a blue plastic rain bag – was blocking my view.
Continuing to Son Trach
By the way, we didn't book the tour at Huenino (too expensive), but at a restaurant (unfortunately we didn't remember the name) together with two bus tickets to Son Trach – 300.000 dong per person all this cost us (12 euros, excluding the entrance fees).