All settled in at Hong Thien Hotel 1 and their helpful front desk folk sell us a full-day bus tour of the Emperor’s Tombs for $9! (The price doesn’t include entrance fees to the 3 tombs which are $4 each.)
Hue was the ancient capital of Vietnam and 7 of the Nguyen emperors are buried near the city. We visited the ‘Forbidden City’, 3 tombs and Thien Mu Pagoda. Then, we ride back to Hue on a Dragon boat along the Perfume river.
First stop: The Forbidden City
I definitely could have used more than the hour we were given to explore the ‘Forbidden City’.The Citadel was off limits to anyone but the Royals.
My favorite part was the museum with enlarged photos of the lives of the emperors and their elaborate lives.
Imperial Tomb of Minh Mang
This was such a relaxing spot that I wished I had a good book, a few hours and a picnic!
Emperor Minh Mang searched for this site for 5 years and then had the grounds landscaped to add perfectly Feng Shui’d hills. From the air, the layout of the site resembles a human form with Minh Mang’s tomb in the head.
Imperial Tomb of Tu Duc: By this time of the day, I was getting hot and poor, so I skipped this one to drink fresh coconut water in a hammock. I hear this site is full of lakes and lovely stonework.
Imperial Tomb of Khai Dinh
The view from Khai Dinh was so lush, it reminded me of the Slovakian countryside.
There were a LOT of stairs to get up to see this view. This is the first set.
Khai Dinh tomb took 11 years (1920-1931) to build and is the tomb of the final emperor.
Thien Mu Pagoda
The ‘Heavenly Lady Pagoda’ is a lovely tower along the Perfume River. This site also houses a national relic: the car in which the monk Thich Quang Duc rode from his temple to Saigon on June 11, 1963. He stepped out of the car in an intersection, sat down in the lotus position, and burned himself to death in protest against the regime’s violations of religious freedom.
After exploring the sites, we headed back to Hue on a Dragon boat. It was a great day!