Khai Dinh Tomb Hue, Vietnam

Khai Dinh Tomb Hue

Khai Dinh Tomb Introduction

One of the captivating tourist attractions in Viet Nam is the Khai Dinh Tomb in Hue (also well-known as Ứng Mausoleum). It is about 9 kilometers to the south of the city center on a steep hill on a mountain named Chau Chu, on the outskirts of Hue city. It was constructed for the twelfth Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, Khai Dinh. The royal tomb of Khai Dinh is a unique blend of Western and Eastern architecture.

There are many methods to get to the tomb of Khai Dinh including booking a Grab bike, catching a cyclo, or walking. Another fantastic way to greatly enjoy yourself there is to book a Hue City Tour 1 day via Culture Pham Travel.

What makes the Tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh special?

A blend of many different architectures

Khai Dinh Tomb
Tomb of Khai Dinh emperor Hue

First of all, we should get some information about King Khai Dinh. Khai Dinh (1885 – 1925), who was regarded as a puppet of the French, came to the throne in 1916 at the age of 31 and his reign lasted for 9 years.

Like his predecessors, the emperor built numerous buildings, palaces, as well as his own tomb, which is considered his “Home in the afterlife” for himself. According to Oriental belief, all emperors thought that this life is just a temporary life when you passed away, you would live an eternal life. So what you needed in this life, you would need in the afterlife.

As opposed to the other royal tombs, the royal Mausoleum of Emperor Khai Dinh is the smallest, approximately a half hectare. But it is the most expensive and beautiful tomb in the world.

One interesting fact is that Khai Dinh has a soft spot for foreign elements, especially the beauty of modern Western culture. So, his mausoleum is a harmonious blend of European and Vietnamese architecture. The tomb also includes other architectural features of Hinduism, Buddhism, Roman, and Gothic.

The construction lasted 11 years and was completed by his successor, Bao Dai, in 1931. They went to France to buy cement, to China and Japan to buy colored glass, porcelains, ceramics…to break them into small pieces to inlaid to decorate. 20 thousand workers worked in 11 years.

To get enough money to build the tomb, he asked the French to raise farming taxes up to 30 percent. The country was so poor and people were unhappy. But under 2 levels of control of the French and Emperor, the people had no choice.

Perfect Fengshui Location.

The position of the Royal Tomb of Khai Dinh king was worked out carefully. As you know, when he first came to the throne. He ordered Fengshui tellers to go around the country to choose the best Fengshui places for him to build the tomb. More specifically, the tomb is on Chau Chu mountain and faces the Perfume River. This region was a perfect place to erect the tomb.

Outdoor View Khai Dinh Tomb 360

Indoor View Khai Dinh Tomb palace 360

What to see at the Tomb of Khai Dinh Emperor?

Dragons alongside Stairs to the Courtyard

You must climb up a large number of steps to access the iron gate of the tomb of Khai Dinh Vietnam. Once passing the gate, you will enter a courtyard featuring traditional mandarins’ working buildings made out of reinforced concrete both on the left and right.

To reach the forecourt level in front of the tomb, travelers must climb another nearly 40 steps. One remarkable thing is the two dragons lying beside the steps, forming a beautiful set of banisters.

Honor Guard Formation on the Honour Courtyard

Court-yard at Khai Dinh Tomb
Court-yard at Khai Dinh Tomb

In the big yard, there are 2 couple rows of elephants, horses, mandarins, and soldiers. All sculptures are carved by bluestone. Compared to other royal tombs in Hue, the royal Tomb of Khai Dinh King has 2 more rows of soldiers standing in two lines on either side of the forecourt. As you can see, they are waiting for the Emperor to do business in the afterlife. It looks like a “King’s chess table” looked from above.

The Stele Pavilion

Stone stele in the Courtyard
The stone stele 10 tons heavy at Tombeau Khai Dinh

In the heart of the forecourt, there is an octagonal pavilion with a 10 tons heavy stele that commemorates Khai Dinh’s biography and his achievements. It was erected by his son (Emperor Bao Dai) to honor his father.

Khai Thanh Palace

Khai Dinh Tomb Hue
Khai Thanh palace- Khai Dinh Royal Tomb

Step up some more, we get into Khai Thanh palace. You will say WOW because of its impressive beauty and decoration. At four corners of the tomb are decorated 4 season paintings filled with mosaics from color glass and porcelains from China and Japan.

The most special about Tombeau de Khai Dinh is the ceiling painting. It is the only ceiling painting that still existed in Vietnam so far. “Nine Dragons hidden in the clouds” was painted by the artist Phan Van Tanh, who painted by his feet.

Long-time ago, with the high platform, if you drew by hand it was close to your eyes so you could not see the panorama. So he drew by his feet more beautiful than my hands. Once, when the Khai Dinh Emperor came to the tomb to manage the construction. He saw the artist drawing a dragon face by his feet.

Khai Dinh was so angry but he had no choice. Because no one could replace him so when he completed his job. Instead of getting killed, he got a promotion because it was so fabulous.

Thien Dinh palace

Thien Dinh palace
Khai Dinh Statue- Thien Dinh Palace

Khai Dinh tomb architecture is extremely unique and possesses a mischievous royal vibe. Behind the altar with a portrait of Khai Dinh Emperor is his full-body bronze statue. It was cast in France in 1920 following the right size of the Khai Dinh.

As you know, that is the 39th birthday gift the French government offered to him. In other Hue Royal Tombs, you don’t know exactly where the Emperor’s coffin is. But in Khai Dinh Tomb Hue, you know exactly. Under the bronze sculpture, 9 meters deep is the coffin and body of the Khai Dinh emperor.

Right behind his back is the symbol of Sunset. It means the Emperor passed away already. Above his head, the is a parasol with 99 dragons watching you in any direction to protect the emperor. Made of concrete, color glass, and porcelains but it is so delicate to look like real silks moving in the winds.

On the right and left-hand sides of Khai Thanh palace are the rooms for the guardians who were protecting the tomb. Nowadays, they are a small museum with a lot of photos and stuff of the Khai Dinh Emperor.

Khai Dinh Tomb Entrance Fee

The Khai Dinh Tomb Hue Vietnam is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m, every day. To visit the Tomb of Khai Dinh Hue Vietnam and contribute to the great preservation of the Unesco Heritage, you have to buy an entrance ticket. It costs VND 150,000/ person for adults and VND 40,000 for kids. Children under 5 years old are free of charge.

HUE Entrance Fee Monuments in 2022

Travel Guide

How to get to Khai Dinh Tomb Hue Vietnam?

If you would like to visit Khai Dinh Tomb Vietnam as well as maximize your precious time in Hue, you should combine this beautiful royal tomb with other highlight attractions such as the dragon boat trip on Perfume River; Thien Mu Pagoda, Minh Mang Tomb, Hue Imperial Citadel, the Royal Tomb of Tu Duc. To meet all your requests, you should have a look at our Hue Deluxe Group Tour or Hue Private Car.

Khai Dinh Tomb map

Located at Chau Chu Mountain, it is nearly 9 kilometers (about 14 minutes) to get to the tomb from Hue City. Please refer to the map below to get more details:

What should you bring?

Plus, to have perfect enjoyment, remember to wear sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen as well as bring bottles of water in the dry season. In the rainy season, you should wear raincoats or bring umbrellas. Most importantly, wear comfortable shoes to climb up 127 steps to reach the Khai Dinh Emperor Tomb.


In conclusion, we have just found out about Khai Dinh Tomb, Hue: smallest but most costly amongst Nguyen Royal Tombs. If you are going to visit Hue city, don’t forget to come by this tourist attraction to witness the large scale of it! We ensure that you will be overwhelmed when visiting this amazing spot.

Culture Pham Travel

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