The Royal Tombs © Nam-Ho Park
South of Hué are eight splendid royal tombs of the Nguyen emperors, situated among the hills on the banks of the Perfume River. Often designed while the emperor was still alive, each mausoleum was built to serve as a palace for the afterlife. In this vein the tombs were built as vast complexes, each with traditional functions.
These complexes include paved courtyards lined with mandarin statues, a stone stele inscribed with details of his reign, a main temple dedicated to the worship of the deceased and containing personal effects, and the tomb itself. Surrounding the complex were artificial ponds in a garden-like setting. The Tomb of Tu Dac, with its lotus-filled lake and central pavilion, the remarkable mosaics of Minh Mang's Tomb, and the simple and serene Tomb of Khai Dinh are the most interesting.
Address: Thien Tho Mount, four to ten miles (7-16km) south of Hué
Transport: Take a Perfume River boat trip and hire a motorbike taxi waiting at the riverbank to go between the sites, or hire a car, bicycle or motorbike to get to the tombs. The cheapest options are to hire a motorcycle or rickshaw guide.
Opening times: Daily from 6.30am-5.30pm April to September, 7am-5pm October to March.
Admission: Depending on which tomb you enter, tickets range from 40,000 VND to 150,000 VND per place. Alternatively, look for a blanket ticket for around 360,000 VND.