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. They are complexes with many buildings that include a paved courtyard lined with mandarin statues, a stone stele inscribed with details of his reign, the 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
Opening times: Daily 7am to 5.30pm
Admission: 55,000d per tomb