Gia Long Tomb – The First Nguyen Dynasty Royal Tomb

Gia Long Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel

Gia Long Tomb Introduction

Gia Long Tomb, also known as Thien Tho Tomb, is the burial place of the first Nguyen Dynasty Emperor Gia Long. It is a complex of historical relics with deep significance for Vietnam.

As the oldest Hue royal tomb, Gia Long Tomb has stood still and witnessed all the changes in this land. Its historical importance and poetic Feng-Shui setting have made this tomb so appealing to tourists.

Gia Long Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel

If you love Vietnamese culture and history, Gia Long Tomb is the perfect place for your trip to Hue, Vietnam. Now, let’s get into more details about this special tomb with Vietnam Vacation Travel!

Before that, you might want to check out our Hue Royal Tombs Tour which takes you to the top 3 tombs in Hue and teaches you all about them. And if you don’t want to see only tombs but other highlights of Hue, various Hue tours are available:

Gia Long Tomb Travel Guide

Gia Long Tomb Location

Located 20 kilometers to the west of Hue city center, Gia Long Tomb, or Thien Tho Tomb, is the furthest from the Imperial City compared to other Hue tombs. The tomb is surrounded by 42 mountains, among which Thien Tho Mountain is the biggest. Gia Long Tomb and all mountains in the area are called after Thien Tho Mountain’s name.

Thereby, it has a perfect vantage point over the upstream Perfume River and Thien Tho Son Mountain. With a location of good Feng Shui among epic mountains and rivers, Gia Long Tomb stands on an everlastingly thriving land.

Location Of Gia Long's Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel

Gia Long Tomb address: Dinh Mon hamlet, Huong Tho commune, Huong Tra district, Thua Thien Hue province

Gia Long Tomb map:

How To Get To Gia Long Tomb?

As its location evokes, Gia Long Tomb Hue is mainly surrounded by rivers, so a waterway was the only option for visitors in the past. As a result, it was isolated and forgotten by tourists. But today, with the construction of a pontoon bridge over the Ta Trach River, a roadway is available for everyone.

You can go by motor vehicle (bikes, scooters, or motorcycles) through the pontoon bridge, which requires a small fee of 5,000 VND/time. Yet, bigger vehicles such as taxis or buses can’t go past this bridge, so you have to walk quite far.

Ta Trach Pontoon Bridge Hue - Vietnam Vacation Travel

Or you can visit Gia Long Tomb in a traditional way – by boat. You will have a chance to enjoy a unique dragon boat trip along the poetic Huong River and catch Hue’s beauty in a different way. It takes you about 2 hours to sightsee on the Huong River before reaching Gia Long Tomb.

Dragon Boat Trip to Gia Long Tomb Hue - Vietnam Vacation Travel

Otherwise, you can book a tour of Gia Long Tomb and other highlights in Hue, which is more time-saving. You don’t need to worry about transfers, tickets, or anything else.

Contact Vietnam Vacation Travel now to take Hue boat trips, make your requests, get travel advice, book a tour, and so on. We provide customized tours for tourists via this website, email at, or hotline at +84349825119.

Gia Long Tomb Entrance Fee

The Gia Long Tomb entrance fee’s latest updates:

  • Adults: 150.000 VND/person (~ 6.35 USD/person)
  • Under-12 children: Free of charge

You can buy the tickets directly at the ticket counter right in front of the tomb or have a travel agency get them for you. Usually, travel agencies will suggest some more destinations, such as Minh Mang Tomb, Khai Dinh Tomb, or Hue Imperial Citadel.

If you haven’t visited many places in Hue, the combo tickets or tours they offer might be more economical and convenient for your trip.

Gia Long Tomb Opening Hours

It opens from 07:00 to 17:30 from Monday to Sunday.

Best Time To Visit Gia Long Tomb

As visiting Gia Long Tomb is an outdoor activity, the best time to visit is in the early months of the year. The weather in Hue is more pleasant, cool, and less rainy during this time. You can enjoy the tranquility and fresh air around Gia Long Tomb.

Best time to visit Tomb of Gia Long - Vietnam Vacation Travel

To get the most out of the surroundings, you should go in the afternoon. You would love the sparkling twilight reflected on the river, the pine trees moved by cool breezes, and the magnificent mountains far away.

Gia Long Tomb is away from busy life and without too many visitors, so you can enjoy the tranquility of majestic nature anytime you come. But we don’t recommend you go from September to December. During this period, there will be relentless rainy days, so your trip would be very inconvenient.

History Of Gia Long Tomb

Gia Long Emperor was born in 1762 and passed away in 1820. His birth name was Nguyen Phuc Anh. He established the Nguyen and became the first emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, which is the last feudal dynasty in Vietnam.

Gia Long Emperor - Vietnam Vacation Travel

He came to the throne in 1802 and chose “Gia Long” as his era name. With his establishment of the Nguyen dynasty, Vietnam was reunified after centuries of civil war. Also, under his reign, the national name “Viet Nam” was first officially used.

Gia Long had a long-lasting love for his first wife, Thua Thien Cao Empress, who was beautiful, gentle, and had good manners. At the age of 18, she got married to Gia Long Emperor and accompanied him through many ups and downs.

Unfortunately, she passed away earlier than her husband, leaving him heartbroken. In 1814, after her death, the Gia Long Emperor started to build the Gia Long Tomb. He wanted to set himself a grave right next to hers so that he could rest in peace with her later.

Tomb of Gia Long Emperor and Thua Thien Cao Emperess - Vietnam Vacation Travel

They chose a good location for the Gia Long Tomb and rushed to finish it. The construction lasted for 6 years, from 1814 (Thua Thien Cao Empress’s death year) to 1820 (Gia Long Emperor’s death year).

Finally, in 1820, the Nguyen dynasty’s first royal tomb was complete. Gia Long Emperor and Thua Thien Cao Empress started their forever sleep next to each other in the solid double grave.

Later on, the Thien Tho Royal Tomb expanded into a large mausoleum area with a circumference of 11,234 meters. It accommodates the burial places of other royal family members.

A panorama of Gia Long Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel

Gia Long Tomb Architecture

Gia Long Tomb Complex is a simple but majestic construction. Each building inside the tomb was laid out generously. It was not packed with big palaces or high walls. Instead, the tomb stands amid vast nature and uses the surrounding mountains as support for the burial area.

It is a wonderful arrangement of manmade construction and nature. It was Gia Long Emperor who decided on the location, contributed to the design, and supervised the building’s progress.

Gia Long Tomb Architecture - Vietnam Vacation Travel

Compared to other Hue royal tombs, Gia Long Emperor Tomb is the simplest. Yet, it is the first tomb model in Hue, which gave his descendants a reference to build their tombs. It somewhat reflects the first emperor’s lifestyle and ideology.

Besides general architecture, the details are imbued with traditional architectural patterns in Vietnam. The most noticeable are the dragons on the grounds and stairs. Unlike later tombs’ dragons made of rock, they were made of lime.

Gia Long Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel

 The tomb of Gia Long was built in linearity with three main areas, including:

  • Middle part: The tomb area of Gia Long Emperor and Thua Thien Cao Empress with the Buu Thanh wall system
  • Right part: Minh Thanh Shrine, the worship place of the first emperor and empress of the Nguyen dynasty.
  • Left part: Bi Dinh Pavilion with a large stela of Minh Mang Emperor’s appreciation text.

What To See At Gia Long Tomb?

Buu Thanh – The Tomb Area

Coming to Gia Long Tomb in Hue, Vietnam, visitors must want to see the tomb of emperor Gia Long the most. Situated on Chinh Trung Hill, it is the main part of this large mausoleum. The double tomb is protected by the wall system called Buu Thanh.

Buu Thanh wall in Gia Long Tomb Hue - Vietnam Vacation Travel

Before seeing the double tomb, you will face a solid wall named Buu Thanh. The main gate on the wall was made out of copper. And unfortunately, it is only open on Tet holidays to clean, worship, or do some maintenance.

Tomb of Gia Long Emperor - Vietnam Vacation Travel

On the outside, there are seven levels of ground paved with Bat Trang bricks and two rows of Mandarin statues, elephants, and horses. Additionally, this area was built first of all, so it looks old and historic. Everything creates a real sense of majesty for the tomb.

Gia Long Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel

But the inside is the most still and solemn of all. Two graves of the first Nguyen Emperor and Empress lay side-by-side on the empty ground. Only about 20 centimeters away from each other, they look exactly the same, with open gable roofs blackened with time.

Gia Long Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel

There are no complicated carvings, red paints, or golden plating. Instead, they are only flat and bare pieces of rock. Because of that, however, they look even more resilient in the face of many changes.

The double tomb also shows a long-lasting love between the Emperor and his Empress. This is a special feature that sets the Gia Long Mausoleum apart from the mausoleums with single tombs of Emperors.

Gia Long's Mausoleum - Vietnam Vacation Travel

Another unique feature is that, when looking at the touching tips on the roofs of two graves, you will see the top of Thien Tho Mountain right in the middle. This exact position is one of the features making the tomb of Gia Long emperor the best Feng-Shui construction in Vietnam.

Fengshui of Gia Long Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel

Bi Dinh Pavilion

The left area of Gia Long Tomb is Bi Dinh Pavilion, which was used to acknowledge the first doctoral candidates in the past. Pavilions like this appear in almost every tomb of the Nguyen Emperors.

Bi Dinh Pavilion accommodates the stela of Minh Mang Emperor, who was the next Nguyen emperor after Gia Long Emperor. His words to praise the first Nguyen emperor were carved delicately on the stela. Even though over 200 years have passed, the carving is clear and legible.

Bi Dinh Pavillion in Gia Long's Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel

Minh Thanh Shrine

Minh Thanh Shrine is the main worship place in the right part of Gia Long Tomb Hue. It is placed on Bach Son (White Mountain) and has a wall surrounding it. It is used to worship and make offerings to the emperor and his wife.

Minh Thanh Shrine in Gia Long Tomb Hue - Vietnam Vacation Travel

Some people explain the name “Minh Thanh” as “the glorious completion” because of its beautiful architecture. Meanwhile, others refer to “Minh Thanh” as “tomorrow’s completion” because a part of this shrine was sketchily painted and carved.

Previously, Minh Thanh Shrine stored many mementos related to the adventurous life of Gia Long Emperor, such as belts, hats, horse saddles, and so on. But many of them got lost after some upheavals.

Minh Thanh Shrine in Gia Long Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel

Burial Area Of Royal Family Members

Apart from the main areas, there are other burial areas for royal family members. The most outstanding of all are Thien Tho Huu Tomb and Gia Thanh Shrine. Thuan Thien Cao Empress, the second wife of Gia Long Emperor, also the mother of Minh Mang Emperor, was entombed and worshiped in these places.

Tourists also love to visit this area because of its pleasant and tranquil surroundings.

Gia Thanh Shrine Gia Long Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel

Some Notices For Visitors

  • About clothes: Choose casual and decent clothes to show respect and to move around more easily.
  • You should take some drinks and snacks with you, especially if you decide to go on sunny days. You might need them to get more energy during your visit.
  • If you bring drinks or food along, please remember to put your litter in the right place. Be aware of maintaining the common hygiene of this relic.
  • When you see the signs reminding you not to touch the exhibits or take photos, please comply with them.
  • As Gia Long Tomb is amid the forest, which easily gets fire, you shouldn’t smoke when visiting the place.


As a humble but valuable part of Hue tombs and monuments, Gia Long Tomb gives tourists a peaceful sight to visit. When coming to Hue City, many people must want to open their eyes to this ancient structure and its meaningful history.

Vietnam Vacation Travel hopes our article provides good information for your trip to Hue and Gia Long Tomb. Thanks for reading!

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