Khai Dinh Tomb – The Most Luxurious Hue Royal Tomb

Khai Dinh Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel


Khai Dinh Tomb or “Ứng Mausoleum”, is one of the relics belonging to The Complex of Hue Monuments, a World Heritage Site that has been recognized by UNESCO. This is the final mausoleum of the Nguyen Dynasty, constructed in the early 20th century for Emperor Khai Dinh, who reigned from 1916-1925.

Khai Dinh Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel
Panoramic view of Khai Dinh Tomb.

The Royal Tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh is the pinnacle of the Nguyen Dynasty Architecture System because it is the smallest but the most beautiful, luxurious and exquisite mausoleum that was built in 7 Hue mausoleum architecture.

When you visit the Khai Dinh Royal Tomb, you will be able to witness the grandeur and opulence of the Nguyen Dynasty, while also experiencing the nostalgic ambience of the architecture. Now Vietnam Vacation Travel will bring you on a journey to explore the Nguyen Dynasty’s most impressive mausoleum!

Location And Transportation

Where Is Khai Dinh Tomb In Hue?

The tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh is situated in Chau Chu Mountain, Thuy Bang Commune, Huong Thuy District, Thua Thien Hue Province. It is about 10 kilometres to get to the tomb from the city centre.

When the Khai Dinh Emperor chose a place to build his final resting place, Chau Chu Mountain was chosen by the Emperor and many great Feng Shui experts at that time. The Emperor has renamed Chau Chu Mountain into “Ứng Sơn” – Ung Mountain. That is why this tomb is also known as “Ứng Mausoleum”.

How To Get To Khai Dinh Tomb Hue?

It is quite close and convenient to visit Khai Dinh Tomb from Hue City. You only take about 20 minutes to travel from the city centre to this destination by many vehicles. You can travel by bicycle, motorbike, the Hue Tourism Bus or book our Private Car.

To spend your precious time in Hue, we recommend our Hue Tours to see Khai Dinh Tomb and other 6 tombs of the Nguyen Dynasty, along with many beautiful destinations in Hue.

The History Of Khai Dinh Emperor And The Tomb

Khai Dinh Emperor

Khai Dinh Emperor (1885-1925) was the 12th emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. His real name is Nguyen Phuc Buu Dao, the only son of Dong Khanh Emperor. He is widely seen as a puppet emperor of French Colonialists.

Khai Dinh Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel
Portrait picture of Khai Dinh Emperor.

He ruled for only 9 years but built many palaces and mansions for himself and the royal family, including Kien Trung Palace, An Dinh Palace, Hien Nhon Gate, and Chuong Duc Gate, etc. His final thing was building his own Royal Tomb at the age of 31.

Khai Dinh Tomb

It took 11 years to finish this Royal Tomb (1920 – 1931). Khai Dinh Emperor started to build his tomb in 1920, after 4 years when he ascended to the throne. But 5 years later, Emperor Khai Dinh has passed away. This construction was continued and it was completed in 1931 by the Bao Dai Emperor.

Compared to other Imperial Tombs in Hue, the Khai Dinh Hue Tomb is smaller, only an area of 117m x 48.5m, but this is the most splendid, luxurious and the most beautiful imperial tomb.

Despite the country being colonized and facing economic difficulties, Emperor Khai Dinh asked the French to let him raise the taxes to 30% and to have enough funds for building the mausoleum. The Emperor sent people to France, China, and Japan to buy materials from iron, steel, roof tiles porcelain, coloured glass… to build and decorate this construction.

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An exquisite decoration.

“Feng Shui” Elements Of Khai Dinh Royal Tomb

Khai Dinh Tomb’s location follows traditional feng shui principles. It sits on the Chau Chu Mountain slope, facing the Perfume River and flanked by Chop Vung and Kim So Mountains – representing “Left Green Dragon, Right White Tiger” elements for richness and peace in Feng Shui.

Chau E River flows from the left to the right as a “tụ thủy” (water converge), called “Minh đường”. Chau Chu Mountain is not only the “base” but also the ground construction of the mausoleum. Ứng Mausoleum sits in a picturesque mountain landscape, exuding both grandeur and charm.

Impressive The Unique Architecture Of Khai Dinh Tomb

Khai Dinh’s tomb is a masterpiece of architecture that combines Eastern and Western, Hindu and Buddhist, Roman and Gothic styles, as well as ancient and modern features. Its unique blend of styles makes it outstanding and more amazing than other places in The Complex of Hue Monuments.

The First 38 Steps To The Iron Gate

The Tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh’s main building has a Gothic feel with worn black concrete, while the landscape reflects traditional perceptions with a harmonious combination of wood, land, water, and plants. It features 127 stair steps built against the mountain with Vietnam’s largest dragon carvings on the side walls. The first 38 stairs lead to the Madarin’s House, the first courtyard with a Traditional Madarin’s House on both sides.

Khai Dinh Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel
First 38 Stair Steps.

Four dragons are lying beside the steps, forming a beautiful set of bannisters in this tomb. Additionally, other ladder steps also have this design.

Tam Quan Gate

29 more steps up, it is the Tam Quan Gate. Decorated with dragon and cloud motifs, it’s a fine example of Vietnam’s ancient architecture. Hindu-style pillars showcase the unique blend of Indian and Vietnamese cultures in its architecture.

Khai Dinh Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel
Tourists save their memories with Tam Quan Gate.

This is also a great place for tourists to save memories when they come to Khai Dinh Tomb.

Nghi Mon and Bai Dinh Courtyard

Continued with 29 steps from Tam Quan Gate, you will enter Nghi Mon Area and Bai Dinh Courtyard. Here, you will be overwhelmed when admiring the statues of the Mandarin court (including mandarins, horses, and soldiers…) are placed in the courtyard.

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A corner of Bai Dinh Courtyard.

Khai Dinh Mausoleum has 24 bluestone statues of officials, servants, elephants, and horses, with a 1:1 ratio. It has 6 more couples of statues than any other mausoleum. They were made to serve the Emperor in the afterlife and the place recreates the adoration scene when the Emperor was alive.

Khai Dinh Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel
Visitors with the statues.

Stone Stele Pavilion

There is an octagonal gazebo housing a 10-ton weight, 3.1 metres height stele honouring Khai Dinh’s life and achievements at the centre of Nghi Mon Area. It is called Bi Dinh of Ung Mausoleum, made by Bao Dai Emperor.

Khai Dinh Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel
Bi Dinh and the Stone Stele Pavillion.

On the left and right of Bi Dinh are two Bieu pillars, with the Buddism stoupa architecture. They represent two candles illuminating the Emperor’s soul in the afterlife.

Khai Dinh Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel
The Bieu Pillar on the left side.

Thien Dinh Palace

Going up to the highest place of the tomb, you will see the centrepiece of the tomb, Thien Dinh Palace. This place has extremely unique architecture and high artistic value, and possesses a royal vibe.

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The altar of Khai Dinh Emperor.

This place has 5 spaces including Tả Trực and Hữu Trực rooms (guard rooms), Khai Thanh Sanctuary (Emperor altar), Bửu Tán above the shrine (containing the statue of Emperor Khai Dinh) and the innermost space for coffin, throne and ceremonial tools.

Khai Dinh Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel
Bửu Tán

Thien Dinh Palace is exquisitely decorated with porcelain mosaic art. Artisans used porcelain and glass to emboss vivid images like Four Seasons, Eight Precious Objects and Eight Immortals.

The “Cuu Long An Van” Murals

This is the greatest mural decorated in the ceiling of Khai Thanh Sanctuary, this is the biggest mural in Vietnam. The primary responsibility for creating every perfect work of art in Thien Dinh Palace, including this masterpiece mural, is Artsist Phan Van Tanh, the greatest artist in Vietnam at that time.

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One of the masterpiece decorations.

“Cuu Long An Van” or “Nine Dragon Hidden Clouds” was painted by Phan Van Tanh’s feet.

There was a story about this. Khai Dinh Emperor saw Phan Van Tanh was drawing by feet during a construction inspection. When the Emperor came, every people in there held their works back to greet the King, except Phan Van Tanh.

Khai Dinh Emperor thought that the artist disregarded him by not only drawing the Dragon by feet but also did not care about the appearance of the King.

Khai Dinh Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel
“Nine Dragons Hidden Clouds” Moral.

Phan Van Tanh has explained: “With the high flatform, if I drew it by hand, it is too close to my eyes so I cannot see the panorama of the mural. So the distance when I draw it by feet is ideal so I can make this paint more beautiful.”

Although the Emperor is very angry with Phan Van Tanh, no one can be as excellent as him, Khai Dinh Emperor has said: “If Vietnam has two Phan Van Tanh, you will be beheaded.”

The Bronze Statue of Emperor Khai Dinh

Vietnam boasts two famous life-size statues of Khai Dinh Emperor: one seated on the throne in Thien Dinh Palace and the other standing nearby.

Khai Dinh Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel
The standing statue of Khai Dinh Emperor.

The statue that is now sitting was crafted in Paris and then delivered to Vietnam. The statue and its throne were sculpted by two French artisans in 1920, while the gold inlay was added by craftsmen from Hue.

Crafted by a Quang Nam artisan, the bronze statue of Khai Dinh was moved from An Dinh Temple to Thien Dinh Palace in 1975. It depicts the emperor in full regalia, holding a sword, and standing at a 1:1 ratio.

Travel Guide For The Tomb Of Khai Dinh

Opening Hours And Entrance Fee

Khai Dinh Mausoleum is open daily, from 7 am to 5.30 pm.

To visit this place, you must buy an entrance ticket to support preserving this World Heritage site.

  • For children over 12 years old and adults: 150.000 VND/ person.
  • Children (from 7-12 years old): 30.000 VND/ person.
  • Children under 6 years old: Free.

The Ideal Time To Visit Khai Dinh Tomb In Hue

This place is open to visitors all year round, but the ideal time to visit the tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh is during January and February.

Khai Dinh Tomb - Vietnam Vacation Travel

Additionally, on some special holidays in Vietnam such as Vietnam National Day (September 2nd) and New Year’s Eve, all tourist destinations in Hue, including the Khai Dinh tomb, will be open for free.

Some Tips When Visit The Tomb

  • Be careful with the slope of the stairs, especially during the rainy season.
  • Bring water, hats, sunglasses and use sunscreen in the summer because it will be very hot and crowded.
  • Wear comfy shoes and polite clothes at the King’s tomb with its 127 stairs.
  • Do not touch any objects or decorations in the tomb.
  • Search to know the architecture of Ứng Mausoleum before visiting to appreciate its unique beauty.


Khai Dinh Tomb is the pinnacle work of art and architecture, showcasing exceptional porcelain and glass artistry. A visit to Hue, especially Khai Dinh Tomb, promises an unforgettable experience that tourists will cherish forever.

Hopefully, Vietnam Vacation Travel & Transport has brought up helpful information for visitors through this article. After all, Vietnamese people always say: “Observation is the best teacher.” If you have a chance to Hue, make sure you don’t miss this breathtaking tourist destination. We assure you that the magnificence of this place will leave you in awe.