The Imperial Tombs of Hue, another main attraction in Hue apart from The Imperial Citadel, are situated outside the city. To get there you’ll need some form of transportation – I booked a car with driver for the day and saw three tombs out of seven – that of Minh Mang, Khai Ding and Tu Duc. On my way back to Hue I also stopped at Thien Mu Pagoda.
The tombs, built as final resting places for the Ngyuen emperors, resemble large villas with lakes, gardens, pavilions and statues. One of the emperors actually resided on the grounds of his mausoleum during his life. The tombs were in a state of disrepair until recently – I noticed this while comparing my photos from 2016 with other traveler’s photos taken just a few years earlier. At the time of my visit many buildings were already restored, things tidied up, and all the major sites looked pretty and neat.
Personally, I liked the results of the restoration efforts. Nothing looked overtly out of place as it does sometimes when things are newly built.
Minh Mang Tomb
I loved the geometrical layout of this place, the symmetry of consecutive courtyards. It’s quite spacious, people spread out and it feels very quiet.
Khai Ding Tomb
This place was the most crowded of all, probably because it’s smaller than other sites, or maybe it just was the busy time of day. It felt less like a villa and more like a palace or a mausoleum (which it is). It has distinct, memorable architecture and beautiful interiors.
Tu Duc Tomb
Another park-like place with pond.
Thien Mu Pagoda
This iconic pagoda sits on a hill on the banks of Perfume river on the way to the tombs and makes for a short stop during the tombs visit. It offers nice views of the river, and the structure itself (part of a Buddhist temple) is quite pretty.