Tiger Arena in Hue

Tiger Arena or Ho Quyen (Vietnamese) is located on the south bank of the Perfume River and 4km from the Citadel, Royal Arena was where duels between trained elephants and tigers were arranged for the entertainment of the Nguyen Court and the public. These occasions were also the elephant’s practice combats.

Mortal fighting between the beats offered heroic spectacles, through these, the Nguyen rulers expected to remind the subjects of their compliance with the political consciousness: elephants, symbol of Emperors of unparalleled strength, were winners of all time, whereas tigers, the jungle beasts or rebels against the Court, were inevitably executed at last. Before the fighting, the tiger’s claws, his dreadful weapons, were cut off and the elephant was well fed.

Keep reading: Customize tour in Hue with Huracars 

Constructed in 1830, the Tiger Arena is an open-air and solidly built coliseum. Collar-shaped, 44m diameter, it has a wall of earth and brick 4.5m thick, 5.80m high. The platform exclusively reserved for the Emperor faces south, opposite are five built-in tiger cages. By the right side of the platform is a large gate for elephants.

Hue tiger arena Ho QuyenThe last fighting in 1904 was briefly recorded as follow, The elephant came to the battlefield with pride and bravo v Soddenly, the tiger jumped onto him and clawed al his forehead. The elephant flung his head, the tiger was thrown away. He then jumped again, trying to resume his position. The elephant have an angry, deep throat teeth, rusher ahead and pressed the tiger to the wall with his own body and with all force he could again. Then he raised his head, threw the enemy on the ground and smashed him to death.

Tiger Arena remains now almost in good state. It is not only one of Vietnam’s unique monument but aslo the world’s valuable architectural work.

How to get there
Head west on Le Loi towards Hue train station, turn right after crossing the small bridge onto Bui Thi Xuan street. Continue go straight for 3 km and keep an eye on the left. Once you find an alley called Kiet 373. From Tiger Arena, you can visit Long Chau Temple is 200 metres down.

Take part in Hue city tour one day and visit the fighting arena with us now.

Elephant Springs in Phu Loc, Hue

Located on the way from Hue to Da Nang, Elephant Springs, some 55 km from Hue, is an excellent natural spring that is well worth a hot summer tour. The Elephant Spring/ Suoi Voi is a suitable destination for short-term vacation because it possesses the wild and poetic beauty of mountains and forests with the highlight of a large shaped rock and a fresh climate.

Elephant Springs is about 1km long-separate 2 areas. This area consists of a number of natural pools with clear and cool water, scattered by huge boulders. With some imagination, you can find a rock, which looks like an elephant head, giving the name of the springs. Climbing on the rock and swimming in the springs or just relax on some sitting mats, offered by the locals, can give you opportunities to spend several hours visiting this lovely. Here, travelers can soak and swim in cool water or sit on the rocks and listen to the sound of the wind flowing, the water pouring, the birds singing, stroll among the green trees and breathe fresh air.

The name Elephant is originated from the large stone that looks like an elephant near the waterfall.

Elephant spring Vietnam
Beat the summer heat in Elephant Stream

On the hot summer day, you should drop in here and sluice yourself down the smooth rocks, there are many spots upstream to explore.

Elephant Springs be pretty deserted on weekdays and in winter, which is great if you’re looking for some privacy, sometimes you have brought some fast food for these days or you can buy it on the way from Hue to spring.

Fun games and activities at Elephant Springs

Not only bathing and checking in at Elephant stone slab but when coming to Hue Elephant Stream, you can also participate in other interesting experiences that are only available in tourist areas such as catching rock crabs, stream snails on cliffs.

The first is to soak your feet in cool, clear water to see through the bottom of the spring and admire the surrounding landscape, then look at your feet to find the color of sparkling pebbles, it will be very interesting.

If you accidentally drop your items, especially jewelry, watch, camera… you can rest assured and calmly keep the status quo and then take a closer look.

With extremely healthy activities, Elephant Spring is truly the ideal destination to cool off after hot summer days or hard-working sessions so don’t hesitate to go next.

Keep reading: Tour Hue to Hoi An by car and visit Elephant Springs

Tickets to visit Hue Elephant Stream:

  • Admission is 20.000 vnd/ person
  • You also pay 10,000 vnd/ motorbike or 30.000 vnd/ car
  • You have to pay for the little bamboo Shacks near the pool 200.000 -300.000, you must deal with them.
  • It is free to use the restroom of the vendor but you should buy for the owner a bottle of water if you don’t use any services, they will be happy

What to eat and drink in Elephant Spring:

  • According to the experience of Hue travel and going to Elephant Spring of many tourists, you only need 500,000 VND to get yourself and your group a hut along the stream with a great view and a full meals: grilled chicken, rice stick, the fragrant with vermicelli cooked with chicken heart, a bottle of beer, filled for 2 – 3 people.
  • You can also order fresh and delicious grilled fish (caught from the stream) or other specialties such as grilled frogs, spring snails which are cooked in many different ways from stir-fried lemongrass, boiling, fried with guise leaves, ….
  • The plus point of the dishes here is super fresh but the price is quite good, not too expensive.
Elephant spring in Hue
How fantastic is when swimming in cool water

How to get Elephant Springs

  • To get there, take AH1 south out of Hue city, on the way from Hue to Hoi An, and keep your eye on the right side or on the left side if you driving from Da Nang to Hue. Follow the road across the stream to the springs.
  • If you travel by private car from Hue to Hoi An, we can drop in this place with a surcharge of 200.000 VND/ group, you can spend your time here about 2-3 hours.
  • From Hue, it takes us about 1hour driving and 1,5 hour from Danang city by car

In recent years, Elephant spring is a prominent destination of Hue, especially for those who like to experience green travel life, immerse themselves in wild nature and majestic, enjoy the fresh, cool air. With the advantages of an ecotourism area of Hue, Elephant Spring will give you many memorable things on your trip to central Vietnam.

So if you are planning to travel to Da Nang or Hue, do not forget to go to the Hue Elephant Spring because it is quite convenient and close. Take a bath on the stream, sunbathe by the stream, watch the Xiem flowers, the leaves of the forest, then stop at the hut and especially do not forget to enjoy the rustic, unique, fresh, and fragrant dishes of local people.

Travel Map:

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Opening Ceremony of Traditional Hue – Hue Festival 2017

Opening Ceremony of Traditional Hue – Hue Festival 2017 

Hue festival has affirmed its brand and prestige in the hearts of the public and visitors, as well as artisans of traditional craft villages throughout Vietnam. The international element of the Hue Festival has gradually been shaped, building Hue as the Festival City.

This is a great cultural and economic event that is important to enhance the position of Hue – the city of heritage, the cultural city and the festival city of Vietnam.

Let’s see some fantastic picture is taken in the Opening Ceremony of Traditional Hue on 28 Apr 2017.

Keep reading schedule of Hue festival 2017

Short video in this special event

9 vegan restaurants in Hue you must try update 2017

Hue city is known as the Buddhist region in Vietnam. That’s why vegetarian food is familiar to local people. You maybe surprised by seeing many food retail to big vegan restaurants in Hue serving vegetarian food on the first date and the 15th date of lunar month. From the natural goods that can be easily found in Dong Ba markets or some local market, Hue people make many dishes. Here is list of the vegan restaurants in Hue you must try when travel in this poem city.

  1. San May Vegetarian – 8 Thanh Tinh Street

San May restaurant HueThe restaurant is in a hand carved ancient house preserved with love and care, set in a carefully cultivated garden. There is a small private pergola in the front and many Koi fish swim in the courtyard pond.

The staff were friendly and efficient, the menu was extensive and had many Huê specialties that are sometimes rare to find, all completely vegan. All of the dishes tried were complex in flavor, had taken time and care to make and perfect.

  1. Lien Hoa vegan restaurants – 3 Le Quy Don Street

Lien Hoa restaurant Hue
Lien Hoa restaurant Hue

Vegetarian a-la-carte with Vietnamese/English menus. The spring rolls were divine, as was the mushroom dish. Great setting and super inexpensive.

  1. Ngu Ha Garden vegan restaurants – 181 Xuan 68 street

Not just a quick cafe bit a nicer evening place. Ngu Ha is the unique vegan restaurants in Hue has a big water feature. Decor inspired by Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese. Great food and very reasonable prices. Spacious vegan restaurant set in a Hue’s traditional house with also a tea-house. Milk on the menu is rice milk. Peaceful atmosphere

vegetable food
Hue vegetable food is delicious
  1. Tinh Tam Restaurant – Minh mang street

This restaurant run by a Buddhist orphanage in Duc Son Pagoda. Waiters and waitresses are all orphans. Large vegan restaurant, no number in the address. Directions: from Hue, go down Minh Mang street until Minh Mang splits (near the entrance of the alley leading to Hong An Pagoda) – continue straight, it is not far on the right hand-side. Open Mon-Sun 7:00 am-7:30 pm.

Keep reading: Hue travel guide

  1. Bo De Vegan Restaurant in Hue – 11 Le Loi

This small restaurant has a beautiful outdoor seating at the riverside! The menu has a lot of options, but we didn’t quite understand all of them. The food was okay. Jack-fruit seems to be shredded raw jack-fruit in Vietnamese dishes.Lien hoa vegan food

  1. Huong Thoi Gian – 60 Hai Ba Trung Street, Hue

There were Vietnamese and English menus and I ordered spring rolls, noodle soup and an orange juice. The orange juice seemed freshly squeezed but wasn’t chilled or iced as it is in most places in Vietnam.

Keep reading: 1 day tour in Hue city

  1. Thien Tam – 110 Le Ngo Cat street

Modern, spacious vegetarian restaurant on ground floor of Park View Hotel. Serves Vietnamese such as Pho, braised tofu, spring rolls, and jack-fruit. Has English menu and some English is spoken. Gets busy in the evening. It looks quite expensive but the price is absolutely ok.

edible mushrooms dishes in Thien Tam
Edible mushrooms dishes in Thien Tam
  1. Thien Phu – 58 Phan Boi Chau street

They have an English menu, which made ordering much easier. I had the cassava cake and ‘chicken’ with lemongrass, both were good. Lady didn’t speak much English and when I wanted to ask something she kept saying there was no meat in it, I found is very reassuring.

  1. Thanh Lieu Restaurant – 50 Nguyen Cong Tru street, Hue

    Try rice dishes  in Thanh Lieu vegan restaurants in Hue
    Try rice dishes  in Thanh Lieu vegan restaurants in Hue

Vietnamese menu under the glass of each table. Little English spoken but added an English menu. Order Cơm (rice) and you will get a nice plate of rice with a variety of veg and some tasty tofu. Open Mon-Sun 9:00am – 8:00pm.

Hue city seems to be an poetic city which entirely satisfies your stomach with its cuisine background. Once travelling to Hue, don’t forget to miss any mentioned vegan food above. You will surely have a great time exploring local foods and vegan food in Hue city. We hope this articles “Vegan restaurants in Hue 2017” give you some recommend when you want to try vegan food.

Hue festival 2017

Hue Festival is an international festival where cultures of many area and countries converge together. Hue held festival  of Traditional craft  is held every two years with many activities.

The Hue Traditional Festival 2017  includes the main activities:
– The opening ceremony associated with special arts program took place at 20:00 on 28/4/2017.
– Artisans and handicraft villages focus on introducing, displaying, demonstrating and trading traditional handicraft products of Hue artisans from many famous craft villages in Vietnam and Korea. Particularly, there is participation in maneuvering, product shaping and exchanges between artisans and visitors.

Here is fringe activities, community art and cultural events – Hue Traditional Craft Festival 2017 is held from Apr 28 to May 2, 2017

Fringe activities, community art and cultural events – Hue Traditional Craft Festival 2017
Key events in Hue festival 2017

Keep reading:  Hue city tour 1 day

Fringe activities, community art and cultural events – Hue Traditional Craft Festival 2017
Fringe Activities, Community Art and Cultural Events

Handicraft village take part in Hue Festival 2017:

  • Hue Wind-Praying Club
  • Thuy Xuan Incense Village, Hue
  • Van Phuc Silk Village, Ha Noi
  • Wooden fish making, Hue
  • Embroidery, Hue
  • Enameled bronze – Phap Lam Hue
  • Zeng fabric weaving, A Luoi, Thua Thien Hue
  • Folk paintings of Sinh Village, Thua Thien Hue
  • Scrolls and hangings of Chuon Village
  • Lacquering of Tien Non Village
  • Wood carving craft of My Xuyen Village
  • Pottery off Phuoc Phu Village
  • Thanh Tien Paper Flower Village
  • Conical Hat Making Village
  • Bamboo weaving of Bao La Village
  • Ke Mon Village’s Jewelry
  • Bronze Casting Village
  • Hue Lanterns in the areas of Chi Lang, Huynh Thuc Khang, Bach Dang Street, Bao Vinh ancient quarter or Thanh Tien village


Lap An lagoon

Lap An Lagoon or An Cu lagoon is located within Lang Co Bay, beside Highway AH1 running through Lang Co town, Phu Loc about 62km from Hue and 38km from Da Nang. Travel from Da Nang to Hue, just over 20 km of scenic Hai Van Pass, Lang Co bay appear as a charming picture. It is completely embraced with one side of high mountains, and one side of immense sky and seas. Lap An lagoon and Lang Co bay attract traveler not only with its inherent beauty, but also with the peace of honest local people.

Lang Co
Lang Co bay

Lap An Lagoon is surrounded by Bach Ma Mountain Range and the blue waters of Lang Co Bay, this is the favorite place for photographers. It is known by its poetic beauty of clouds, mountain reflected in water. The best to explore this lagoon is in the afternoon, when the Sun go sleep.

Read more: Day tours from Hue to Hoi An

Lap An Lagoon is an 1200 ha area with the curving road around the lagoon like a soft band of silk. The clean blue water surface reflects mountains, clouds and sky, and the lagoon has become a popular destination for photographers and explorers.

travel hue to hoi an by car
Lap An Lagoon in Lang Co

Nowadays, the lagoon is used to raise oysters which brings income for the local people. The oyster has high nutritional and use for many purpose. The people consider them as “jewel of heaven” and live mainly by feeding oysters.

Read more: Da Nang day trip to Hue

The best time to explore Lap An Lagoon is sunset. The scenery at this time is very fanciful. The smooth water surface appearing yellow, red, dark blue. Traveler have the opportunity to taste delicious dishes made of small fish, oysters, such as: steamed with ginger, sour oysters…

Lap An lagoonTravel tips:

• The most favorite time for exploring Lap An is between Mar and June, especial in the sunset
• You can visit this place when driving from Hue to Hoi An or from Danang to Hue transfer by car.

Top some kinds of seafood for those transfer from Hue to Hoi An by private car.

If you are considering to transfer from Hue to Da nang or transfer from Hue to Hoi An with stop over Lap An lagoon and Lang Co beach, let yourself plan a lunch with fresh seafood there.

70 km to the North of Hue city, Lang Co, the most charming beach in Hue, is easily reached by car in 1,5 hour. It is famous not only for natural beauty but also affordable fresh tasty seafood with various local recipe. The Lap An Lagoon is an 1200ha area with the curving road around lagoon look like a soft band of silk. The blue water surface reflects mountains, clouds and sky, and the Lap An has become a popular destination for photographer and explorer.

You must stop here when transfer from Hue to Hoi An or vice versa .

Read more: Lap An lagoon’s beauty captivates tourists

Some tips for good local restaurant:

1/ Be Den – Sao Bien restaurant, under Lang Co bridge

sao bien restaurant lang co beach huracars

2/ Be Than restaurant


3/ Viet Long floating restaurant

lang co restaurant

4/ Lang Co restaurant

Lang Chai restaurant in Lang co

All of them are floating restaurants right on the lagoon, visitors can themselves pick up the most fresh seafood, especially mussels, clams, oysters and snails, ect for chef.

Top some kinds of seafood

1/ Shrimp, Lobster: various recipe from them, such as  Shrimp fried with tamarind, Shrimp steamed with coconut water, Lobster baked with cheese, steamed Lobster, ect

seafood on the way transfer hue to hoi an

2/Squid: Squid steamed with ginger and lemon grass, squid grilled with five spices


3/Crab:  Crab fried with tamarind, steamed crab, hotpot.


4/ Some kinds of Oysters, snails: Oysters baked with cheese, Oysters baked with onion, Fried with chilli and garlic, steamed with lemon glass.


5/Fish: a lot of kind of sea fish, cooked with tomato sauce, grilled with five spices, hot pot or with rice soup.


What could be more attractive than enjoy the beautiful scenic of lagoon while lunchtime? After a nice lunch, we then head to Da Nang over Hai Van pass with a panoramic view of Da Nang beach city and beautiful Mable mountain. All of that make your day more unforgettable  on the way transfer from Hue to DaNang or transfer from Hue to Hoian.

A Story Of Gia Long Emperor

Gia Long main temple

Being founded by Emperor Gia Long (Nguyen Anh), the Nguyen Dynasty including 13 kings lasted for over 140 years (1802 – 1945). In the beginning, Nguyen Anh experienced a lot of hardships for a fourth of a century to found his kingdom. Pressingly hunted by the Tay Sun force, he had to run away to Phu Quoc Island, at times hiding at the Ca Mau Cape or wandering for a shelter in Thailand.

Many a time he had no food and had to live on fruit, cold surplus rice or shrimp paste… Luckily, he still stood high in favor of the Heaven and was sup-ported to surpass all the dangers so that at last, he succeeded in restoring his own nation.

Read more: Gia Long Mausoleum 

What were the chances which had supported Gia Long emperor to the victory? Once he prepared to set off by sea, a small fish jumped into his boat or a school of water snakes raised it up and on another time a gecko lay in front of the boat to prevent him from going to the open sea. The events were considered bad omens, so Nguyen Anh and his followers were unwilling to start their voyages. No one knew until later that they were saved from falling into the Tay Son’s traps on the sea thanks to those bad omens.

Dragon yard in front of temple
Dragon yard in front of temple

In July 1783, Nguyen Anh – Gia Long was besieged at Con Lon Island by the Tay Son Navy Force. Fortunately, a sea storm rose up and its high waves sank most of the Tay Son force’s ships so that Nguyen Anh and his soldiers were able to escape easily. In the same year (1873), hotly run after by the Tay Sun force, Nguyen Anh had to wade across the Bang river (Vam Co). Suddenly he ran across a crocodile, so he leap up a buffalo which was swimming in the river to avoid that wicked monster. The water flowed so swiftly that the buffalo was nearly drowned. Right at that moment, another crocodile appeared to support the buffalo as far as the other bank.

gia-long-templeGood Heaven, Nguyen Anh – Gia Long was saved then! Those events were as magical as legends were. They helped Nguyen Anh overcome a lot of dangers and hardships on the way to the victory and become The First Highest Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty. He ascended the throne on May 12, 1802.

Hue royal music – Nha Nhac Hue

In its ordinary meaning, “Hue Royal Music” is understood as genres of music, including music combined with dance and opera, used in worshiping ceremonies, court affairs and national festivals hosted by the court and entertainment activities of the King and his Royal Family. The name Nha Nhac was used by Vietnamese feudal dynasties from the Ho Dynasty with different meanings: sometimes indicating Royal Music in general and court ritual music in particular, sometimes indicating a music organization, even a concrete orchestra.

duyet-thi-duongThe initial foundation of Nha Nhac — the Hue Royal Music began in the 13th century but it only reached the peak at the Hue Court under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945). It was officially formed along with the enthronement of the Nguyen Dynasty in the early 19th century. In about 1947-1948, Madame Tu Cung (mother of King Bao Dai and wife of King Khai Dinh) gathered some artists from the reign of King Bao Dai. Thanks to this, some genres of court and dance were maintained. In the 1980s, the Hue Hue Royal Music began to attract attention of the Ministry of Culture and local authorities. In the 1990s, it stepped into the renaissance. Since then, this kind of art has been introduced in many places all over the world.

Find more: Schedule of Hue Royal Music

The different genres of the Hue Royal Music include worshiping ritual music, court ritual music, court dances, chamber music and opera (royal classical opera).

Formerly, the Hue Royal Music consisted of various genres: Giao Nhac used in the sacrifice ceremony to the Heaven and the Earth; Mieu Nhac used in worshiping ceremonies at the temples; Ngu Tu Nhac used in worshiping ceremonies for Than Nong (Agricultural Genius), Thanh Hoang (God of a village) and Xa Tac (the State); Dai Trieu Nhac used in great ceremonies or receptions of foreign ambassadors; Thuong Trieu Nhac used in ordinary court ceremonies; Yen Nhac used in great royal banquets; Cung Nhac (or Cung Trung Nhac) used inside the royal palaces.

Read more: Hue Imperial citadel and the royal palaces

Many former Hue court dances were performed on many different occasions. There are now 11 court dances. The pieces still preserved until now are Mg ban nu, Long dang, Long ngam, and Phu luc… Nguyen Dynasty court orchestras were diverse in type, serving rituals and entertainment activities in the court. They include Nha nhac, Huyen nhac, Ti truc to nhac…

The Hue Royal Music succeeded and enhanced the achievements of the Thang Long Royal Music, which was formed many centuries ago, to a new height. This succession and enhancement are shown in such factors as:

  • Maintaining some court orchestras of the previous dynasties and creating new diverse variations based on the Le Dynasty’s orchestras; Continuing to use many common musical instruments of the Thang Long Royal Music.
  • Maintaining and diversifying some previous court dances, and at the same time creating many new dances; Creating a new type of chamber music (don ca Hue) and enhancing Vietnamese instrumental music to a new level of development both in performance techniques and forms of ensemble.
  • Succeeding the “hat boi” or “tuong” (Vietnamese opera) art of Dang ngoai (north Vietnam) and developing it to an extremely flourish level, and simultaneously forming a new specific kind of “tuong”: the “tuong Kinh” (“tuong” of the capital city) in the style of “tuong van”.
  • Succeeding the system of tone regulations of the Hong Duc time under the Le Dynasty in the second half of the 15th century and developing music language and theory.
  • Continuing the traditions of learning, adopting and Vietnamese music foreign elements that were shaped in Vietnamese music in general and in thee Thang Long Royal Music in particular.

The special traits of Hue Royal Music are the integration, acquirement and modification of the Chinese and Champa cultures and the impacts of the Buddhism and Confucianism. It is closely connected with “tuong” (hat boi) art. It synthesizes the abundance and diversity in the types of art, genres, types of instrument and timbre, repertoires, orchestra organization structure and ensemble forms, the performance environment and melody… So it could satisfy both audition and vision of spectators by providing them with “dishes of different tastes”.

hue-royal-musicThe Hue court music has a large scale and a high professionalism. As the official music of the state, it consists of many large scale orchestras, and many music and dance items, performed by many kinds of instrumentalists, singers and dancers. Moreover, this is the music genre that has high degree of improvisation, variation and scholarship.

At its official meeting in Paris on November 7, 2003, UNESCO named 28 masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritages of humanity for the second time, including Nha Nhac –  Hue Royal Music, which Hue has preserved and developed for a long time.

Today, you can see Hue Royal Music show at Hue Imperial citadel.

Thieu Tri Tomb – Freedom Style

Thieu Tri tomb is the second royal tomb not enclosed by a wall, the mausoleum of Thieu Tri was built in 1848, it has a similar monument plan to his father, Minh Mang Mausoleum, but is substantially smaller. The tomb is about 8 km from Hue.

Thieu Tri born in 1807 and died in 1847, the Emperor could hardly expert his death at 40, after a seven — year reign. In his dying breath, he had enough time to advise his successor on his tomb construction.

Soon after having come to the throne, Tu Duc ordered his lat her’s tomb to be built on his taste of art within only ten months.

thieu-tri-tombWith some 10 monuments, Thieu Tri tomb is divided into two parts, 100 m from one another: The tomb area on the right and the temple area on the left. Figuratively, constructors had made Thieu Tri Tomb by cutting off the middle part of the Minh Mang Mausoleum and then joining the two ends together. Most of the monuments are similar to those of Minh Mang Mausoleum yet surrounded by no wall. It le likely that Emperor Tu Duc had made use of the surrounding mountains as a natural wall, larger than that of brick.

Monuments in Thieu Tri Tomb are in close relation with natural environment. Water of the lakes are conducted by a network of underground tunnels.

Rich decorative motifs on wood and stone from different designs bas-relief with deeply carved and sharp liners.

As nature-loving dis-positing of the Emperor when he was still alive, the tomb harmonizes well with the landscape of which view from the tomb seems almost unobstructed.

tomb-of-thieu-tri-kingTips: the tomb located in west of Hue city, on the way to Minh Mang tomb, you can drop in to visit Thieu Tri tomb. It’s about 8km from Hue city.

All the tour in Hue, you can not access this site, so the best way to visit tomb is renting a private car and make customize tour with Hura Cars.

Make a customize tour in Hue

Entrance fee ticket price: 35.000 – 40.000 vnd

Minh Mang emperor’s coronation day

Before emperor Gia Long death, he left his will to have Prince Nguyen Phuc Dam succeed to his throne. On the Lunar New Year’s Day in the year of dragons (February 14, 1820) Prince Nguyen Phuc Dam ascended the throne with the dynastic title of Minh Mang emperor.

Before the coronation, the courtiers reported that event to the Heaven and the Earth at the Nam Giao Esplanade, the Xa Tac Terraces and other temples. As for Prince Dam, he also personally reported this important fact be-fore Thua Thien Highest Empress’s altar. Although being Prince Canh’s own mother, she always considered Prince Dam her own child. She died five years earlier than emperor Gia Long. Then before Thuan Thien Highest Empress’s altar, he did the same thing.

tomb-of-minh-mangIn the morning of the Lunar New Year’s Day, Minh Mang emperor coronation ceremony was officially celebrated in the Supreme Harmony Palace. The great conventional audience was observed solemnly and majestically. Royal relatives, great mandarins in official costumes were present with banners, flags, parasols and sunshades covering the sky. Around the Supreme Harmony Palace were a lot of splendid decorations.

Read more: Tomb of Minh Mang emperor

At the beginning of the fifth watch (4h00), the enormous yellow royal flag was pulled up the Flag Tower. The emperor rode the royal palanquin traveling from the Can Chanh Palace to the Supreme Harmony Palace, majestically accompanied by many military mandarins and soldiers. From the Left and Right Houses on both sides of the Dai Cung Gate were heard the rolling sounds of bells and drums.

minh-mang-emperorAfter nine cannon shots, Minh Mang emperor ascended the royal throne located in the center of the palace. The air was full of aloe wood odor. All the mandarins, great and small alike, kowtowed five times and stood up to listen to the Gold Book and congratulation petitions. A mandarin then came out to report that it was time for the emperor to raise the national jade seal, the symbol of supreme power and authority, to stamp his first royal edict. So done, the edict was loudly read by another mandarin at that time and afterwards announced for the public to know about the coronation. In the end, it was posted up at the Pavilion of Edicts and sent to other provinces countrywide.

temple-of-minh-mangFinally, after nine other cannon shots of congratulation sounded, the emperor mounted the royal palanquin and came back to the Can Chanh Palace. All the mandarins lined up in two lines and kowtowed five more times to see him off.

According to the old routine, after the ceremony of coronation, Minh Mang emperor issued a favor giving edict including 10 articles: Nominating functions and titles for worth-praising royal relatives and mandarins; reducing taxes for the commoners; extenuating the prisoners; increasing scholarship for the student learners; widening the activity range of the National University,…

Nguyen Dynasty woodblocks

Nguyen dynasty woodblocks include 34,555 plates of woodblock made under the reign of the Nguyen dynasty in which engraved various contents from official literature, history, classical and historical books. Therefore, apart from their historical values, the woodblock also has artistic and technical merit as they marked the development of wood-block carving and printing work in Vietnam. Their importance and high value led feudal dynasties and state regimes in history of Vietnam to pay considerable attention to preserving these records.

Under the Nguyen dynasty, to popularize social norms, laws that required people to abide by, and to hand down the kings’ career and position and historical facts, the royal court ordered to engrave historical books and literature works to deliver nationwide. The process helped create a special type of document, called woodblocks. They are unique and original documents.

Nguyen dynasty woodblockThe blocks are made up of a plate of wood with letters carved in Chinese or ancient Vietnamese. The letters are carved in reverse so when the image is printed, it will appear the right way round. Currently, the collection of 34, 555 woodblocks is now being preserved in the State Records and Archives Department at National Archives Centre 4. 935 copies contain various contents, and are divided into nine topics: history, geography, military, laws, poems, religion-ideology-philosophy, linguistics-document, politics-society, culture-education.

The Nguyen dynasty woodblocks were made during the operation of the national history department of the Nguyen dynasty (established in 1820 under the reign of King Minh Mang) in Hue. They are the very rare and precious documents, in terms of its contents, particularity in manipulating methods and strict regulations of the feudal court on publication and carving. These documents were considered a national precious object, only authorized people working at the national history department were allowed to work with them.nguyen-dynasty-woodblock-2

To manipulate these documents, people had to undergo a strict procedure which cost lots of time and efforts: at first the King issued an order that allowed the book compilation. After that, the compiling board submitted a document to the King to ask for the study of the official documents and then submitted the draft book to the King for recommendations. The draft book was returned to the compiling board for adjustment and supplement following the King’s suggestions. The manuscripts were clearly copied. The compiling board then submitted to the King for approval. After the approval, the book was transferred to the engraving agency under the control of the mandarins following the King’s order. After the engraving, the mandarins asked the King for permission to print the book from the woodblock. Each set of books could not be printed without the King’s orders.

To manipulate the woodblock documents, the national history department had to recruit many skillful engravers. Each of Chinese and Vietnamese character was engraved in the woodblock very sophisticated. Each of woodblock is not only a precious document but also a unique piece of art.nguyen-dynasty-woodblock-1

According to some documents, wood used to make the Nguyen dynasty woodblocks is very special, from Thi (Diospyros decandra Lour) and  Nha Dong trees that is both soft and smooth with an ivory white color, and is suitable for engraving without chaps. As a result, hundreds years have gone, but the woodblocks are still in good physical conditions. Besides, people also used the wood of Le (Pirus communist Linn) and Tao (Jujube) for the engraving. This type of woodblocks that engraved historical and political works of a court like the Nguyen dynasty woodblocks are rare in the world. These are valuable documents, serving Vietnam’s contemporary historical and cultural researches.

nguyen-dynasty-woodblock-3On July 30, 2009, Nguyen dynasty woodblocks became Vietnam’s first documents to be recognized as the “World Documentary Heritage” at a plenary session of the International Advisory Committee of UNESCO Memory of the World Programme from July 29 to 31, 2009 in Bridgetown (Barbados). They were officially listed in UNESCO “Memory of the World Programme. Nguyen dynasty woodblocks are a very specially precious document in Vietnam and the world