Khai Dinh’s tomb has an architectural fusion of Chinese, Vietnamese, and European Gothic elements. There are dragons guarding the steps, stone elephants and warriors outside. Be sure not to miss the massive wrought iron gates at the entrance. The inside of the tomb has some of the Emperor’s personal effects and gifts, as well as incredibly intricate patterns of ceramic and glass decorating the walls.
Following in the footsteps of most of his Nguyen predecessors, Emperor Khai Dinh planned ahead of time for his final resting place. When he kicked the bucket in 1925, Khai Dinh was laid to rest in his lavish tomb, complete with a golden effigy of himself in the inner chamber.
The exterior iron and stone are juxtaposed by a truly magnificent interior reflective of a prodigious Emperor. Ironically, the tomb is less a monument to the Emperor himself but more a monument to his excessive wealth and disconnect from the ordinary man. Khai Dinh was reputed to be a pawn of the colonial French — so much so, he was mocked as a salaried employee of the French government — and he taxed his people heavily to finance the building of the elaborate edifice.
Street vendors, water buffalos, mopeds buzzing around and floating markets are a visitor’s first experiences when visiting such a naturally rich and cultural destination as Vietnam. From the temples of Hanoi and the islands of Halong Bay to the beaches of Nha Trang and the palaces of Hue, it is a country now firmly etched in the travel psyche. The second largest coffee production destination in the world, Vietnam is ideal for the caffeine addicts. A cashew nut heaven, full of exotic foods and fruits, one may come across a Vietnamese speciality ruou ran, a rice wine with a pickled snake in it that is said to cure all illnesses. Vietnamese food is a blend of Chinese and Thai styles and is considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world. Explore the cities, explore the people, and discover a whole world of new and old cultures that make Vietnam such an iconic destination to visit.