When traveling to Hue, a destination you must not forget to visit is An Dinh Palace. It is a symbol of Vietnamese architectural style from the neoclassical period and has been around for over 100 years. Explore a bit of Vietnamese history and more at this beautiful ancient spot!
1. About the history of An Dinh Palace in Hue Vietnam
An Dinh Palace was built by King Dong Khanh for his son Khai Dinh, who became King in 1916 and reigned until 1925. Later, the palace was passed on to King Bao Dai, who held the throne from 1926 to 1945.
During the reign of King Bao Dai, the palace was also occupied by Queen Nam Phuong, a native of Annam with noble beauty and kindness. Her story is a sad one, lacking a husband's love, but she remains in the hearts of the people as a resilient Empress of Vietnam's feudal society.
After 1975, An Dinh Palace was donated to the revolutionary government. Today, it is preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The palace is on 97 Phan Dinh Phung street, Phu Nhuan ward, about 2 kilometers from the center of the city. It welcomes visitors every day of the week from 6:30 AM to 5:30 PM in the summer and 7 AM to 5 PM in the winter. You can enter the palace for 25,000 VND as an adult, and children can go through the gates without a fee.
2. Explore the architectural beauty of An Dinh Palace
Beautiful on the outside and the inside, An Dinh Palace is a paradise for visitors who like to take photos. There is no shortage of Instagram-worthy shots here!
An Dinh Palace is a combination of the extremely unique and sophisticated Asian-European architecture of the early 20th century. Now, it only has three buildings from its original 10, due to the ravages of time and war. However, these still provide irreplaceable architectural and historical values for visitors to admire.
2.1. The Main Gate
An Dinh Palace main gate is designed with three doors and two storeys. It is an impressive welcome point intricately decorated with embossed porcelain tiles of dragons, phoenixes, and tigers from Eastern culture. But there are also two pillars embossed on the sides in Roman style, making the palace an icon of Asian-European architecture.
The arch of the gate features the words “An Dinh Palace," and on the very top, there is a large pearl. Just from the entrance, visitors can tell there is a lot more in store for them to uncover.
2.2. Trung Lap Communal House
Stepping through the main gate, you will see the Trung Lap communal house in the middle of the courtyard. It is shaped like an octagon and raised above the ground on a solid foundation.
Its roof is divided into tiers, one with eight sides and the other with just four. Twelve dragons are embossed on this roof, denoting the notion of flying in eight directions and four directions.
Inside the communal house is a bronze statue of King Khai Dinh. Built in 1920 to the exact proportions of the king himself, this is definitely the highlight of the construction.
2.3. Khai Tuong Pavilion
This is considered the main structure of An Dinh Palace. Its name, given by King Khai Dinh, means place of good omens.
The pavilion stretches 745 square meters and has three storeys; it was built in a European style with various materials, including those imported from abroad.
The front is elaborately adorned with both Roman-style motifs and traditional oriental motifs.
There are 22 rooms in the pavilion. The first floor has rooms; the second has eight; and the third has three. They used to be for living and resting but have now been converted into an exhibition-like display for artifacts.
On the first floor of the grand hall, six paintings adorn the walls, depicting the mausoleums of the Nguyen Kings, starting with the first king, Gia Long. The person behind these paintings remains a secret, but throughout the years, they have never ceased to amaze visitors.
3. How to get to An Dinh Palace on your trip to Hue?
As one of the best places to visit in Hue, it is not difficult to find ways to come to An Dinh Palace.
If you are familiar with the streets and prefer to get there on your own, you can rent a motorcycle and drive to the destination. About 500 meters from the palace, you will see a sign that says “An Dinh Palace.” Upon arrival, you will be glad to know that there is a parking lot available for your convenience.
Alternatively, you can grab a taxi and tell the driver that you want to explore An Dinh Palace. Visiting the palace is one of the most popular things to do in Hue, so you will not have to worry about your driver not knowing where the palace is.
4. Famous tourist attractions near An Dinh Palace
From An Dinh Palace, you can also visit other tourist attractions in Hue, Vietnam, including the Hue Imperial Citadel, the Perfume River, and Trang Tien Bridge.
- Hue Imperial Citadel: Like An Dinh Palace in Hue, this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It converges cultural, historical, and architectural values, and visitors coming here can discover the hidden charm of the city. Excluding houses and mansions, the two main parts to explore are the Citadel and Forbidden City.
- Perfume River: This is an 80-kilometer-long river that flows through Hue's heart. Visitors can explore the picturesque river on boat cruises, taking in the poetic scenery, releasing flower lanterns into the water, listening to Hue folk songs, and enjoying Hue cuisine.
- Trang Tien Bridge: Also referred to as Truong Tien Bridge or Thanh Thai Bridge, this is an iconic symbol of the former imperial capital. Visitors can come here to admire the beauty of the Perfume River during the day and at night. It is also a great place to take gorgeous photos for keepsakes.
5. Important notes for your visit to An Dinh Palace
- Be mindful of your attire: Make sure you do not wear anything impolite. Avoid wearing clothes that are offensive, look sloppy, or reveal too much skin. Also, dress comfortably to enjoy your time exploring the palace.
- Do not litter: To preserve the beauty of this decade-old palace, clean up after yourself. Do not leave any trash behind.
- Do not move any items: While it might seem like a fun thing to do, this can ruin the integrity of the palace. Be sure not to move anything around.
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An Dinh Palace has been around for more than a decade, but it remains a must-visit destination for all visitors coming to Hue. You can come here to delve into the city's historical and architectural values. Admire the palace's beauty and capture your moments there to take home. Do not forget to visit nearby Hoi An and Da Nang after exploring this ancient spot.
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