Our first post-lunch, post-elephant stop: the tomb of Emperor Khai Dinh. Emperor from 1916 to 1925, Khai Dinh spent most of his reign as a figurehead for the French, and his tomb, as a result, bears a great deal of european influence. Instead of being the spread-out collection of gardens, pavilions and pagodas that characterized most of the other tombs, Khai Dinh went for the serious more-imposing-than-thou treatment. The entire complex is built into a hillside, with each successive area being above and behind the last, leading up to the sepulchre itself, which stares back down the mountain.
You start at the bottom of the whole thing, staring up a long flight of stairs at the main gate:
Once you climb those stairs, you reach a small intermediary courtyard. Take a breather, you’re going to need it, because you’ve got more stairs to climb:
Are you getting the idea that the Emperor is bigger than you? Maybe a little higher up, too? Good, keep pondering that. Now that you’re in the courtyard with the statues of his servants, maybe you’d like to read about his life and times as you catch your breath? Luckily for you, we’ve got a 15-foot-tall granite monolith with his biography carved into it, tucked inside this massive pavilion:
Now that you’ve caught up on Khai Dinh’s achievements, guess what? More stairs, up to Thien Dinh, the Emperor’s tomb:
Sadly, no photography is allowed inside the tomb, so you’ll just have to take my word about the 12-foot-tall, hundred-foot-square statue of the emperor on his throne, cast out of solid concrete. What I can show you is the view back down:
Ahh, it’s good to be the king. Even if you’re a figurehead, and even if you’re dead.