Tomb of Khai Dinh

Top choice tomb in Hue

This hillside monument is a synthesis of Vietnamese and European elements. Most of the tomb’s grandiose exterior is covered in darkened, weathered concrete, with an unexpectedly Gothic air, while the interiors resemble explosions of colourful ceramic mosaic. Khai Dinh was the penultimate emperor of Vietnam, from 1916 to 1925, and widely seen as a puppet of the French. It took 11 years to construct his flamboyant tomb; it can be found 10km from Hue in Chau Chu village.

Steps lead to the Honour Courtyard where mandarin honour guards have a mixture of Vietnamese and European features. Up three more flights of stairs is the stupendous main building, Thien Dinh. The walls and ceiling are decorated with murals of the Four Seasons, Eight Precious Objects and the Eight Immortals. Under a graceless, gold-speckled concrete canopy is a gilt bronze statue (cast in Marseilles) of Khai Dinh, who is presumed to have been homosexual, though he did produce one heir. His remains are interred 18m below the statue. There's an audio guide in a dozen languages (70,000d).