An out of the way quiet spot
Published/Last edited or updated: 26th August, 2017
Situated on the corner of the busy intersection of Dinh Tien Hoang and Phan Dang Luu, the Tomb of Le Van Duyet is a little oasis from the city noise and tourist bustle.
General Le Van Duyet (1763-1832) is a man with a colourful history and an illustrious high ranking career. He was one of Nguyen Phuc Anh’s key military strategist and commander in the war against the Tay Son, a victory that reunited Vietnam and established the Nguyen Dynasty. He became Viceroy of Gia Dinh, ruling over southern Vietnam and Cambodia from 1813-1816 before he eventually fell out with King Minh Mang.
From his post, he stabilised the region and ushered in an era of prosperity and wealth. He is considered a hero in South Vietnam but did not find favour from the rulers posthumously. Le Van Duyet was pro-Catholic and open towards the West. When he died, his tomb was damaged and his followers were arrested. His adopted son Le Van Khoi launched a revolt which captured Gia Dinh citadel, though the revolt was eventually crushed by royal forces. It wasn’t until the mid 1800s that Duyet’s reputation was restored and the tomb rebuilt; it has been repaired several times since, the latest in 1998. Today, he is considered a local hero, with a festival to honour the anniversary of his death on the first day of the 9th lunar month.
Behind walls, the shady grounds are dominated by magnificent large trees and a temple. Also found, protected under a roof, is a stele with an inscription of Le Van Duyet’s achievements in service to the court. On an interesting note, Duyet was a eunuch which apparently did not prevent him from marriage. Duyet and his wife are side by side in two identical graves topped with a spherical dome.
Locals like to come here for an end of day chat and stroll. The tomb is certainly one of a kind in Ho Chi Minh City and pleasant if for no other reason than it being a peaceful green place, unless it is a special day in which case you’ll see crowds of people paying respects and burning incense.
The tomb of Le Van Duyet is north of downtown in Binh Thanh District, about 5 km from Pham Ngu Lao. From Dakao, cross the river and head north on Dinh Tien Hoang St.
Address: 1 Vu Tung St, at the corner of Dinh Tien Hoang and Phan Dang Luu, Binh Thanh District
Coordinates (for GPS): 106º41'50.21" E, 10º48'4.79" N
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Cindy Fan is a Canadian writer/photographer and author of So Many Miles, a website that chronicles the love of adventure, food and culture. After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 she uprooted her life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. She’s travelled to over 40 countries and harbours a deep affection for Africa and Southeast Asia. In between jaunts around the world, she calls Laos and Vietnam home where you’ll find her traipsing through rice paddies, standing beside broken-down buses and in villages laughing with the locals.
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