Exploring Ha Giang’s ethnic royals

Published: 07/03/2013 02:45



On a trip to Ha Giang Province, with the chilly weather, mist and sunset overwhelming the mountainous region, we decided to visit the palace of Vuong Chinh Duc, who was the king of the H’mong ethnic people who ruled a vast area from the Dong Van Plateau to Meo Vac Town in the early 20th century.

We were warmly greeted by Vuong Thi Cho, niece of the king, who was our tour guide and took us on a fabulous and fun tour of the palace. She also spilled some information and stories about the king and the royal family.

One such tale I remember is that Duc, dubbed as Vua Meo (king of H’mong people), was also the founder of the famous Vuong Dynasty, the largest in Ha Giang Province at the time, and lived in his unique, luxurious palace shaded with green samu trees.

The empty Sa Phin Market and distant mountains blanked in mist

Vuong Palace was built with solid stone, wood and terracotta tiles in ancient Chinese architectural style typical of the Man Qing era. It covers a total area of 1,120 square meters and it was built on an elevated site located in Sa Phin Valley in Lung Phin Commune, Dong Van District.

The palace was fortified to protect the members of the Vuong Dynasty from attacks by their enemies.

There are a number of tombstones surrounding the palace grounds with stone walls and pillars carved elegantly and meticulously.

Travelers visit Vuong Palace in Ha Giang Province - Photos: My Tran

We entered the beautiful palace which is maintained as an artifact and managed by the provincial government. The old royal house attracts keen interest from architecturally-minded visitors due to its unique style of Chinese architecture and the legend of Duc’s life.

We felt our long journey of about 125 kilometers from Ha Giang Town was justified due to the splendid surroundings of a narrow, picturesque valley surrounded by hills and mountain ranges and elegant and solid architecture.

We left the palace for Dong Van Town. The valley was still blanked in mist as mysterious as its stories of the king and his reign. In front of the gate was the empty Sa Phin Market with the imposing misty mountains in the distance.


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