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Hanoi - HaGiang - Dong Van - Yen Minh - MeoVac 5 days

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Visiting Vuong Palace in Dong Van

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Beyond winding roads that seem to stretch for an eternity, a century - old mansion, former home of a glorious royal family, comes into view balanced on the rocky plateau. It was one the capital-house of the Mong ethnic people under the typical feudal regime of mountainous region. It was also the palace of the Vuong family who once ruled a vast area of the vast area of the border region.

Traveling along National Highway 4 C from Ha Giang town, will eventually see Vuong palace lying in isolation in the hidden Sa Phin A village, Sa Phin commune, Dong Van district. From the rocky slope, one will be rewarded with a literally breath- taking view of the giant palace' many long roofs nestled together in the valleys below.

 Under French colonial rule, Vuong chinh duc was under the civilian rule of hereditary chief  Hoang tu Binh. At the turn of the century, he war  the most powerful ethnic  minority chieftain in the Viet bac ( north-east), also known as Vua meo. Legend has it that more than 100 years ago, Vua meo invited a Chinese geomancer to Ha giang to find a suitable location for his palace. A tortoiseshell-shaped  mound behind two mountains was chosen as the site of king's home with the belief that it would bring luck, wealth and happiness for im and his family. The palace took eight years to buil using skilled construction workers from Yunnan. Cina and from the local H'mong community.

Built from stone, pine and terracotta tiles. Vuong place resembles the structures found in China during the Qing Dynasty three or founr centuries ago, due to its curving tiled roofs. Both the outer and cross-sectional walls or the building are made of brick, but within that basic framework is the principal wooden construction material. The palace is also decorated  with poppies rejecting the Vuong family 's interest in the opium trade, and Vua Chinh Duc was believed to have been an opium addict. The structure has areas for the storage of food, opium and weapons, as well as a European-style fireplace and a stone bathtub where the family bathed in goat milk. The Vuong residence comprises four two-storey sections linked by three courtyards.

The building is surrounded by a moat and an outer wall with a thickness of up to 1m and height of up to 3m with cherry trees and bamboo between the two protective walls. Both the surrounding moats are facilitated with many loopholes. The Palace has 10 houses with the main house opposite the gate. All of these houses are made pf precious wood with yin yang tiled roofs, and the entrance to the palace feature is made of red laquer Khai Dinh, one of Vietnam's Nguyen Dynasty rulers at the beginning of the 18th century. Inside, a picture of Vua Meo in feudal mandarin attire on display.

The building was constructed principally out of jade stone, fir or Fokienia wood. Vuong palace has 64 rooms, all decorated with carvings of dragons, phonixes,  and bats which are symbols of royalty and prosperity. In the grounds of the palace are the ornately-carved tombstones of members of the Vuong family including the king's first wife and one of  his sons, Vuong Chi Thanh by President Ho Chi Minh and who decoted years of his life to the country's resistance wars.

Vuong palace echoes with the history of time past and deserves to be the pride of the H'mong ethnic people. The ancient Vuong royal hose with unique architecture and special beauty is the product of the sweat and tears of many hard working lives in this rocky plateau.

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