The magnet of Hoang A Tuong Palace

August 11, 2016 | 09:29
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Tourists from all walks of life tick Hoang A Tuong Palace as the integral part of their trips to Bac Ha District in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai as the attraction of the old mansion lies not only in its architecture but also the stories about its former owners and the Northeastern region in the past.

The palace was owned by Hoang Yen Chao and his son Hoang A Tuong. These Tay ethnic minority men were reportedly regarded as “kings” of the Bac Ha region and ruled a region where 70% of the population were H’Mong people before 1945.

According to the website of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (, Bac Ha was a semi-feudal colonial region where there were the ruling and ruled classes before 1945. As members of the ruling class, Chao and Tuong took advantage of their influence to exploit people of the ruled class and occupy their fertile land. The family gained monopoly to sell salt, food, and other necessary items to French military posts and their lackeys.

When Chao and Tuong had become moguls of the region, they decided to build a palace to show off their affluence and power. They employed French and Chinese architects to choose the location, direction and the design of the palace based on the feng shui theory. The building got off the ground in 1914 and was completed in 1921.

The mansion was left uninhabited for many years as Hoang A Tuong had to live in exile in France after the region was liberated by revolutionary soldiers in the autumn of 1945. Nearly a century has gone by since its completion, the building remains intact and its Asian European-architecture still shines under sunshine.

The main two-storey mansion is surrounded by auxiliary houses on the left and the right, and has beautiful decorations on its façade and inside its rooms. To enter it, visitors have to walk on one of the two staircases in front of the building to the waiting room before they can step into a large yard. The door-domed mansion has four rooms on the two sides which used to be the places for family activities while the central rooms on both floors were used as meeting venues.

Hoang A Tuong Palace is certainly worth a visit as the light yellow building with moss can give visitors an opportunity to learn about the live of a family of the ruling class and part of Bac Ha’s history in the past.

Following are some snapshots of Hoang A Tuong Palace in Bac Ha District in Lao Cai Province.


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