2021 Cambodia - Vietnam Cross Border Driving Tour Now Open. Book Today!

Lunch In “Ghost City”

Lunch in “Tomb City”
Have heard about it and thought I was prepared, but still it surprises me when seeing it in person. This is a rare place, “where the dead rest in a much better place than when alive”.
Travelling 35km from Hue, we reached  An Bang village by noon (this used to be a poor fishing village and everything has changed since the overseas Vietnamese started to send money home in the early 1990s). Saw some impressive tombs on the way to the beach already, but felt too hungry, so we looked for something to eat first.
We found a rustic restaurant by the beach just 206m from Tomb City, nobody there and the host was resting after lunch. We came, woke them up and checked the fridge. We found something fresh there; shrimp, squid and some pork ribs marinated already, more than enough for lunch.
While waiting for them to cook, we walked to the beach. Its so wild and beautiful, an empty beach with a few lonely boats waiting to go out fishing by night. After about 36 minutes, lunch is ready and a beach party  begins.


viewed from restaurant. Nice beach, the locals only come during the summer time for swimming and drinking beer


foods, the BBQ rib is surprisingly the best we ever tried

Following lunch, it is time to discover the one and only “Tomb City” in Vietnam. Talking to a local, he told us that the luxurious graves started being built in the early 90s when Viet Kieus (overseas Vietnamese) began sending money home. More than 80 percent of the 5,000 families in the area have members living overseas. After improving their living conditions, people began to renovate the graves of their ancestors.
 
At the beginning, they were just “inspired” by the royal tombs in Hue (the last dynasty of Vietnam, 1802-1945) but recently, many people hire architects to design the tombs for their family members in numerous styles as Chinese, Catholic, Buddhist and European as well.
According to a builder, while a normal tomb cost VND300-400 million (US$14,451-19,923) , a tomb complex could cost more than VND3 billion ($142,752). The graves began to grow in size and opulence when overseas Vietnamese returned home to visit and began comparing their ancestors’ graves to others around.
The “grave jealousy” has increased in the community, with families renovating older graves and building new ones, each bigger and better than the others.

a corner of the tomb city, it is like a huge work site

This builder has been building more than 150 tombs for 10 years

One of the largest tomb complexes in the “city”

One tomb with “sea view”

They buy the new pottery bowls or plates then break them to get materials for mosaic

Some villagers still live in poverty but some deads rest in mansions