Thanh Chuong Viet is one of the most important parts of cultural heritages in Vietnam with extraordinary antique arts, phenomenal architecture reflecting different stages of Vietnam history, as well as its tranquil vibe. For all foreign tourists who are in love with the thousand-year-culture of this S-shaped country, Viet Phu Thanh Chuong Palace is definitely worth a try!
I. What is Thanh Chuong Viet Palace?
Built by Thanh Chuong – one of the most prolific, celebrated, and creative artists in Vietnam, Thanh Chuong Viet Palace (also known as Viet Phu Thanh Chuong) is a cultural space inspired by Vietnam’s rich and heroic history and heritages. Located in Soc Son, 35 kilometers from the center of Hanoi capital, Thanh Chuong Palace is truly a gem hidden under the evergreen and peaceful shadow of Vietnam’s village in Soc Son Province.
The owner and creator of this place, Thanh Chuong is an extraordinary artist who has a profound impact on Vietnam’s contemporary art. Born in a family with many prominent artists and intellectuals, Thanh Chuong soon showed his prodigious talent when he won his first important international prize in London in 1957 for his art, called “A Couple of Hens” at a very young age. With countless contributions to Vietnam and the world’s arts, Thanh Chuong has earned his prestigious titles in Vietnam’s culture and art communities and thus is still one of the most famous artists in Vietnam with an international reputation.
Thanh Chuong’s artistic directions and mindset are heavily affected by the nurture of his family as well as his own experience when he served the Vietnam military until 1975. Witnessing the cruel damage of war and the rapid development of his country, Thanh Chuong feared that Vietnam’s cultural heritage would be eroded or worse, disappeared. That’s the reason why he started his most ambitious and marvelous plan: a meticulous and expansive personal sanctuary of Vietnam’s art and artifacts to be conserved, preserved and displayed.
II. The history of Thanh Chuong Palace
Since the very beginning of 2001, Thanh Chuong had been looking for a place for his grandest collection and after months of searching, he chose Soc Son – the land of history, myths and mountains. The Palace was originally built to become a personal sanctuary where Thanh Chuong and his family can come to appreciate Vietnamese art and gain inspiration.
After two years of construction, Thanh Chuong Palace was completed but it was not until 2004 that this personal sanctuary was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen of Sweden during her official visit to Vietnam with the King and the delegation. The Palace was immediately granted a huge amount of international media attention, yet remained restricted admission only.
Eight years after that, Thanh Chuong and his wife decided to open this very special place for the public so that both domestic and foreign visitors can experience this unique cultural, historical and artistic space of Vietnam. Since then, Thanh Chuong Palace has gradually claimed its place in Vietnam’s cultural and tourism destinations and remains its role as one of the most impressive, well-kept and unique parts of Vietnam’s heritage.
III. The Attractions of Thanh Chuong Viet Palace that you should not miss when visiting
In contrast with its royal title, the first impression of Viet Phu Thanh Chuong is the tranquil vibe and ancient of historic-looking buildings that strategically placed in this 10,00 meters complex. Stepping into Thanh Chuong Palace, you can see the print of village culture in Vietnam’s Northern Midland region with green lake, old water wells with some stone tables besides. You can say that this is less a typical palace but more of a quiet place to honor Vietnam’s folk heritage.
Surrounded by ponds, trees, and gardens. Thanh Chuong Viet Palace gives tourists the very first impression of a lovely and green space, which you can rarely see in most tourist attractions in any country. Each item, structure, and artwork demonstrated in this place represents a specific period or culture in Vietnam.
1. A Huge Number Of Vietnamese Architect Houses And Temples
The most prominent feature of Thanh Chuong Palace is the unique and wonderful architecture collection of many different houses of several shapes and styles here. The general architecture that each house has represents a very own time or people because it doesn’t just span time but covers provinces and traverse dynasties instead. Each house is associated with different historic values, telling its very own story to reflect a segment in Vietnam’s long, diverse history:
- Like a 300-year-old house named Tuong Van house (means Lucky Cloud) is an old house built in the Nguyen Dynasty, representing Hue imperial elite lifestyle.
- Dai Khoa house was built in the position of the old house campus in Bac Ninh area
- Thanh Tinh house – an over 200-year-old house made out of large ironwood house with patterns, structure, and material from a typical Vietnam’s Northern village.
- Long Dinh Theater, an attractive place at Thanh Chuong Viet Palace for tourists to visit and enjoy interesting water puppet shows.
- Many 200-year-old stilt houses, some of which represent the traditional homes of the Muong people – one in 54 ethnic minority communities of Vietnam.
- A typical architect of a Vietnamese three-room house of Northern Delta
- There is a huge number of temple houses too with goddess motherhouse or St. Tran’s temple.
Some many historical items or structures are bought in times of war by the artist or transferred from other places to be restored and preserved here, namely
- A fasting buddha statue that Thanh Chuong came across in a time of war. He saw a country boy dragging this statue by a rope tied around the Buddha’s neck. He begged the boy for it and took the statue to Thanh Chuong not long after.
- An old well which was transferred from Thanh Hoa Province placed on the left of the Bat Trang road – the main road for tourists to visit the whole area of Thanh Chuong with the world-famous pottery imprint.
- An ancient bridge aged around 500 to 600 years old, made of stone. The artist bought in Nam Dinh from a village elder when it was in poor status. He then transferred it back to Hanoi to restore it and place it here.
On the stone ground, tourists can also see a five-tiered waterfall with a huge Buddhist complex. This is the spotlight of the whole Palace, with its water clapping into the small pond, representing the sound of sweet songs about life and love in the Nirvana. Near the waterfall, there is a magnificent Buddhist statue constructed on the stone ground. There are pipes of white smoke underneath, creating a spiritual space reminding visitors of Vietnam’s many mysteries in Soc Son – the land of myth. In addition to that, this is also where Thien Huong Pagoda located. Thien Huong Pagoda is a unique spiritual and artistic architectural work with a 7-stories tower.
If you want to take your time to enjoy and learn everything about all the gorgeous artifacts at Thanh Chuong Palace, its owners have placed several stone tables and chairs so that every visitor can enjoy the fresh air and nature here while going around and watch.
2. Impressive Collections Of Paintings, Ceramics, Statues, Antiques, And Even Thanh Chuong’s Own Artwork For Display
To Thanh Chuong, painting is one way to understand the world and to show his love and point of view, so for all cultural lovers, each ceramic item, statue, and even Thanh Chuong’s own artwork is a means of his to tell different stories.
- The highlight of Thanh Chuong Palace is a statue complex carved from stone, bronze, and ceramic spreading around the site.
- Inside Thanh Chuong Viet Palace is the biggest art collection of the artist with a large selection dedicated to his lacquer works, which helps him gain an international reputation throughout the years.
- You can also find oil paintings and sculptures from Thanh Chuong, which are all available for purchase globally. Tourists with a specific desire to buy artworks here can contact the owner or manager beforehand so you are best served.
- Besides the lovely view from the balcony of the artwork hall, you can find some hammock to chill in.
- The building also has a special section painted in all white with air-conditioner 24/7. It looks very modernized, totally different from all the other artworks in this complex with quotes and newspaper cuttings painted all over, all dedicated to Kim Lan – a famous author, best known for his real-life short stories about countryside villages and people in Northern Vietnam.
3. Water Puppet Shows And Folk Music Performances
And if you are tired of walking to see all the artifacts and historic houses here, chances are you will love to go to Long Dinh Theater – a very special theater dedicated only for water puppetry. According to Thanh Chong, this kind of traditional art is one of the oldest and most common among the Vietnamese community. It is a perfect reflection of common aspects of Vietnam culture, and that’s why you should not miss this place.
Designed as a replica of the water pavilion in Thay Pagoda as an honor to the homeland of water puppetry and its creator, venerable monk Tu Dao Hanh, Long Dinh Theater is a combination of ancient structure and design with modern materials and equipment. Here, tourists can enjoy various types of performances, from water puppet shows, singing, dancing to telling stories of Vietnam’s past by music. This is a perfect place for people who want to go back in time and treasure the beautiful spirit of Vietnamese culture.
4. You Can Enjoy Traditional Food, Or Take A Nap In The Ambient With Bamboo Pillows With Birds Singing Outside The Window
There is no better way to experience a typical life in a Vietnamese village than taking a nap on the bamboo raffles with light winds and soft singing of birds. Unlike most European countries, the tropical climate in Vietnam makes its noontime mostly unbearable for those having to work outside, which lead to the short nap around 12am in mostly all countryside village in Vietnam. If you are not into sleeping in such a lovely place, you can enjoy a nice, warm cup of tea at the meticulously carved tables, or try Vietnamese traditional food in the two-star restaurant system here.
As well as walking around and drowning yourself in this ancient cultural space, at Thanh Chuong Palace, exploring Vietnamese traditional cuisine here is an evenly interesting experience. Whatever famous dish you have heard of in the media, you can find it here like spring rolls, rice noodles with crab, sticky rice cakes, and banh duc,… With the modern decoration and amenities, combined with warm color light. This rustic restaurant is definitely a good experience and can ensure to bring the best meals for visitors.
After the meal, you can walk back to the shop and stalls at the entrance of Viet Phu Thanh Chuong to buy some souvenirs such as traditional handicrafts or fine arts as gifts to bring home.
IV. Some note if you visit Thanh Chuong Palace
- Opening time: Thanh Chuong Viet Palace is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, except for Monday. The Palace is open during National Holidays but will be closed for about three weeks around Vietnam’s Lunar New Year.
- Entrance fee: 130,000 VND
There is no convenient public transportation, so you should choose a taxi or book tour with Luxury Travel to have your private van ready!
- Photography and video recording rules: All photography and video recording are accepted, except for those using these materials for commercial or gain profits. In that case, you need to ask for permission from the Palace’s manager beforehand.
At Thanh Chuong Place, visitors will have the chance to escape the bustling energy of the city to truly feel the tranquility, slow vibe from the past and rare relaxing moments. This is not exactly a tourist attraction, but simply an architecture work to preserve history and cultural reconstruction.