The Moment to the Hung Kings is a small shrine to the first Kings of Vietnam located in Tao Dan Park in Saigon (also known as Ho Chi Minh City), near to the Independence Palace. The monument is one of the lesser known attractions in Saigon with few visitors which makes visiting this beautiful shrine, in a calm leafy setting, all the more enjoyable.
History of the Shrine
The Hung Kings ruled parts of what is now Vietnam for a long period dating from 2879 BC to 258 BC. This long running dynasty is revered and credited with laying the foundations of the modern country by resisting foreign invasions and gaining control of land occupied by the rival Cham Empire. The first Hung King is also credited with introducing rice farming techniques to his newly formed nation. For this reason the Hung Kings have been embraced as cultural heroes by the current regime, which at the same time espouses a version of Communism which opposes the concept of monarchy in favour of Government by representatives of working people.
This shrine is a fairly recent addition to the city, having been constructed in 1992, and renovated in 2012. This small shrine is well less known than the much larger Temple to the Hung Kings which was constructed in the 15th Century in Phu Tho Province in the North of Vietnam, where the Hung Kingdom was located. Nonetheless, the Monument to the Hung King in Tao Dan Park has become an important focal point for celebration of the Festival of the Hung Kings in late March, which is a public holiday in Vietnam.
The most striking feature of this shrine is the way it has been incorporated into Tao Dan Park. As you approach a long pond occupies the central part of the main path leading to the gates in the outer wall of the shrine creating a long reflection of the building inside across the water of the pond. Beyond the outer walls you enter into a spacious courtyard with a large stone jar containing more water.
Inside the central building is a simple metal statue of King Hong Vuong, the first Hung King. Flowers, fruit and candles surround the statute in keeping with traditional Taoist forms of ancestor worship.
Travel to the Monument of the Hung Kings
The Monument of the Hung Kings is located in Central Saigon a short walk from Saigon City Hall, Saigon Opera House and Ben Thanh Market. If you are staying in the popular Pham Ngu Lao area of Saigon you can easily walk to Tao Dan Park where the monument is located.
Saigon Railway Station is located 3 km from the Monument of the Hung Kings. To travel from the train station to Tao Dan Park you will need to take a taxi or motorbike taxi; expect to pay around 40,000 VND (around $1.7 USD) for the journey.