An Bang Cemetery | Vietnam - Atlas Obscura

An Bang Cemetery

Vinh An, Vietnam

A cityscape of burial tombs that you can easily lose yourself in. 

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Nicknamed the “city of ghosts,” An Bang Cemetery is an impressible display of artistic construction and wealth. The history of An Bang Cemetery is intertwined with the emigration of residents from An Bang Village to Europe and the United States after the reunification of Vietnam in 1975. These emigrants sent money back to their relatives, making An Bang one of the wealthiest villages in the country. The affluence of the town is evident in the grand houses and neatly paved driveways seen while driving through the streets. The residents dedicate their time to constructing extravagant mausoleums within the 250-hectare cemetery, adjacent to a beautiful, empty sandy beach. 

The building of these structures began in 1995 and has since become increasingly lavish, often reaching two or three stories high. Adorned with intricate gold carvings of dragons and mythical creatures, these mausoleums even feature fully functional bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. This lavish display reflects not only the residents’ opulent lifestyle but also their strong belief in the afterlife and the importance of honoring their ancestors.

According to their beliefs, meticulously caring for and decorating the tombs will bring good fortune to the family. The cost of constructing these tombs can reach as much as £50,000 (GBP), an extraordinary amount in a country where poverty is prevalent. Visiting this unique cemetery, surrounded by towering tombs, gives a ghostly and awe-inspiring experience, allowing one to imagine the splendid kingdom where the spirits of ancestors reside.

Know Before You Go

To reach An Bang Cemetery, hiring a motorbike is recommended, as the small and winding streets near the entrance are not accessible by car or public transport. The town of An Bang can be reached, and from there, local assistance or online maps can guide visitors to the cemetery. Public transport and day trips organized through hostels, hotels, or tour companies are available, with An Bang Beach serving as a common meeting point. Upon arrival, finding a moto driver for the short drive to the cemetery or even walking from the beach is feasible.

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July 18, 2023

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