Cat King Mansion: A hundred-year-old mansion in Dong Van

by Lam Pham

In the midst of the mountainous scenery, Cat King Mansion appears with ancient beauty and unique architecture. This is a destination not to be missed in your exploration of Ha Giang. Coming to this mansion, visitors will be overwhelmed by the superiority of the building as well as understand more about the history of Cat King Vuong Chinh Duc. Let’s explore with Karst Plateau what is impressive about Cat King Mansion to become a unique tourist destination.

1. Introduction to Cat King Mansion

1.1 Some details about the Cat King Mansion

King Meo’s mansion is located in the middle of the vast Sa Phin valley, about 125km from Ha Giang city center.

King Cat Mansion, also known as Vuong Mansion, is located in Sa Phin Valley, Lung Phin commune, Dong Van district, Ha Giang province. It is about 125km from Ha Giang city center and only 15km from Dong Van rock plateau.

The lives and careers of two Hmong leaders, King Cat Vuong Chinh Duc and Vuong Chi Sinh (or Vuong Chi Thanh), are linked to this ancient house. Vuong Chinh Duc (1886 – 1962), known as the Cat King, led the mountainous feudal system of the Mong people. The Vuong family once governed the four largest districts in Ha Giang: Dong Van, Meo Vac, Yen Minh, and Quan Ba. His son, who followed the revolutionary path, thanks to his contributions to the country, was elected as a member of the National Assembly for the first 2 terms.

1.2 History of Construction of Cat King Mansion

The ancient mansion represents the beauty and identity of Ha Giang people

The Cat King Mansion was built in 1898 and officially inaugurated in 1907. In 9 years, the Cat King’s house has cost more than 15 lakh Indochina, equivalent to 150 billion VND today. The mansion was designed and built by Yunnan (Chinese) workers in conjunction with Hmong compatriots, creating a construction of more than 1200m2 on an area of about 3000m2. The Wang mansion possesses a unique architecture with a combination of 3 cultures: Chinese – H’Mong – French.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism recognized this relic as a “National Cultural Heritage” in 1993, with its most famous architecture located in Ha Giang province.

2. Means and Way to get to King Cat’s Mansion

Going through Yen Minh Pine Forest is reach King Cat’s Mansion

The Cat King Mansion is located on the Dong Van Rock Plateau, you can search for more information on the Google Maps application. If you depart from Ha Giang city center, follow the route of Quan Ba Heaven GateYen Minh pine forest, the next destination is the mansion.

Motorbike is the means of choice for many tourists to get to this place, you can rent a car right in Ha Giang City. In addition, in the villa area, there is also a motorbike rental point in the high mountains, the rental price is only from 150,000 – 200,000 VND / day.

3. Ticket price to visit King Cat’s mansion

Entrance tickets to the Mansion are quite affordable and reasonable

The Cat King Mansion is open to visitors from 7 a.m – 5 p.m, operating on all days of the week from Monday to Sunday. With the entrance ticket price of 20,000 VND/ticket, visitors not only have the opportunity to explore unique historical and architectural relics but also experience comfort at a reasonable cost. In particular, children under 1m2 can visit for free, creating conditions for families to explore and enjoy this unique historical space together.

4. Explore the unique architecture of the Cat King Mansion

4.1 Admire the unique and strange architecture

The mansion’s unique architecture has 2 floors and rows of houses arranged close together to form a harmonious unified block

The architectural work consists of 4 horizontal houses, 6 vertical houses divided into 3 vestibule, central and rear palace areas (where to live and work) with 64 small rooms divided into 2 floors. To meet the fortification criteria, the masons used green stones to build to help the mansion stand firm against enemies and time. The roof, walls and pillars are made of wood to add majesty and flexibility to the rooms. Another material used is terracotta used for the construction of tile roofs to make the shape easier but no less sturdy. To this day, the Cat King Mansion is one of the few buildings that meets all the requirements of living and working and becomes a defensive base whenever hostilities occur.

Although the project is built on a land area of up to 3000m2, the Mansion is not as big or massive as many people imagine. Because it is composed of small subdivisions, bringing simplicity and rustic features of folk architectural culture. The design with the principle of low and high makes the overall Mansion even closer to the surrounding scenery.

4.2 What is attractive about the interior of the mansion?

The details and objects of the Cat King Mansion are all exquisitely carved

In general, most of the furniture and items associated with the Cat King during his lifetime have been well retained and preserved to this day. However, some chairs and woodwork that were originally made of stone pine were later replaced by our state with ironwood and grindwood to prevent them from fading over time.  The wooden structures bring rich local cultural identity by carving indigenous flower patterns such as peach blossoms, poppies, etc. The pillars are crafted so that they resemble the fruit of opium, which the Cat King trades to make money to build the mansion.

Some western-influenced items in this project can be mentioned as a stone goat’s milk bath, and glass shutters next to the fireplace. And the entrance is made of granite connected by an iron flower frame of French architecture.

5. Some important notes when coming to King Cat’s mansion

Tourists need to note the following for the safest and most complete trip

For a complete tour, please note some important things when visiting the Cat King mansion.

Be careful of the road when moving to the mansion: Because of the limestone plateau terrain, many roads are relatively dangerous with winding slopes. If you intend to travel by motorbike to the mansion, please maintain the car carefully before departing.

Do not touch artifacts: Because this is a cultural relic owned by the state, visitors are not allowed to touch or touch artifacts.

 No noise: This is a stately ruin, so laughing and talking loudly will affect the surrounding visitors. Therefore, keep a gentle and polite attitude when coming to the mansion.

Equipped with clothes, and umbrellas: The weather in Dong Van plateau is quite unusual. Sometimes this mountainous area will see some heavy rains. Therefore, please prepare more raincoats, and some travel items to make the trip go smoothly.

The Cat King Mansion is an interesting destination in the middle of Ha Giang of amazing nature with pristine mountains and forests and poetic and rich scenery. If you have the opportunity to visit, come explore this Mansion to admire the unique architecture and learn more about the culture of ethnic minorities. In addition, you can also visit and explore other places such as Dong Van Ancient Town, Noong Lake, Lo Lo Chai Village, Tien Waterfall – Gio Pass, etc.

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