Hue, Central Vietnam, Bans Indecent Clothing in Imperial City

An Dinh Palace, last residence of the Nguyen family in Hue

Hue city in central Thua Thien-Hue province has issued strict regulations on what to wear when visiting its monuments in an attempt to ensure solemnity of the key buildings that once belonged to the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945).

The Hue Monuments Conservation Centre, a body of local authorities that manages monuments related to the dynasty around the former imperial capital city, regulated that visitors will have to wear decent clothing when they visiting solemn monuments from the first day of July.

In particular, shorts, revealing skirts and singlets are prohibited in solemn areas, including palaces in which kings once banned the entry of women and temples where the kings and their ancestors were (and still are) worshiped.

The centre provides a clothes renting service for those visitors wearing prohibited clothing but wish to enter the solemn places, which are marked by signposts depicting the banned clothing.

According to the centre’s Director Phan Thanh Hai, the centre had informed travel agencies nationwide on the clothing ban, so that agencies were ready ahead of the date from when the ban took effect. Over two million visitors are recorded in Hue imperial sites, which are part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Banning indecent clothing at solemn places of the dynasty is aimed at reducing charges of desecration. The measure shows a change in the historical perception of Vietnamese authorities. Following the transformation of Vietnam into a socialist republic, rules of respect towards the former imperial family and their representation were totally banned. It is only that Vietnam has been recently rediscovered its imperial legacy.

A very popular exhibition is currently touring the country showing the treasures of the Nguyen dynasty. After Hanoi Hue and Ho Chi Minh City ( with a special exhibition of imperial costumes), the art exhibition is now on show at Lam Dong museum in Dalat, Southern Vietnam.

Hue continues to be one of Vietnam’s most popular destinations. In 2016, the province welcomed 3.25 million tourists, up 4.21% year-on-year. Among those were 1.052 million foreigners, an increase of 2.93%.

For 2017, local authorities forecast 3.7 million visitors, half of them being foreign travellers, representing a planned growth of 12% over 2016. Tourism is due to generate VND3.8 trillion in revenues (US$166.8 million), up 15% compared to last year.