The house of Cochinchina District chief Nguyen Van Hai, or Doc Phu Hai’s house, in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang was built in 1860. It was originally the home of Tran Thi Sanh, wife of Truong Dinh, a leader of a guerrilla army against French colonialists in southern Vietnam. After becoming a monk, she left the house to her family. Her grand-daugther married Cochinchina District chief Nguyen Van Hai and they continued to live there.
The house is surrounded by luxuriant gardens.
Houses with European colonial architecture have become very rare in modern Vietnam. This is a popular location for many wedding photo shoots as well as films set during the French occupation period.
A relief work on top of the hall entrance to the house.
Yin-yang tile roofs bearing an East Asian architectural style.
The archway design of the hallway around the house allows a lot of natural sunlight to come into the house.
The top of columns and arch doorways are decorated with exquisite carved details. Cabinets, tables and chairs are also carved with elaborate Louis-style details. All of them were made from rare wood or expensive marble. And thanks to that, the house still retains a beauty that many people admire even after 100 years.
The house is nearly perfectly preserved with more than 350 ancient decorative pieces and 70 antiques. There are also other valuable objects like ancient cabinets, wooden chairs carved with nacre, marble tables, and porcelain from China and Vietnam made during the 17th – 18th centuries. There is a bed decorated with marble slabs of various colours and sculptured legs and inlaid with nacre, and two couches made from white, black-striped marble.
The meaningful words hung around the house: Virtue is the most valuable of all things and is the only sure thing.
The lute, a basic instrument in southern folk music, is also a decorative item carved in the house.
Phu Hai House is considered among the most perfectly preserved houses. Many foreign visitors also expressed their admiration for the house’s beauty. One visitor from the U.K. said it was her first visit to such a dwelling: “This is also my first visit to Vietnam. I’m fascinated by the architecture here.”
107 Ben Van Don, Ward 9, District 4, HCM City, Vietnam
Phone: (+84) 28 382 66 188
Fax: (+84) 28 382 66 189
Mobi: (+84) 913 627 499