Tra Dinh Vu Di –A Tea Shop in the Drizzling Rain

"Tra Dinh Vu Di" is the name of a newly-open tea shop located about seven kilometers to the west of downtown Hue. The name of the shop attracts the attention of lots of visitors, because according to the Chinese - Vietnamese meaning, it is "a tea shop in the drizzling rain". 

Thu Ha, owner of the shop explains the reason for her naming the shop. In winter Hue is often covered by a drizzling rain and north-easterly wind blows, so to warm up, nothing works better than a hot cup of tea with a fragrant smell.

The entrance to Tra Dinh Vu Di tea shop is built in the traditional architectural style of imperial Hue.

A tranquil, shaded garden filled with the smell of jasmine flowers.

The shop owner picks jasmine to scent the tea.

Small tea huts with roofs made of leaves are located in the shaded garden.

A Buddhist monk prepares tea in his own way.

A tea set consists of one pot, one big cup and three small cups.

The tranquil environment at Tra Dinh Vu Di attracts many tea lovers/artists, who can enjoy tea while talking about literature.

The shop’s interior decoration matches its name, reflecting characteristics of the owner, a sensitive woman, and also the unique soul of Hue people. Entering through the big three-door gate, visitors will leave behind a large road leading to a mountain, and enjoy looking at a vast, quiet, shaded garden filled with the pure smell of jasmine flowers. Here and there under the canopy of leaves, there are small houses built in an ancient architectural style and little huts roofed with tree leaves but without walls, for better ventilation. Tea pots and cups are placed on the tables everywhere, either home- made or foreign made, but all diverse in style and size.

Thu Ha, owner of the shop, a small woman in her sixties and with some deformities in her legs, receives visitors with her gentle, friendly attitude. She has a Buddhist name, Nguyen Huong (original perfume), which is not on the list of the royal family in Hue, however she is very sensitive to poems, music and painting. She decided to open a tea shop on Thien An mountain which is covered with green pine trees all year round, with the assistance of her two nieces.

Thanks to its tranquil location and particularly to the gentle owner, a Buddhist follower, Tra Dinh Vu Di attracts many artists like poets, writers, painters and monks and nuns who love literature. Besides enjoying the good tea, visitors can exchange personal views of their hobby, reciting a poem or commenting on some paintings, many of which are painted by famous monks in Hue.

Thu Ha, owner of the tea shop, instructs her assistants to prepare different kinds of court tea.

Court tea requires several rare herbs.

Depending on the mixture of the herbal remedy, the owner can prepare different kinds of tea with different tastes.

Shop assistants making tea for visitors.

Packages of court tea, each containing various herbal remedies.

Hue court tea consists of many herbs, so it is good for both physical and mental health.

Japanese tourists who visit Tra Dinh Vu Di tea shop want to learn about Hue court tea.

Tra Dinh Vu Di is also an attractive destination for many domestic and foreign tourists in Hue to visit the landscapes or tombs of the Nguyen kings. When visiting the tea shop, they can sample different kinds of tea, including some popular special ones which formerly were served only for the court members in Hue, but are now prepared by the skilful shop owner to serve to any guest. Taking sips of tea and enjoying the surrounding beautiful scenery with trees, flowers, mountains amid the pure atmosphere, visitors seem to forget all their tiredness.

To fully absorb such emotions brought in by Tra Dinh Vu Di, a famous Buddhist bonze and poet in Hue, Minh Duc Trieu Tam Anh, composed a poem to present to the shop owner:

After a long absence, old friends meet again, sharing the same tea pot,
Its smell, its taste, and our deep affection,
That all help us forget the stuff in life,
Just enjoying happy moments – such a life!

Tra Dinh Vu Di –A Tea Shop in the Drizzling Rain

Thien An Tourism Complex
Cu Chanh Hamlet, Thuy Bang Commune, HuongThuy town, ThuaThien-Hue province
054.3865703 – 0948489902
Email: [email protected]
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Story: Thanh Hoa – Photos: Hoang Quang Ha