Hue we go

Trip Start Jan 05, 2010
Trip End Jan 25, 2010

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Friday, January 15, 2010

The 13 hour train ride from Hanoi to Hue went surprisingly smoothly - most likely due to the quantity of drink the previous night with the other backpackers. We bid our fellow travellers goodbye & hopped off the train in Hue around 8am & was met by our driver & english speaking guide (Vung). The plan was for us to spend the first half of the day exploring Hue & then set off on the 3 hr drive south to Hoi An.

Hue is one of the most significant cultural and historical centres of Vietnam & was a former imperial city. The perfume river (definitely a more applicable name many centuries ago) runs through its centre.

After a short break for tea, noodles and a western toilet we headed to our first stop - Hue citadel : Imperial city.

This is another designated world heritage site & was established in the early 19th century by Emporer Gia Long. It's a pretty huge (2km by 2km) city & took us a few hours to get around. We've found investing in english speaking tour guides to be an excellent investment as we get a running commentry & a lot of additional information that would you would ordinarily miss/ignore.

The whole place is a maze of intericately & beautifully designed palaces and is similar to the chinese forbidden city. The nine dynastic urns show a number of bullet holes from obvious gun fights (from the vietnam war).

Like everything, the pictures don't do the place justice & we have truck loads more pics than what we've shown here.

In the late morning we moved onto the Thien Mu Pagoda which was about half drive from the imperial city. This particular pagoda is right on the bank of the "perfume" river. This place was built in the early 1600's & is dominated by the 7-story octagonal tower which is known as the "source of Happiness tower"  (and no mike didn't spot any nearby massage parlours).

What makes place a little more interesting is that monks still work & live on the site and we saw a number of them coming & going.

Other notable points is that this place was the home of monk called Thich Quang Duc who back in 1963 set himself on fire in protest against the treament of the monks by the then government. gruesome stuff. His car that he drove to his suicide is back at the pagoda.

After the pagoda it was time to get closer to the totally inappropriately named Perfume river for a boat cruise. After a  short cruise of about 30 mins we were picked uo by our driver & taken to our last sight seeing spot - The Tomb of Tu Duc.

Considered by many to be the most elegant toomb in Vietnam, the mausoleum was designed by the king Tu Duc himself BEFORE he died. Apparantly he's buried on the grounds somewhere but no-one knows for certain because all those involved in his burial were later executed to keep his final resting place safe from desecration. I can't imagine there being a queue of people for that job.

We spent an hr or two at the tomb before we hopped in the car for the 3 hr drive south to Hoi An. On the way we say yet more examples of Vietnamese transport creativity.One of the more unusual ones was seeing a dude transporting two pigs on the back of his bike. The pigs were alive coz we could see them crapping (hardly surprising under the circumstances)

Driving South along the coast rode we drove past 'china beach' which was a regular R&R spot for american GI's during the war. Not a bad beach but Queensland beaches are still better in our opinion. 

We finally arrived in Hoi An about 5pm. Hoi An is full of tailors & one of the better ones (ie and expensive by Vietnamese standards) is Yaly.  We dropped in for a quick 15 min look around & Kym was very impressed with the vast selection of materials.  For the top gear fans, this is the same tailor that the 3 top gear boys visited to have some crazy suites made up.

After all the crazy travelling, we're looking forward to crashing in Hoi Ann for the next 4 days.
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Michelle Cooper on

Hope those pigs weren't still alive!!! Glad to see the UTD tee shirt is having it's day out!!!
I feel as though I have been to Vietnam now, can cross it off my list of places to see before I die :)

Julie on

Hi guys, love the stories and the pics. Great to see you're still smiling...

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