Friday, January 2, 2015

Hue, the historical capital of Vietnam

After accomplishing few important to do items in HCMC, we finally packed our bags to spend our first day of new year 2015 in Hue, the historical capital of Vietnam.

It took us one and half hour by air to hue. Weather was cold with mercury dropping down to 8°C. Luckily it stopped raining the day we landed after showering city for four continuous days. Hue gets cold and rainy season from August to Jan and is the best time to visit.

The city is located in the center of Vietnam and served as capital of Vietnam for almost 150 Years from 1802-1945.It is just few miles from south China sea. City witnessed many attacks and suffered considerable damage multiple times during war.
Perfume river (Huong Song) flows right through the city. Local style boats rowing on river and foggy weather produce a mesmerizing beautiful scene. Just like other cities of Vietnam, Hue city and river was clean and well maintained.  two bridges built over river also create scenic beauty with special light effects in night.


We landed in middle of day and took a city bus which left us near our hotel. We decided to explore the city on first day and collect information on tourist spots around. There are lot of tour companies along the river side on le Loi road. You can find difference in prices for same trip. Le loi and streets connecting got lot of accommodation options starting from 150,000VND. This side of city is newly developed compared to city on the north side of river which is old and also holds king's palace protected with high walls.

Our first half day was dedicated to exotic Hue dishes. If you are history curious, foodie and love discovering exotic cultures, you will fall in love with this place. We tried varieties of mouth watering and moreover eye watering dishes. Chilly plays a special role in dishes here. This place is also known for its different style of noodles. Varities of Che (sweet dishes) is also unique about this city.

Evening was spent enjoying traditional song inside a slow moving boat on river.
Hue girls in their traditional dress with traditional music instrument created a nice environment. Dress is quite significant here. Although Ao dai, traditional long dress, is common across Vietnam, Hue is known for its Violet Ao Dai.

Traditional musical instrument, Hue

Our journey to explore historical sites started very next day. There are many one day or two days package tours available. Citadel is the most visible and exciting place to see. Citadel is a walled forbidden city which is only for emperor's family, concubines, and highest officials.City splendor is lost over different wars but still worth visiting. Mass killing happened when US took this city from Viet Cong army. Citadel is easily visible due to its great flag flying high with contrast colors. A massive square rampart is covering the city with water flowing around. You have to cross the bridge to get in the Citadel. The awesome Ngo Mon, mid day gate was entry for imperial palace. Center seat was for emperor. There are magnificent buildings inside, few are standing proudly while others are under repair.

Thien mu Pagoda(temple) is one of the attraction because of its architecture and picturesque nature around. You can spend long hours here enjoying the scenic beauty of river. Other pagodas like Tu Dam and tu Hieu can also be visited.
Thien Mu Pagoda
Budhhism is followed a bit more seriously here. It is famous for one monk, who set himself on fire to protest south Vietnam anti Buddhism policies. It is said the his full body was burnt but heart remained unburnt. Later heart was kept as in a temple.
Famous pagoda in Hue got the photos of his burning alive and his car which he drove to the place and was parked behind before he set himself on fire.

There are several tombs built along the perfume river. Tomb was the result of Emperors belief in life after death and was supposed to reflect the life they want to live after.
Tombs were built during emperor's lifetime. Each tomb is a proof of royal art and architecture. One of the most beautiful royal tomb is of Tu Duc's Tomb. Being a romantic person, his tomb also contains a lake and poetic scenery. Emperor's designated a place for burial which is not known to anyone. Although a center place is designated as a burial place, actual burial place kept as a secret to protect the treasure buried along with king's body.

Phong Nha Cave is 200 km from Hue. The one day trip would be tiring but worth visiting. Mouth gaping beauty lies in the limestone cave created over thousands of years. This is also world longest undeground river. Once you reach at the entrance of cave, you will feel like you are entering in the mouth of mountain.
Phong Nha Cave
Paradise Cave located 50km ahead of Phong Nha cave. You can visit only one cave in one day trip and we decided to see PhongNha cave and leave pradise cave for next trip.

Cho Hue, the local market may be your last destination to end your trip in Hue. It is a nice place to do a quick shopping and try varieties of traditional food. Hue is also famous for its handmade vietnamese hat.
After doing a quick shopping and satisfying our taste buds we headed  to airport to catch our flight. It was a nice trip. We tried to cover all the major tourist spots of Hue but still few are left. Hope we will get an opportunity to see this beautiful city again.


Enjoy the slideshow below of all the pics of Hue.
You can leave your comments if you liked my post.

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Danang and Hoi an

One of the major cities of Vietnam, Danang, situated very close to old Cham capital Indrapura, is a port city covered with scenetic beauties of sea beach.

HoiAn, spectacular view
Once you start moving inside city crossing the beaches, you will find that city is one of the master piece of art. The city looks like a very planned city settled on river touching sea side. 2 bridge made on river adds beauty in the city. The light arrangement on bridge and with the dancing effect makes people to enjoy the night on coffeeshop near bridges or taking photo on it.

Two cities closely coupled, a mere 30 minutes drive away from each other is one of the most beautiful cities of Vietnam.





The twin cities are definitely a must see places in Vietnam. Very close to nature and slow moving life will give you a sense of relaxation at the end.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chuc mung Nam moi 2013, Kontum

Chuc Mung Nam Moi, 2013 @ KonTum

Almost 2 years passed since I got the feed for this blog. This was a short although fun packed trip to VN. I stayed in VN for longer period before, but this time I got the opportunity to see tet (Lunar New year) festival closely by becoming one of them. Also I got opportunity to visit a small relaxed city with some historical and cultural importance.

My flight landed in a small airport, Pleiku, surrounded with hills. HCMC to Pleiku was almost 1 hour journey. We took one cab to cover 50Km to reach KonTum city. The wind was cooling and refreshing. City is located at the bank of river Dakbla, sharing its border with Cambodia and Laos.

House was not very new. It reminded of my maternal grand ma's house. Members were busy in preparing food for new year. I took a quick nap and got refreshed to see the new year celebration. Food were prepared to offer god. Nonveg was the part of offering. The head member of family have to do the rituals of worship and family members are not bound to participate in the rituals.

Different varieties of food would be prepared. Family memebers would gather around table and will enjoy lunch and dinner . On the new year night people will visit each other houses and pass their wishes for the new year. Some papers symbolizing money and sacred books can be seen on fire in front of almost all houses as they welcome new year. It is considered this is sent to their dead ancestors. City also witnessed fireworks done at some center open space of city.





Kontum



Due to influence of French colonies and being the administrative center for central highlands, a good number of Church can be seen here. A sizable number of population got converted to Catholic. The city is famous for its coffeeshops, many are located at the bank of Dakbla river. Some coffeeshops are quite old and marked a place in Kontum map. City is devided in two parts in terms of religion and language. Minorities language is not Vietnamese and have comparatively darker skin.
City fails to attract lot of tourist still few tourist can be seen enjoying the simplicity of this place. City is financially stable due to its border sharing with Cambodia and Laos. Few costly cars can be easily seen on the road.

City got 2 very old and beautiful church. One is "wooden Church" built in 1913. Complete church is made of wood. ANother is small Tan Huong church which is white washed and built in the 1850s.

City had a very big prison which was later demolished by govt.
There are plenty of trekking routes, and rafting availalbe in river during season. You can go toward attractive country side.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

HolyCow!! This is India

Holy Cow!! This is India

A visit of Vietnam in India. Hope you will like this article written in my own blog www.coffeefumes.com.

Click on the link to enjoy more.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Huong (perfume) Pagoda

One among the largest and unique religious sites comprises of Huong Pagoda.  The delightful and glamorous view of this Pagoda adds up the value when reaching to Pagoda itself becomes so adventurous and alluring.

Located around 60km South West of Hanoi, the pagoda is built in the limestone cliff of Perfume Mount.  It is located in Ben Duc province and takes 2 hour to go to Ben Duc. Your journey does not end here in spite you can say this is the starting point to reach Pagoda.
You can go to ben duc in your personal vehicle or a car can also be rented. The local tours and travels also organizes it in a well professional manner. From Ben Duc you need to take a boat. As soon as the boat starts moving on Day river you will be astonished with the beauty of nature. small hills will be covering you from both the sides and your small boat will be moving along with many other boats. A drizzle may add your ecstasy to your zenith if you are lucky enough. After a 40-45 minute of romantic and scenic boat ride you will reach in the foothill of huong Mount.
There are a  number of restaurants down at the foothill. Many unseen and rare animals as well as birds can be seen here hanging upside down for their meat. If you are a vegetarian, carrying your own food will be better idea. All the restaurants will be swarming with people.If your trip is organised by your tour and travels agent they will arrange your food in one of these restaurants.
At this point you can Den Trinh(presentation shrine). The large shrine have a gate with two kneeling elephants.  Trekking uphill will be tiring but not complex. A artificial trekking path is constructed to make the transition easy. On the way you can find shops on both the side.
On the way you can find Thien Tru Pagoda also known as heaven kitchen pagoda.
After crossing Thien Tru Pagoda you will reach Huong tich Cave. It is in the center of chua huong complex. The mouth if the cave is appearance of open mouth of dragon with Chinese characters carved on it. Inside cave there are many statues. There is large statue of lord Buddha.





Huong Pagoda festival is celebrated between middle of Feb till March end. Number of tourists and pilgrims flock in this duration.


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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Phan Thiet, Mui Ne

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Mui Ne


Enjoy the desert right beside Sea. When the sun is very bright and where sand dunes kisses the sea tides, you are in Mui ne.
200Km east of HoChiMinh City lies, the one of the most beautiful beaches of Vietnam, preserving its beauty at its best. You can take a train or a bus to Mui Ne from HCMC which will take 4 to 5 hours to reach Phan Thiet. Normal buses take 100.000VND to 150.000VND while trains takes 70.000 to 200.000VND depending on the sleeper or chair car services. The railway station is not in Mui Ne city. The Phan Thiet is the connecting city for Mui Ne. you need to drive more 22Km to go to Mui Ne from Phan Thiet. City buses are available in quite cheaper rate. There is no local airport in Mui Ne.
Sliding on sand

Phan Thiet is the fishing town well known for its product of this city is nuoc mm ie Fish Sauce. From phan thiet on the way toward mui ne you can find a thick layer of fishes being dried up on both the side of road. A good variety of restaurants are here which can satisfy your taste bud with continental dishes. Mui ne appeared on map after some foreigners happen to fall on this place in search of a place to relax away from city crowd and noise. Sooner some resorts appeared with the idea of providing a place with all comforts and let the tourist enjoy the nature as it is .

You can find many resorts including 3 and 4 star resorts as well. Can find a room in minimum of 30 $ to 100-120$ per day with swimming pool and sea beach view. you can let your taste buds enjoy different new dishes from different part of world in mui ne. Specially french and spanish food are easily available including one indian Restaurant :
Sree Ganesh
57 nguyen dinh chieu
062 3741330

Mui ne is nice place for water sports an also held some Sports meet during Tet holidays. Famous for its resorts and sand dunes , Mui ne have on dark side. It helds many road accidents during night when road is deserted, driving is fast. It took many foreigners life. Mui ne is setting record for foreign deat after american war. So it is suggested that dont hire any motorbike for driving there. Cycling is also not advised.

one of the most famous site for mui ne contributed by one foreigner
http://www.muinebeach.net/ may help you to get good idea Mui ne.

Nha Trang is 5 hours by road from mui ne and Dalat is 3 hours.
http://www.muinebeach.net/toursntransport.htm




Although long back I visited Mui ne, memories are withered, this is my effort to recollect and present the best.


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   Introduction To Vietnam                                                                                                            


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sapa, The love Valley

Take a luxurious train from Hanoi, the capital to LaoCai station. The complete package for 2 days may cost not more then 90$ depending on the tour you book. The sinh cafe tour group can be one of your good choice for the trip but same time you should mistake in recognizing the correct SinhCafe group. There are many other tour group which are not original sinh cafe. All tour group are located near hoam kiem lake. A pickup will be provided from your hotel which will drop you to Ga Hanoi(hanoi railway station). 9pm the train will start which will drop you to LaoCai station in morning 6:30AM. A minibus will be ready for you to take you to Sapa from there which may take 1 more hour. You can checkin in Hotel and have breakfast. Checkout time is 11AM for all hotels. 



Basically a beautiful hill station and climate is the main thing to enjoy here. Although there are some tourist spots and Villages around which may be interesting fi you like to study new culture and living style. Black Hmong tribe of CatCat and Sin chai villages can be included in tour program. 

Trekking to these villages is really a fun and luckily if you get a little drizzling. If you have planned such that you land on saturday you will be lucky to enjoy the local culture in night called "love market". Choosing groom and bride is the main purpose of this market. 
The naother side of SAPA have tay and Dzay tribes in ta van and la cai village. 

Night is very beautiful with night markets and pubs and restaurants serving delicacies of world including indian restaurants. the church is standing in the middle of city and around it is spread you may call as walking street with all tourists enjoying the market and new delicacies. 

People here are more comfortable in english then in Hanoi, with friendly behavior and giving you all comforts to make your stay comfortable in SAPA.



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