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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