Hue (II) Perfume River and Tombs

Today (09-AUG) was the full day tour on a “Dragon Boat” (see later what that one looks like…hasn’t much to do with Chinese dragon boats) along the Perfurme River of Hue, with visits to Hue’s most famous Pagoda, a temple, and three of the many tombs around.

HU_20070809_081848.jpg: A small boy watching our ship leaving the river’s shore. He was a cute one, I made more pictures of him later.

HU_20070809_084440.jpg: Scene with nice house and Sampas (the typical river boats) at the shore.

HU_20070809_094117.jpg: Overlooking the Perfume River from our first stop, the Thien Mu Pagoda.

Thien Mu Pagoda

HU_20070809_093806.jpg: …is considered a symbol for Hue as some protest marches gathered here at some point in time, but I missed the context. The pagoda itself is so lala…

HU_20070809_094747.jpg: This car, an Austin Mini, is quite famous. A monk, Thich Quang Duc, living at the pagoda drove with this car to Saigon, got out of the car and burned himself to death in protest against governmental policies in 1963. There is a famous picture of this, which was new to me, but not to others around. A copy can be seen above and behind the car on my picture.

HU_20070809_095004.jpg: Behind the pagoda are a view low buildings and a small park.

HU_20070809_095252.jpg: View from the very back over the lawn.

HU_20070809_095644.jpg: Within that building at the beginning of the lawn: A boy monk (monk or not I am not sure, but his clothes are monk clothes) laying out for a meal.

HU_20070809_095839.jpg: The gate to the site, with the pagoda standing outside.

Tu Duc Tomb

Hue was over many years the capital of the Ngyuen Dynasty. Thus, there are also a number of tombs scattered around town.

HU_20070809_111023.jpg: The main tomb site, however, was here so unimpressive that I didn’t even select a picture for here. The water lilies on the surrounding aritifical lake are nicer.

HU_20070809_111226.jpg: What fascinated me a lot more was, within the same site, a tomb I believe for one of his wifes or so. Here the animals and officials guarding the entrance. You’ll find this looking very much like for Chinese tombs in Nanjing or Beijing, just a bit smaller with only three pairs of animals and three pairs of officials.

HU_20070809_111341.jpg: A stele shortly after.

HU_20070809_111437.jpg: This second place is huge. I am now in the middle of it, facing the end, will in 3 minutes climb up these stairs.

HU_20070809_111650.jpg: The actual tomb, placed in a stone-tiled courtyard. This picture gives you a bit of the atmosphere: The site is amidst a green forest.

HU_20070809_111812.jpg: The relics are all original, partly shattered and overgrown, but generally speaking in surprising good shape given their age (built 1867).

HU_20070809_112207.jpg: Khiem Tho Tomb, still on the same site. The authenticy gives the entire site a near-romantic touch and makes it a lot more enjoyable and impressive than the restored Chinese sites. It still breathes the air of history.

HU_20070809_112857.jpg: Only very few parts have been renewed for tourists, like this stairway in the middle of a long old original stairway.

HU_20070809_113046.jpg: Clouds reflected in the water lilies lake.

Lunch on the Boat

HU_20070809_122542.jpg: Our ‘Dragon Boat’. Basically a rectangular platform screwed atop two small hulls, one on each side in a katamaran-style, but by no means remotely as fast as a kat. The dragon heads are a joke, made of metal fixed to the head of the two hulls.

HU_20070809_123310.jpg: The crew connected a small TV during lunch time for their entertainment.

HU_20070809_155348.jpg: The captain. Looks a bit funny seeing him on a plastic garden chair behind this car-style steering sheel. Engine power is regulated via a plastic strip he fixes and moves with the big toe of his left foot. Well…it works.

HU_20070809_125023.jpg: Once again my small friend, happened to be seated across of me during lunch.

Thien Dinh Palace

HU_20070809_125227.jpg: No, not yet the palace, but a house somewhere on the banks of the Perfume River. And don’t ask me about the river’s name…it doesn’t exactly stink, but it doesn’t smell nice either. It’s just the typical brownish broth you’ll find everywhere during the raining season.

HU_20070809_131507.jpg: Here we go! Impressive from the very beginning.

HU_20070809_131624.jpg: Though not a tomb as far as I understood it there are still guarding figures along the sides of the entrance way.

HU_20070809_132608.jpg: Inside the temple, that is impressive! Not sure if original, but I’d guess so. It glitters and glimmers everywhere. Taking picture not allowed, but nobody cared, the security guards neither.

HU_20070809_132658.jpg: Stone decorations of the walls. Check out the picture’s big version to get an idea how that has been achieved: Mosaic-like with many small stones glued to the wall. Looks great!

HU_20070809_132854.jpg: An impression of the setting of the palace: Again somewhere in the middle of nowhere. To the back even more forest.

HU_20070809_133107.jpg: Looking down on the guards in the blistering sun.

HU_20070809_133312.jpg: In this place I got fascinated by the dragon heads attached at various places (here one looking around a door frame), especially their eyes, which have been designed in various colors and levels of detail.

HU_20070809_133348.jpg: Here a close-up of the Looking-around-the-door-dragon’s eye. Couldn’t fully avoid the reflections (yea…on my next trip I bring a pole filter), but still you can make out the 3 layers (white, grey, black) and especially the fact that there is some engraving on the eyes inner black part.

HU_20070809_133458.jpg: Here another dragon head, this time with shining green eyes.

Minh Mang Tomb

The last one…with maybe the greatest pictures. Not due to the buildings, which were rather low key, but due to threatening clouds and a nice layout of the site, formed overall like a lying human body, with the actual tomb situated at the very end on a hill representing the body’s head. But the hill was not accessible to tourists.

HU_20070809_141628.jpg: Again water lilies… Here I liked the water atop the leaves.

HU_20070809_141812.jpg: Dramatic scene over the main gate (which cannot be passed by tourists, we came in via a side entrance). But it didn’t rain that day.

HU_20070809_142533.jpg: An altar inside…

HU_20070809_144200.jpg: …this building, if I am not mistaken.

HU_20070809_142639.jpg: Some unimportant side house, a bit tattered even. But the sunny, colorful foreground makes a nice contrast to the low-hanging dark clouds of the backdrop.

HU_20070809_142947.jpg: Overlooking the site with flower and clouds. There were in general many plants around as you can see. That makes these sites a lot more enjoyable than the ‘clean’ Chinese tomb sites.

HU_20070809_143338.jpg: Another nice look back from the farest point accessible to tourists. The bridge is so-to-say the neck, which connects the head of the lying human body.

HU_20070809_155059.jpg: That’s it…a local Sampa come along while we are heading back to Hue.

I went back to my hotel, had sorted out all pictures and made the selection which pictures to publish. At around 7pm or so I just wanted to get a quick dinner next door at a nice looking cafe before starting to work on the actual text of the articles. The cafe surprised me with friendly and extremely quick service. I had barely set down my glass of beer after the first sip when my soup already arrived. And only a minute later a highly delicious steak. The place filled up. A bit later another single traveller, English, was seated at my table as there was no other room left. We got into talks, he had worked more than 2 years in Japan, so we had a lot of Asia experience to exchange. One beer gave the other…and in the end we were the last ones to leave the cafe at around 11pm. Well…the site update had to wait yet another day…you meet too many people here…

Today’s Lesson: Authentic tombs are a whole lot more impressive.

Categories: AsiaHue

Originally Created: 08/14/2007 08:54:22 AM
Last Edited: 08/14/2007

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