Hue I – Citadel and Palace

Hue, the emporers’ capital for quite some time. Its citadel and tombs tell some of Vietnam’s glory history. The citadel reminds one of BeiJing’s Forbidden City. And the tombs, some 200 years old, are left pretty much in their original state, hence can convey an atmosphere of history. But, alas, also they are being more and more restaurated. Hopefully to the better (some finished parts of the palace look great!), but that touch of historic atmosphere might get lost as it often did in similar places we’ve seen in China.

On 19-AUG, we had entered a bus in Hoi An in the morning. Actually a sleeper bus, which went all the way to Hanoi. And a lot of people did not exit in Hue…what a shame! We arrived in the morning without any hassle. We had reserved a hotel via AsiaRooms, but that was flop. While fairly high priced (35 USD) they couldn’t quite deal with our reservation, finally gave us a room, which did not seem to live up to the standards advertised on the internet, and no towels in the beginning. We decided not to bother them with our tour bookings.

Instead, as we had to confirm our onward bus ticket anyway in a tour office, we asked there for a tomb tour along the Perfume River for the next day. But they did not have the package (or a similar) as I had two years ago. But we found a similar package in yet another tour office…lesson learned.

Then finally, around noon (blistering hot, as on nearly all travel days), our sightseeing could start. We walked across the river and along its shore and promenade to the citadel.

First: Four canons. There are five across the huge square…and I believe these four stand for the four directions of the wind? But the other five? LP has it…but I currently don’t have LP 😉 (the 4 canons stand for the four seasons and the other five for the five elements: water, fire, earth, wind, and wood)

Second: Vietnam’s largest flag pole (Nina claims I have photos in all possible thinkable ways of this flag…ask me for more if you need them…I like this for the three motor bike drivers waiting for customers in the tree’s shadow)

Third: Uncle Ho atop the main gate to the palace (Ngo Mon Gate). Very much imitating how Mao is presented on Tian An Men in BeiJing.

First: Gold fishes in the lake right behind the gate to the palace, being fed by visitors.

Second: Roof decorations of the emporer’s hall.

Third: This is the finished restaurated part I referred to above. Looks very nice and well done! And this corridor was previously pretty much destroyed. It really looks nice and is probably a good deed to restore it as much as possible. The down-side just is: It doesn’t look “authentic”.

First: The emporer’s library’s roof: The house itself is unfortunately still closed for the public. Here some careful restauration would probably be great. But the roof still looks great.

Second: Lotus flowers in the pond behind the library.

Third: Outside the inner-most circle, this is the house of the queen mom, or more specifically a back yard of it.

First: Doors of To Mieu Temple.

Second: Telephone Booth, occupied by a dragon. Or the like ;)) from the other side that ‘booth’ was actually a bit longer and turned out to be a nice housing for the dragon guarding the temple’s entrance.

Third: A look back from the entrance gate onto the pond (see the gold fishes above) and the emporer’s hall of Thai Hoa Palace.

First: Outside the palace, but still inside the old city’s citadel, there are students playing soccer in front of Thuong Tu Gate.

Second: School’s out and students leave the citadel via one of the fairly few gates and bridges for their respective homes (again Thuong Tu Gate).

We continued to a huge market, which we strolled up and down and across without taking pictures. We were actually in search for a scale like they were used by street peddlers as a decorative item for home. But it seems they get more and more out of use…and aren’t sold any longer.

We ended the day in a nice family-run restaurant near our hotel, after giving quite a lot of places a miss due to their westernized menu. But that place served some excellent Vietnamese food…and I kept its chop stick package to remember name and address so I can advertise it here…but seems I lost it :((

Today’s Lesson: The packaged tours aren’t always the same; it is worth asking around.

Categories: Asia, Hue

Originally Created: 08/25/2009 02:34:21 PM
Last Edited: 08/25/2009