Hue II – Tombs

The second day in Hue was dedicated to the royal tombs, again by an organized tour via boat on the Perfume River. That also included this time a visit to a nondescript house of a former mandarin, the always attractive Thien Mu Pagoda, and another temple down the river, which was small but interesting, though I forgot its name and can’t find it in LP.

(Also see here for my previous visit.)

That’s the most interesting picture of that mandarin official house…household item stilleben next to it. Let’s not forget the Kung Fu presentation, which we at times attended. For 20.000 VND. A bit overpriced.

Thien Mu Pagoda

This pagoda is always worth a visit, situated at a beatiful spot in a bend of the Perfume River, overlooking a lot of landscape. And a real pagoda with seven storeys. Though the pagoda as such can’t be entered there are some temple buildings behind, which are still in use and can be visited.

First: Enjoying the view across Perfume River.

Second: Turtle bringing longevity to Birger.

Third: The main temple building in the area behind the actual pagoda.

First: Altar in that main building.

Second: Seen from the back yard: Gravestones in the hills behind the temple area.

Third: An elderly and apparently well respected monk is being walked from one building to the other, protected against the blistering sun by a young novice.

That picture expected us when leaving the pagoda: As the pagoda and the temples are located atop a couple of stairs, the tourists arriving by boat have to look up to see (and take pictures of) the pagoda.

That Temple I forgot the Name of

First: In this temple we could actually walk behind the altar and half a floor upwards to see three additional altars. But this picture of a decorated table beneath a window is what I like best.

Second: The temple.

Inbetween we had lunch on the boat, announced as “romantic” (with a little smile in the face of the guide). It turned out to be eaten on the floor of the boat, from plastic sets like you would get them in a university mensa or a hospital. Cold. But OK…just not exactly romantic. Became a running gag from there on…

The iced Vietnamese coffee I got (and had to pay extra) thereafter, however, was second best (to the one in Hoi An’s habour only)!

Tomb of Minh Mang

First: Right when entering a lot of excitement: The tour guides motioned their guests away: A small snake was busy swallowing a frog and tried hard getting away with its prey.

Second: Booh! A roof detail in the second hall of the temple. The temple itself is probably the best planned and most mejestic. You probably have to see it in a bird’s perspective to appreciate the layout of a man’s body.

Third: These picture can in now way present that grandeur to you…just enjoy a few details.

Fourth: As I had not selected any buildings yet…here you are with the ‘heart’ of the tomb (meant litterally: This hall is located at the place of the heart in the man’s layout of the entire area).

From here on we continued by bus to the

Tomb of Khai Dinh

First: Very different in style: A huge stone area, going up many flights of stairs along a hill.

Second: Mixing Asian and European styles. Here the main emporer’s hall with beautiful decorated (and probably restaurated) wall mosaics and ceiling paintings.

Between the tombs we had a fairly boring stop-over at an “Incense-sticks-and-conical-hat-making village”, which consisted of a string of shops selling the stuff. But the presentation of the colorful incense sticks was well done!

Tomb of Tu Duc

The last one was also the largest…a bit unfortunate as we were already quite tired, also due to the hot weather, sweating all over.

First: Looks, my pictures don’t catch the essence any longer…a flight of stairs towards the actual tomb.

Second: One of the small towers around that same area.

Third: Seems I like these lines of doors…that’s not the first temple of which I took in this motif. Here the temple within the tomb’s area.

We came back to the hotel in time to pick up our luggage, walk it over to the tour office, have a quick dinner, and wait for our sleeper bus to Ninh Binh, which arrived on time. The start was well organized, and so we set out into the darkness on time and in good mood. Our only worry was: We would arrive in Ninh Binh at 4am (yes, in the morning!). And we had no idea what to do at this early time…if we would find the hotel…and it would be open…and we could sit down somewhere…as Ninh Binh was the one place on the itinerary, which I did not yet know.

But all was solved for us, don’t you worry in Asia! Read how…in the next chapter…stay tuned! 😉

Today’s Lesson: “Romantic” is a lunch from plastic sets on the floor of a boat.

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