Take a day tour around the city, that was once the capital of Vietnam. By no means is this a small town, it’s history goes way back in time, back to Kings, back to Chinese Emperors.
A combined Boat and Bus tour will take around the main areas. Starting from 8AM the morning will be on the boat down the Perfume River and you will be served a vegetarian meal on board for lunch. In the atertnoonc you will switch transport modes to a bus, taking to you the tombs and finally the citadel in the middle of the Imperial City.
Here’s a snapshot of what can you see in Hue in one day!
An Hien Garden House
An actual house owned by a local Vietnamese family, it is an example of a typical Vietnamese home and garden. It is said that all homes are styled and designed equally, only the building materials differ between rich and poor.
A gate and wall protect the front of the home from spirits, grates made in the shape of Chinese warding spells are seen.
For spirits whose energy is strong and can bypass he first barrier, a pond is set as a kind of mirror. You’ll notice hexagonal mirrors around the place, these are used to ward off spirits. It is said that they would see the mirror but no reflection of themselves in it, helping them to realize that they do not belong in this physical realm.
Linh Mu Pagoda
As Hué was once the capital city of Vietnam, it was also home to the national pagoda during the periods preceding 1945, the point at which the country renounced its state ties with religion (Buddhism).
To select this location, a scout was sent all over the country to find the best places to build the pagoda. Hanoi, Hué, and Tenghoa Province.
In Hué specifically, the area is surrounded by a mountain range that snakes around – resembling a dragon. The point at which the temple is built is said to be the dragon’s head. The lake behind the head was where the neck once stood, but the Chinese destroyed it severing the head from the body of the dragon – said to be the birthplace of a future emperor who would conquer all.
100,000VND each / three tombs
Lăng Khải Định
This is the royal mausoleum of the 12th (and final) Nguyen King of Vietnam. He was ascended to the throne via the French and titled in the local style of khai dinh.
A staircase of 127 steps brings you to the tomb, housing the actual remains of the king. As you climb the stairs, look for the dragons that line the railing – you’ll notice the pair have jeweled eyes.
Atop the tomb is a life size bronze casting of the King, cast in France. And above the statue is a concrete parasol, so intricately created it appears like silk, flowing in the breeze.
Traditional Village of the Incense Stick Makers
Dey see me rollin’, dey hatin’.
A pastey dough is made from essential oils and powders of sandalwood, cinnamon, etc. The artisan rolls each stick individually, covering it with a small amount of incense dough. To seal it and help it dry, a grey powder is applied – this also prevents the sticks from sticking to each other.
We didn’t have time to go to the citadel, as we needed to catch a bus to Hanoi in the evening. But other travellers have said it is well worth the visit – allow an hour or two to see the whole place.