Trip Start Dec 28, 2007
27Trip End Dec 01, 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
On Thursday afternoon, we all piled into our minivan Jack arranged from the hotel and took the Hy Van pass route to Hue. Hue is the former (ancient) capitol of Vietnam and is located in the center of the country near the coast. For those of you familiar with the American-Vietnam war, Hue was just below the DMZ. It was also home to some of the fiercest battle scenes in the war, some of which are depicted in Stanley Kubrick's fantastic movie "Full Metal Jacket."
The biggest battle in Hue occurred during the "Tet Offensive"
In addition to the Citadel, the other major sites of Hue consisted of Pagodas and the Imperial Tombs. The Imperial Tombs are the burial sites of the former Emperors of Vietnam. The tombs range in age from late 18th Century to early 20th Century.
On our first day in Hue, we arrived at our hotel at around 2:00 pm. Our hotel was lovely and the service was excellent. After a quick rest, we headed out for a horrible lunch at the Tropical Garden restaurant. The consensus was this was everybody's worse meal of the trip and most of our food was left uneaten. The restaurant had been recommended to us by a staff member of the hotel. We quickly concluded that because the food was so bad, the only explanation for the recommendation was the restaurant must have been owned by her uncle or something like that
After lunch we walked the perimeter of the citadel and back to the hotel through some local Vietnamese neighborhoods. It was a long walk, but there were some interesting moments and the walk around the Citadel was nice. We arrived back at the hotel, took a quick rest and headed up to the great rooftop bar for a nice drink. Everybody was so pooped from the last few days that we decided to stay in the hotel for dinner and ate at a pretty decent Japanese restaurant in the hotel.
Jack made travel arrangements for the next day, and we headed off to bed. We rendezvoused for brekky and met our driver at 9:00 am the next morning. The driver dropped us off at a dragon boat which we had to ourselves. As we boarded, the family that owned the boat was very friendly. The husband guided the boat down the river while the wife proceeded to unload a boatload (literally) of wares for sale: shirts, pants, pajamas, paintings, drawings, wood carvings and the like. She pretty much had an entire store inside her boat and was aggressively pushing her wares. Jack, in his newfound love for bargaining for Vietnamese products, purchased quite a few items for a whopping total of $22 USD.
Our first stop was the Thien Mu Pagoda
After the Pagoda, we re-boarded the boat and headed off for Minh Mang's mausoleum. Minh Mang was a former emperor of Vietnam and his burial grounds were amazing. It was probably about 1 sq km of land which included moats, bridges, temples and a burial mound. Our guide book speaks of emperors being buried with their treasures and then the murder of the temple constructors to avoid future looting (this way, nobody would know the whereabouts of the buried treasures)
The final mausoleum for the day was that of Tu Duc. Tu Duc's mausoleum, although in significant disrepair, was very nice and the garden grounds were fantastic. Tu Duc and many of his family were buried in the complex. We had a leisurely stroll around for an hour or so, and then headed back into Hue for a late lunch. We lunched at a colonial hotel called the Saigon Morin. After another bad meal, we concluded the food in Hue left much to be desired
We got back to the hotel, said our sad goodbyes to Mom, Jack, Nancy and John and went out for dinner and drinks at a fun place called the "DMZ Bar." The next morning we arranged for a car back to Hoi An where we spent two more days at the Palm Garden hotel. We checked out this morning and are now on our way to Quy Nhon, a five hour drive. We are stopping on the way at Son My, the village in which the My Lai massacre took place. Three years ago, Andrea and Andrew visited this site and were very moved by it. We were also interested to see that at that time, they were building a replica of the former hamlet, so we wanted to see how that came out. Additionally, yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the massacre, so we thought it appropriate to visit and pay our respects.
Miss and love you all,
Andrew and Andrea