After exploring the north of Vietnam, we departed Hanoi by train, and travelled south. Next stop, Hue which is described as the most royal city in Vietnam! Hue is located 700km (430m) south of Hanoi, in the Thua Thein Hue province, in central Vietnam. Hue was once the capital of Vietnam, founded in 1802 by Gia Long who was the first king of the Nguyen dynasty empire. Hue remained the capital of Vietnam under the Nguyen dynasty until 1945. This powerful family ruled the then capital from 1802-1945. To this day the influence of a royal lifestyle and royal customs have had a huge impact on the characteristics of the people in Hue.
The city has a rich and interesting history, with the affects of war still very present today. Visiting the city was very enriching and very different from other parts of the country that we visited.
We stayed at a guest house for two nights and three days, exploring the ancient ruins during the day and then enjoying the Hue nightlife.
Highlights and must sees
The Perfume river
This ancient city lies on the banks of the Perfume river. So beautiful to see on a clear and sunny day. The Perfume river is surrounded by the ancient sights of Hue. It is also perfect for people watching, taking in the river life of the people who live here. We were also grateful to witness a stunning sunset over the ancient capital, while sitting at the banks of the river.
The Tomb of Khai Dinh
This tomb was built for the twelfth emperor of the Nguyen dynasty, Khai Dinh. The tomb is located in Chau Chu mountain, on a steep hill near the city of Hue. The architecture is a mix of western and eastern influence and took eleven years to build!
Thien Mu Pagoda
Translates to the Pagoda of the Celestial Lady and is considered to be the unofficial landmark of the city, with its iconic seven story pagoda. In addition to its rich history, the Pagoda also looks out to the gorgeous Perfume river.
A place to worship ten of the Nguyen dynasty kings. The Mieu is an ancestral temple to Vietnams emperors.
Imperial city (The Citadel)
The former residence of the royal family. Now, listed as an UNESCO world heritage site. This site is a large complex of hundreds of monuments and ruins. Rich in history and devastated by the Vietnam war, this former site of the old capital has a moat and ten ornate gates guarding the palace, temples and tombs.
Hue, was much different from the rest of our backpacking journey through Vietnam. I enjoyed the history and culture of this ancient city. The next stop after Hue, is further south – Hoi An