Day 123: Hoi An to Hue, Vietnam.

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March 30th 2010
Published: April 4th 2010
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Hoi An to Hue

Day 123: Tuesday, March 30th, 2010.
Hoi An City to Hue, Vietnam.

Per Intrepid Notes, "Days 5-6 Hue. Returning to the road, a bus trip takes us on our journey north. We ascend the dramatic Hai Van Pass, passing through rural countryside and the picturesque fishing village of Lang Co, to Hue.

Arriving in Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam, we have this afternoon and almost all of the following day to enjoy the the many sights and relatively slow pace of this tranquil city. We have the opportunity to visit the Imperial Citadel, one of the Nguyen emperors' tombs and also enjoy a dragonboat cruise on the Perfume River. Hue, known as the centre of Buddhism and education in Vietnam, also has a wealth of pagodas and monasteries to discover. If you would like to learn more about this city, there is always a student willing to be your personal guide and show you the many secrets of Hue. The bustling Dong Ba Market offers a plethora of goods and foods to see and sample, and it's a good place to try some of the specialties that graced the Nguyen emperors' banquet tables, such as the banh khoai, a royal rice cake. 

Our lovely hotel in Hue is located in a quiet part of town, and has ensuite bathrooms and air conditioning. 

In the evening of day 6 we take an overnight train to Hanoi. Compartments are clean, with padded berths (4 to a room), sheets, pillow, blanket and boiling water available. Most trains have a dining carriage and there are snacks available on the train along the way."

So, on our way to Hue we stopped and took some quick pictures of the Temple on top of Marble Mountain. Then we stop at a gallery where they sculpt marble pieces. I was tempted to buy a hand carved chess set but considering the shipping cost 1.5 times the price of the item itself, I said never mind. After that, a quick stop at China Beach for photos and awhile later we did a brief stop at Dinh deo Hai Van. I'm guessing at the name of that place because all the signs were in Vietnamese (for some strange reason) and I'm not having a lot of luck finding websites. There were abandoned turrets there from the Vietnam War and almost all the walls had bullet holes. Interesting stop.

We stopped and had a snack at some town whose name I can't remember. It was a nice resort hotel that we ate at and we seemed to be the only ones there, a bit eerie. Some took advantage of the ocean being right there and jumped on in. Joe started it off, then Tini, Evelyn and Kathy joined in- and they did it in just panties. You go girls.

We got to Hue and dropped our bags off at the Tigon Hotel and head over to the Lac Thien Restaurant. This restaurant has been made famous by reviews and travel books. It's run by a family who, most of which, are deaf and the food is said to be outstanding. We were taken to the dining room which is on the 2nd floor and as you go up the stairs you can see into the kitchen. Scary. The dining room walls are covered in signatures and quotes as they encourage their guests to sign it as a "I was here" type book. I left my normal M*A*S*H* quote of course. They bring out bottled beers for those that want some and proceed to put these weird wooden devices on top of the beers. Then, with a twack of their hand, they hit the wood and the bottle cap pops off. Home made bottle openers and we all are given one as a gift. Then they pass around photo albums. It seems the thing to do is to take your bottle opener with you on your journeys and take a picture of you, with said opener, and mail it back to them. They have quite a collection of pictures- that was neat. However, the food sucked (mine did at least.) Interesting time, but bad bad food.

We then head over to the Forbidden City. Beautiful architecture but it feels like a ghost town. This city has so much land, and most is under reconstruction, but there just weren't a lot of people around. So, it felt a bit like walking thru a deserted town. Beautiful place, much history, Google it if you want to read all that wonderful history.

We go back to the hotel and lounge for about an hour then we're off to the Anphu Garden Restaurant. This was an excursion that all of us except Rita signed up for. We got there, they handed out "royal" gowns and hats to wear, we nominated Barry & Nell as King & Queen and we were shown into a private dining room. Barry & Nell sat at the head of the table, up on a platform, as good King and Queens do. The rest of us, their court, gathered at the table in front of them. Much food was brought out and I was not the only one unimpressed. Plus, we had some musicians and singers playing the whole time and I can't say I'll be buying a CD of Vietnamese music anytime soon. Once, they mixed it up and played the theme from "The Godfather" (I know that song has a real name but I'm too tired to look it up.) That was pretty cool. Then, they played "Waltzing Matilda" for the Aussies- not sure why that song means something to them but it does. Then they went back to typical Vietnamese music and all our eyes twitched. We had a few laughs but I think we were all ready to get the hell out of there. The only excursion I've come across that I would suggest others skipping.

Additional photos below
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5th April 2010

Dinh deo Hai Van
"The top (highest point) of Hai Van pass"
5th April 2010

Vietnam expat
You rock- thanks so much for clearing that up for me! I'll correct my blog w/in the next few days. :) Hopefully I don't mix up a lot of other facts. Thanks!
6th April 2010

great pics!
Hi my dear Amanda:) Wowww, u have only 35 days, can u believ it? I am just reading and reading o ur articles and become more and more fascinated about u.....I am proud of you Amanda, hope everything is fine with you, take care of you, I MISS U!!!!!!!!!!!!
9th April 2010

Hello dear Kinga! I know you sent me a very nice email (or was it a facebook message) and I keep meaning to reply to it, sorry! Miss you too!! (and very much looking forward to going back to the States!!)
16th May 2010

You planned to bottle water fromt he Purfume River and sell it to tourists?
What they neglected to tell you is that the home made bottle opener is also a key to the Forbidden City.

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