The city of Hue, Vietnam is a quiet little city. After going through Sapa and Hanoi, the city itself is a slower pace. Instead of the food vendors walking around selling their delicious pastries, numerous people with motorbikes stationed in front of stores or riding around trying to convince you to rent a bike from them. Sitting inside a coffee shop, one stationed himself in front of the shop. He began talking to the people at each of the tables, while they were enjoying their conversation or eating. Firmly, the gentleman is introducing renting a motorbike for the day or tour to Hoi An. To admit his defeat, he never encountered a sale during our stay.
Aside from the continuous pressure of motorbike rental salesman’s, we head to the Imperial City. Now inundated with locals pitching themselves as ‘official tour guides,’ we march toward the ticket booth. We purchased a bundled ticket for the Imperial City and 2 Royal Tombs. Acclaimed one of UNESCO’s heritage sites, the city’s beauty is still under restoration and unfortunately some renovations during our stay. The Imperial City flooding with symmetry for the entire compound and each building.
Luckily, the bundled tickets we purchased allow 2 days of exploration. If we purchased the Imperial City with 3 Royal tombs, it entitles you 3 days.
Drenched from head to toe, we enter each tomb with my sandals and her shoes squeaking and water sloshing around. Renting a motorbike is a terrible idea during monsoon season. Tu Duc’s tomb was the first. Unfortunately, this tomb was not in our bundle. Our bundle included the Khai Dinh King and Minh Mang Royal Tombs.
Of all the tombs, the Khai Dinh King tomb was the most magnificent with the symmetry and delicate placement of mosaic dragons along with paintings of dragons with Chinese scriptures.
The most serene I thought was the Tu Duc tomb. Pleased with its serenity and beauty, I produced two photos. Personally, I enjoyed the Tu Doc tomb’s because it incorporated a nature aspect of many coy ponds and a Buddhist ‘island’ comprising miniature pagodas, mini statues, bonsai trees, and dwarven pine trees.
The Stele is Tu Duc’s autobiography of himself. The largest Stele in Vietnam.
The Minh Mang was wonderful as the Khai Dinh King without the detail and less serenity as with the Tu Doc’s tomb.
After a few hours in the rain, we retired and headed back to our hostel. We remained warm and continued on with our journey. Now preparing for a 2.5 hour train ride to Da Nang, Vietnam.