Tag Archive: Hue

A whole week in Vietnam. From Manila, Ho Chi Minh City was our first destination but we were really excited over our first time in Central Vietnam. This is our story covering Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh), the Imperial Citadel in Hue, Langco Fishing Village, the Cham Museum and beaches of Danang, the preserved Ancient Lantern town of Hoi An and the Ruins of My Son. Staying a couple of nights each in Saigon, Hue and Hoi An, we took day trips to nearby attractions and maximised our time without really forgetting we’re on holiday. It’s not about ticking off from a list, but we left room for some spontaneous and serendipitous adventures. Including trips prompted by food cravings 😊

Saigon City Attractions:


Cu Chi Tunnels:


Hue Attractions:



Hoi An Attractions:



My Son


In case you feel like checking out previous blogs on earlier trips to Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoa Lu, Tam Coc and Saigon, here are the links:





Whay. That’s how locals in this lovely provincial city say it. Just an hour 25 minute flight from Ho Chi Minh. We knew it can be hotter and more humid here but Hue welcomed us with pleasant, breezy weather on the day of our arrival. Not so the following morning, when we explored the Citadel or Forbidden City, royal tombs and the Thien Mu pagoda. We only got a respite when we took a small boat from the pagoda back to the city center, helped along by refreshments on board.

The Citadel is right in the heart of the ancient city of Hue. It occupies a wide area, counting 520 hectares on the Perfume River’s left bank. Our guide made us walk the first half hour till we insisted on taking the electric buggy around the “Forbidden City”. Long, our guide, advised that the walk would take 2 1/2 hours. We promptly took the buggy without much thought. No walking at high noon 🙄 please.

The Citadel run may have taken shortcuts but our bodies still took and absorbed all the heat and humidity. Buckets of sweat and hardly a wind to blow dry our wet clothes. We dripped till it was over. The Imperial City within the Citadel reminded me of the Forbidden City in Beijing. For sure, the first 2 monarchs from the Nguyen Dynasty chose the site very well. And just like it, geomancy played a part in its architectural design to invite harmony as well as guarantee protection from harmful elements.

As the sun sizzled, we moved around as quickly as we could. We could have lingered longer in the theatre, or in the house of the king’s grandmother’s, but migraine was threatening to cut our Citadel tour short. It was more pleasant when we explored the royal tombs earlier. More than beating the crowd, the heat was more bearable then. Still hot and humid, but bearable. We may have done more justice visiting the Mausoleum of King Minh Mang than the walled palace of the Imperial City.

You can thus imagine how we felt by the time we reached Thien Mu or the Pagoda of the Heavenly Lady. Here you find the best view of the Huong or Perfume River from the Ha Khe hill, but one needs to scale steep steps to reach the scenic viewpoint. Mercifully, we climbed safely while sweating profusely. Our eyes hurt as beads of sweat ran down from our foreheads. Not even it’s iconic 7-storey pagoda nor the displayed car of the “protesting/burning monk” who immolated himself in 1963 Saigon helped unsettle our restless, sweating bods. We were just too eager to finish the tour in this high and dry temp. Our bods protested, just like the monk Thich Quang Duc burned himself to death in June 1963 in a busy Saigon intersection as an act of protest to South Vietnam’s persecution of Buddhist monks back then. We should have been thrilled to watch a couple of the 10 or so monks living within the pagoda grounds. But we’ve lost the enthusiasm, just as we found the young monks doing exercises by lifting weights. How could they…. in this heat?

From this pagoda, we took a wooden boat along the river. Just a short boat ride where we replenished our potassium levels with coconut juice and water. Tour’s over, and our late lunch is ready. The nourishment was another Vietnamese feast but we were just craving for the showers in our spacious, air conditioned, well-appointed hotel room. A day well-spent in Hue. Enough history lessons for my grandson. No more long walks and climbs for us. Phew!

When In Hue

We flew from Ho Chi Minh to Hue to visit this former imperial capital in Central Vietnam. Other than the Citadel, some pagodas and tombs, we hardly know anything about this former capital that was the seat of Nguyen Dynasty emperors till 1945. Pronounced “whay”, we were cautious not to overdo the touristy stuff under this sweltering heat. In a sense, we welcome the occasional afternoon rain.

Hue welcomed us with pleasant weather. No rain upon arrival in Hotel Saigon Morin. Breezy. And just perfect. We have a full day tomorrow visiting the Citadel, royal tombs, the Thien Mu Pagoda and its bonsai garden. Thus, we wanted to take it easy today. No cyclos, no boat rides, no late nights. Just one quiet night in our lovely century-old hotel. Perhaps quietly drinking a cold beer in the balcony with a perfect riverside view. Or maybe swim in the hotel pool, sipping one of those sugarcane juices laced with lemon grass. That was the plan.

Then, food thoughts interfered. Strolling along the Perfume River, we stumbled upon Pho Di Bo walking street. Immediately, we knew this won’t be an early night. There were many food choices, many shopping options, plenty cafes and bars, street mimes, and of course those low stools and tiny tables lining the streets. We managed to do some decent shopping but not before our dinner in this Vietnamese restaurant serving special Hue dishes. Loved everything we ordered. We were almost done eating when we decided we needed another round of those yummy spring rolls. 😊

It’s Day 3 and we have been eating Vietnamese everyday. Fat chance we’d grow tired of it especially the way my grandson has taken to spring rolls. That’s fine — he’s eating more vegetables now, and drinking fresh fruit smoothies like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve tried the Jackfruit Smoothie and loved it. You can smell it even before you drink it. Been eating our fav custard apples (atis) too. Happiness 😊

Beyond Golden Rice Restaurant are the cafes and bars. In one bar, several hunks were playing a game where players had to be garbed in ladies’ clothes. Some losers prowled the streets without changing back to men’s clothes. Could they be…. are they? Well, in my book they looked cool in midriff and short blouses. In the next street corner, children stood still and in awe of street mimes, while stalls selling ice cream, sugarcane juices, souvenirs, civet coffee and whatever else lined the street.

Remembering we have a full day tomorrow, we headed back to our hotel. A short riverside walk brought us to the place where people got on boats for a dinner-cruise, and where a vibrant night market was in full swing right under the bridge spanning Perfume River. Here we met 4 sweet, twinning teenage girls.

We weren’t expecting to be “busy” on our first night here. But even before our history lessons start tomorrow, we already like it here. Chances are we’d be back in the Pho Di Bo walking street tomorrow, if we aren’t too tired. There’s a certain vibe there that we appreciate. Like we enjoyed chatting with the friendly hotel door man, the cyclo drivers, the night market vendors, the teenage girls in identical clothes, the store owners, etc. Looking forward to explore more of Hue tomorrow. 😊

P.S. We loved it so much here that we went back again for dinner, some shopping and drinks. Found another gem — Elegant Restaurant just a few meters from Golden Rice. Enjoyed their duck spring rolls, papaya salad, grilled pork with vermicelli, stuffed squid, and a tofu dish. Finished off with banana Flambé (the real McCoy, not the one with coconut milk) and some vanilla ice cream. And while the boys shopped, the girls enjoyed a Huda beer . Life is good.