After six days spent in the wonderful Hoi An, probably every city would disappoint us. Or maybe I was expecting too much. Going there I was imagining all this places I read about: the old capital, the emperor citadel, forbidden city, perfume river. All this names seemed mysterious, mythic and exciting. I thought I will see magnificent palaces, huge colorful antique temples, a massive citadel surrounded by a high wall protecting the forbidden city from the curious tourists. In change we got to a pretty modern city full of shops with electronics and cheap clothes. Vietnam was disappointing again.
We left the hotel for a walk, we went to the other side of the river in search of the citadel. I expected to see it from far, but actually it took us a while to find the main gate. When we got to the entrance, we had only two hours before the museum closed, so we were sure that we wouldn’t have time to see the whole complex, as all the treasures and wealth of the Nguyen emperor family awaited us inside. However, the lady selling the tickets told us we should be able to see everything in one hour. So we entered the citadel. I must admit it didn’t sweep me off my feet. Most of the building don’t exist anymore, and the one that we could visit were almost empty. Hue, unfortunately, was seriously damaged during the Vietnam war. It was situated at the demarcation line, so it was destroyed both by the north and south armies. Maybe that’s why it didn’t impress me that much.
I found the tombs of the emperors located further from the center much more interesting. The second day we rented a motorbike and decided to see some temples in the town and then visit the famous mausoleums.
We started our trip visiting Thien Mu Pagoda, the highest temple of this kind in Vietnam. It’s situated at the margins of the Perfume River, 5 km from the center.
Next, we went back to the opposite side of the river and drove to the first tomb on our way – the mausoleum of the emperor Tu Duc. This ruler had 142 wives, allegedly, and no son, that eventually he adopted (his tomb is also there). The mausoleum is located in a very picturesque place in a park by a lake, but there were some renovation works that disturbed our calm visit.
Here we realized that the entrance to each of the tombs is 100 000 dongs and I was planning to see at least three. It was hot and we had a long trip to Hanoi ahead of us. We decided not to visit the other tombs and go back to the hotel and ask for a quick shower.
We spent only two days in Hue. We didn’t find any nice spot, but maybe we didn’t look well enough. We were going north and we were excited to finally see the capital.
More photos from Vietnam here.