Tomb raiding...

Hue Travel Blog

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Today, we did another city tour, this time of the old capital, Hue. It's a 7AM wake up, and we have breakfast and coffee, then get on our minibus at 8AM, to leave.

The first stop is the ancient citadel, which is where the 13 emperors of the Nguyen dynasty (who ruled Central and Southern Vietnam from 1802-1945) made all their political decisions, and resided. There are 5 entrances to the citadel. The central one was reserved for the emperor, and immediate family only (one emperor had 104 wives!). The 2 entrance next to this one were reserved for officials, and the 2 on the outside for workers. We are shown through to the purple forbidden city at the back, which was reserved only for the emperor, family, and eunuchs (who posed no threat to the royal concubines!). The Mandarins (Doctors) also lived out here, unfortunately, it's another place bombed during the war, though most remains can tell which houses the emperors lived in by the roof. If it's yellow, it's their house, if not, it's someone elses...

The next stop was at Tu Duc tomb, who was the emperor with 104 wives, but mysteriously, no children! Apparently, it was due to smallpox, but I dunno...anyway, no-one knows exactly where his body lies, it is somewhere within 2km proximity of the tomb. There is a stele tablet, which tells the history of the emperor, written in Chinese, which is symbolic of these tombs.

The next stop is the Garden Houses, which were frequented by the Mandarins, and the Emperors  to court women, and to study there. One lady living there, is a descendant of the last Mandarin! After a visit to an incense making area (which is done by rolling what looks like mud around a stick, then adding cinnamon) we head back to Hue for lunch, included in the price of $7. The food is amazing, traditional rice, pork, squid, and vegetables.

After lunch, we head to the tomb of Khai Dinh, who ruled from 1916 until 1925, and this tomb in IMPRESSIVE. There is a huge bronze statue of him made up in the main tomb area, and on the ceiling is some really intricate painting, which was done by the mandarins, with their FEET! It's truly impressive...not quite so impressive is the rain, which is now bucketing down outside. I worked out, it's rained everyday since Siem Reap, except in Mui Ne, where it never rains. Apparently, up North now though, it's fine! And it's meant to be the South which is fine warming again!

Anyway, me and Burg aren't stupid, and have ponchos, whilst everyone else pissed about in the tomb waiting for it to stop. When they finally realise it's not going to stop, they all come down, drenched to the bone. We head off to the tomb of Minh Mang, which is impressive (he ruled from 1820-1840) but we are tired and wet by now, so it's starting to grate a little...

A visit to Thien Mu Pagoda next, made famous by having the Austin Metro driven by the monk who set himself on fire at protest to the 1963 Vietnamese Government. Remember Rage Against the Machine's album? Yep, that monk! Cool, eh? After seeing some monks praying in the temple, we head back along the Perfume River (so called because the mouth of it is meant to produce a scent of perfume!) to the boat dock, and the end of our tour.

We head to the Why Not? bar in town, where we drink a shitload of whisky, play a shitload of pool, then get lost on the way home, followed incessantly by 2 cyclos, one of which let's Burg have a go on his cyclo. Eventually, we make it back, wake up the owner, and go to sleep...


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photo by: Paulovic