Hue Boat Trip
Hue Travel Blog› entry 81 of 117 › view all entries
Having not really enjoyed being herded round like cattle on the DMZ tour, we decided to avoid the boat tours offered around Hue and charter a dragon boat ourselves. Setting off early, accompanied by an old lady who couldn't wait to set down her spread of souvenirs for us to buy (or not), and a ratty-looking captain who spoke perfect broken English.
After about an hour down the misleadingly-named Perfume River, we arrived at our first sight-see of the day. I read beforehand that the Thien Mu Pagoda was the location used by a monk called Thich Quang Duc who commited self-immolation in protest of the President Ngo Dinh regime. This sounded very familiar to me - and it turned out that the photograph of the event was used by the legendary rock band Rage Against The Machine for their self-titled debut.
One thing that can slightly grate anyone travelling Vietnam as a foreigner is the amount of hidden charges you face. Having booked up a cheap boat to take us to the pagodas and tombs along the Perfume River, it became obvious once we had moored for the second time that to get to see the four tombs you would require a motorbike driver to take you there, as they weren't alongside the river, as had been suggested. No great shakes - but made more annoying after we had negotiated the price and arrived at the second tomb to see it was, believe it or not, closed to for restoration, completely unknown to the moto drivers, apparently.
That said, I didn't mind paying the surprise charge to get into Tu Doc tomb. Set in a really nice gardens, with an enormous tomb as the centrepiece, it was a good place to chill out in for a while. Another highlight was the Dong Khanh tomb, which, although having a slightly delapidated building with a makeshift steel roof, was also set in tranquil gardens with a lily-covered moat. Some local Vietnamese kids braved the mucky water, and showed us how useful lillies can be as headwear in the midday sun.